Sell PRRI to buy Blues Junior: Am I crazy?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by tele_pathic, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. budglo

    budglo Tele-Meister

    Feb 15, 2015
    NE Ohio
    Imo , the 10 inch speaker is where the mojo from the princeton amps comes from. Put in a 12 inch and it becomes another 15 watt 6v6 tube amp with tremolo and reverb . Not that its a bad thing , just that its not as special as the 10 version and there are other 15 watt lightweight amps that are just as good . There is a reason that so many recordings have the Princeton Reverb on them.
  2. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Meister

    Dec 10, 2016
    Tip of the Mitt
    Idk if it's a typical choice, but my prri65 came with a g10 greenback and I haven't had an urge to swap it out.

    Maybe soomthing to explore?
  3. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    I’m just gonna say... there’s an awful lot of assumption here that because the OP doesn’t like the way his amp sounds, that maybe it’s not working right.

    I’ll be the guy who gets stuff thrown at him here...

    But maybe it is, and he just doesn’t like it?

    OP- don’t do anything drastic. You might end up right back where you are.

    I say, start trying amps. Lots of them. All different kinds. Until you find something you like. It could be true, your amp could be broken, or running non-optimally.

    It could also be that it’s running perfectly, and just isn’t what you like.

    I struggled for 20 years with Fender amps. Because lots of my heroes used them, and everybody always told me that they were what was up. I always thought it was me. But turns out they just don’t sound good for what I want.

    I can get along if I *have to* with a twin reverb in a backline situation. I can make a DeVille sound *close enough*. But when I see most BF or SF voiced Fender amps I cringe. Literally. They hurt my soul. And the Princeton is nearly the worst of all of them. I’d rather be eaten by zombies than have to deal with a Princeton. Only thing worse is a Champ.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  4. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    If you end up selling the PR because you like the EL84 sound, do yourself a favor and buy a Z Carmen Ghia... should be able to get one for what you paid for the PRRI
    Jakedog likes this.
  5. hrstrat57

    hrstrat57 Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 21, 2016
    Rhode Island
    All my Fender gear is long gone as well. I did love my 66 Super but at volume I realized was too high for human consumption.

    Took a long time for me to figure out crunchy Brit voicing was actually my true jam. Orange and Vox, not Marshall. The real Brit stuff.
  6. Henfield Tele

    Henfield Tele Tele-Holic

    Oct 30, 2012
    West Sussex Uk
    Take it to your tech. Good as it is, a Blues Jr is a step backwards. IMO!
    LPTyler likes this.
  7. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2009
    St. George, UT
    Ok, y'all have convinced me not to step backwards or downgrade from PRRI to BJ. What about a lateral move, from the PRRI to the '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb? Does that make more sense? I can play the PRRI on 3 and it sounds good: It sounds very good at 5. I'm assuming the '68 CDR would be similar volume wise?

    Would I notice a difference in tremolo and reverb? I know the PRRI uses a bias-variable trem while the DRRI uses an opto-trem. Would the difference be noticeable?
  8. budglo

    budglo Tele-Meister

    Feb 15, 2015
    NE Ohio
    There are several versions of the deluxe reverb out there . I have not tried the 68 custom(I have a 68 Princeton custom). I had the stock drri with the c12k and presently own the red wine version with the p12q . Both of those have stellar reverb and good tremolo. I believe the 68 breaks up sooner and the custom channel has more kids than the regular drri. I like the idea of reverb and trem on both channels.
  9. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    I'm one of the few here that wouldn't consider the swap a downgrade. I tried a handmade princeton reverb for some time, tried the various fender RI versions in stores – personally I like my blues jr. better. It has no hiss or rattle problems (all the PRRIs I played rattled when cranked) , the tone to me is good and the master comes in handy when I want a little hair. It has a lot of midrange and treble on tap and the bass is tighter and more focused than a blackface amp – if you don't play too loud.
  10. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Meister

    Feb 27, 2017
    Palmetto, Florida
    I have the same model PRRI (with alnico speaker) and it starts getting good at 4 1/2. I also have the '65 DRRI and it is delicious, but you'll never get it to 5 unless the band is REALLY loud. That's actually why I bought the Princeton, I was holding the DRRI under 3 all the time. The DRRI is my favorite amp, it does take OD pedals well and has a more open, spacious timbre to my ear.
    Marc Morfei likes this.
  11. Fullmoon07

    Fullmoon07 Tele-Meister

    Mar 19, 2018
    Rattles can be tracked down and corrected. I would not recommend a Blues Jr. IV over a Princeton '68 Custom. I have both.
  12. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    If you don't want to have it seen to then I'd move it on. You'd be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but a poorly performing amp is poorly performing.

    Because the power transformer in the PR is dinky, if the bias is too high on the power tubes, the basic tonality of the amp will be adversely affected.

    I tried upping bias on mine with adjustable bias when I had it, it just pulled down B+ and ran the transformer hotter. The amp became compressed with early breakup but unpleasantly. As someone noted it affected eqs and reverb -- badly.

    Turning bias back to nominal gives beautiful cleans, wonderful smooth, deep tremolo, a wonderful wet natural sounding reverb.

    Now, Jakeog alluded to the fact that maybe it just isn't your sound. You may need something modern. The Princeton is a great classic sounding amp. The music it featured in is basically classic country, classic rock, some jazz or Blues. Yes, Eric Clapton used one for Layla. But if you're more Joe Bonamassa or Slash or Frusciante maybe it's not what you want.

    It's not really your go to if you like 80's, 90's, noughties indie, punk, metal or more modern styles

    The split-tail phase inverter doesn't lend to dirt pedal friendliness without some mods from standard. If that's an issue then you likely need something else. Not everyone likes old skool V8s - some guys like turbo fours or Teslas, horses for courses.

    FWIW I loved the clean and natural breakup tones on mine for 50's-70's stuff but it simply wasn't versatile enough for music a new band moved on to. So I moved it on. Today I might have modded it.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  13. sonicsmitty

    sonicsmitty Tele-Holic

    Jan 2, 2012
    Clarksville, TN
    If you bought a Camaro and it was running rough and the brakes were a bit too spongy, you're not gonna go trade it in for a Cavalier, are you? At least not without taking it to a mech first? Take your Princeton to a mech/tech first and get it all tuned up. If you still aren't happy you can sell it, and if you have your service receipts it may help you fetch a better price at resale.
    Lakeabilene and PBO Blues like this.
  14. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2009
    St. George, UT
    For some reason, this really struck me. You're right. Many others on here are right also. I don't know why I didn't think about a '65 DRRI or '68 Custom DR as a replacement.

    With that in mind, I went to our only local Fender dealer, and surprise, they had a '65 DRRI. So I sat down with that for more than a few minutes. YUCK!!! The reverb, when turned above 5 had a high-pitched feedback as soon as I struck a note. That is, when I turned the reverb up past 5, and then struck a note/chord, there was feedback present in the reverb. I know it was the reverb b/c it would dissipate or disappear when I would then turn down the reverb below 2. And the trem!!! I didn't realize how different the trems were in the PRRI and the DRRI. I mean, why are they so different, FMIC??? I did NOT like the opto-trem in the '65 DRRI.

    Immediately afterwards, I went home and played the PRRI. Gave it a thorough workout. And WOW!!! I guess I just didn't LISTEN to this amp. Or after playing the '65 DRRI, I just didn't realize how amzing the PRRI really is.

    SO....I know I've been indecisive but I have made a decision. I'M KEEPING THE PRRI. It really does sound great, and I realize that I had not appreciated just how fantastic this amp is.
    fasteddie42, hrstrat57 and AAT65 like this.
  15. TeleV

    TeleV Tele-Holic

    Mar 10, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    If I were you, I would continue my tone quest but focusing on the speaker instead.

    Like I said before, I don't think the CR you have in there is the best choice for this amp. You really owe to yourself to listen to a PRRI with the stock Jensen speaker or buy a used one to try in your amp. The Eminence Signature Series GA10-SC64 is another good speaker to try. Good luck!
  16. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Meister

    Feb 6, 2018
    Philadelphia, PA
    I have been on a similar amp exploration this past year. Lots of good advice given already, even if some is contradictory. Here is my experience (all of these items were purchased used on Craigslist, and some re-sold the same way):

    I started out with a Blues Jr, and I put a Cannabis Rex in it, which sounded great. This combination has a great natural tone, and you can shape it with pedals however you want. With the master volume you can get some gain from the amp, which is good. But after a while it started to sound, I dunno, kind of "two-dimensional" or something. Maybe that is the "boxy" sound everyone mentions.

    So then I got a Princeton Reverb, the blackface RI. Sounds fantastic, much more 3-dimensional. Beautiful tone. After a while, I thought to run it through a 12" speaker from another cabinet, and you can really hear the difference -much fuller, louder, bigger. So I sold that amp and got a 12" PRRI, the Bordeaux one sold at GC. I put the CRex speaker in that, and liked it, but eventually I put the stock Jensen speaker back in and prefer that. I also have a creamback that I will stick in there eventually, just to see what that sounds like.

    So I am keeping the 12" PRRI. But I would not have paid the $1,100 sticker price. That's crazy. I got mine for $700, and for that price I'm happy. I also have a Vox AC15. Between those two I have a lot of bases covered. On the PR, I keep the reverb under 3. Band volume is around 6 or 6.5.

    There is always a contingent that insists on vintage hand wired stuff with specialty mods of every kind. I dunno. I'm not a pro-level player. The Princeton Reverb Reissue sounds pretty friggin good to me, and is definitely good enough for what I need.

    My only advice is not to make a hasty decision. Maybe some people can tell immediately what they like and don't like. But I find that I need to live with equipment for a while, and try it out in lots of different settings and situations. Some days everything just sounds like crap. So then I know the problem is me, not the stuff. When I got my AC15 I had a really hard time dialing it in at home, it just sounded wrong. I decided I would sell it. Then I finally dragged it to band rehearsal, and it killed. It just totally soared. Fit perfectly into our mix. So now it is my main amp, and the Princeton stays at home.
    Lakeabilene and GGardner like this.
  17. sonicsmitty

    sonicsmitty Tele-Holic

    Jan 2, 2012
    Clarksville, TN
    I'm not sure how my post helped you come to that conclusion, but I'm glad you found something that works for you. I would still advise getting a check-up from your amp tech.

    I have one of those yucky '65 DRRIs, though with some changes. Mine was having a barely perceptible fizzy sound when a note was held and when it started to fade out you could barely tell. It was bugging me though, so I took it to my tech and he found a cap that was going bad. It didn't cost me much, but now it sounds great. Getting your amp checked out by a good amp tech can make a world of difference.

    BTW, I don't think I've ever really used my reverb as high as 5. That has always seemed like too much to me. As a general rule, for normal playing I keep mine around 1 to give it more of lively sound, and if I have to go for some '60s reverb drenched I usually have it around 3 1/2. Is this just me? How many other players use it halfway or more? Just curious.
  18. WelshBluesMan

    WelshBluesMan Tele-Meister

    Apr 2, 2018
    Wales, UK.
    I was hugely disappointed with the Blues Junior. I expected the sort of tone I would typically get from Fender, with lots of bass and sparkly highs, but instead got an amp that was all mids, earsplitting treble and no bass. To my ears it was closer to a Vox AC15 than a typical Fender.

    Turning it up it would flub out on bass notes, and using an overdrive pedal took me straight to fart city. I also found the reverb very quiet, unless it was cranked right up, which for most purposes was far too splashy to be usable. Successful marketing and the fact they are often a guitarist's first all valve amplifier, with nothing to compare it to probably goes a long way to explaining why they are so popular.

    Personally I would hang onto the PRRI. There may be something wrong with the reverb tank, which can be replaced very cheaply. I don't know about the tremolo, but then the Blues Junior doesn't have tremolo. It's all subjective of course, but I think you will find the Blues Junior a significant step backwards from what you have.
    Lakeabilene likes this.
  19. tele_pathic

    tele_pathic Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2009
    St. George, UT
    Last night, I bought a new Source Audio True Spring. As I mentioned, I had a CB Topanga, and I loved it, but ultimately, I had to sell it to fund the PRRI. The SA True Spring is a digital spring reverb and includes three types of tremolo: harmonic, optic, and bias. I'm gonna compare the reverb and tremolo in the TS to the PRRI. Ultimately, THAT might make my decision. I know I keep waffling. BUT why own a PRRI is I'm not happy with the reverb or tremolo? NOW, I love, LOVE the clean tone, and I can get it to 5 and still stay clean, and OMG it sounds so good. So I'll be fine if I keep the PRRI and SUPPLEMENT the reverb and trem with a digital pedal. This may be my final decision.

    But then I see this?

    blues jr iv.jpg

    What a beauty! Why can't we own it all? If I had another $600 to spare, I'd probably pick that up.
  20. HWTele

    HWTele Tele-Meister

    Oct 21, 2015
    IDK for my money I have an older USA green board 90’s BJ and for playing around the house it’s great. Reverb is the weak link so I just use a Boss reverb pedal and I’m good!
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