Small Tube "Fender" Amplifier Indecision.

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by Alaska Mike, Jun 1, 2021.

  1. wineocaster

    wineocaster TDPRI Member

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    I just want to give a nod to the ‘65 Princeton RI. It really is a great amp although it has a PCB. I own both the ‘65 and a ‘64 Hand Wired and I have to say the ‘65 sounds really good at half the price. Don’t get me wrong the ‘64 sounds incredible but bang for your buck at half the cost, the ‘65 is a winner in my books. The ‘64 is louder with a bit more headroom and a bit more touch sensitivity but I would say the ‘65 gets you 90% of the way there at least. I have had my ‘65 for about 8 years now and have gigged with it, it has never let me down. In fact, once COVID is done and we are able to gig again I still think I would take the ‘65 if I was uncertain of the crowd.

    This is my long winded way to say if you can overlook the PCB board the ‘65 PRRI is a great little amp.
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  2. benderb9

    benderb9 Tele-Afflicted

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    Just got in my MojoTone replacement cab for a SF Princeton (non-verb) yesterday. Had it rebuilt 3 years ago and finally started playing it. I'd forgotten how cool an amp it is but the cab has had better days. It currently has a Celestion G12 70th Anniversary 30 watt speaker in it (behind a 10" baffle hole) which goes into the 12" baffle board in the new cab. Picked up some 14" tilt back legs, blue pilot jewel and Fender logo for it too. MojoTone makes some great stuff, I've always been happy with their pick ups and what not I've gotten from them, this cab is outstanding and light too. Slate Gray with Silver/White/Blue grill. I think MojoTone also supply StewMac their amp kits.

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  3. MyLittleEye

    MyLittleEye TDPRI Member

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    Sorted!

    I do like the idea of putting together a tube amp as a project - I understand the champ is about as simple as it gets so that's the one on my own to-do list.

    Everything that's been said about keeping things simple resonates with me.
    I embraced multi effect pedal/units for a while but I've realised as I get older that there's a creative compromise between exploring the possibilities of limited resources and the creative inertia that can result from option overload. I found with my previous modelling amp that I would struggle to find a 'best' tone and that once I did settle on one I'd still have a sense that the amp felt 'held back' in some way.

    I would recommend still looking out for the unpretentious but well regarded 15r Pathfinder.
    I do believe I may have found my forever-amp there.

     
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  4. Alaska Mike

    Alaska Mike TDPRI Member

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    You know, I think PCBs are fine in a lot of applications. I doubt I could tell the difference and a true apples-to-apples comparison (same cabinet/speaker). Reliable and consistent results across multiple amps. Lot going for them. If Fender had not integrated the front panel controls into them and used higher-quality components throughout, I would have probably liked the '65 and '68 better. Not saying I might not pick one up in the future if used prices drop to a reasonable level. In the meantime, I'm going to sell off my Blues Jr while they're still inflated.

    I can even say that I could probably maintain a PRRI for a very long time, as long as tubes and other "consumables" are still available. I can get the PCBs on eBay now for $55, and given the number of them Fender has cranked out, I bet parts availability won't be an issue as long as tube amplifiers are still viable- even if Fender orphans them in the next few years. I'm not looking for a 50-60 year service life (as the originals have had), because I don't think that's realistic (based on exterior factors) and I won't likely be playing much when I'm past 100.

    This isn't really about much of anything other than an interesting project and an amp that will hopefully give me warm fuzzies. That's it. After shipping and the chassis mount, the project is going to be about even with the list price on a '68 PRRI from the local music store. As I mentioned before, Princetons on the used market of any vintage are rare up here and shipping from the Lower 48 is expensive. So, my options were pretty much a new '68/'65/'64 or an unbuilt kit. Built kits/custom amps (after shipping) would make that '64 appear that much more affordable. These are the economics I'm working with. YMMV.

    Since I'm not worried about resale, my time is worth nothing- it adds nothing to the cost of the project. Given the number of hours I have to fill when I'm not actively working at the radar site, this is a bargain. I'd almost pay for the opportunity to do something productive. Finding the end of the internet, eating, napping, or watching The Office reruns (or whatever) are my other options. I can only exercise so much, and my hands start cramping after a couple hours of playing. Some guys do woodworking, some guys make knives, some beachcomb... I'm going to build an amplifier. I think I can pull that off during the 71 days I'll be here next hitch, even doing one or two solder joints a day ;).

    If I like amp building, I might gut a cheap tweed solid state amp (220V) I bought in Korea decades ago and build something in that chassis. It's just been collecting dust. Just for something to do.
     
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  5. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

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    Been there...Brown Face Princeton clone for the win.

    It really is what you need by the description. You could build one if desired, but there are many great builders out there already building them so why re-invent the wheel?
     
  6. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    EMG's are not pickups that you want to use into a small amp with no headroom. Through a larger more powerful amp, they can't be beat.

    I had an EMG set in a guitar that I first bought back in the early 1990's, when loud amps were the thing. I tried that guitar into my AC10C1, and it was way too much. It would not clean up at all.
     
  7. Alaska Mike

    Alaska Mike TDPRI Member

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    Oh, the EMGs that went into the '62 are long, long gone. Ruined a great-sounding guitar because it had a little buzz. After several tries, I'm now on Cavalier Fat Lion/Fat Lion King pickups.

    And in my case, I have no need for much headroom.
     
  8. Alaska Mike

    Alaska Mike TDPRI Member

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    As far as I can recall, my early '70s silver face Princeton No-Verb cost me less than $250 (used) from a music store in the mid-'80s. Nobody wanted it because it was small and didn't even have reverb, much less distortion. Beautiful-sounding amplifier, but I traded it for a Roland Jazz Chorus 55 (not a bad sounding amp in its own right) to get reverb and a few more watts. Should have kept it, looking at how much they're going for today. I had no idea.

    This project is just a continuation of that sound financial decision-making strategy.
     
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  9. Gas4Teles

    Gas4Teles TDPRI Member

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  10. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    It is eerie how similar your post is to what I've been thinking for a while now, same wavelength I guess.

    I have been delayed in an Allen Amplification Encore kit with 6V6's by my kitchen appliances breaking down. I can't believe I only got 45 years of service out of my stove! LOL

    But, yeah, an Allen Encore looks, to me, just about perfect, and it might be worth looking at.
     
  11. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Friend of Leo's

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    Alaska Mike,

    Get someone to build you exactly what you want.
     
  12. Alaska Mike

    Alaska Mike TDPRI Member

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    I was looking hard at their kits, especially the Sweet Spot 1x12 and Encore 1x12/2x10, but the base price plus shipping kicks it up to the range where the Fender '64 starts looking good again. That said, if the MojoTone project goes well and I find I enjoyed it enough, I may look at a Allen project next and try to figure out how to get it up here cheaper.

    Where's the fun in that?

    I understand the logic of going with an experienced amplifier builder who can tailor the sound to exactly what I'm looking for. However, there seems to be a significant knowledge base on tweaks for the basic Princeton Reverb design that if I start with a relatively well-built example, I can incorporate the changes as I see fit. I gain the knowledge, experience, and satisfaction of doing it myself (well, it is a kit).

    This isn't just about the destination.
     
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  13. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

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    If you are looking for off the shelf, the Victoria Victoriette with in a 2x10 combo. The 2 - EL84 version. Reverb, vibrato and a great Princeton/Deluxe tone and low power. A little bit of Vox growl when the power section is really pushed. Amazing build quality. I’ve had one of these since they came out. It is an amazing little amplifier.
     
  14. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    @Alaska Mike - it's super fun when people don't actually read the thread, right? :D
     
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  15. Alaska Mike

    Alaska Mike TDPRI Member

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    Well, if it's good intentioned, I don't mind. Opens my minds to future possibilities for incurring debt to pass on to my children.
     
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  16. Maguchi

    Maguchi Tele-Holic

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    Tweed amps and the Tweed clone kits will give you awesome "touch of breakup" to breakup and great clean sounds, but no reverb. Some of the Tweed kits like the Vibrolux 5F11 have really good built in tremelo or vibrato. Blackface amps and Blackface clone kits will give you great reverb and tremelo, but they will not give you breakup. That is just not what Blackface amps do. They do clean and it is an amazing clean, but no breakup. You will need some kind of pedal with a Blackface. Mojotone and some other companies offer kits for 6G15 Reverb units that you can build and plug into the front end of a Tweed amp. Don't know too much about the breakup characteristics of Brownface amps and these are not as plentiful as Tweed and Blackface kits. Maybe one of the other posters here can comment on Brownfaces. There are Brownface Vibroverb kits available, but those are 40 watts with two 10" speakers and I've never really heard if these break up well. Brownface Deluxes and kits are supposed to breakup really nicely, but they have tremelo only and no reverb.

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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
  17. Don Rich Rules

    Don Rich Rules Tele-Meister

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    Small tube amp. Nothing beats a Fender Silverface Princeton Reverb.
    Big Tube amp. Fender Pro Reverb or Marshall 50 watt 1987x pre 1973.
     
  18. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Tele-Afflicted

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    Breakup and reverb are not a good mix, (IMHO).
     
  19. Maguchi

    Maguchi Tele-Holic

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    Yes, good point, I agree completely, breakup and reverb can get kind of mushy. If you like to play both clean and with breakup, you could turn up the reverb when playing clean and turn down the reverb when playing with breakup. Different songs at the same gig with the same amp may require different amounts of clean, breakup and reverb. The OP was looking for an amp with cleans, a "touch of breakup", reverb and vibrato.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
  20. Alter

    Alter Tele-Meister

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    For me your best solutions are: 70s silverface models, or modern clones of good quality. Most or the better current clones are fine, as long as they use quality components and not no name chinese ones. The clones can be had used for very low prices, and they are a joy to play (although they don't sound like the vintage older amps)..
     
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