Fender Princeton Amps - Reissue or Vintage

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Bled05, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry, I love this whole question; value vs. sound vs. perceived worth.

    Do the originals sound different? Yes, they more or less have to sound different. Is that worth more money? That depends entirely on how you value 'better' and how much money we're talking about.

    The third path, to build one, probably isn't available to most players. In a way that's too bad -- for under $1000 I have a stunning BF PR that I custom-built to my needs and tastes. To my totally-biased ears it sounds light years better than the PRRI I tried in the store. It's my favorite amp; it sounds like an angel choir singing with Mama over my cradle.

    But what's it worth? No way I could resell it for the price of a used PRRI. So value, sound, perceived worth; you decide...
     
  2. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Don't put too much faith into that factory warranty on a new Fender. If you're lucky and the service center near you actually knows their butt from a hole in the ground, then yeah I could see it.
    On the other hand if you live in the middle of nowhere like me you're better off fixing it yourself or finding a local tube amp nerd to help you out.
    That's why I became a tube amp nerd in the first place. :)
     
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  3. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    I have a '65 Princeton Reverb with a nice history to boot. Great amp, sounds amazing, converted to 12" decades ago (though I still have the old baffle) and has been all over Nashville going on 5+ decades.

    In terms of "tone" I think it's not too far off from the recent reissue '68 series, Princeton or Deluxe. I really like the sound of the reissue PCB amps at their price point though I've not had them both in the same room.

    Put it this way, I also have a '65 AC30. IMO the reissue Fenders amps sound a lot closer than the same priced reissue Vox amps do to my particular AC30. So, yeah, sometimes I think "boy if I trade/sell this I can just get a used reissue for cheap AND HAVE..."

    But, that's silly.
     
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  4. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    BF models are tidier inside but have a weak PT.

    SF models look sloppy inside but have a better PT '71 and later.

    I hope Princeton Reverb pricing insanity has run its course now that greedy sellers are asking $4k for BF and $2k for SF.

    Mind you, I have several PR project amps. I don't expect to get OTT coin once they're restored.
     
  5. Ash Telecaster

    Ash Telecaster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have a new PRRI 1x12, tweed covering and Legend 1275.

    I am still learning it. I have a DRRI too. It's less different than I thought it would be but the trem is cooler, overdrive a tad thicker, reverb seems a little surfer, and maybe the newness hasn't worn off yet but seems the tone is a little sweeter. Not as much difference in volume as I anticipated. That little box puts out way more Decibels than thought it would. I used to laugh at the idea of one of these keeping up with a drummer. Now I'm not so sure. Still have to try though.

    Unfortunately I can't compare as this is the first Princeton I've owned.
     
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  6. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Holic

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    I have a recent '65 PRRI SE with a 12" speaker. Definitely not "shrill", and I have a hard time imagining that a turret board boutique is going to sound "lightyears" better. Plywood case, 33lbs loaded with an alnico speaker. Once the speaker is broken in, the tone is warm and rich, breaks up really nice when pushed.

    Edit: Ash tele was posting while I typed, I agree with his assessment. The SE 12 inchers are rated at 15 watts, and loaded with an efficient ceramic speaker, they do push an impressive amount of sound.
     
  7. cravenmonket

    cravenmonket TDPRI Member

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    The thing you have to do - I finally realised - is take your favourite guitar to a shop and plug in and play a PRRI.

    I procrastinated for years about getting a RI, and looked at the 10% price reduction you can get on eBay or wherever... but then unexpectedly and reluctantly one afternoon at my local GS I plugged into a new (ugly) Western Tolex Limited Edition PRRI and my world changed. I played it for ten minutes, went away, couldn't get the sound out of my head, and then went back and bought it for full price ($1,099). I didn't even argue. I anticipate having this amp for the rest of my life, so saving 10% by buying one on the inter that I haven't played, and hoping it sounds good didn't appeal to me.

    The internet is great but it pushes you to make buying choices which aren't necessarily in your best interest. Believe it or not...
     
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  8. The-Kid

    The-Kid Tele-Meister

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    Same here have played vintage and been to facilities where they made handwiered amps for 3k 4k a pop....johny deep bought one apparently....


    Um no better or worse than Reissues and in some cases where the tolerences of old amps are so wide and are near qaput....the Reissues in this case sound light years better than vintage.


    PCB, SMD, Throughhole, turret board....not an expert but playing these things the circuit dont care how its made as long as its designed to perform and give a specific result. Mini TS vs Big TS9....SMD Ce2W vs vintage CE2....Vintage Twin vs Reissue Twin....same difference and in the case of Reissues better due to higher tolerences and probably better in that respect using current tight QC vs old 50 and 60s QC.....which many would disagree but leave alot to be desired given tolerences .......



    Still uses mounted old school caps and trans so these are megs servicible and the PCB is quite thick and durable ....if it was SMD id agree with those who may think these to be garbage but they are good quality and designed well indeed.


    I love my PCB Reissue and given its quality and build I am confident I will love it more for years to come with proper service and care.




    Thanks FMIC!!!!!
     
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  9. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    As much as I love the originals, the reissues sound fine to me. That’s the way I’d go if I hadn’t inherited my “real” all original ‘68 PR. Either that, or a kit.

    Are the originals really that much now? That’s laughable to me.
     
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  10. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm in the camp that says there's no reason a RI amp can't sound like/as good as a well maintained original. And vice-versa. It's the same circuit.

    The reason past RIs don't sound 'the same' was down to some minor variations in circuit, tubes and speakers. Fender don't fit premium tubes. They also - unless you buy the upgrade model - often haven't chosen the optimum speaker. The same could be true of any vintage original amps kicking around.

    Pros to new RI:
    Warranty, try instore before buy, 30 day return through some vendors
    Close standard to vintage - close enough for many (including me)
    Easily upgraded with a new speaker which closes the gap.
    Cons:
    Flimsy circuit boards with dinkier bits are trickier to service
    Depreciation - there's always more new ones so used is invariably worth less (that's a plus is buying used)
    Once out of warranty value drops (that's a minus buying used)

    Vintage pros:
    Still affordable - used SF can be had for around new RI price - virtually a BF
    Serviceable, tweakable and parts at any dime store
    If you can use a DMM, solder and use a screwdriver you can learn to do everything yourself to change tubes and service it
    No-one can say for sure but the trend for small vintage amps shows no sign of abating which means given a modicum of care you can't lose money. This has been the case with my small tube amp sales. Sold all of them at more dollars than I spent.

    Cons:
    Like an experienced lover, who knows where it's been and what it's done with whom.....
    You (and your friends here on TDPRI plus maybe local tube guy) are user support
    It's possible (although unlikely with care) to get burnt
    No returns if you get buyers remorse.
    No warranty unless you buy from a mom and pop or GC (probably spend a little too much)

    Some people like shiny new or nearly new and stuff no-ones used before. Some like the convenience of retail, returns, warranty and try before you buy. So there's no one answer that's right.

    I'd own a reissue without any problem at the right price. I always look for used vintage first - at the right price. I look for the one that's a bit scungy and neglected and bargain it down. Got my Marshall 5210 for about half going price that way.

    I bought a basket case 68 blackline drip-edge VC for $350, missing tube sockets and half the board components. Less than $100 of parts and a few dozen hours labour I turned it around for $850. Still original Jensen alnico and transformers.
     
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  11. The-Kid

    The-Kid Tele-Meister

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    This happened to me too...

    I played one and much like you when I got my Princeton it was a must have at the first strum...played for like 10 minites....went back home....and traded in my Super Sonic 60 3 days later...... and I couldnt get the sound out of my head and even more sounds to explore.....a

    I always looked at these when I was younger as a trash amp.....The Twin was the master of all amps :)...it and the Ac30 and the Marshall Halfstacks and of course the 5150s.....the Super Reverbs and the Custom Vibrolux Reissues :) that one made me happy most of all the Fenders.....


    But I never gave these a chance because they were so small and after all it is a "student amp".....

    Even had I tried one when I was younger I probably would have scoffed at it because it didnt "push enough air" or didnt have enough gain.


    Glad I played one randomly walking into GC to repair a guitar....decided to jam with a friend to just pass the time....


    Damn Im lucky I played one and that I had enough to purchase one.


    I just feel lucky.


    Played like 4 others at near by stores.....none and I mean none sounded like this one right here...amazing tone right here and with pedals...the possibilities are endless
     
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  12. trxx

    trxx Tele-Holic

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    That's what finding the right amp should be like. None of that, The audience wouldn't know the difference, jive and dance. The player can sure tell the difference, and that matters, if you ask me.
     
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  13. Woollymonster

    Woollymonster Tele-Meister

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    Chris Stapleton Hand Wired

     
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  14. OngoGablogian

    OngoGablogian TDPRI Member

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    I was in the same boat a few months ago and ended up going with the 62 Stapleton Reissue. It fit the spot for vintage sound, simplicity, and reliability. I know there are “real” brown Princetons out there with better prices, but I could not be happier with my decision.
     
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  15. Tone Chase

    Tone Chase Tele-Meister

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    I bought this one brand new, fresh out of the box. I found it impressive, but I tried NOS tubes and other speakers. It is all stock again, other than the brown knobs. It is perfect.
    image.jpg
     
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  16. ladave

    ladave Tele-Holic

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    My "64 Princeton"

    headstrong.jpeg
     
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  17. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Holic

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    Fender Princeton Amps - Reissue or Vintage

    The 65PRRI are very good amps... :cool:

    You just may need to change the speaker if your don't like the quite "bright-scooped" tone of the Jensen C10R, nothing more...;)

    Mine is a PR SF from the late 70s, in mint condition, all original, nearly unused, but in need of some electronic work due to his years passed in a closet, and the UE / French mains compliance :

    [​IMG]

    As is, it did not sounded very good, understandably. Once serviced / modded, it's a great sounding amp that I wouldn't part with... :cool:

    I'd say if you intend to acquire a vintage PR, you probably will have to take in count that it will be in need of some work - that means an extra-cost if you are not qualified to do it by yourself. o_O

    -tbln
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
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  18. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm seein' a trend especially on Reverb...

    Let's back up a little bit.

    People who make a living buying and selling musical instruments need to concentrate on the selling part. Pie in the sky asking prices literally don't count. You ain't gonna pay the bills until you sell it.

    Seems there are a ton of "collectors" and amateur speculators out there. They may have overpaid to begin with but it's not like they're in any rush to sell. They're the guys with the allegedly $4000 BF PRs and the allegedly $2000 SF PRs.

    Apples and oranges but someone out there somewhere (operative term: out there.) Someone out there somewhere has a $1500 Peavey Deuce.

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Couple nice early '70s PRs popped up within my sphere of influence priced at around $1400 each. I know my buddy paid $1300 for one of 'em but he has rent to pay. $1400 green foldable showed up and away it went.

    They both went away pretty quick.

    Original Princeton Reverbs sound pretty much the same aside from several factors.

    They don't all age the same. Fender used 10% resistors. They tend to drift 20% or more.

    Pity the fool who tries to "blueprint" a vintage amp by selecting components that exactly match the schematic. They didn't exactly match the schematic to begin with.

    Some of the drifted values are preferable to published values.

    And, a hip amp tech will give 'er a little tweak here and there.

    Fender used three different power transformers in Princeton Reverbs. That's not counting Better Coil transformers that saw intermittent OEM use between '65 and '68, the fat part of the BF era.

    Want to hear a difference? Use a full set of "reissue" tubes. Bias 'em cold. Then compare 'em to another amp with NOS or original tubes biased correctly.

    It's unlikely a bone stock all original parts and untouched solder joints PR is biased correctly. Bias was never adjustable in Princeton Reverbs.

    And so on.

    Musicians think we're splitting hairs when we mention the difference between carbon comp and carbon film resistors. Or metal film resistors. There may not be a lot of difference between one resistor with different construction. A tiny difference adds up when there are a dozen of them in the signal path.

    Same can be said of capacitors.

    While it's debatable that a clone built with premium parts sounds better than an original hot rodded with the same premium parts, it ain't debatable that The Herd will pay big money for a Fender logo on a real Fender while they won't even give a clone a chance.

    And it's just for the sake of argument I'd debate the relative merits of original vs. clone. Functionally a properly built clone is gonna waste a similar appearing vintage amp in every way.

    The enormous advantage of a clone is we can modify it as we like without "de- valuing" an original.

    That's the most screwed- up anomaly of the vintage amp market if you think about it. A properly maintained and serviced vintage amp will generally be worth less than one that hasn't been touched. That means not only am I supposed to work for free, I should actually pay you when I work on your amp.

    I was wondering why this is such an expensive "hobby".

    :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
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  19. Bled05

    Bled05 TDPRI Member

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    I had one that looked just like that! Foolishly let it go many years ago. If I go the vintage route, it will have to be the lesser-expensive SF model.
     
  20. The-Kid

    The-Kid Tele-Meister

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    Good choice. If dudes want handwired and turret design this is the safer way vs buying vintage in some cases.
     
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