Fender Princeton '65 or '68?

Rick_M80

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To further muddy the waters you could add a '64 Princeton Reissue into the mix for consideration.

I know, anti-helpful, and I mention it mostly to hear people's opinions on that model. I've never seen nor heard one.

I do own and love for several months a '65 PRRI with a Celestion G10. I totally get the love for the Princeton now.

I'm leaving the '64 out of this - I've seen the price tag! The '65 is just about within budget!! Thanks for your input.
 

darkwaters

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Have never tried the '68, but I love my '65. Very high quality and that Blackface tone that we all dream of. Also an excellent pedal platform.
 

T-Bone

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I have the 65 Tweed with the 12” Cannabis Rex speaker. If dirt’s your thing, you’re not going to get any without a pedal and/or cranking the volume way above home practice levels. On the other hand, if you like the Fender clean sound, you will absolutely love this amp. Add a bit of ‘verb, and just enough trem’ for a touch of shimmer... and wow.
 

Bob Womack

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Great writeup!

Do you happen to have/know where to find the 68 Custom schematic?
How about HERE:

upload_2019-9-20_20-45-43-png.640764


Would you say of your Princeton quest that "It's all over now"?
When I get around to it I think I'll do one of RobRob's mods to reduce the bass a tad. Other than that, I'm in.

Bob
 

Linkslover

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Hey

Just wondering if anyone has any working experience of Princeton amps? I've plugged into a '65 Reissue and it sounded great, but a lot of people seem to recommend the '68 Custom as a more versatile amp but haven't had the chance to test this out myself yet...

I'm looking for versatility above all. My main influences would be Tom Petty/Mike Campbell, Johnny Marr, Peter Buck and The Edge who all seem to build on good solid, clean(ish) tones - and they're the sounds I'm hoping to emulate the most... I'm not a loud player either and don't need anything more than a moderately powered amp.

Any thoughts?

Cheers!

I own a 65 PRRI and have used it for several years. When the 68 came out I was interested in checking it out.

There are a couple of significant differences that even a non gear head like myself immediately noticed.

The 65 is 15w while the 68 is 12w.
The 65 has a Jensen speaker while the 68 head a Fender speaker.

I found the 65 to have a much fuller clean tone, better reverb and while I love my 65,I didn't care all that much for the 68.

LL
 

E5RSY

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I bought a 68 CPR just over a year ago. When playing single notes riffs or solos, its sound is full, rich, and very sweet. I miss it for that reason. But when playing chords it is very muddy. It lacks clarity, period.
My exact impression of playing this amp. I could have written that. Probably solvable with a speaker change, but who wants to buy a new amp and have to do that out of the gate?
 

Whoa Tele

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Both the 65 and 68 Princetons are cool amps (I've owned both) but for a little more money you could buy something like a used Vintage Sound 15 or Lil Dawg Wonderdawg and have a handwired combo with a mid knob and a 12 inch speaker.
 

100LL

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Both the 65 and 68 Princetons are cool amps (I've owned both) but for a little more money you could buy something like a used Vintage Sound 15 or Lil Dawg Wonderdawg and have a handwired combo with a mid knob and a 12 inch speaker.

Well the OP stated he's ruled out the '64 Princeton based on budget concerns...which is the Fender hand-wired option in this class. So no doubt those boutique offerings are similarly off the table.
 

OldPup

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My exact impression of playing this amp. I could have written that. Probably solvable with a speaker change, but who wants to buy a new amp and have to do that out of the gate?
I would love to know more about addressing the issue with a speaker swap. My very light research into that possibility didn't turn up anything promising. I would like to hear someone's experience on this.
 

8trackmind

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I would love to know more about addressing the issue with a speaker swap. My very light research into that possibility didn't turn up anything promising. I would like to hear someone's experience on this.

Keep searching both here and the gear page. Its been covered at length for both the 65 and the 68. Also, you really need to try both because all you will get are conflicting opinions. In any case, plan on a speaker swap for either amp. In my opinion.
 

1300 E Valencia

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I would love to know more about addressing the issue with a speaker swap. My very light research into that possibility didn't turn up anything promising. I would like to hear someone's experience on this.
Muddiness is going to depend on how loud you play, and how much you turn up the bass knob.

It's a "blackface" Fender. Which means the louder you play, the more you turn down the bass knob. The Princeton is actually a mix of blackface and tweed, and it's low-powered, so the bass is prominent and gets flubby, muddy and indistinct quickly, as it's only 12-15 watts.

Anything above "3" is going to be distorted, so if you want clarity, you want to reduce those distorted, muddy bass frequencies. Turn down the bass when playing loud -- the first rule of cranking Fender amps.

Are you going to play gigs, or at home? At home, in a small 15 x 15 foot room, my Princeton works better than my Deluxe Reverb, especially if I want a smaller but still room-filling sound with some break-up.

The Deluxe Reverb is better for gigs and better clean sounds. I also put a low-efficency (94.4 dB) Jensen AlNiCo P12Q in the Princeton so the speaker helps in not killing my hearing. I have the '65 version that came with the 12" C. Rex speaker, which everyone loves, but it's way too efficient (101 dB) for what I need at home.
 

Whoa Tele

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Well the OP stated he's ruled out the '64 Princeton based on budget concerns...which is the Fender hand-wired option in this class. So no doubt those boutique offerings are similarly off the table.
The new PRRI is $1000 and there's a used Vintage Sound 15 on reverb for $1100 plus 85 shipping. Having owned the two amps he's looking at I think the VS has better tone and more headroom. Plus the mid knob and 12 inch speaker are two things a lot of people want in a Princeton as well. The EQ options on the Vintage Sound would actually allow him to approximate the tones of both the 65 and 68 reissues with one amp giving him the best of both worlds. Of course, there's always a risk involved buying used.
 

OldPup

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Keep searching both here and the gear page. Its been covered at length for both the 65 and the 68. Also, you really need to try both because all you will get are conflicting opinions. In any case, plan on a speaker swap for either amp. In my opinion.
I read both forums as long as I could stand and it went like this. 1 type of poster would say I'm going to switch to xyz speaker. Their very next effort may well have been to step off the edge of the earth, because they did not post again. Who knows what may have been. Another type of poster had already done xyz speaker swap. Their reviews of said speaker swap amazingly offer not a whiff of information. "It is good". Whoa! How insightful! Poster type 3 would say the amp is dark and the speaker swap would not change that. Poster 4 pointed out how to physically alter the PCB (jumper this, swap out two or three resistors, and you have a 65, etc.).

Like I said, I bought the 65. I had both for a minute. The 65 is far more versatile and useable at all volumes for strumming chords. As far as a speaker swap, that's out of the question for now. I brought a stray SFDR home the other day. My wife let me keep it, but she's warned me not to bring home another piece of gear. Somebody already swapped out its speaker for a GA-SC64. On a related note, I have two SFVCs for sale if anyone is interested!!
 
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Boreas

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Thanks for the input so far, I'm just interested in other peoples' experiences - especially as I live in a part of the world (Northern Ireland) where we're missing guitar stores that keep a decent stock of amps - hence not having had a chance to do a proper A/B test. I'm pretty sure I'd like them both - they're Fenders - and volume ain't an issue for me as I've been told to roll it back at gigs when using a humble Blues Jr. As a jangly chord/punchy riff player I'm guessing the clarity of the '65 might be the way to go, but the '68 gets a lot of praise too so I'm just curious to see the general consensus. Thanks again!

Ok - let's hold the phone for a minute. It might be good to dial in what you don't like about the Blues Jr. before jumping ships. I have the 68 PRRI and added a Tweed BJ3 to give me a 12" speaker sound and more midrange tone control. I still have both and am totally happy with neither. I don't like the reverb on the BJ and it doesn't have vibrato, but it has plenty of good tones. My next step may be to try to convert the 68 PRRI to a 12" speaker to mellow it out some.

But it would be best to figure out specifically what you don't like about your BJ. Perhaps it just needs some tweaking.
 

Rick_M80

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Hi, cheers for that - I'll be using it mostly for rehearsals and small gigs - always mic'd and usually through in-ears so I'm not too concerned about output. I'm after a "big" sound without the big amp - and as Mike Campbell plays through a Princeton and a Deluxe I know that's achievable - although how many of us can claim to be anywhere close to his level?? We can all have aspirations though, right?

Muddiness is going to depend on how loud you play, and how much you turn up the bass knob.


Are you going to play gigs, or at home? At home, in a small 15 x 15 foot room, my Princeton works better than my Deluxe Reverb, especially if I want a smaller but still room-filling sound with some break-up.

The Deluxe Reverb is better for gigs and better clean sounds. I also put a low-efficency (94.4 dB) Jensen AlNiCo P12Q in the Princeton so the speaker helps in not killing my hearing.
Muddiness is going to depend on how loud you play, and how much you turn up the bass knob.

It's a "blackface" Fender. Which means the louder you play, the more you turn down the bass knob. The Princeton is actually a mix of blackface and tweed, and it's low-powered, so the bass is prominent and gets flubby, muddy and indistinct quickly, as it's only 12-15 watts.

Anything above "3" is going to be distorted, so if you want clarity, you want to reduce those distorted, muddy bass frequencies. Turn down the bass when playing loud -- the first rule of cranking Fender amps.

Are you going to play gigs, or at home? At home, in a small 15 x 15 foot room, my Princeton works better than my Deluxe Reverb, especially if I want a smaller but still room-filling sound with some break-up.

The Deluxe Reverb is better for gigs and better clean sounds. I also put a low-efficency (94.4 dB) Jensen AlNiCo P12Q in the Princeton so the speaker helps in not killing my hearing. I have the '65 version that came with the 12" C. Rex speaker, which everyone loves, but it's way too efficient (101 dB) for what I need at home.
 

Rick_M80

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The new PRRI is $1000 and there's a used Vintage Sound 15 on reverb for $1100 plus 85 shipping. Having owned the two amps he's looking at I think the VS has better tone and more headroom. Plus the mid knob and 12 inch speaker are two things a lot of people want in a Princeton as well. The EQ options on the Vintage Sound would actually allow him to approximate the tones of both the 65 and 68 reissues with one amp giving him the best of both worlds. Of course, there's always a risk involved buying used.

I've got no doubt this is a great recommendation but I live in NI and a VS15 would be a very rare find indeed - we have a severe lack of decent guitar stores over here! That's why I decided to seek advice from you guys - I've only had limited first hand experience due to the lack of in-store options. Also, I'm kind of a Fender devotee...
 

Rick_M80

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Ok - let's hold the phone for a minute. It might be good to dial in what you don't like about the Blues Jr. before jumping ships. I have the 68 PRRI and added a Tweed BJ3 to give me a 12" speaker sound and more midrange tone control. I still have both and am totally happy with neither. I don't like the reverb on the BJ and it doesn't have vibrato, but it has plenty of good tones. My next step may be to try to convert the 68 PRRI to a 12" speaker to mellow it out some.

But it would be best to figure out specifically what you don't like about your BJ. Perhaps it just needs some tweaking.

There's not a huge amount wrong with my Jr. It's a special edition with a Jensen speaker and sounds pretty decent - it can be a little boxy sounding at times though - and as you've said, the reverb on it ain't brilliant. I'd sell it, and probably my Blues Deluxe as well to fund the Princeton. I don't need 40W of power these days - and a smaller, lighter, better sounding alternative would be much more preferable.
 

Marc Morfei

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The Princeton Reverb is miles better than the Blues Junior. Just get the 65 PRRI, you will be totally happy with it, and chances are you will keep it forever. And you won't need to swap the speaker. I tried a few different ones in mine, and they changed the sound as expected, but not in a way that was "better." I went back to the stock Jensen, which sounds great and is matched perfectly with this amp. Around here you can get one used for $600-700. Not sure what the used market is where you are....
 




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