Looking to Buy a Vintage Princeton Amp: Assistance Please!

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by stantonmanton, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. stantonmanton

    stantonmanton Tele-Meister

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    I am currently in the market for a vintage Princeton Reverb. One has just come up on my local Craigslist and I am extremely interested. Does anyone have any tips for me when I go check this amp out? What kind of questions should I be asking to make sure this amp is in great shape? What should I be looking for when I examine the amp? Also, this amp in particular is a silverface, non-reverb.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. andyfromdenver

    andyfromdenver Friend of Leo's

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    Pass.
    A Princeton is most certainly not a Princeton reverb.
    In general and especially anywhere near Katrina territory, look for a water loged amp.
    Pass on anything moldy, warped or bubbly tolex, rusty (maybe a bit is ok) transformers.
    You want an amp that has been well kept and not shoved in a basement or attic for 30 years.
    It would be worth any extra $ imo.
    A swamped amp is going to be a pain.
    See if the seller will open it up and take pics, get transformer date codes, tubes, speaker.

    Good luck! Keep saving and buy the right thing once.
     
  3. El Cavano

    El Cavano Tele-Meister

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    Be patient. Buy the right amp.

    I love my Princeton clone. Absolutely love it.
     
  4. FMA

    FMA Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, a Princeton non-reverb is a different critter from the Princeton Reverb. It's not as loud. Doesn't have as much gain in the front end. Stays clean pretty much all the way up the dial.
    I have a non-reverb that I use for bar gigs all the time. Perfect size and volume. It really benefited from speaker change. Put a Rajin' Cajun in mine and it does the job.
     
  5. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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  6. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    ^nice spy skills!

    looks very good! and the price is on the lower end of what i see them go for
     
  7. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    Check and see if the power cable has been updated to a 3 prong.

    Ask if the caps have been replaced, if not check with your local amp guy and ask what he charges for a cap job. You'll need one if it hasn't been done.

    Check into what everyone else has said.
     
  8. stantonmanton

    stantonmanton Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the responses everyone. If anything, this seems like a pretty good investment. I was initially interested in getting a vintage Champ of some kind, since the wattage is more on my level. However, after seeing this deal I might have to jump on it.

    Does anyone else have anything to add to FMA's comments about the difference between the reverb and non-reverb models? It is def not a dealbreaker for me unless there are some other noticable differences.
     
  9. twintwelve

    twintwelve Tele-Afflicted

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    Shoot-buy it now, you can't lose at that price. If you don't like it, sell it on the 'bay for $750, or send it to muchxs and let him add $250 worth of whupazz to it.
     
  10. twintwelve

    twintwelve Tele-Afflicted

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    The PR has an extra gain stage, is louder, and breaks up earlier. A PR on 6 is really starting to grind and cook, a Princeton is clean at that volume-both are killer amps.
     
  11. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    The Princeton Reverb is a very popular amp right now due to its small size and usefulness.

    The non- reverb Princeton is less popular. Arguably Fender's '60s voicing sounds little dry without reverb.

    But... Champs don't have reverb. This one is more amp for the same money compared to a Champ.

    It came with a three prong cord.

    The filter caps should be o.k. if the amp was used frequently. It's no more or no less worry than a Champ which uses mostly similar parts.
     
  12. joeford

    joeford Friend of Leo's

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    i think more and more people will migrate to the non-verbs when they get a princeton reverb and realize that those gorgeous cleans stop abruptly at about 6 on the dial. especially those who insist on trying to gig with a 12 watt amp...

    like muchxs said, its double the watts of a champ without doubling the price. hard to lose when you think of it like that. although, by the same logic... a twin reverb should be a steal at $4000 haha. the princeton has killer cleans at low volumes... its my bedroom amp of choice
     
  13. TDPRI

    TDPRI Retired

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    I keep seeing folks in this thread talk about a PR having more gain than a Princeton. I've always been told that the Princeton has more gain.

    I've been told that they have the same 2-tube preamp, but that on the PR 1/2 of one pre-amp tube is used for the Reverb section. So, a Princeton actually has more gain because 100% of the pre-amp tubes are providing the gain.

    Is this not so?
     
  14. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I'm not sure but it may be that on the Princeton, the other half of the 12AX7 is not being used, so less gain compared to the Princeton Reverb.
    I know some of the old Bassman heads are like that too, a popular mod is to use that extra half of the preamp tube for added gain.
     
  15. kromanomo

    kromanomo Tele-Afflicted

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    I would have bought it already.
     
  16. Telenut62

    Telenut62 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Definitely, Princeton's are $750-$850 on evil-bay....Reverbs a grand....60's Princeton's and Tweeds over 2G's.
     
  17. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    The nonverb has two preamp tubes and the PR has four. There isn't a triode that's not being used. You could add a tube for a gain stage if that's your thing. You can loose the trem and rewire that triode.
    But I think a better plan would be to rewire it like a 6g2 Princeton.
     
  18. Warm Gums

    Warm Gums Friend of Leo's

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    Had one paid $300 or so @10 years ago, so yea fair price, It's a very different amp than a Champ or PR, as mentioned pretty much clean all they way up, not much louder (or even as loud ) as a Champ, but where the Champ would be snarling, this will be sitting there pumping out cleans at a "civilized" volume, at first I thought mine was broken..
    Good amp for gigs where you need to sit rhythm work in the mix, Pretty sure Jim Campilongo switched to one from a PR for the Nora Jones gig at one point for just that reason. Run a small board in front of it (Tuner, Compressor, OD, delay or 'verb) and you can cover a lot of ground. Not the original speaker BTW thats a current Fender/Eminence jobby which is probably an improvement.
     
  19. FMA

    FMA Poster Extraordinaire

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    For me, that's what makes this amp useful. With an efficient speaker, I can get the clean being overwhelming.
    For reverb, I use a Tech 21 Boost RVB, which sounds nice and springy and has a boost function that I set to hit the pre-amp with a little more gain. I have used it without 'verb and it still sounds great, that nice Fender clean in spades.
    Again, it's a clean machine and the clean tone, at least to my ears, is very nice. And non-reverbs can be picked up a lot cheaper than reverbs.
    And as someone else mentioned, make sure to take into account having a tech go over it and see whether it needs any maintenance. I got mine from a well-known amp tech in this area and it was good to go.
     
  20. stantonmanton

    stantonmanton Tele-Meister

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    I am going to try my hardest to check it out after work tomorrow and hopefully buy it.

    Here are some answers from the seller for a few questions I had:

    What year was the amp made?
    Not sure of the year. It says 71 on the back plate but I was told that doesn't mean the year it was made.

    What is the serial number?
    s/n: A 17200 stamped on the back of the chassis

    What tubes are currently in it?
    2 JJ 6V6's, 1 JJ 12AX7 and 1 Chinese tube purchased not too long ago and barely played, the big tube I left alone.

    Did the speaker ever get replaced?
    I changed out the speaker and was planning on selling the original on ebay.

    Did you buy this used or new?
    I bought the amp on ebay a couple of years ago.


    Let me know what yall think. Thanks guys!
     
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