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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Help finding the right studio amp/small gig amp

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Jonblair15, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. Jonblair15

    Jonblair15 TDPRI Member

    Jul 28, 2016
    I currently play a blackface '65 reissue deluxe reverb and it is perfect. I play mainly blues for my lead stuff and my rhythms are similar to a shaky graves style but on electric (if that helps). Mainly always neck pickup as I love the clarity and articulation the DRRI gives me. I use a clean boost and the amp tends get really muddy after 4 and I can't stand that tone. I use no fuzz or OD on my board, its not my thing. Im a squeaky clean reverb drenched kind of guy.

    My gripe with the deluxe reverb is that it is very heavy and a pain in the ass to transport to friends houses and the studio. I know some of you will say its light compared to other amps, but this is the only amp I have ever played/owned so when I say its heavy; thats a relative term. I am looking into maybe switching to a 68' silver face princeton as it is tiny and I would imagine it is great for recording (or so ryan adams says).

    Now; what I don't know is whether I should sell the DRRI to afford the princeton, or keep the DRRI and use it for gigs and have the princeton as an everyday hoss to transport and record with. I haven't really played out much and don't know a lot about the nuance of stage volumes and PAs all that sort of ****.

    In theory I would rather just have one amp. But if you guys could shed some light on what you think would work best for me I would really appreciate it!!!!
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  2. LuthRavin

    LuthRavin Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    May 28, 2011
    Eugene, Oregon say your currant amp is very heavy..I'm 68 and own one and its one of my lightest..but saying that I also use a Vox-AC10 and Tweed Blues Junior..both lighter and I can play out with all peddles used for the later two, I stick a TS-9 in front of the DRRI..good to go or in the studio.. I'm sure you'll get plenty of responses.. 22 years heavy..happy trails
  3. Jonblair15

    Jonblair15 TDPRI Member

    Jul 28, 2016
    Im only saying its heavy because its the only amp Ive ever owned....In comparison to the princeton that I tried at a shop.
  4. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

    May 14, 2008
    Marion, NC
    You DID say squeaky clean, small, gig/studio amp and the Princeton Reverb Reissue certainly meets that criteria.

    I'd also recommend the Roland Blues Cube Hot (Fender Tweed Bassman version) as a solid state alternative.
    Lef T likes this.
  5. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

    Aug 29, 2007
    MV, CA
    I've found the Princeton outstanding for clear tones but when you need some low end push, even for recording, it doesn't deliver. I still keep it however as for some things it reminds me (and I call it) a "mini twin" i.e. lower volume, clear, sweet tone. But push it and it just breaks down in an unpleasant way. It might work for you if you stay away from distortion pedals.

    The DRRI is my go to recording amp, it's a tad heavy I can still haul it readily. It has the low end push, a bit wooly as you point out, but very useable. Other amps I could recommend are the Marshall DSL20 which has a bit more meat and features than the DRRI. Even better, but it moves up in weight, is the DSL40C. This is my other recording amp which brings some attitude. The Marshalls bring some really nice clean with a slight bit of edge if you stay away from the distortion channel.

    If you are a straight up clean player the Princeton is a great amp but depending on the volume of a band, can fall short to keep up. Even the Deluxe can fall short in a band and goes, as stated, wooly as you increase volume. The next step up would be a Vibrolux for loud clean and then of course a twin. All of these go way up in the weight department but bring that type of sound in a band setting.
  6. LuthRavin

    LuthRavin Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    May 28, 2011
    Eugene, Oregon
    Sorry I misunderstood you .. I thought you said its was very heavy and a pain in the ass to haul bad..Princeton's are super light..I'd sell the DDRI get the 68' Custom Princeton Reverb and never look back..again Happy Trails.. you'll do alright
    Ben-Zion likes this.
  7. Jonblair15

    Jonblair15 TDPRI Member

    Jul 28, 2016
    Thats good advice, thank you sir. I think I will hunker down with the DRRI for now and in the future go to a Pro or Vibrolux when I get to that point, and a princeton for home and everyday use.
    aerhed and Middleman like this.
  8. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

    Nov 29, 2013
    I've got a silverface 68 custom PR. Perfect amp for me; great clean sound and just the kind of breakup I like when I need it. I played my first really loud gig with it recently, miked up. To hear myself well, I had to tilt it up towards me, so I'm going to put on a pair of tilt-legs.
    I also have a DVMARK micro 50 II as a back-up; if the Princeton ever gives up the ghost on tour, I can sit this on top of it and plug the speaker into it in a matter of seconds. The micro 50 is LOUD, and if I needed to, I could use it in combination with the Princeton to get more volume for an unusually large gig.
    However, as long as I mike the Princeton and can point it in the direction of my ears or put it on a chair, it would have to be a hellishly loud gig to necessitate more volume than that.

    In terms of a light amp: solid state. Something like the DVMark Guitar Friend weighs 20 lbs, while the Princeton clocks in at 34 lbs. When I'm taking my gear on planes and trains, I use a ZT Lunchbox with a reverb pedal. 10 lbs and louder than loud. If I ever needed to, I could use it as a head and borrow or rent a cab from the city I'm visiting.
  9. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Meister

    Feb 27, 2017
    Palmetto, Florida
    I also own the '65 DRRI and it's clean tones are gorgeous, warm and rich with nice detail. I was lugging it to church and back twice a week for the praise band, but that got old. I ended up biting the bullet and getting a new Ltd PRRI with a 12 inch speaker. It's 34 lbs with the Jensen Alnico and does the cleans very nicely. Its easier to move, 6 lbs really does make a difference for my old back. Ironically, I now leave the Princeton at church since I have the deluxe at home. Speakers also make a huge difference in headroom. I bought an Emi Allesandro which is a great sounding speaker with several more db. The Princeton on 4 with the Allesandro is a big enough sound to rattle things, definitely gigable. I never pushed it to 5 or 6 with that speaker to hear the breakup tone, it's that loud. That big sound comes with a cost tho, pushed the Princeton to close to 40lbs and the DRRI up to 50 lbs. Since I can't do high stage volumes anyway, I keep Jensen p12Qs in both of them. The Princeton with a 12" would definitely cover the bases for you, you could always add an outboard speaker cab with a more efficient speaker if needed for a louder gig. BTW, from what I've read, the 68 silver face PRRI breaks up earlier for a bluesier tone. If ultra clean is what you're after, the '65 black face may better suit you. Also, I found a cheap Harbor Freight folding hand truck with strategically place heavy felt strips makes moving the DRRI a whole lot easier. Lastly, I put the classic Fender tilt back legs on both my amps, a big difference in hearing without lugging another piece of gear along. Happy hunting!
  10. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 11, 2012
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
    If money wasn't an issue, I'd recommend an Allen Acomplish Jr, $1500ish.

    Other than that, there's some good recommendations already!
  11. ce24

    ce24 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 26, 2008
    Princeton non reverb...perfection. ala Mike Campbell.... Tone is everything not volume... That's what the PA is for. I gig my Princeton in a 4 piece classic rock band and it is perfect on about 6.
  12. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    Midwest, USA
    A Katana of course. Good for studio, in fact, it can also be used as an interface. Also good for gigs as it is loud enough or can be mic'd. Lots of amp sims and effects. Has different amp watts mode for bedroom or apartment practice too.
    Rocksteadyeddy likes this.
  13. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    Princeton sounds great ... is not very loud. People who say it's loud are playing with very quiet bands. If the guys you play with are very quiet, then a Princeton will be fun. What happens often, IME, is that a relatively inexperienced guy gets a Princeton, finds out it's too quiet for most gigs, and is on here asking about louder speakers, mods, etc.
    I'd suggest thinking about a Neo speaker for your Deluxe. It will shave a few pounds off the weight. If you try to live with just a Princeton, you'll probably be looking at a high volume speaker for it before long, so might as well keep the Deluxe and spend your speaker money on it.
    Lil' Texas has a 4oz speaker magnet, vs what? a 50oz magnet on the Deluxe? Should notice that weight difference.
    bblumentritt likes this.
  14. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    A standard Princeton will be much fuzzier than your DR. A 68 RI will be even more so! I have Princeton's and DR's for years.
    I play a DR for 90% of gigs and it's very clean when I want it to be. I never get to 4 on the volume and play neck pickup blues and etc. I'm almost always told I'm too loud in a 5 piece band. with a mic'd drummer and bassist that is overbearing.
    What guitar pickups? HB's?
    My guess is your DR needs some tweeking. Maybe bias for what you want.
    What speaker?
    What pre tubes? Get some vintage or Mullard RI's.
    Do NOT use JJ or Penta pre tubes.
  15. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

    May 15, 2018
    How about a brilliant Blues/Rock/Jass Australian Built Handwired Amp that will last you your life time for around $1500US + freight.

  16. Whoa Tele

    Whoa Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 20, 2009
    Smyrna Ga.
    I'd look at The Wonder Dawg by Lil Dawg amps. Basically it's a handwired super/deluxe circuit with a 12 inch speaker and mid knob in a Princeton sized cab. He can put whatever transformer you'd like to increase headroom. They run around $1500 but Jim (lil Dawg owner) has some of the best customer service I've ever seen and I can't recall reading any criticical comment regarding his products. I own one of his tweed Deluxe clones and am saving for the wonder Dawg. Good luck
  17. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

    Apr 27, 2016
    Put me down for "keep your amp; save up for a Princeton as well."

    FWIW I gigged one of these in a 4-piece next to a Blues Deluxe and a drummer:

    Then I get it home and turn the Master down to 1-2 for practice.
  18. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Dec 3, 2012
    Austin, Texas
    From your description, I think I play a bit like you. I used to gig with a Princeton. For recording, it was great. For live work, not so much. Playing on the neck pickup and rolling back the treble just a touch soaked off what little volume there was. It's just not stout enough.

    If you like drenched reverb, the Deluxe Reverb may be the amp. Get a lighter speaker with tighter bass and more treble, such as an Eminence Little Texas.
  19. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    If you want clean, don't get a Princeton.

    If you want light, don't get a Pro.

    Something's wrong with your amp or your EQ settings if your Deluxe Reverb gets "muddy" at for on the volume.

    If a Deluxe Reverb is too heavy, look at something like a DV Mark FGC121 Frank Gamble Signature.

    But probably decide what you want and need, and what is important and required for your music first.
  20. Mutato

    Mutato Tele-Meister

    Sep 16, 2008
    Rhode Island
    I own a '77 Princeton Reverb with a 12" (modded previously) and it sits well with a loud band. BUT I raise it up on an amp stand so it's angled towards me so i am getting more out of it then if it was just on floor. I have an efficient speaker in it as well (Patriot) and it can get loud. I use OD pedals for gain type sounds. And usually I am on something like 3-4 when playing live.

    Really only downside is since it's lower power, the deeper Bass is not gonna come through like a larger wattage amp. but it works very well.
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