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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

Why no HW Fender RI Princeton?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by GaryOsborne, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

    Jun 7, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I feel like Vox has been pretty successful with the Hand Wired AC30, Ac15 and especially the AC4HW.
    What's the deal Fender?
    They have the custom shop. Why not make a CS HW Princeton Reverb, or even NR Princeton? Could you imagine a Custom Shop Princeton Reverb Reissue that was hand wired and ACTUALLY made to the spec of the vintage BF ones? They could even do a CS SF Princeton with a bigger transformer and a 12" speaker. You could buy one and leave your vintage Princeton at home, take the reissue on the road and not sacrifice tone. Am I crazy? I'd buy one. I think they'd sell like crazy. Everyone wants hand wired amps nowadays. I'm sure they won't do it. Even if they did, they'd probably charge more than it would cost for an actual vintage BF Princeton. Fender drives me crazy with their marketing and how they never listen to what their customers want. They already got me off their guitars (I've since bought an MJT Partscaster and a Nash T-63. Both blow away anything Fender makes outside of the custom shop IMO). They're about to turn me off their amps as well. Why would I spend $1000 on a 65' PRRI with cheap PCB (IIRC) when I can get a vintage SF Princeton or even a boutique Princeton copy, for the same price or less that would be completely hand wired and in the case of the boutique guys, could be custom ordered to what I want exactly?

  2. bingy

    bingy Friend of Leo's

    Really good question.
    Princeton Reverb BF with a 12" is my favorite amp of all time.

  3. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    Vox are hand-wired in Vietnam

    If you would plop down $$$ on a CS Fender Princeton, then why don't you put an order in for an Allen Accomplice or etc. etc. etc. ? Or buy a blackface one?

  4. elyuyi

    elyuyi Tele-Meister

    Feb 13, 2011
    San Juan, PR
    I would by a HW regardless of where it is made/assembled as long as they don't use cheap components.

  5. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

    Jun 7, 2013
    Nashville, TN

    I might go through Allen. He's a cool guy. I visited with the ValceTrain guys at NAMM for a while, they have great stuff too so I might stick with them. I was blown away by the Swart booth. I met the owner in the bar line. He overheard me complaining to my gf about a bad experience at the JHS booth. I was completely ignored. They were all very hipster uppity types. The Swart guy was like "bad experience? Lol. Come over to my booth, I'll take card of you". I was like "oh, do you work for Swart?" "No, I'm just the owner. I make them all" lol. He let me play his LSL tele through all their amps even though it was time to shut down. If I had studio work, I'd definitely be looking at Swarts. They all blew me away.
    Idk. I just wish Fender would make current production HW editions that don't cost 3k.

  6. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2012
    Rocky Mount, NC
    Fender realizes that there are a lot of hand wired Princeton Reverb and Deluxe Reverb clones that sell for less than FMIC could produce them.

    PS. Swarts are great--a good reason to go buy a handwired amp.

  7. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

    Jun 7, 2013
    Nashville, TN

    Very good point.

    And yes Swart is an amazing company. A lot of guys use them for studio work here in town. I'd be worried about taking one on a bar stage or even worse, the road.

  8. barker

    barker Tele-Meister

    Jan 9, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Give it time them whipper snappers are probably crafting something while we speak. I'm hoping to see some low power blackface and silverface stuff that's built with vintage repro speakers and all the hand wired fun.

  9. syrynx

    syrynx Tele-Afflicted

    Not to mention a lot of hand wired Princeton Reverbs and Deluxe Reverbs made by Fender a long time ago, which also sell for less than FMIC could produce them.

  10. Abu Twangy

    Abu Twangy Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2012
    Rocky Mount, NC
    If I had one I would, too.

    The only amps I have felt comfortable leaving overnight in a concert hall were Peavey Bandits and Vypyrs. My biggest fear was to show up to play and find out someone had left another one next to mine.

  11. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

    May 26, 2012
    Atlanta, Georgia

    I agree. The hand wired PR and DR clones available from boutique builders are top notch and priced pretty well. There are boutique PR clones with the popular mods - like a 12" and a mid control, so a Fender RI that was true to original specs would face tough competition.

  12. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 14, 2004
    New England
    The Sweet Spot is Allen's Princeton type amp. It was a hot rodded Princeton Reverb from the get- go. If you're going to spend "Custom Shop" money you might as well get a "Custom Shop" style product.

    Last time I talked to Dave he was in the process of re- designing the Sweet Spot circuit board so the filter caps go on the board instead of under the chassis like Fender's bigger amps. Dave explained he has half a dozen of the "old style" cap covers in stock and he'll need to order a thousand more soon if he doesn't change the board. So he changed it.

    Great minds think alike. George Alessandro has been wiring PRRIs point to point with his own custom circuit board, filter caps on the board.

    Why no HW Fender RI Princeton?

    Let's do the math...

    I don't go to music shops unless there's one right in front of me except I made a point of goin' to Chicago Music Exchange on a recent swing through Chicago. I took note of this and that on display... like the custom color JCM800 full stack they want $25k for.

    I took a quick look at the one of 200 rough brown PRRI that was with the Fender amps. There was a new tweed Deluxe head next to it. $1800...

    Here's the word problem: If a head only tweed Deluxe costs most of two grand and it doesn't have a speaker or a reverb pan... it's substantially less complicated compared to a Princeton Reverb with a substantially lower parts cost... how much do you suppose a handwired Princeton Reverb is going to cost?

    The further difficulty: The vintage scene is crazy. Do you know how to identify a crazy person? Their behavior is unpredictable. Rational people make decisions according to a set of rules. Figure out their rules, you can predict their behavior. Crazy people often make decisions emotionally responding to wildly swinging emotions. No rules. Don't think, just act. Sure, there is a certain type of crazy that's rational according to a deviant rules set. The dangerous crazies are dangerous because they're unpredictable.

    I'm here to announce that August is International Princeton Reverb Month. July was probably Princeton Reverb month but many of you didn't get the memo. It's Princeton Reverb month because our little house is slowly filling up with Princeton Reverbs, all flavors. Old ones. New ones. Clones. Another amp or two and the cats have to go because there's no more room. I'll have to bring Girlfriend's shoes to the Salvation Army while she's at work.

    I'm tellin' you that to tell you this and let's get back to the crazy part:

    The crazy part is makin' a 1964 design play 2014 music without changin' it. I guess if it were 1984 or 1994 we'd all lug our Twin Reverbs and Super Reverbs. We'd all have tone to the bone and we'd be in super physical condition, no gym membership required!

    The dude who handed me a nice vintage Princeton Reverb in a hotel parking lot yesterday said,

    "Make it sound like a baby Twin Reverb. I have plenty of amps with a good overdrive tone. I want more clean."

    The hassle is it's supposed to be exactly like it was in 1964 except it's supposed to perform differently. See the paradox? Change it, it's not a "vintage reissue" and musicians quickly point that out. It doesn't seem to matter that the PRRI and '68 Custom are 2014 "circuit board" amps inside as long as the marketing guys tell everyone "It's the same old circuit."

    Research and design isn't difficult IMO until the marketing guys get involved. Then we get into weirdness like Iggy Pop doin' a cameo to promote a large Chrysler automobile. Yup. When I think "Iggy Pop" first thing I think is "Chrysler". :rolleyes:

    The marketing guys make sure we don't change an "iconic" design. That's why we have expensive new VW Beetles that only look vaguely like the inexpensive old ones. How 'bout the new Camaro that looks like a Hot Wheels toy from 1970? To their credit Ford made the new Mustang look just like my old one while making it work a whole lot better. Which Chrysler is it... the Challenger? Those things totally fool me. They look like it's 1969 all over.

    Using that approach as a point of departure... how 'bout a "new" Princeton Reverb like the "reissue" '60s muscle cars? No expensive R&D required. I can draw the circuit on a napkin from memory. Ditch the trem. Controls become Volume, Treble, Midrange, Bass, Reverb. Lotsa clean headroom, crisp attack. Like a "Baby Twin"... :cool:
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014

  13. gmann

    gmann Friend of Leo's

    May 7, 2008
    Okinawa, Japan
    For what it would cost Fender to produce this you could buy a vintage one. While there is a market for this amp, the market for it at the hand wired price is small. Fender can't do this for the same price point that the smaller boutique builders can.

  14. barker

    barker Tele-Meister

    Jan 9, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    It's ok much, everything's going to be just fine buddy, deep breaths.....☺️

    Edit: in all seriousness you're totally right, people can be goofy. If they, fender, asked 3k for a verbatim replica of a blackface or silverface Princeton there's no way in hell I'd pay it. It's ok to ask tho right?

  15. jonrpick

    jonrpick Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2014
    Marietta, GA
    Plenty of people would pay, simply because it was a "genuine" Fender, silly as that is...

  16. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

    Jun 7, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I just want a hand wired Princeton with a 12" speaker. Reverb or no reverb, makes no difference to me. I'd like footswitch-able trem but not a must, lots of great trem pedals out there. They just tend to take up a lot of real estate on pedal boards.
    I feel like I could play 90% of the rooms in town with this set up (the Princeton I'm describing, my pedal board and tele).

    I know the non verbs are "known" for having more headroom so in a NR I might just live with the 10" speaker.
    If I could find a used SF Princeton with the TO-20 in it (10" or 12") at a reasonable price, I'd be a happy man. But unfortunately I'm a better songwriter than guitar played these days and I just keep booking writer's nights. Problem is I don't own an acoustic guitar, I don't even particularly enjoy playing them. But it looks like I'll have to buy one now and wait a bit on an amp. Grrrrrrr

  17. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 14, 2004
    New England
    As I mentioned 7 out of 10 guitar amps onstage at festivals lately are Princeton Reverbs with various Deluxe Reverbs makin' up most of the rest.

    Stick a mic in front of your amp and let the P.A. do the rest.

    Sonny Landreth says,

    "You know you're up north when they don't have chicken wire in front of the stage." :D

  18. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

    Jun 7, 2013
    Nashville, TN

    I believe this is true. Even if it was $3200 or something. Most people are label whores. They have this weird "trust" in FMIC and need to see that logo on everything they buy.
    I don't want to be the guy saying "they don't build em like they use to" but ehhhhh. I've A/B'd my Nash T-63 with several CS and AVRI or Pure Vintage teles. In the case of the CS, they cost 3 or 4 times what my Nash did. IMO the Nash, the "parts guitar", blew them all away. The only thing I've tried that touches it was a black guard LSL.
    I think it's the same way with Fender's amps these days. They're just not going to spend money to make hand wired amps because they don't have to. People keep buying their Mexican "custom" RIs and their circuit board amps.

  19. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 19, 2010
    Houston, TX

    I love it! International Princeton Reverb month. :D

    Hey much, you going to put any Hemi's in those Princetons like you did mine?


    Sorry I couldn't resist. ;) But I agree with the OP, handwired Princeton Reverbs are wonderful amps. I've taken mine out on 20+ gigs so far since I got it all fixed up earlier this year. Highly recommended....

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