Fender 57 Champ / Fender 64 Princeton Reverb

HolmfirthNJ

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With my Classic 60s Tele with Fender Pure Vintage ‘64 pickups, low volume at home, my Champ never has too much bass or treble and takes pedals (fuzz, reverb, tremolo) well. Responds nicely to different variations with the volume and tone control. It all just works.
Much harder with my Princeton which tends to a brash and brittle top end, boomy bass, yet dialling treble out and bass in tends quickly to quite a dull sound. It’s hard to get any break up without really hitting the guitar. Fuzz is quite harsh. Reverb can be washy and vibrato quite weak.
I’m probably being very unfair and there are times I love the Princeton (eg messing around with 60s TV themes) but it’s so much harder to make work than my Champ.
I know low volume obvs. favours the Champ but I am sometimes able to crank the Princeton and still there’s that hard/on-the-ears thing unless I take some treble out and then it goes a bit flat.
I have tried the usual overdrive pedals (I really dislike overdrive pedals) and an attenuator (just another thing to try to dial in).
So… is it just me - I have a Tele and a Princeton Reverb and I wonder why it’s bright and there’s not much break up?
Or musically, I love Howlin’ Wolf so the Champ is just right for that, but I also adore The Cramps - am I deluded in thinking that my Princeton can ever work as a scaled-down version of Poison Ivy’s 65 Pro Reverb with a 15 inch speaker?
Or is this just guitars and amps - the endless, mostly futile, search for it to sound just a bit better?
Should I somehow just be approaching this differently (should I just get on with it - as I’ve said, sometimes the Princeton does all come together)?
Apols. for long post and thanks in advance for any thoughts.
 

68goldtop

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Hi!
... my Champ never has too much bass or treble and takes pedals (fuzz, reverb, tremolo) well. Responds nicely to different variations with the volume and tone control. It all just works.
Much harder with my Princeton which tends to a brash and brittle top end, boomy bass ... It’s hard to get any break up without really hitting the guitar. Fuzz is quite harsh. Reverb can be washy and vibrato quite weak...
Perhaps you just don´t like the sound of your Princeton - nothing wrong with that!

I also own a ´57 Champ, as well as a ´72 and ´79 PR - and I have a hard time getting a bad sound out of any of them.
It´s just a matter of taste, I guess...

Only this weekend we had a jam-session with a couple of friends and LOADS of amps and guitars.
My ´79 PR competed with a ´66 Bassman just fine!
So yeah, I think your PR should be able to do a scaled-down version of Poison Ivy´s Pro Reverb.

Mind you - you might have to crank up the amp to the volume that Poison Ivy is playing at, set the EQ accordingly, and then tame it down with an attenuator to the levels you´re comfortable with.
You won´t be able to crank up your Princeton (or Poison Ivy´s Pro) at appartment-friendly volume-levels ;)

The pre-amps in the Princeton and Pro are almost the same - the differences are in the power-stage and speakers.

cheers - 68.
 

HolmfirthNJ

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Hi!

Perhaps you just don´t like the sound of your Princeton - nothing wrong with that!

I also own a ´57 Champ, as well as a ´72 and ´79 PR - and I have a hard time getting a bad sound out of any of them.
It´s just a matter of taste, I guess...

Only this weekend we had a jam-session with a couple of friends and LOADS of amps and guitars.
My ´79 PR competed with a ´66 Bassman just fine!
So yeah, I think your PR should be able to do a scaled-down version of Poison Ivy´s Pro Reverb.

Mind you - you might have to crank up the amp to the volume that Poison Ivy is playing at, set the EQ accordingly, and then tame it down with an attenuator to the levels you´re comfortable with.
You won´t be able to crank up your Princeton (or Poison Ivy´s Pro) at appartment-friendly volume-levels ;)

The pre-amps in the Princeton and Pro are almost the same - the differences are in the power-stage and speakers.

cheers - 68.
Thanks, really encouraging about the comparison between the Pro and Princeton. I’ll give it another go with the Ironman mini attenuator.
 

68goldtop

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Hi!
Thanks, really encouraging about the comparison between the Pro and Princeton. I’ll give it another go with the Ironman mini attenuator.
You´re very welcome!
As for the speaker/s - as mentioned above...
The Jensen P10R in your ´64 PR RI might not be the best choice for loud/overdriven sounds.
I guess Fender chose this speaker for a pleasing, lively clean-sound at home/studio-friendly levels.
Heavy overdrive and pedals might not get the best results here - but it´s easily worth a try!
Perhaps you have another cabinet around to try it with your amp - just to hear the difference...
My "secret weapon" with the PR is the Jensen RI C10Q. It´s very reasonably priced, and it sounds great in this amp 👍

cheers - 68.
 

InstantCoffeeBlue

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Give that Jensen some proper break-in time and then decide. You need to put like 20 hrs of gig volume into it before it'll really show it's true colors. If I'm reading between the lines correctly, it sounds like this is primarily a home amp and you aren't often able to crank it loud enough to get breakup, but when you do, it sounds harsh. That's pretty typical for a speaker that isn't broken in, especially one based on an old Jensen. If you aren't gigging and want to speed it up, the old Ted Weber trick was to leave a guitar cable plugged in (no guitar) to induce 60-cycle hum and leave the amp on for a while at a stage volume level (5-6). That'll loosen it up quickly. Who knows, you might save a few bucks.
 

kuch

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I have a SFVC and a 65PRRI. All of my guitars sound great through both of them. Tele's, strat, and ES 330. I mostly play clean but I do have pedals that sound great too. Boss BD2, keeley 30ms(delay), boss EQ, Keeley compressor, etc.....

I know, if it aint broke, don't fix it.... but I'm thinking of swapping the PRRI speaker to a eminence GA 10.

I'm sure if you don't like your PR, there's a lot of people out there who would love to take it off your hands.
 

Maguchi

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I also own a ´57 Champ, as well as a ´72 and ´79 PR - and I have a hard time getting a bad sound out of any of them.

Give that Jensen some proper break-in time and then decide.

I have a SFVC and a 65PRRI. All of my guitars sound great through both of them. Tele's, strat, and ES 330.
Yeah both Tweed Champs and Blackface or Silverface Princeton amps sound great both clean and dirty. But they are different flavors of amps. The smaller Tweeds have great cleans, but break up very easily. By the mid '60s Leo Fender was trying to dial the distortion out of his amps. Thus it is harder to get dirt from a blackface or silverface and you have to be 3/4 of the way or more up on the volume to get breakup.

As far as the harshness and subsequent dull sound when dialing back the treble. Teles are bright, trebley guitars. Have you tried a different maybe darker guitar like a Gibson with the Princeton? Not suggesting you switch guitars, just trying to find a starting point to a good sound. Also try to turn down the treble on the guitar instead of the amp or put an EQ pedal in the front of the amp. I have been able to get a nice not too harsh breakup out of a '65 PRRI reissue with P90s and humbuckers, havent't really tried with a Tele yet, but maybe soon.

Fndr57Chmp.jpg
Princeton.jpg
BossGE7.jpg
 
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Willie Johnson

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I'm on an Excelsior/Champion 600 kick lately. I turn up the Excelsior to the desired volume level and then roll in the volume of the Champ until it sounds balanced--they just complement each other's frequencies in a way that's pleasing to my ear. The two Princetons that were my regular setup at home have mostly sat idle since I picked up the brown Exy, and the PRRI is getting sold if I can make it happen.
 

Dacious

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With my Classic 60s Tele with Fender Pure Vintage ‘64 pickups, low volume at home, my Champ never has too much bass or treble and takes pedals (fuzz, reverb, tremolo) well. Responds nicely to different variations with the volume and tone control. It all just works.
Much harder with my Princeton which tends to a brash and brittle top end, boomy bass, yet dialling treble out and bass in tends quickly to quite a dull sound. It’s hard to get any break up without really hitting the guitar. Fuzz is quite harsh. Reverb can be washy and vibrato quite weak.
I’m probably being very unfair and there are times I love the Princeton (eg messing around with 60s TV themes) but it’s so much harder to make work than my Champ.
I know low volume obvs. favours the Champ but I am sometimes able to crank the Princeton and still there’s that hard/on-the-ears thing unless I take some treble out and then it goes a bit flat.
I have tried the usual overdrive pedals (I really dislike overdrive pedals) and an attenuator (just another thing to try to dial in).
So… is it just me - I have a Tele and a Princeton Reverb and I wonder why it’s bright and there’s not much break up?
Or musically, I love Howlin’ Wolf so the Champ is just right for that, but I also adore The Cramps - am I deluded in thinking that my Princeton can ever work as a scaled-down version of Poison Ivy’s 65 Pro Reverb with a 15 inch speaker?
Or is this just guitars and amps - the endless, mostly futile, search for it to sound just a bit better?
Should I somehow just be approaching this differently (should I just get on with it - as I’ve said, sometimes the Princeton does all come together)?
Apols. for long post and thanks in advance for any thoughts.
Beware that the FMV tone stack the treble control acts as a master. If you run high treble you will also get too much mids and bass.

Where are you setting each of the knobs? For single coils you should have slight breakup at vol 6, treb 5-6, bass 3. If you're sitting right next to the amp, sit across the room. The stock P10R is twanky imo. That doesn't mean it's bad, tends to be bright. As others have noted, low volume breakup favours the Champ which is full of mids. The Princeton was made as an intermediate, studio amp to give players features of the bigger Deluxe, Pro, Twin Reverb in a convenient small package.

The 8" Champ speaker and simple tone stack make it more living room friendly.
 

HolmfirthNJ

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Give that Jensen some proper break-in time and then decide. You need to put like 20 hrs of gig volume into it before it'll really show it's true colors. If I'm reading between the lines correctly, it sounds like this is primarily a home amp and you aren't often able to crank it loud enough to get breakup, but when you do, it sounds harsh. That's pretty typical for a speaker that isn't broken in, especially one based on an old Jensen. If you aren't gigging and want to speed it up, the old Ted Weber trick was to leave a guitar cable plugged in (no guitar) to induce 60-cycle hum and leave the amp on for a while at a stage volume level (5-6). That'll loosen it up quickly. Who knows, you might save a few bucks.
 

HolmfirthNJ

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Yeah both Tweed Champs and Blackface or Silverface Princeton amps sound great both clean and dirty. But they are different flavors of amps. The smaller Tweeds have great cleans, but break up very easily. By the mid '60s Leo Fender was trying to dial the distortion out of his amps. Thus it is harder to get dirt from a blackface or silverface and you have to be 3/4 of the way or more up on the volume to get breakup.

As far as the harshness and subsequent dull sound when dialing back the treble. Teles are bright, trebley guitars. Have you tried a different maybe darker guitar like a Gibson with the Princeton? Not suggesting you switch guitars, just trying to find a starting point to a good sound. Also try to turn down the treble on the guitar instead of the amp or put an EQ pedal in the front of the amp. I have been able to get a nice not too harsh breakup out of a '65 PRRI reissue with P90s and humbuckers, havent't really tried with a Tele yet, but maybe soon.

View attachment 1031224 View attachment 1031225 View attachment 1031226
Thank you, I use the volume and treble on the Tele a lot but for some reason I like the idea of trying a different guitar ‘like a Gibson’ - a 335 would be nice, I think 🙂
 

HolmfirthNJ

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Beware that the FMV tone stack the treble control acts as a master. If you run high treble you will also get too much mids and bass.

Where are you setting each of the knobs? For single coils you should have slight breakup at vol 6, treb 5-6, bass 3. If you're sitting right next to the amp, sit across the room. The stock P10R is twanky imo. That doesn't mean it's bad, tends to be bright. As others have noted, low volume breakup favours the Champ which is full of mids. The Princeton was made as an intermediate, studio amp to give players features of the bigger Deluxe, Pro, Twin Reverb in a convenient small package.

The 8" Champ speaker and simple tone stack make it more living room friendly.
Um, 9 on the treble and 2 on the bass… I know, it’s daft, a bright amp and a Telecaster and I set the dials like that - I think because I’m drawn more to the treble end than the bass (or maybe a horror of boomy bass). I have now tried your suggested settings and of course it’s very much better 🙂
 
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Dacious

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Um, 9 on the treble and 2 on the bass… I know, it’s daft, a bright amp and a Telecaster and I set the dials like that - I think because I’m drawn more to the treble end than the bass (or maybe a horror of boomy bass) I have now tried your suggested settings and of course it’s very much better 🙂
Way too high on the treble. Which will also make the bass - and mids - boomy. It will make the amp quite harsh and strident especially with that speaker.

Only if you run volume less than 2 would you go higher than 6 treb with a s/C Tele.

The PR has a dinky power supply and whimpy output. It won't pull big bass but pushing treble is like running the bass high.
 
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VintageSG

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Amplifier tone stacks are a blunt weapon. A multi-band ( nine or thirteen bands ) EQ pedal allows for better control if you can't get what you want from the guitar and/or amp controls. Finesse the tone stack until it's flat, drive it from an EQ or really good boost/OD with a TMB, set to unity for gain and level then twiddle that.
Combo amps on the floor sound, well, odd. The floor proximity does weird stuff. An angle stand to point the cone up towards you reveals such beauty in the sound, you'll wonder why more amps don't have tilt-back legs. The stand I use is an Ultimate AMP-150. Folds really small too.
Even a beer/milk crate to raise the amp and rid that initial wave coupling helps.

Rag the speaker. Get all Link Wray on it for half an hour. Wear earplugs. A blankie stuffed ( clear of the valves ) in the back, and a duvet doing deadening duties to the front will sound awful, but it will loosen the cone surround up. 'Rumble' is a great tune :)

I have done all the above, but that's what has worked for me. The stand, and playing 'Rumble' are just good anyway.
 

HolmfirthNJ

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Amplifier tone stacks are a blunt weapon. A multi-band ( nine or thirteen bands ) EQ pedal allows for better control if you can't get what you want from the guitar and/or amp controls. Finesse the tone stack until it's flat, drive it from an EQ or really good boost/OD with a TMB, set to unity for gain and level then twiddle that.
Combo amps on the floor sound, well, odd. The floor proximity does weird stuff. An angle stand to point the cone up towards you reveals such beauty in the sound, you'll wonder why more amps don't have tilt-back legs. The stand I use is an Ultimate AMP-150. Folds really small too.
Even a beer/milk crate to raise the amp and rid that initial wave coupling helps.

Rag the speaker. Get all Link Wray on it for half an hour. Wear earplugs. A blankie stuffed ( clear of the valves ) in the back, and a duvet doing deadening duties to the front will sound awful, but it will loosen the cone surround up. 'Rumble' is a great tune :)

I have done all the above, but that's what has worked for me. The stand, and playing 'Rumble' are just good anyway.
Thanks, I agree - I use a small Princeton-size table - that and playing Rumble a lot are two of my better decisions.
Poison Ivy always had her Pro Reverb up on its transit case. I have thought of getting a transit case for the Princeton but that would add to the weight so actually make it harder to carry, and also difficult to justify a transit case when I mostly just move the amp between the study and the living room, and that not very often.
 




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