Need pre-purchase guidance on an early 70s PR

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by OzShadow, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. OzShadow

    OzShadow Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    My search is narrowing down to get a tube amp. My last one was many years ago - an old Silvertone that blew almost as soon as I got it.

    The current prospect is an early 70s silverface Princeton Reverb. It's at a local reputable shop, reviewed by their tech, and supposedly does not need any repairs. No foot switch and it appears to be fairly original.

    What should I focus on to confirm it is in as represented condition, ready to play, aside from just playing it. I've read about turning the volume up for noise, and testing all knobs for crackling.

    What is a fair price point for one of these, assuming it is in ready to play condition? They are at $1200 and I'm thinking $1k max.

    Thank you in advance.

    EDIT ******* - sold faster than I could get there
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  2. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    They are pretty high lately. Check and make sure the transformers are original, not that it matters much for playing but it does for value. Check sold ones on Ebay in similar condition for real value.
     
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  3. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Meister

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    If the price is high I'd also want to check the parts. A local place here had a great looking blonde amp and cab and insisted it was all original, but I found new caps in it (not a problem!), a 70s PT, and maybe the wrong speakers. It's not necessarily a matter of sound or reliability but for vintage stuff the price has to reflect the originality and condition.
     
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  4. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    There are sales of SF on Ebay as low as $600 for local pickup only. But also sales of $1200. hard to figure. I dont think you are getting hurt at $1000, but you might find a better deal at auction if you look around.
     
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  5. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    That sure looks clean and sweet!
    Have you played it? If possible, I'd ask to have my own tech look at it and judge originality.
    A "reputable" shop once sold me an "original condition" BF Bandmaster. OT went out several months later, and the guy repairing it found all kinds of "mods" in it.....nothing that couldn't be corrected, and I LOVED the amp, but it just wasn't as "original" as it had been represented.
     
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  6. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Afflicted

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    If it is in good shape the price doesn’t scare me that bad considering what they’re going for lately, that I’ve seen at least. To know it’s really “ready to go”, I’d check the cap can to make sure it’s been replaced, I’d wanna see the inside to see if anybody’s monkeyed around in there, and check the e caps in there. I’d prolly ask to have my tech look it over.

    To verify value I’d wanna check the tranny numbers, speaker codes, make sure everything matches up to the determined age. Looks like a pretty clean amp. Those are desert island amps to a lot of people, good luck!
     
  7. OzShadow

    OzShadow Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    TOO LATE - sold before I could get over there today. THANKS ALL!
     
  8. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    For future reference when you come across something else, "reviewed by their tech" is a meaningless phrase. Ask for either a bill showing what service has been done or pictures of the insides so you can see it for yourself. "All original" isn't a good thing in a 40+ year old amp.
     
  9. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    recent 2 amps

    73 pro Reverb Weber f150's all stock $625
    74 Super all stock except MV removed out of circuit Jupiter 10c's $795

    The Silverface's are at great prices.. had to drive for both but so worth..tech went over both, tossed him $100
    Grab these things up..built right..sound right..easy for techs to mod to your tastes...the 74 Super with the mid knob is amazing
     
  10. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    If you're not in a hurry, I'd look for random lower priced vintage amps, like the ones with no grill clothe or a damaged cab. These amps are easy to refurbish. That is, unless you are planning to re-sell for a profit. I have pristine old amps, and some real basket cases, too. The fixer-uppers sound just as good and were usually about half the price or less than the excellent condition versions. Collector's amps are such a pain. Beaters, the tech can just use whatever parts will work, and what will get you the best sound, and you don't have so much invested up front, so when it's time to repair or maintain them, you have some dough left over.
     
  11. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Play the RI’s at GC before you look for another vintage one. Just as sonic guinea pigs.

    Make sure the flubby bass/mid scoop thing is what you want.
     
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  12. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Kick the tyres and light the fires. The good thing about a PR is - there's not a lot to go wrong with one as long as it's working, got reverb and tremolo to start with. Buy it as long as the cosmetics are good. They're like a small block Chevy. Easy to work on and fix.

    I don't know where you are in the country but there's good guys in the major states who can turn one around inside a day with fresh caps, serviced and good to go at moderate prices - less that $200 including biased power tubes if needed. The cap can is the biggest challenge in one. The rest is Silverface Fender and a complete doddle.
     
  13. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    It's already been said but I'll say it again.
    Never trust a seller, no matter if it's a guy off Craigslist or a music store that supposedly knows this stuff.
    Another one will come up sooner or later.

    With any old amp you've got to have fresh filter caps. On a Princeton people tend not to do those because of the cap can. Seriously easy job with the right soldering iron, (an effing BIG one) a Royal pain without it. So they'll leave them and the amp can seem fine, no odd noises, no humming and whatever. Maybe they even checkout fine for capacitance with the tech's Fluke multi meter. (caps leaking stuff almost always read fine for capacitance too)
    Trouble is the old filters are weak and will make the bass fart out. Do that on a Twin Reverb and you'll probably never notice because you seldom get TR breathing hard.
    With a PR you will get it breathing hard and it'll fart out. The next thing that happens is the speaker gets blamed and swapped out. Often, since most guys play at home is a more efficient speaker "fixes" it. Exept it doesn't fix it, the extra volume just keeps it turned down enough to get out of the fart zone.
    Of course we all know PRs do get farty at some point, that's just going to happen with those little transformers. However a healthy one is pretty loud by that point, louder than you can play in most houses and loud enough to gig a lot of small joints these days. Put a Mic on a PR and you can play anywhere, if you're a real pro gigger use a monitor.
    My own PR is a 1964 with an early 70s CTS alnico, just a fantastic little amp. It gets used more than anything I've got when I go out.
    That amp maybe the same one I gave away about 1985 when nobody wanted the damned little things. :)

    Hopefully another one pops up!
     
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  14. agogetr

    agogetr Tele-Meister

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    yes you really have to go by your ear with these amps. the tolex was paper thin you breath on it and it tears.and cabinets would fall apart. however the actual amps sounded great with all of the things cbs did to screw them up suposedly. amps age and all sound different to a degree. great cleans for sure with these.
     
  15. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    What @corliss1 and @BobbyZ said -

    That is an absolutely meaningless phrase. And I disagree with @agogetr about using your ears -

    An amp with original filter caps may sound great but blow without warning. "Sound testing" an amp in unknown condition is a dangerous thing to do for the amp's health - I've had customers stuck with an amp because it blew when they were testing it, the owner blamed it on "you didn't let it warm up enough" or some other reason - so they paid the asking price, PLUS the cost of full service, PLUS the cost of a new power transformer or whatever else was damaged.

    You can't tell ANYTHING about condition by sound. An amp can sound great with caps about to blow, or sound like crap because of one preamp tube.

    Don't buy a vintage amp unless 1) you do your own service (or have someone with you) and can look at the chassis, and/or 2) you add $150-500 to your purchase budget (lower number for filter cap replacement and basic service; higher amounts depending on the amp and number/type of tubes that need replacement. AND factor that into the asking price.

    9 out of 10 newly-purchased vintage tube amps brought to me to either troubleshoot or just for someone to show off have never been serviced, were partially (or badly) or are WAY out of date. Very few sellers know amps need regular service, and most techs do work that's requested except for regular customers whose amps they keep in good shape for gigging.

    But "walk ins" with working amps and old caps don't automatically get cap jobs, usually. You have to ASK. Because most unknowing customers will walk out the door when told their power tube replacement also includes $150 in filter and bias cap replacement (of 50 year old caps). They've never heard of such a thing, and think they're being fleeced. Because 90+% of players do not read forums like this one, or technical books/articles and have no clue.

    But some of us won't do partial work. We explain what's needed and why. Hand them a written estimate. Then it's their choice. However, we won't just replace the tubes. Or even SELL them the tubes.

    It does the client a disservice to do bad work and/or have them leave misinformed. Or uninformed.
     
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  16. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    @Silverface +1. I've turned down work "because it only is making this one noise" or "only needs a power cord" or "just needs a tube update." If the power supply isn't happy I can't guarantee any of the rest of the amp to work properly.
     
  17. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    IMO, buying a vintage amp is like buying a used car from a private party ... get a mechanic to look at it (if you aren't a professional mechanic), and still be prepared to put money into unforeseen repairs.
     
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  18. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    ^^^^^THIS!!!!

    Never expressed better.
     
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  19. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    @Silverface explained perfectly how "Joe Average" has zero idea about what needs to be done on a vintage amp. So if you're working on other people's amps you have to explain it all to them. Most times they think it's "just tubes" and often no or darn few tubes actually get replaced.

    In old car terms things like electrolytics are like brake parts. You buy something like my 66 Volvo wagon and it stops when you hit the brakes so it's all good. But is it? There's a mix of OEM parts and replacement parts that nobody knows the age of. You've got rubber parts that are rotting away and steel lines rusting. One little part looses it and you're down to the parking/emergency brake, if that works. A dual circuit brake system is a little better but not much. (I can tell you that from personal experience)
    I don't work on other people's cars anymore but I'd imagine it's the same thing. Having to explain to a customer you want him to spend money replacing parts that are working. Before they fail and bad things happen.
    Fortunately with amps the worst case is a release of magic smoke, fried parts and likely turning a power transformer into a paper weight.
    The car thing can be deadly. Hopefully just for the deer the guy slammed the brakes to avoid.
    Too damned many deer here anyway. :)
     
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