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

Warm, Clean, Rich-Sounding Amp?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by tonyp145, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. tonyp145

    tonyp145 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Kent, WA
    Hi folks, I'm playing in a new band that does a variety of music, everything from blues, jazz, country to rock 'n' roll. I play with very little gain and I have a good overdrive pedal when I want some. My problem is my SFPR is just too clean and sterile sounding to me. I can't get a warm, rich clean tone out of it.

    I just posted in the stompbox area asking if there's a pedal that could help:

    What I'm wondering from this forum is does anybody have a recommendation for a different amp? The Princeton has plenty of power, my band doesn't play very loud, but I'm wondering if a 12" speaker wouldn't give me more of the warmth I'm looking for? I guess I could buy an external cab for the PR, I'm not interested in altering a vintage amp. But I'm open to other configurations too (maybe a low wattage head with a 2-12" cab?)

    It frustrates me that as long as I've been playing and as much equipment as I've owned, I still can't seem to get it right on something as basic as a clean tone. :rolleyes: I love my Tele and my other guitar is a Guild Starfire III which has a beautiful tone. I'm wondering if maybe the Princeton just isn't right for me. Last year I tried a tweed Deluxe clone and ultimately traded that for this amp because it didn't have enough clean headroom. Oy. Anyway, look forward to your opinions.

  2. telefan62

    telefan62 Tele-Meister

    Nov 17, 2009
    Silicon Valley, CA
    The Carr Rambler is where my search for a great clean tone has settled. Can't say "ended", as we all know ;-) but it has definitely settled. I can't envision buying another amp for its clean tone in the foreseeable future. They are expensive but, for me, it's the best clean tone I've ever heard.

  3. CoolBlueGlow

    CoolBlueGlow Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 20, 2011
    Yes, I hear what you're saying.

    I wonder about experimenting with a 15" speaker for your Princeton - just as an experiment. Perhaps you can borrow an extension cabinet and try it? I really like the way a JBL D130 sounds on a Princeton. They seem to warm up those lower two octaves.

    just my 2c


  4. CoolBlueGlow

    CoolBlueGlow Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 20, 2011
    Also, try adding a variable NFB control to your Princeton. That's an easy, reversible mod which can help reduce the excessive sterility issue with SFPRs.

    reducing NFB causes the amp to get less sterile sounding. The NFB resistor is an overlooked difference between BF and SF Fenders. It's easy to tweak.

    Here's my heavily tweaked SFPR - I call her "Thingfish".


    You can see some of the tweaks here


    In my version, the variable NFB control is located into the extension speaker jack. This amp has a standard Fender midrange control added as well, located in the old "volume" hole on front. The Volume control is relocated into Jack 2 of the input. This amp has 6L6 power tubes, GZ34 rectifier, fan cooled power tranny, uprated OPT and some other tricks as well. It's also switchable 240/120 VAC mains. Very handy to tour with this and never worry about "oops, I blew it up".

    A very effective small to mid venue amp. I use it all the time, and it is most definitely not sterile sounding!



  5. MonkeyKing

    MonkeyKing Tele-Meister

    Jul 5, 2011
    LoL - decent clean tone is harder to find than fuzz!
    as a warmer pedal, I always recommend the dallas rangemaster -I`ve done my weekly post on that this week though -it`s a boost, but a very special one -
    Hmmm -for clean I play a reverend hellhound -sometimes called the poor man`s dumble.
    Have you checked out a twin lately?

  6. jmaul

    jmaul Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 7, 2008
    First off, I'm kind of blown away that your PR has plenty of clean for you but the tweed deluxe broke up too early.

    Anyway, hemp cone speakers will warm an amp up. Try an Emi lil buddy (10") or a cannibus rex (12").

    BF amps are not really warm. I think tweed and brown for warm. If the speaker swap isn't doing it for you, and you know you don't want to go for a higher powered tweed, you might want to try a 6g2 or 6g3 next.

  7. chamberpop

    chamberpop Tele-Meister

    Sep 25, 2007
    Ithaca, NY
    Hi tonyp145,

    Does your silverface PR have the original speaker in it?

    If not, what's in there now?

    What year is your amp? Anything from '74 onward likely has a glued-in baffle and you'd have to cut the speaker hole larger for a 12". If it's before that, it might have a removable baffle that you can just replace with a 12" baffle if you like.

    I have a mint '77 SFPR (glued baffle, obviously). I put in a replacement 10" speaker and stored the original. I couldn't be happier with the rich, warm cleans I get with the Eminence Copperhead speaker.

    Also, sometimes worn capacitors can contribute to a thinner, crispier sound than what a strong, fully serviced PR should sound like.


  8. icemansanjo

    icemansanjo TDPRI Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    San Jose, Ca
    My two cents:
    I was looking for a way to warm up my '65 Reissue Deluxe Reverb. After a series of conversations with Val King at King Amplification, I chose to go with a ceramic speaker with a hemp cone: the Tone Tubby San Rafael. It has a more organic sound, which warmed up my amp nicely. Now, I went with the 25 watt version because I wanted earlier breakup (I play in a blues band), but there are options with more headroom.

    Good luck!

  9. JKjr

    JKjr Tele-Holic

    Aug 24, 2007
    raleigh nc
    This. Steve makes great amps, and this is my fav. OTOH,your amp should be more than capable of producing warm clean tones. It always amazes me how a good tech can transform an amp with just a "tune up". I'd go there before giving up and trading out.

  10. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 10, 2010
    Southern California
    It would be interesting to hear a sound clip of your clean tone, if possible. Without hearing that, I'd just be shooting in the dark with anything I might add.

  11. musicmatty

    musicmatty Former Member

    Aug 18, 2008

    My thoughts also...very odd :eek:

  12. tonyp145

    tonyp145 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Kent, WA
    Looks like the original speaker, mine is a '79, bought it last year here in Seattle. I have thought about a speaker swap, I was thinking about maybe looking for an Alnico, but I've certainly heard good things about the Emi (isn't the Copperhead ceramic?) I'm also intrigued by the hemp cone speakers, though I've never heard one in person (that I know of).

    I've gotten a couple of good ideas here today, thanks guys. Sounds like I should maybe have a tech look at it and possibly have him install a pot to reduce the NFB while he's going over the caps. I'm still mulling my options so I appreciate all the suggestions.



  13. Mutato

    Mutato Tele-Meister

    Sep 16, 2008
    Rhode Island
    I've got a '77 PR with the 12" and it's great. Gets very loud and does not break up that much. I recently played it on stage with a loud drummer, PA system, monitors, etc... It help up well. I played it at about 4. It was mic'd, but stage volume was loud enough for me and it projected well. I used pedals for dirt and it screamed.

  14. tonyp145

    tonyp145 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Kent, WA
    Mine has a 10" speaker, didn't know they came with 12s or is yours modded? Since mine is one of the later models and you can't change the baffle easily, I'd like to stick with a 10" if I change the speaker.

    For rehearsals my volume is around 2.5 and that's plenty. As I say we're not a loud band. At 4 mine would start to break up, but I don't prefer to run it that loud. Really my problem with it is the bluesy, jazzy stuff we do, it just lacks body and warmth. We play some rock tunes too, but as I say I have a good OD if I want it to scream, I don't have to crank the amp for that.

    It's interesting I also have a big hollowbody with full-size humbuckers, but I don't really like the way that guitar sounds with the SFPR either. I'll have to plug it in again to remember why, it's been a few weeks, but I just wasn't able to get a good jazz tone with it, probably because of the 10" speaker.

  15. tonyp145

    tonyp145 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Kent, WA
    That's funny because I'm surprised that surprised you. I love the sound of tweed amps, but they always strike me as kind of raggedy sounding at anything above bedroom volume. I immediately want to start playing ZZ Top riffs. :) Anyway, I thought it was generally acknowledged that Leo changed the circuits in the 60s to get more clean headroom. I hear he wasn't a fan of the distorted amp sound and that was why he started using negative feedback in his designs. I could be wrong, but I thought I had read that.

    It's also possible that the tweed clone I had used a low-watt speaker that contributed to the early break up. I prefer a sparkly, twangy sound and that's why I returned the tweed and got the Princeton. Of course now I'm trying to get something out of the PR it wasn't really meant to do. Believe me, it hasn't escaped my attention that the problem is ME! :oops:

  16. TNO

    TNO Friend of Leo's

    Apr 25, 2003
    I bet a tweed Super clone would work great for you.

  17. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 19, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Sell the Princeton.

    Find a good deal on a used Silverface Deluxe Reverb.


  18. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 11, 2006
    Asheville, NC
    A single 10" is very hard-pressed to give a full, warm sound.

  19. jjkrause84

    jjkrause84 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 28, 2009
    London, England
    If you want warm, rich, and sparkly cleans....maybe go Marshall? JTM45?

  20. Piotr

    Piotr Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 5, 2011
    I suggest a simple and cheap experiment - buy or borrow a parametric EQ pedal, set the frequency around 800 Hz and try boosting there. I love warm cleans and IMHO the mids around 800 Hz are the magic. Your Princeton might lose some headroom after boosting mids, though.

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