Meet Greta™ and Excelsior™, Fender’s new and coolly unconventional Pawn Shop Special amplifiers. The two stylish amps resemble the esoteric finds you might discover in a pawnshop or second-hand store, and make for the most distinctive addition to any musician’s collection.
Housed in the playfully diminutive form of a vintage tabletop radio, the Pawn Shop Special Greta model is quite possibly the most unusual Fender tube amp ever (in fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find the name “Fender” anywhere on it). It’s a charming two-watt tabletop beauty with a 4” Special Design speaker, old-school VU meter with “clean to overload” indicator display, simple volume and tone controls, and a 1/8” back-panel auxiliary input perfect for iPod or other media player use.
Its vintage-style enclosure has front and rear wood panels finished in bright red, gold-finished metal top and sides for increased shielding, “Greta” script badge on the front panel and tabletop feet. Under the hood and on the back panel, Greta features a single 12AT7 output tube and 12AX7 preamp tube, with a ¼” instrument jack and ¼” line out jack (for preamp use with another amplifier).
Undoubtedly one of the most distinctive tube combo amps produced in Fender history, the alluringly refined Pawn Shop Special Excelsior harbors tones from polite, to raw and raucous. Its brown textured vinyl covering, smartly stylish “E” grille design and bold crossed-swords front-panel badge convey a decidedly stately vibe with a marked air of cold-war cool.
The 13-watt Excelsior elegantly encloses a single 15” Special Design speaker, with bottom-loaded primary chassis and top-loaded control chassis for operating convenience and low noise (powered by two 6V6 output tubes and two 12AX7 preamp tubes). Distinctive features include “instrument,” “microphone” and “accordion” inputs that each have individually optimized circuitry; tremolo circuit with speed control, bright/dark tone switch (for treble or bass emphasis), volume control and ¼” internal speaker disconnect that lets the amp drive an external speaker enclosure.
For playing at home, smaller gigs and studio sessions, the Excelsior is a class act that brings a fresh and unconventional new vibe to your playing.
I love the look of these new amps, and they’re priced right with the Excelsior having a street price of $299 and the Greta having a street price of $199. Premier Guitar is at the NAMM show and was able to get this demo video of the amps: