First Fender amp — which one?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by ataylor, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. ataylor

    ataylor Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    218
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    pacific northwest
    I’ve been meaning to get a Fender amp for a while and it’s high time I followed through with that. This will be almost exclusively for home/recording use with the occasional instance where I play with a friend or two.

    For reference, I have a Fender Baja Telecaster and an Epiphone Lennon-inspired reissue Casino. My amp — the only one I’ve ever owned — is a Vox Pathfinder 15R. I have a little compact Memory Man delay pedal that I rarely use anymore.

    Here’s what I’ve been looking at in recent weeks/months/years:

    65 Reissue Princeton Reverb
    Pros: Iconic clean blackface tone and lush reverb/tremolo, relatively small size and light weight for tube amp
    Cons: Expensive, possibly a little loud for home use, potentially higher maintenance

    Blues Junior IV
    Pros: Less expensive Fender tune amp, nice clean tone, master volume, relatively small size and light weight for tube amp
    Cons: Weak reverb, no tremolo, possibly a little loud for home use, potentially higher maintenance

    Champion 20
    Pros: Very affordable, nice clean tone, master volume, variety of Fender tone profiles and effects, small size and light weight, low maintenance
    Cons: Smaller speaker, more complicated control panel, more settings and effects than needed/wanted

    Tone Master Deluxe Reverb
    Pros: Iconic clean blackface tone and lush reverb/tremolo, lightweight, solid wood cabinet, built-in attenuation, line out, low maintenance
    Cons: Expensive, larger size/footprint, unsure about long-term repairs to digital components

    For a while I’ve been leaning towards the Princeton, but I’m very intrigued by the Tone Master. I love my Pathfinder P15R, so no tubes isn’t a dealbreaker for me — if anything I’d love something as reliable as the little Vox.

    But then I’m like, do I really need to spend that much when I’m primarily an acoustic player? Would I be content with the Blues Junior and a reverb pedal? Or does it need to be tubes? What about the little Champion 20?

    I’ll likely buy new, I’m weird like that and I can typically get a nice price.

    I prefer the 65 reissues to the 68s from what I’ve seen and heard.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? Relevant experiences? Alternatives?
     
    scelestus and Greggorios like this.
  2. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Tele-Meister

    Age:
    71
    Posts:
    378
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2019
    Location:
    left coast
    how can you do better than a deluxe? You could go for a super reverb with 4 X10's, if.... you wanted to get loud.
     
  3. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,048
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Stirling, Scotland.
    If you can afford it just go for the '65 Princeton, covers all your needs. If you want something with digital/modeling effects think about the Super Champ or Vibro Champ XD.
     
  4. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    55
    Posts:
    531
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Location:
    donegal ireland
    Princeton..or Vibro Champ.The latter maybe better for home use.
     
    Jack Clayton and Greggorios like this.
  5. Alter

    Alter Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    220
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Location:
    Greece
    The Princeton is on another league from the others. Also as others, I would suggest the Super Champ x2 as a cheaper solution
     
    Greggorios and RadioFM74 like this.
  6. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,017
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
    I take it as a given that you’re going for blackface sounds.

    The first big choice is: simple tube amp or Master volume/FX/modeling amp.

    If you want a versatile “home amp” my suggestion is a SCX2 like @Alter said. Great little amp and amply covers all your amp needs at home.

    A Tone Master would be a possible in-between choice, too. These are amps made to play and react exactly like their tube counterparts, only lighter. They don’t have a Master Volume that I know of (perhaps power scaling?). Just my .02$ but I don’t see them as “home amps”. Rather as gigging amps for those who play 1500 gigs per year, have had enough of the weight and maintenance and tube amps, but want “the same thing”. Paradoxically, for playing at home the same amp, I don’t see why you’d deprive yourself of the glowing bottle…

    If you want a tube amp, my recommendation would be the mighty Deluxe Reverb. ANY of them is too loud to crank at home, even a champ (which BTW I regard as a very good option for you). And even played pretty low on the dial, IME, a Deluxe sounds pretty great and (to my ears) better than a smaller amp like Princeton. And it’s the most classic of classic amps.

    But again, any of them – champ, princeton, deluxe, hell a vibrolux … sound wonderful.
     
    Greggorios likes this.
  7. Erebia

    Erebia TDPRI Member

    Age:
    51
    Posts:
    9
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2019
    Location:
    UK
    Of the options listed, the Princeton without any doubt.
     
    Greggorios likes this.
  8. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    848
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio (Nerk)
    Princeton.

    Dont trust the tone master series. It's not the same league.

    Princeton will do what a Fender should.
     
    Greggorios likes this.
  9. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,478
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Location:
    northwest
    For recording and home Princeton Reverb hands down.
    On a budget the SC X2 is a possibility.
     
    RadioFM74 and Greggorios like this.
  10. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Meister

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    458
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    Location:
    Erie, CO
    I dig the 68 princeton...65 with a 12" cannabis rex also gets a lot of love.
     
    Greggorios likes this.
  11. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,662
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    Location:
    NJ
    The Tonemaster amps seem nice, but the '68 Princeton is extremely satisfying, sonically.
     
    Greggorios likes this.
  12. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,920
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Location:
    MV, CA
    First timer? Then for sure Princeton. I have a Deluxe, Vibrolux, Bassman and Princeton. The Princeton brings the sound in a small package. Larger versions get mostly louder but have some unique properties as they all do. If you are mainly playing live then I might recommend the Deluxe. The Princeton however is going to work for a lot of things and is a premiere recording amp.
     
    Greggorios likes this.
  13. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,998
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    "Home recording....occassional play out with 1-2 friends"

    That is a Princeton all the way. The only advantage the Deluxe gives you is more volume which may be needed in a band situation with drummer, but for your needs the Princeton is the ideal choice. The only difficult decision from there is which Princeton? There are a lot of good clone builders of the BF Princeton and you might even be able to find a true Silver Face without breaking the bank if you get lucky. The reissues sound pretty good as well, but I have no experience with owning one so don't know. I personally find the Brownface Princeton to be my favorite and there are many options out there for that one as well (Carl's Custom Amps, Stapleton model, etc.).
     
  14. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,009
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Location:
    Patterson, NY
    Princeton, you'll never look back.
     
  15. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    30
    Posts:
    762
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2016
    Location:
    Tip of the Mitt
    65' princeton
     
  16. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    848
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio (Nerk)
    @ataylor
    I want to clarify something:
    Tube amp "maintenance " is overblown. I started playing in 1999. I borrowed a 70s of champ from my grandfather for 2 years between 2001-02. I bought my own tube amps starting in 2004(1982 Fender 75) . In 2005/06, I bought a '68 bassman. I own a bugera V5 and a Supro Blues King 12. The amount of "maintenance " I've put into my tube amps in this span of time? I had to change a fuse in the bassman. Once. (Faulty wiring, years later my stepfather was redoing the room I was in when it blew the fuse. Someone had wired the whole wall with what looked like split telephone line. I digress)

    You "should" take an old tube amp to a tech every X amount of years. Just like you SHOULD floss twice a day...

    If you buy a Bjr, you may find yourself changing the speaker and tubes. This is because its what people do. It's not required, but it changes the sound in a good way, and the "consensual reality" that is the Internet says you HAVE TO.

    If you are limiting yourself to buying new, you cut off lots of options in both lower prices AND asthetically superior cosmetics. (Browse Reverb for FSR blues juniors and DRRIs, you'll see what I mean).

    Again, the Princeton is in a separate league. You can use it at reasonable volumes as well as gigging volumes.

    The champion 20 isn't something I would deliberately end up with.

    The Tonemaster is EXPENSIVE for what it is. They're overcharging for it, because they can.

    If you want a Fender sound, the BF PRRI is going to get you there easily. The blues Jr will get you good sounds, but it's not going to be as satisfying as the princeton. Its also much cheaper.

    Please dont let this Fictional "required maintenance " weigh on your mind. You're talking about a new tube amp, most "maintenance " is voluntary tweaking.
     
    muchxs, NewKid and El Marin like this.
  17. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Posts:
    1,803
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    You don't say what kind of music you're playing or what sound you want.
     
  18. twangjeff

    twangjeff Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,233
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    For the scenario you have described, and the amps you have listed, the only one I would consider is the Princeton.
     
  19. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    981
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain, EU
    None of them

    I would pick a Bassman...

    If necessary between your choices, The Princeton is OK

    Actually, I own both, Basssman 59 LTD and Princeton


    Just another thing... My amps had none to zero need to manteninance in about 20 years of quite daily use. Don't be bothered by that myth
     
  20. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    54
    Posts:
    1,102
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2018
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    65 Princeton Reverb
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.