1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

How did the Princeton Reverb get all those features?

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by theprofessor, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,373
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    I'm sure this has been discussed here before, but if it has, I don't recall it.

    The main question is this: How did the small, "non-professional" Princeton Reverb end up with both reverb and tremolo? Of course, the Deluxe Reverb wasn't one of the "professional" line, either, but at least in hindsight, it makes more sense that a bigger DR would be feature-laden. But a Princeton Reverb? Does anyone know a historical reason why Fender would have seen fit to put both reverb and tremolo on a little 1x10" amp in 1964?

    Was it simply a "reverbizing" of the non-reverb Princeton Amp that was available in 1963? Even if it was, it suggests to me that Fender wanted to continue to add features to their little single 10" amplifier that had its forerunner in an amp like the 6g2 brown Tolex Princeton that first saw production in 1961. And of course that circuit has ties back to the tweed era (especially the 5f11 Vibrolux).

    But in a space of 3-4 years, the "Princeton" underwent a good number of changes, including cosmetic changes and the addition (or non-addition, in the case of the non-reverb Princeton) of reverb. What was going on to lead them to put all those features into such a small amp?

    A related point that is interesting to me is that this move sowed the seeds for the various kinds of "hot-rodded" PR's we see today, with bigger output transformers, power transformers that allow for bigger glass, 12" speakers, and some variations on the tone stack. It is a feature-laden small package that can now serve as a basis for elaborating on the design for more power.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
  2. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    983
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2018
    Location:
    Marco.......Polo......
    Seems to me like 64 = Surf daddy-o
    reeevvvveeeerrrrrbbbb....burb....burb...burb ...burb
     
  3. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,403
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Because there was a market niche for a fully featured, small amplifier?

    Not only did it sell, it sold like hotcakes. When pros found it was perfect for recording, it did even better.

    Fender was a business and if they could sell something, why not make it?
     
  4. Guy Guyatone

    Guy Guyatone TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    70
    Posts:
    53
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2020
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Short answer: Surf Music

    Long answer: Hammond introduced the spring reverb in 1960 and offered it to all manufacturers. Reverb was very popular, and Fender could see the decline in non-reverb amp sales and it was a marketing no-brainer. It took them a while to catch up with demand, but, ultimately, it was hard to sell a non-reverb amp after 1964. Even the Showman and Bandmaster amps ended up with reverb versions.

    As to the development of the Princeton, it followed the "blackface" circuit "improvements."
     
    Maguchi, stevemc, Blackie1956 and 3 others like this.
  5. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    5,373
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Location:
    CA
    I honestly don't know. This is what I DO know: I bought a 1965 Fender Princeton Reverb and it arrived while I was still out of town working. I had my buddy, who is an EXCELLENT musician with great ears, go to my house and collect the amp and test drive it. He reported that amp sounded "three dimensional" compared to his other amps (he's a player and collector with MANY high end amps). When I returned home, I got the amp from him and played it. THAT'S when I understood what he meant by "three dimensional". I sent it off to be restored to original condition even though it sounded so good. It had many caps and resistors replaced although the blue molded caps were still there. It also had cold solder joints and a 20 AMP FUSE in the fuse holder. (Who DOES that?) Pics when the amp is completed and returned to me.
     
  6. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,604
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Location:
    Australia
    Would be even better with volume (gain) and master volume pots. IMO
     
  7. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    983
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2018
    Location:
    Marco.......Polo......
    same guys that jam pennies in old house fuse boxes, and use gum tin foil as jumper wire..... those guys.
     
  8. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    5,373
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Location:
    CA
    I couldn't disagree more. The magic is the simplicity of the circuit. When you add, you take away.
     
  9. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,373
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    This is part of what I was driving at: there was a market for that at the time. That is what I find fascinating. I don't know how long the whole "professional" versus "student" line thing held sway, but by 1964, they were clearly ready to have what was once a "student" amp, but with all the big features. I suppose it was a part of putting reverb in every living room, etc., etc., and that led to a "student" amp that punched above its weight.

    Relatedly, it is interesting to me that a non-reverb blackface Deluxe survived all the way from 1964-1967 and that a non-reverb Princeton blackface/silverface was produced between 1963-1979. The latter suggests that there was still (surprisingly) a market for a non-reverb Princeton.

    I love the Princeton circuit. But another thing I've been thinking of is how much signal loss there is in adding reverb to an amp like the PR. Compared to the 6g2 brown Tolex Princeton there is much less signal to the PR, given that it's loaded down, trying to push the reverb tank and recover from doing that. So: to the spirit of your post (with which I agree), I wish there was some way to both have reverb but also to have that strong signal that one gets from a 6g2.
     
    Jay Jernigan and Torren61 like this.
  10. NTC

    NTC Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    194
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    The 6g2 Princeton is basically a 5F11 Vibrolux in a different package. Goes back into the late 50's.

    I am sure the other posters are right - the customers wanted it and Fender provided.
     
    Torren61 likes this.
  11. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2020
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I would guess that they heard the footsteps of the Ampeg Reverberocket coming up behind them. Ampeg added reverb to a modest-sized combo first, but they didn't have the marketing muscle Fender did. I'll check the Ampeg book I have for further clues, see if the introduction went well. There do seem to be a fair number of them out in the wild, at least here on the east coast. (Ampeg was headquartered in New Jersey.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
    KC and BobbyZ like this.
  12. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    5,373
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2013
    Location:
    CA
    Oh, there is!

    https://reverb.com/p/strymon-flint
     
    Treehouse likes this.
  13. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,403
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Nope. The signal loss is due to a tone stack rather than a simple treble cut pot. The Reverb driver doesn't suck gain, and the recovery stage makes sure it is at worst gain neutral or actually gain positive. Regular blackface trem eats gobs of gain, but the bias vary on a PR doesn't.
     
    red57strat, dang, Tofloid and 2 others like this.
  14. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,373
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    OK, maybe I worded that wrong. But even if one begins to defeat the tone stack on a PR, one doesn't get the same signal/tone of a 6g2. At least not to my ears, playing them side-by-side. I'd have to compare the circuits more closely, and I imagine there are some small differences between the two that could make them sound even more similar. Some bigger differences that stick out immediately are the differences in rectifiers and typical operating voltages.
     
  15. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2020
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    "By the end of 1964, the Ampeg line of amps had become so popular that back orders were piling up. The company had to place an ad asking for customer patience and understanding while the Ampeg factory filled orders as quickly as it could."

    (p. 99 of Ampeg: The Story Behind The Sound by Gregg Hopkins and Bill Moore.)
    No mention of the relative popularity of the Reverberocket in the book, though. They were selling a lot of the Portaflex amps by this time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
    King Fan likes this.
  16. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,431
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    The answer to your question is in the question. The Princeton Reverb (and to a slightly lesser degree the BF and SF Princeton) provided the most important of the big amp features in a small amp. That was their "whole thing." It's why they were a great amp that people wanted to buy.
     
    Maguchi and albatros like this.
  17. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,373
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    OK, so then it was no longer a simple "student amp," it would seem to me. So what made them turn a "student amp" into "more"? They found that kids at home needed all those cool features, too? They were marketing more than ever to the home player, and not just the professional? The flood of reverb into the popular consciousness leveled the previous distinctions between "professional" and "student"?
     
  18. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,373
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    What book are you citing from?
     
  19. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,431
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    You're seriously overthinking it.

    They did it because they thought they could make money doing it, i.e. they believed there was a market for it.

    And they were right...to this very day.

    That's it.
     
  20. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    1,378
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2019
    Location:
    Adirondack Coast, NY
    At least they installed a long reverb tank. Sweet reverb IMO.
     
    Maguchi, Laxy picker and Torren61 like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.