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How did the Princeton Reverb get all those features?

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

  1. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    So now Leo's a moron for stopping tweed amp production about 1960. Because those basic circuits went on to do great things with distortion. Let's think about that a sec. . .
    Who used distortion very much in 1960? Was it even really a thing in early 1965 when Leo sold Fender to CBS? No not really.
    Hell Roy Obison was an early Marshall endorser, he wasn't exactly known for distorted guitar sounds.
    It's possible if Leo had still owned Fender into the 70s he might've revisited those tweed circuits. The man wasn't exactly stupid and he did seem to know what the customers wanted at the time.
     
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  2. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    You've never played an amp with a presence control have you. :) It's more like another tone knob than anything else, unless somethings wrong with the amp.
    That Showman is a transitional model, brownface amp in black tolex. They made some the other way around too, blackface amps in white tolex mostly.
     
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  3. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    I don't know. Leo went on with Music Man amps, which one could argue were more cleaner than most Fenders.
     
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  4. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    You're not correct. Presence is a mid-high tone control connected to the feedback loop around the power amp stage. It's nothing like a master volume.
     
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  5. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    Good point, I prefer to forget about those things. Wonder if Leo really had a hand in those amps? And maybe he did I don't know.
     
  6. Wharfcreek

    Wharfcreek Tele-Meister

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    I think it bares consideration to consider a couple of other things here. For one thing, there were a LOT of young kids at this time who were wanting to start a band, but whos moms and dads would have none of it! So, the smaller, full featured amp was a way a kid could get started with paper route money vs help from mom & pop! AND, in a little 'garage band' (and actually in the garage or basement, which is about as far as most of these bands ever got) a 'little' Princeton Reverb sounded pretty damn good! So, IF you were lucky enough to actually score a few gigs, and IF you made some actual money playing out, then you 'might' consider the need to move 'up' in amps just because the need necessitated it! But, that huge market that fender was supplying amps and guitars to was NOT all filled with people with deep pockets! This was the dawning of becoming a 'Rock Star', and there was a lot of parental resistance to that dream in their children! I dare say there still is. But, a lot of these amps were purchased by aspiring guitarists because it was all they could afford. It was a ''better' choice than a similarly priced amp from Sears or the local department store!
     
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  7. OneOcean

    OneOcean TDPRI Member

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    The PR's preamp does not create much distortion when the Volume (gain) pot is cranked so a master volume would not be that useful. A Master Volume would actually decrease the total amount of distortion available because turning it down would reduce the signal driving the powertube. You could mod the PR's preamp circuit to get more preamp distortion out of it but then you'd be losing those 3D cleans and rich in-betweens. Better to just use an overdrive pedal in front of the amp to get distortion at lower volume levels.
     
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  8. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    ^^^^^THIS
     
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  9. mmannaxx

    mmannaxx Tele-Meister

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    I think historically the early blackface amps were the amps of the surf music era. Hence amps needed reverb to get that sound. So it made sense to make some of their smaller student amp sucn as the princeton with reverh. Fender marketed to younger players as well as adults. The Vibro Champ persisted with just tremelo. Not sure a reverb tank could be "shrunk" enough to fit into that little lovely!
     
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  10. redchapterjubilee

    redchapterjubilee TDPRI Member

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    My educated guess is based on what I've read about Leo's habit of spending a lot of time in the field talking with musicians in southern California at the time and those musicians tended to be country and western swing players. They wanted loud and clean and tweeds are not loud AND clean at the same time, at least not to the SPL levels players were starting to be expected to meet. So the way Leo knew how to accomplish this was to pull the mid focus back.
     
  11. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

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    Your profile says you are 60 years old, which means you were born in 1960. So you saw Pete Seeger when you were 5 years old and remember the sound setup? Just checkin'...
     
  12. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    They did try a pull-boost on the volume control in the (SF) Princeton Rev between '78 and '81. As is typical for Fender with most of their MV and boost featured models (new and old), it kinda sucks. Thank god, when you don't engage it, it's outta the circuit.

    Also, as mentioned a few back, the Rivera era of Fender amps produced a master volume and 'lead' ch. Princeton. There's also the subsequent Red Knob and Recording versions. As noted, these are very different than the BF or SF "Princeton Reverbs" of old ...

    PR_II.png PR_rec.png PR_redknob.png
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  13. djeffcoat

    djeffcoat TDPRI Member

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    In the early 80s, Paul Rivera ran the Fender amp shop and they created the point-to-point hand-wired Princeton Reverb II, a different beast altogether!
     
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  14. slider313

    slider313 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    No one mentioned the obvious; a Princeton Reverb is a single channel amp where the larger amps had two independent channels. Adding effects to the smaller single channel student model gave budding guitarists the sound and price point to the brand.

    Ampeg beat Fender to on board reverb but, I believe, it was Nate Daniels of Danelectro who built a combo with reverb in early 1960 preceding both companies.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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  15. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Ha, ha! Guilty as charged.
     
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  16. Rooster-p

    Rooster-p TDPRI Member

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    I don't understand why you call it a "non professional" amp when just about every professional session player, if not all of them, own a princeton of some kind. It's got to be the most popular studio amp ever made. "Non professional"? I think not, sorry.
     
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  17. King Fan

    King Fan Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Heh, no, I can't point you to a single discussion. This is one of those 'why did Napoleon go to Moscow' questions (tho clearly more important :D) -- you read about it whenever it comes up, and you absorb all the ideas you read into the aging sponge that's your brain. But my Home Depot analogy will suffice to suggest how the double ploy works. My wife, who doesn't have Y-chromosome 'wannabe toolpride', is perfectly happy to get the $17 Black and Decker. :) It took Eric, (with Duane's happy acceptance) to elevate the 5F1 back into 'pro' status, 14 years after its release (and 50 years ago this month!) I think the PR, though always an amp 'real' musicians might play, has also gained popularity for all the reasons discussed here every day that smaller amps are replacing bigger amps over recent decades.

    As an aside, Professor, thanks for (as usual) asking such a useful, interesting question.

    Yes, good one. That's the other big piece. By 1964, and with a (complex) 'little big amp' like the PR, Fender wasn't just going for a bare-bones 'student' amp -- they knew young guitarists would want reverb, but they also knew small clubs and studios weren't the Hollywood Bowl...
     
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  18. Rooster-p

    Rooster-p TDPRI Member

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    All the students I know started out with a solid state amp. When I was a student, I couldn't afford a tube amp but I guess some people are lucky like that and I even worked a regular job when I was a student.
     
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  19. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

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    You guys almost had me quoting the King James, which I am Not going to do.
    The idea is to start you off with the Fender sound and then sell you a bigger amp next year. Simple.
    At this point in history, distortion was undesirable to most guitarists, hence no master volume.
    BTW, a presence control is like a variable bright switch.
     
  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Born in '59, not sure what year that show was but no later than '66 because by '67 stuff was different.

    Pretty clear memory, stage was only maybe 2' high and was open all around.
    At a break Pete was wandering around and I was eating peas in the pod.
    I offered him some and he just popped the whole pods in his mouth, chewed them up and spit out the sinewy stuff.
    Friendly and warm, had time for a kid, and oddly he was not hounded by fans.
    This was in Kennebunk near a miles long row of huuuuge Victorian mansions owned by old old money.
    The woman who organized that even drove a genuine Rolls Royce with the long swoopy front fenders.

    I didn't know it at the time but my Mother had moved to Maine pretty broke with no earning skills aside from modeling and nail NYC salon, so she was trying to raise a kid on chambermaid money.
    That rich lady was writing a check every week to help us get through.

    Anyhow, yeah I remember pretty well the social scene in which folks could talk over the Folk music.
    In a way it's odd that bars got louder and louder until chicks couldn't hear our pickup lines.
    I do recall bar bands were pretty loud, more than Pete's banjo tunes, but not like in later years.
    Remember that The Beatles were drowned out by the audience in the mid '60s, it's not really hard to recall because it was just so common for live music to not be brutally loud.
    Being that I literally never had a baby sitter come to the house while my Mother went out (and she was a party girl), I went to bars and parties a lot. Often the owner of an establishment let me watch TV in their living quarters at places etc, but as long as I was up I hung with the party.

    Circa maybe 1972 a guy we knew got out of Danbury State where he served some years for swimming across some river literally with a couple of keys. He learned small engine repair while inside and was set up in the back room of a friends gas station to do lawn mower & chain saw repair. It was arranged for me to work with him once a week and he offered me $10 a day for one day a week.
    I countered with two days for the ten bucks.
    He was a favorite Father figure, a cool guy who drove a '30s Ford Pickup.
    He was also a multi instrumentalist Country Bluegrass singer songwriter, and gigged regularly.
    Guitar mando and banjo IIRC, including a steel resonator I loved. All acoustic.
    On gig days if I was scheduled we'd stop at the venue to set up his PA & mics.
    After a few setups he let me set up the gear while he had a drink with the owner.
    Nothing a 60 lb kid couldn't carry.
    I went to some of his shows, not that often though as it was further from where my Mother liked to go out.

    I remember seeing The Platters!
    Might have been my first live show, before all the above.
    Too little for the bar so I got stuck in a sort of balcony area above the band, looking down on the backs of their heads.
    Not my favorite music then but I grew to love Soul/ R&B.
     
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