Get more overdrive out of my Princeton Non-Verb?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Superfuzz, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. Superfuzz

    Superfuzz TDPRI Member

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    I currently have a '68 Fender Princeton Non-Reverb and man this thing is 100% clean all the way up to 10. As pristine as it gets. Is there some way to get a teeny bit of natural drive out of it? I don't need monster gain, I would just like be able to crank it up and get some nice edge of breakup or light crunch out of it and then kick it into tonal nirvana with a nice fuzz or overdrive.. I don't want to do any drastic modifications either, maybe just replace a preamp tube and adjust the bias a bit? Something like that.

    BTW I use a Tele with a Lollar Special bridge and a Strat with it, if that makes a difference.
     
  2. max_twang

    max_twang Tele-Afflicted

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    I use one too.

    I usually play with 2 OD pedals +/- a clean boost, to get me the various levels of dirt I need.

    I wouldn't mess with the amp itself to get it to break up earlier when pedals are such an easy solution.
     
  3. BBill64

    BBill64 Tele-Afflicted

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    You could try tweaking it as described on this site here:

    http://fenderguru.com/amps/princeton

    Or try a load of different OD pedals to see if there is one that gives you the effect you're after.
     
  4. italo

    italo Tele-Meister

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    Headroom is priceless in such a small amp. I wouldn´t mess with the circuit. you can always try different preamp/poweramp tubes to get more hair. Or fiddle with your bias. Or push the amp with a nice overdrive pedal as other fellows suggested.
     
  5. Dunning~Kruger

    Dunning~Kruger Banned

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    I use to have a tube driven red knob. I think it ran on 6l6's same problem, clean as a whistle.

    Never ever broke up. Ended up selling it cause it just never did its job.
     
  6. Superfuzz

    Superfuzz TDPRI Member

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    Yes this is what I am thinking. I definitely will not touch the circuit. That's what I was asking, could I just put in a few higher gain preamp tubes and adjust the bias to get a little more grit? Does anyone have specific suggestions? What kind of preamp tubes will work? 12AX7? Or something else? Should I change all the preamp tubes or will one tube in one certain spot make enough difference? Any suggestions on the bias?

    I already have an EHX LPB-1 that is use to add a little grit but I was hoping it would be possible to get that same grit naturally from the amp. I want to use boosts and overdrives and fuzzes to push the amp over the edge, not necessarily generate all of the breakup by themselves. If I need lots of headroom I will probably just look into a bigger amp. I want to use this little amp to get nice natural slight breakup at lower volumes. I honestly wish it was a Princeton Reverb so I could have that extra gain stage.....
     
  7. Dunning~Kruger

    Dunning~Kruger Banned

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    What is the preamp tube compliment, if you have a 12au7 that might be the issue.

    Now that I recall the super 60 red knob was not too bad, it never broke up but it had excellent cleans.
     
  8. Superfuzz

    Superfuzz TDPRI Member

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    Oh also does anyone have an suggestions on speakers that you like with this kind of amp? I am thinking about changing the speaker really just to preserve the stock one. I feel like every time I crank this amp up I'm going to blow the poor little speaker that comes stock. I need a speaker that can handle the amp being pushed and yet still allows early, low volume slight breakup. I don't really want a super loud, super efficient speaker. Again, I want low volume edge of breakup so I can slam it with a fuzz and get some 60s garage/psychedelic rock at a volume that doesn't get the cops called on me by someone 3 miles away.
     
  9. twintwelve

    twintwelve Tele-Afflicted

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    Hit the front end over the head with some more INPUT! Get a Danelectro Fish and Chips EQ with a level control, goose the slider till you get the growl you want, add a midrange hump if ya wanna, and cut the lowest bass freq some to get rid of that Princeton low-end flab.....cheep and ez
     
  10. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The Randall Smith mod was very popular with quite a few people... ;)
     
  11. Superfuzz

    Superfuzz TDPRI Member

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    I see 2 ECC83S preamp tubes, 2 6v6, and a GZ34/5AR4.
     
  12. Dunning~Kruger

    Dunning~Kruger Banned

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    might be that the amp is biased a little to cool.

    Have you taken it to an amp tech. I know it dosent have any problems but it would be nice to know if it is biased a little bit to cool.

    If that is the case then that could be the issue.

    Honestly if it cant break up in the power section dont sweat it. I used to have one of those Riviera designed red knobs and thing never ever ever broke up in the power section.

    I could get boat loads of distortion out of it with a pedal at the front end. But it just almost never broke up.

    Also it could be that the speaker you have now is a super high rating and a lower speaker might help in finding that break up you are after.

    What is the speaker compliment for that amp, 112 or 110?
     
  13. italo

    italo Tele-Meister

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    another one: You could try a 5U4 rectifier or even a 5Y3. this will bring down the voltaje quite a bit and maybe muddy up things in a pleasant way. It can´t hurt to try. lower voltaje=lower headroom.
     
  14. Superfuzz

    Superfuzz TDPRI Member

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    Yes it has seen a tech. About 3 years ago I think. When I got this amp it was pristine cosmetically, like it sat in a closet for 40 years. But it had a few problems on the inside. When cranked up it gave the warmest mild edge of breakup tone I've ever heard, but alas, one day I was jamming and suddenly a see a little puff of smoke comes out of the amp. I shut it off immediately. I had no choice but let a tech go through it, even if it meant I lose that warm grit. I couldn't risk letting it go and possibly causing an even bigger problem or even wrecking the amp completely. A few new caps, a new set of preamp tubes (but still has the original stock rectifier and power tubes), a thorough cleaning, and a 3 prong power cord later and its back up and running.

    It gives me an amazing hi-fi Fender clean, but it has never had that warmth ever since then.

    And lastly it has the stock 10" Fender Special Design speaker in it, the black one with a blue label sticker, so I don't think the speaker is super high efficiency at all. In fact I'm looking to change it too. I like the low efficiency but I feel like the speaker is going to explode if I crank it all the way up for any sustained period of time.
     
  15. Octave Doctor

    Octave Doctor Tele-Afflicted

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    I had one of those I got at the flea market back in the '70's for $50.00. New preamp tubes didn't help it, MXR 6 band EQ just barely got it to IT'74 levels of breakup. I think I took it to Pittsburgh and traded it for a pedal or something.
     
  16. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The circuit lacks 1 gain stage, the reverb recovery gain stage of the PR

    I would just hit it with a clean boost, BBE Boosta Grande really sounds superb into a blackface preamp
     
  17. Superfuzz

    Superfuzz TDPRI Member

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    Nice! I got mine in 2009 for $100. Someone didn't know what they had. Cost me $200 to fix it up so I am only invested $300 total. I love this little amp. It is very special to me and I will own it for the rest of my life without a doubt. I just want a little more out of it!
     
  18. italo

    italo Tele-Meister

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    If it is the AA964 circuit (silverface) a simple mod would be to lift the negative feedback loop. It´s a reversible mod. Just clip the wire going from the secondary of your Output transformer to the 2700 Ohm resistor. Tape the wire so it doesn´t touch anything. This should give the amp alot more agressive character. If you don´t like it just connect the wire back.
     
  19. RubyRae

    RubyRae Friend of Leo's

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    The amp is beautiful for what it is. The most edge I ever got from mine was with my Gibson 335 cranked. Humbuckers is the only way to even get close.

    The way to do it is with a great boost pedal to actually push the amp. An overdrive pedal will surely get you there quick, but the sweet edge of break up I get is with my 335 and my DOD bi-fet pre amp clean boost pedal.

    Unfortunately I had to let it go today, but this amp is great for what it is.
     
  20. shinigami747

    shinigami747 Tele-Holic

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    Hello Superfuzz,

    I have a '64 Princeton NR.

    Re: speaker suggestion. I'm running a Weber 12A125A with a Mojo 12" baffle. The stock Oxford and baffle are safely stashed away. A '68 might have a glued-on baffle, though.
    I think the Weber is a huge improvement over the stock speaker. Better bass response, less spiky highs when I go nuts on my Tele. More piano-like, I believe. Volume level is about the same.

    Re: natural drive. I got zero drive on mine all the way to 10. I have to use a pedal to get any sort of drive.

    My $0.02, IMHO, etc. :) I hope this helps.
     
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