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Help - Possibly in Choosing a New Princeton

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by 1977CJ5, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. 1977CJ5

    1977CJ5 Tele-Afflicted

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    Got a good problem. A client gave me a $500 gift card to GC yesterday. Wow, was unexpected and very appreciated.

    So, I never thought I would consider paying around a grand for a Princeton, but now.... Thinking about adding 5 or 6 hundred of my dollars and getting something nice.

    Seems like the Princetons get a lot of love and some hate. Been looking at GC's website and I did not realize that there are a few... a limited 65 with a 12" and the 68 and 65 with the 10", maybe others too.

    So what is the gem? Would love some advice. Still playing my tele with a Seth Lover in the neck, and also playin my Strat a lot lately too...

    Thanks for your advice!
     
  2. Chikubi

    Chikubi Tele-Meister

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    [​IMG]

    I can’t give you any comparisons between all the variations, but this is the one I have. It’s the 2020 FSR Chilewich Denim edition which is basically a ‘65 BF with a 12” Alnico Blue in it and a slight bump in power to 15 watts. It’s covered in a type of vinyl cloth that is what it derives its name from and its coloring theme as well. Price was $1199 MSRP, but I picked it up for $1075, so not unreasonable.

    As far as for sound, it has a bit more oompf on the bottom end due to the 12” and the tonal character is pretty much what you’d expect from a Blue. Overall, very nice vitage-y sound that works great with my pedal board, and nice from an aesthetic POV as well.

    This guy has a couple of good demo vids of this amp you may want to check out:



     
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  3. OldPup

    OldPup Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I owned the 68 CPR and the 65 PRRI. I loved the 68 when playing single notes, but when playing chords, notes lose their definition. It becomes impossible to pick out individual tones while strumming chords as some level of distortion is seemingly always in play. Even with single coils the bass control could not go over about 4 (IIRC). With humbuckers, it had to go no higher than 2. Some people liken the 68 to buying an expensive dirt pedal in amp form. The amp looks absolutely smoking. It is very pretty. My advice is to play one if you can. I had to sell the 68 because it was too muddy sounding when I wanted to play clean rhythm. It did not suit my taste. Some people say you can jumper this or that resistor to clear up the muddiness. Or you can do a speaker swap. All modifications I see mentioned in forums such as TDPRI are aimed at making it more like the 65 PRRI.

    The 65 PRRI resolves every problem noted above. It is not as sultry with single notes, but I can add some flavor from a pedal for that. The PRRI is a nearly perfect amp for what I like. It's got clarity, character, and sounds very sweet. I love its tone. Its reverb is spot on (I keep mine between 3 and 4) and the trem is also very nice. I generally keep the amp at bedroom levels. Every now and then I jam with a friend and sometimes one of us or the other gets on drums. We play drums with broom brushes (no clue if that is property terminology), so the amp has no trouble keeping up. Sometimes I read about people complaining that the amp needs to be mic'ed up to play with a loud drummer. Others will say your drummer is too loud if the PR is drowned out. All that said, I have read exactly zero complaints about a 12" PR. I have not played one but would love to. GC has a 45-day return window if I am not mistaken. If I could swing it financially, I might start at a 12" PRRI Special Whatnot Edition.
     
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  4. wblynch

    wblynch Tele-Meister

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    The nicest sounding Princeton I ever played through was a special edition ‘65 in a knotty pine cabinet with a 12” speaker. I think it was a cream back. I was in San Antonio for a week and stopped in to Alamo music. I should have bought it and had it shipped. I thought I would find one closer to home near LA but never saw one again. If you ever see one grab it.
     
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  5. Rattfink

    Rattfink Tele-Meister

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    I had a 65 RI Princeton with a 12” Jensen alnico (Bordeaux version from GC). I loved everything about it except for overdriven sounds. I ended up selling it, but regret not just swapping the speaker. Cleans, reverb and tremolo were all beautiful. Slight breakup was very nice too, but when I drove the amp hard it was like a bucket of wet farts...

    I’d buy another 65 RI again with a 10 or 12 and maybe swap the speaker if I didn’t like it.
     
  6. Mjea80

    Mjea80 Tele-Meister

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    Ive had the 10” 65RI for bout 7 years I think. I really have no complaints with it. I used to think the highs were a little thin but I’ve learned to like it, should that thought creep back in I turn the bass up to 10.

    Every once in awhile GAS creep’s up and I start watching videos about the 12” Princeton versions.
     
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  7. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    When I owned a real Black Face 1963 Princeton (non-reverb) I put it a 12" Eminence "Jensen" copy. It was a tremendous improvement over the 10". So that's what I would suggest.
     
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  8. nedorama

    nedorama Tele-Meister

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    What's stopping you from going in and playing them? Buy the one that sounds good to you. And you don't need to go in to GC - find a Fender dealer in your market and go in.
     
  9. Hey_you

    Hey_you Tele-Afflicted

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    I love my GC Se '65 PRRI. Has the celestion 12".
     
  10. Drew617

    Drew617 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Hard to go too wrong with any PRRI/CPR, PR, or well-assembled clone IMO. A few thoughts:
    • If you're willing to go used, can probably get out the door having spent only a couple hundred bucks in addition to your gift card. Obviously, ignore that if a warranty really, really matters to you. But an example that looks good and sounds good now should generally be pretty reliable for a while. Tubes are consumables either way.

    • Some of those special editions look pretty cool, and a few others are fugly and wrong, both IMHO. Black tolex may seem boring in comparison but it's "correct" for a Princeton, won't go out of style, etc. Swapping speakers or baffles in those amps is pretty trivial, and you can do it as many times as you want with whatever version of the amp you want. I wouldn't buy any special edition just because it's got a Greenback or whatever else in it, unless I knew that I definitely wanted a Greenback permanently... so on.

    • If you're asking now about the "gem" of all those editions, a stock example might be pretty useful as a reference tone. You can determine what you'd like more or less of after settling in for a while, then throw almost any speaker you'd like at it, if you think you need to at all.
     
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  11. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have the Bordeaux special edition with a 12 inch speaker. It’s my favorite amp of all time. It’s simply a great amp. It replaced a PRRI standard edition with a 10 inch speaker.
    It handles all of my pedals really well and has a wonderful clean tone.
    I also have a Tone King Gremlin which I can’t say enough good things about but I still use my Princeton more.
    I once replaced the stock Jensen with a Celestion Greenback which is popular speaker on other Special Editions on the PRRI. I liked it but returned to the Jensen. Both sound excellent.
     
  12. Jaysmay

    Jaysmay TDPRI Member

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    I went through your situation recently....

    I loved the look of the Princeton Tweeds at SW & GC but went with the 65 BF PRRI w 10-inch speakers. I wanted what a Princeton was meant to be.

    My thoughts were...

    I don't gig so I don't need to play over a drummer. If I do I'll buy a Deluxe Reverb and have a different sound.

    I am looking for a new 57 Custom Champ but they are back-ordered until May or June...rats.

    My only regret is I wish I would have ponied up and got 64 Custom PR instead of the 65 RI.

    Oh well, I'll look for someone who wants to trade a custom 64 for a 65 and some cash.
     
  13. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't own a Fender but do have a VSA Vintage 15 (based on '64 PR) with a WGS G12C/S.

    I would go for the '65 and would just get the best deal I could, not worry about the particular speaker or speaker size. I think it's the same circuit on all of the '65 versions, and that's the circuit I would want. Both 10" and 12" speakers will sound good.

    You can always try different speakers in the future...

    You can use a pedal or attenuator if you want to drive the amp more...

    And you'll always have the wonderul BF cleans...
     
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  14. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I had the 68 cpr. Needs mods because it's just way too bassy imo. Many people jumper the bass pot resistor and swap the speaker. I did both those things and was pretty happy.

    I ran it into a 1x12 ext cab for live use (10 is good for home use, but generally the 12 blows it away).

    Now I have a 65 drri. Since getting my captor x load box, higher wattage isn't a problem for home, and it's a much better amp for a band setting. I wished I had gotten the 65 Princeton, so I didn't make the same mistake twice. A/b'ing the 65 and 68 deluxes in the store, the 65 won out, no contest. I could have saved $500 on the 68 (they had 2 used ones). Nope. Got the amp I wanted.

    To your question...

    I would get the 65 for sure. The 10 if you are playing mostly low volume / home. Its less low end keeps neighbors happy. The 12 if you wanna use it with a band. 12 just sounds a whole lot fuller. Modding it later is a hassle because you need a new baffle, etc. That's why I ended up with an extension cab. Nice to have both options that way though!
     
  15. randym

    randym Tele-Meister

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    I have the 68 Custom Princeton. I replaced the speaker with an Eminence Allessandro. I'm very happy, but that's the sound 'I' like. You should try both, and if you can't try, probably stick with the 65 reissue.
     
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  16. lathoto

    lathoto Tele-Meister

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    I would go for the Brownface (CS) reissue. My second favorite Fender amp ever (I used to have a Vibro-King with a 12 watt mod). Any Princeton is good in my book.
     
  17. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

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    Can you afford one of the handwired Princeton Reverbs? If so, that's what I'd get.
     
  18. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

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    I didn't like the 68 CPR either.

    Way too bassy, it was either too quiet or too loud. Was REALLY disappointed as they are very rare 2nd hand here and REALLY expensive new.
     
  19. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I would head to a guitar store and try as many Princeton flavors as you can. Then try a Tonemaster Deluxe Reverb. Buy the one that you like the best.

    My biggest complaint with my Silverface Reissue is the speaker. I would have preferred a 12" if they were available at the time. Now I am leaning toward trading it for a TMDR rather than spending $$ on a new speaker/baffle.
     
  20. Jared Purdy

    Jared Purdy Friend of Leo's

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    I've had the 65' PRRI, a 74' Silverface and I currently have the Custom 64' Hand Wired. I've read enough comments on how the price tag on the 64' isn't worth it, but I beg to differ. I've had three of them, and my ears tell me differently than other's comments.

    The only complaint that may or may not have any merit, depending on your own tonal preference, is the Italian made Jensen speaker. It's a re-creation of the original, though many claim it's not the same. I don't know how it could be given this is 2021, not 1964.

    There are many companies that claim to make period correct replicas. Most of them are not overly expensive ($150), so one could always be swapped out. I've had this amp since the winter of 2020, so I am well use to it now, and it's broken in. I don't see a need to blow $150 on an experiment when it sounds perfectly fine to my ears.

    It's the best of all of the PR's I have had and tried. I did not like the tone of the two current incarnations with the 12" Creamback. Way too much bass for my liking. My $0.02 worth.
     
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