Fender Princeton '65 or '68?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Rick_M80, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. nicknklv

    nicknklv Tele-Meister

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    OP, that question has been haunting me for a very very long time - 65 or 68? I've tested each multiple times, and the 68CPR is more to my liking. The sound is warmer and fuller to my ears, and it is as mentioned previously, bass-heavy. Most 68 players keep that bass below 3. Another good idea with these amps is to keep them off the floor, that lightens up the bass. The 65 sounds nice and clear, but it is more treble-y, too much so for my liking. I also like the earlier breakup on the 68 as it just fills up the sound.

    Note of warning, some of the 68's come with cabinet rattle, but if you buy new that should not be an issue, I think it was trouble with some of the earlier ones. At 3-4 they start rattling like crazy. I tested one like that and other people have mentioned this issue. A 68 also greatly benefits from a speaker switch - Greenbacks and Cannabis rex are common choices.

    I have plenty of recorded demo's with each, and even with the Surf Green LE one with the Greenback speaker, if you'd like to hear them. Half a year ago I convinced myself that it'd be too loud for me so I got a Katana, but I've recently been thinking coming back around to the thought of a Princeton!

    P.S. If you haven't yet, watch Jack Fossett's demo of the 68 CPR. He does a really good review and good tone tips, as well as demoing with single coils and HBs.
     
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  2. Rick_M80

    Rick_M80 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks Marc - think I might just go with your advice - my 40th birthday is coming up so I might treat myself - or ask my wife is it's okay to treat myself... Will keep an eye out for a used one, but most people seem to hang onto them so there ain't too many second hand ones on the market - I guess that's because they're true keepers!
     
  3. Rick_M80

    Rick_M80 TDPRI Member

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    Cheers for that - think you're probably right!
     
  4. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Afflicted

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    Dont think you could go wrong with either actually.
    The 68 ticked all the right boxes for me and my intended use. I knew it was going to need a speaker before I bought it.

    The little beast has the bass resistor bypass, an Eminence Ramrod (very efficient, more mids) speaker and JJ power tubes. It does just fine with a band volume wise.
    With the speaker swap it sounds like cross between a Fender and a Vox. No flabby bass, no speaker breakup like the stock Celestion.
    And as stated, getting it up off the ground is a good thing.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

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    @Rick_M80
    From the artists you mention wanting to emulate, it sounds like what you really need is a 5E3 Tweed Deluxe or possibly a 5F2-A Tweed Princeton. A nice clone of either could be easily affordable!

    Just Sayin'
    Gene
     
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  6. Whoa Tele

    Whoa Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry Rick . Didn't note your location when I suggested the Vintage Sound. I've owned both the 65 and 68 and my ideal amp would lie somewhere in between the two. While the circuits may be similar the stock tones of the two amps are rather different to my ears. The 65 was brighter with more clean headroom and the 68 was smoother and darker and broke up at lower volumes. If I were to chose between the two I would pick the 65 and find a very efficient speaker for more clean headroom as I like to get my OD tones from pedals. I know you said you don't play very loud but volume is pretty subjective and Princetons tend to get farty when you crank them. Let us know what you decide on and stay well.
     
  7. JSMac

    JSMac Tele-Meister

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    [QUOTE="8trackmind, post: 10004726, member: 143773"

    The little beast has the bass resistor bypass...
    [/QUOTE]

    This simple mod helps a lot to tame and control the bass. Mine was unusable for me until I did it.
     
  8. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Holic

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    The Princeton Twin Reverb is the go....
    .
    IMG_20200216_133954.jpg
    IMG_20200216_134201.jpg
     
  9. Big Twang Theory

    Big Twang Theory TDPRI Member

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    If versatile is what you are going for, I'd recommend the '65. Was in your same situation, and I bought the '68. Took it back about a week later to swap for the '65. I found with pedals, it's easier to get the sound of the '68 with a '65, but not the reverse. Granted I think they are both great, and will probably get a '68 at some point.
     
  10. rolandk

    rolandk TDPRI Member

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  11. cravenmonket

    cravenmonket Tele-Holic

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    Yep
     
  12. vhilts1

    vhilts1 Tele-Meister

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    Forget about any blackface or silverface amps and get a tweed with 2 6L6s....


    Much better for the sounds you want particularly with Fender guitars.....adding a EVM 12L would be a good move too
     
  13. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    I have the 68. After some mods I love it.

    If I was to do it again and had to stick with stock, I'd seriously consider the tweed version with the 12" cannabis rex. That thing sounds awesome!

    I found for live use , I'm running a 12 anyways. I use a cab. That way I can run the 10 at home , which is much more suitable.
     
  14. mmannaxx

    mmannaxx Tele-Meister

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    Well I think you are talking reissues, so I would suggest finding a vintage PR. I have a 1975 that I rehoused in a custom made cherry cabinet. It is my forever amp. I use it in a band with plenty loud drummer. It gets miked of course for gigs.
     
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  15. nicknklv

    nicknklv Tele-Meister

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    I was just out and tried the 68CPR with the Greenback in it. The store also had a vintage '78 non-reverb with an Ragin Cajun for ~$1,100. I found the vintage a lot more usable, very nice tone even at lower volumes and a nice bass response. So +1 on the vintage option.
     
  16. hj ayala

    hj ayala NEW MEMBER!

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    HI!!!
    I've got a Tweed version 65. The clean tone is spectacular, and it accept very well ANY kind of effets. But I'm not a rock guy. Some friends told me that its KICK it is not enough hard.
    Specially a VErY good player told me that was ok for recording but for playing live it was too little.
    Its funny because for me sometimes is too much: I rather prefer my CHAMP 57, its darker, smaller & lighter.
    THE MOST IMPORTANT I'm not trying to emulate the tone nor the playing of someone else. High standing player doesn't have only one amp & besides they work along with people in order to shape theirs tone.
    Princeton is transparent in the sense that you'll hear what you play.
     

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  17. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Tele-Afflicted

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    I built a TAD Princeton reverb, and with the 12" speaker, heftier iron and built in Stokes mod, I'll never need another amp. For less Earth Pounds than a Custom 68.
     
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  18. 60s Pop Man

    60s Pop Man TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    You may have already listened to these comparisons, but my experience is that local music shops don't have either available to play in isolation, forget having both to compare side by side.



     
  19. Rick_M80

    Rick_M80 TDPRI Member

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    Thank you - you're absolutely right! If only it was as simple as walking into a local store that has both models in stock then getting the chance to plug in and do a proper A/B test without shredders showboating at stupid volumes or kids thrashing out "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at an equally silly volume! I've watched a number of comparison videos on YouTube already - and I hear things I like about both - that's why I decided to open up this particular can of worms with you guys...
     
  20. MarkSieber

    MarkSieber TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I got a 65 a few years ago after reading quite a few forums and checking both 68 and 65 out at a local store. (I was fortunate to live in a US metropolitan area where I could do that.)

    68 gave a tone that I liked out of the gate but it was limited to that range. The 65 was cleaner at volume with more headroom. I found a used 65 in mint condition for a good price. I have learned a lot about amps in the years since then and do not regret my decision at all.

    Check out the videos for Catlinbread pedals—SFT, DLS etc. Howard uses a 65 for demos and you can hear how it responds well as a pedal platform, giving a range of tones and breakup.

    If I want to play with some breakup or distortion, I use a pedal for that so I can also play clean and keep things at about the same volume. I love pedals but there’s many times I just plug in straight to the amp for practice, and it’s lovely. The sweet spot tonally on mine is around 4.5-6 volume.

    My one caveat is that reverb is quite powerful beyond the lowest settings. I played with the brand of tube (AT7) for that which helped a little bit.

    I chose it over the Deluxe because of the weight, and ability to use it at home, but I have used it in small gigs even outdoors without a mic in a five piece with a drummer (Stones, Petty, Zevon, etc) and it’s been fine. If you’re going to mic it you will be in good shape for gigs.

    I upgraded the output transformer and changed the speaker to a celestion gold. The larger transformer is particularly helpful at higher volumes, and can push an extension cabinet so on occasion I add a 12”. The speaker change is matter of taste. The stock speaker is fine.

    I hope this is helpful. Whatever you get I hope you really enjoy it.

    cheers, Mark
     
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