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1st build, what to do - Princeton reverb clone or DR clone?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by 2pupwonder, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. 2pupwonder

    2pupwonder TDPRI Member

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    So I'm interested in starting a build, i've modded/repaired a few amps, and been reading build threads and forums for about 4 months and have a pretty good idea how i want to address certain issues.

    This would be my first total build.

    Looks like Weber kits are the most reasonably priced, I realize they have certain issues inherent in them (fiber boards, some lower quality components, etc...) but from what i hear, Webers transformers and basic hardware are good. I'm not really bothered by the components, i can swap them out as a mod later on, but i will probably either get a hoffman board or make my own G10 board with Keystone turrets as it will make future modding easier.

    Last question is what are the main differences between DR and PR amps? Their circuits are really close. 15 watts is fine for me. I've tried both out and really like the cleans i get at low volume, but at the music shop i go to I can't crank them up. I play, country and Southern Rock with my band and a small amount of heavy rock/metal on my own. I run a medium sized pedal board with about 10 pedals, 3 are for distortion. On the few gigs i do, we mike the amps or occasionally DI in depending on the engineer and what kind of modeling he runs on his rig.
     
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  2. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire

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    Building an amp and finding out it isn't the right one would be a drag. It may be worth a trip to GC or a bigger store where you can crank 'em up. Folks here can supply lots of good info on how *they* hear and use these amps, but I imagine the differences are important and may be subtle.
     
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  3. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    When I decided to build a 5E7 Bandmaster clone I decided to get the chassis, transformers, some hardware and a few electronic parts by buying a bare-bones Weber kit - and buying or using my own inventory for most of the electronics, cloth-covered wire, speakers and all the tubes. I didn't buy their cabinet either - John Mergili made me a custom lightweight cabinet that was less money, far lighter and better quality.

    That's the way I suggest going. Kits are not supposed to be "paint by numbers" sets and built by folks who don't know electronics pretty thoroughly (most don't supply any of the critical "phase testing", nor do they ever - that I know of - provide actual *specific* directions that follow the accepted build method (power supply/testing, output,/testing, preamp/testing, controls, jacks & final ground scheme/testing, final assembly/testing). They assume builders know this stuff (for those who don't it's so you can easily troubleshoot the build in the most logical sequence/flow of electrical power - NOT signal).

    So assuming you already know your stuff you'll have far better control over the components and save quite bit of money with that purchasing method.
     
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  4. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

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    The 2 channel BF amps are fairly involved amps. More than I would suggest, unless you've dealt with some complex troubleshooting. How much experience do you have with troubleshooting problems like no or low sound, early distortion, etc?

    Differences between PR and DR? Princeton uses a cathodyne phase inverter and a bias vary tremolo (smoother sounding, less choppy). Deluxe uses the optical tremolo and long tail pair PI of the bigger Fenders. They're both fine amps, but the breakup is a matter of personal taste and you should really hear it before you commit.
     
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  5. jklotz

    jklotz Tele-Afflicted

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    My 1st build was an Allen Chihuahua, which is based off of a champ front end, but with a mid/raw control, master volume and reverb. I had a great experience building it, it sounds great, and I use it daily. Mine is 11 watts and a 10" speaker, and serves as my daily practice amp. IMHO, it is an ideal first "kit", because of the detailed, step by step instruction, and David Allen's really good support.

    I recently built a 5e3, with no instructions (just a layout and schematic), which turned out great. I used the skills I learned from building the Allen amp. If I hadn't built the Allen first, I suspect my 5e3 would have been a mess.

    IMHO, we all pay for education in one way or another. I think it is worth it to start with a kit with detailed step by step instructions as your 1st amp.
     
  6. 2pupwonder

    2pupwonder TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, that's where i was... It was my first time to it, had my first student along, so didn't really get the opportunity to dig in. but i did play both of them. Could you direct me to any songs you specifically know used either of these amps?
     
  7. 2pupwonder

    2pupwonder TDPRI Member

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    That's true and i appreciate your sharing this. Though a lot of that detailed information is available in build threads, online resources like geofex etc...
     
  8. 2pupwonder

    2pupwonder TDPRI Member

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    Could you point me to any specific songs recorded with one or the other? I know i need to get back to GC and try them out... i just stocked up on strings etc... don't "need" any more pedals. so it may be a while before it go back.
     
  9. 2pupwonder

    2pupwonder TDPRI Member

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    It's a first build. I have repaired a bad amp, trouble shot it and fixed a bad ocsillation distortion issue, modded it and also modded another. both blues jr's - still have both... The build would be mostly for entertainment value as i have two functional amps, one of which sounds pretty good now...
     
  10. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

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    Trey Anastasio used a DR quite a bit (I believe 'Dirt' is a good example) for rhythm work. Semi-hollow into a Fender is pretty distinctive. Eric Johnson also used DR's for a while before going back to Twins.

    This is a pretty good sampling of what a Deluxe turned way up sounds like. Clean if you have good control, and easily lapses into nice crunch if you dig in.



    Princeton? Mike Campbell I believe uses one paired with a 5E3 live for some songs. I'd have to dig around online to find some songs, though it's a pretty heavily used studio amp along with the Deluxe.
     
  11. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Then if you know the safety rules and can identify parts I suggest saving money and just buying a bare bones "kit", sourcing most of the components separately - including speaker and cabinet (John Mergili is one the forum). I assume you can read a schematic (I would not recommend building unless you can) and may just not know the sequence that has ben taught for decades when building a new design of one-off amp (s posted earlier): Always build the power supply first, including all filament wires and test it. A ton of potential; problems are prevented doing this. Then build a power flow (NOT signal flow) sequence and test after each - power section; preamp section; controls and jacks.

    By building in stages this way you fully isolate problems along the way - when hooking up controls and jacks, you'll already know the preamp and power amp are functional and any issues will be only with what you *just* did. Same with the preamp.

    If you start at the inputs you have no way of testing anything but the entire amp.

    Make sense?
     
  12. danlad

    danlad Tele-Meister

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    If you do go Princeton with the cathodyne then absolutely do the grid stopper (see Valve Wizard site, though you probably have already)
     
  13. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire

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    BTW, if you have BJs, you might want to consider a different first build. Not really cuz it's simpler than a PR or DR -- though as Clint said, even a PR is a highly ambitious build with a lot of challenges. Don't ask me how I know. :D

    But more importantly, the advantage is it could also give you a really different amp. I know, I know, a BJ is not a PR or a DR, but a 5f2a or a 5e3 would open up whole decades of music and regions of tone that BJ, PR, and DR can never visit. And then too, after you build one, they're easier and more rewarding to mod than a PR or DR.
     
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  14. john kleeman

    john kleeman Tele-Holic

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    I'm really taken by Jim Campilongo's tone these days, so if putting together an amp kit with my skills wasn't a death sentence, I'd do the Princeton. I have a DRRI and never get past 4-5 on it.
     
  15. 2pupwonder

    2pupwonder TDPRI Member

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    Thanks that was helpful.

    I would probably build it myself as my brother used to hobby build furniture and taught me quite a bit about wood working.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I will put it on my list of things to look into.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not a huge fan of the woolly breakup on tweeds. tho they do make some nice lower gain overdrive...

    So here's my take: I listened to a bunch of samples today. The breakup and overdrive on the DR is more my style, i don't hate the PR breakup tho, and the PR style trem is killer. The PR is also a bit simpler. I will proceed with the PR.
     
  16. 2pupwonder

    2pupwonder TDPRI Member

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    Should i start a seperate build thread? or just continue here?
     
  17. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    If you want a kit, I think Mojotone kits are nicer than Weber's (except for the speakers).
     
  18. 2pupwonder

    2pupwonder TDPRI Member

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    So here are my thoughts on sourcing etc...:

    - Make my own Cab - probably last step, or very first, probably charcoal grey tolex with silver fender grill cloth and black piping. (colors are irrelevant at this point but having a mental image of it keeps me on point) Going to use a blackface stock.
    - make or buy a turret board from Hoffman, probably buy the turrets from him and make my own with GA-10 boards from McMaster-Carr
    - Get chassis from someone who makes them (i have someone in mind) doesn't matter who as long as it fits.
    - ClassicTone tranformers - may want to upgrade to DR tranformers, any thoughts here?
    - Reverb - probably a MOD unit - anyone have issues with these?
    - Small parts from either Hoffman or Mouser.
    - Jacks pots etc.. probably same as above.
    - Speaker - i have a Champ XD 10" i could use for testing, would probably go with a Eminence GA-10 or Legend 1058 finally.

    I'm going to go thru the schematic and make a parts list from Mouser. If anyone is interested in my resources, i'm willing to share them in exchange for nuggets of wisdom on building :)
     
  19. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

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    I'd start a separate thread. The title makes it more likely to get people's attention and get you guidance.
     
  20. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    I suggest you check with John (I have no financial interest in this) - his price with shipping was cheaper than it would have cost me to buy clear pine, amp-quality plywood, grill cloth and tweed if I factored in paying myself even $7/hr. If you've never finger-jointed a cabinet it's not a simple proposition and special jigs are required. Butt-joints and other types don't have the same structural integrity, and with finger-jointed wood you can use much lighter weight materials.

    The reason I bought from Weber was to get a ready-to-go, punched and plated, silkscreened chassis and good transformers. Their price on Hammonds (which spec out very close to originals if you order the right ones - and fit their chassis) was as good as anywhere else. As a package it was cheaper this way.

    Some sell chassis drilled for specific transformers - make sure whatever you order will fit the chassis you buy.

    Those are fine. I've installed about a dozen, including on my own amps.
     
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