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The Fender Princeton (non-reverb) Thread

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by chamberpop, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. Columbus

    Columbus Tele-Meister

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    Thought it might be worth mentioning that there's a '64 Princeton on Ebay right now that looks like it's in really good shape going for $800 OBO. Somebody should snatch that up.
     
  2. vanguard

    vanguard Friend of Leo's

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    i don't think many will argue against the brown princeton circuit being much better than the blackface one. if it lacks bass, you want a bassier speaker.
     
  3. chamberpop

    chamberpop Tele-Meister

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    I am bumping this as a source of information to those discussing these models in a more recent thread. Hope some find it valuable.

    regards,
    c-pop
     
  4. pozzy

    pozzy NEW MEMBER!

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    Hi everyone!

    I'm a new entry, i think your forum is very interesting and i would like ask you a suggestion about a Princeton Blackface 1964 with white knobs.
    The circuit is a 6G2 and the serial number starts with a "P",
    tubes Motorola and RCA model.

    Someone told me that this is a special amp, a transition between the brownface
    and blackface, and this circuit gives a warm sound.

    May you give me your opinion about it?
    Please, condiser thati love the BLUES!
    I have the possibility to buy it at the price is 1.200 $.

    Thanks,
    Paul (Italy)
     
  5. wierdOne

    wierdOne Tele-Holic

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    well..... I'm dragging this thread up again... because I too have just had an incredible Princeton encounter...

    in the past, i've been over zealous on the forum with my amp experiences.. so I will attempt to not be as much of a walking infomercial as I have been... although with the plethora of high end amp makers I have the pleasure of living near, it's rather hard not to be enthusiastic about their products...

    This is a long story but it has a point in the end:

    On Saturday I drove up to Montgomery Alabama to meet with Sam Smith and try out his new amps.... I'm waiting on a new 25 watt head, and just sold my original smith 4X10 combo due to it's size and not needing a huge combo at all my gigs... So... Sam took me to one of his clients house and we played through quite a few amps... Of course we played a few CS-25 combos.. absolutely stunning... the tone controlling options are amazing on the amp... It's like a deluxe reverb meets trainwreck..... i've raved about them before, and I'll stop there... then i tried a 66 fender pro that was rebuilt by George Allesandro... that too was a VERY good amp...... I also played a new Smith CS-10... VERY cool little amp... tons of tone controlling features... Sam's amps remind me greatly of John Landgraffs amps... VERY versatile, and lots of tonal options...... after a long saturday playing amps and guitars.... (VERY cool guitars)... I returned to Pensacola with excitement over the new Smith 25 watt head coming my way....

    on the drive back, John Landgraff calls me telling me that he's thinking about building an amp based off of the blackface Fender Deluxe reverb circuit.. but with his own tone shaping modifications... If you've never seen one of his 50 watt heads, it's got more knobs and switches than the space shuttle cockpit.... I honestly believe that you can coax more distinctly different tones out of a Landgraff 50 watt head than you can any Line 6 modeling amp... seriously.... So.. I can only imagine what his deluxe reverb is going to have in it...

    So... Today... I walk into Blues Angel Music to kill some time... They have this sweet 67 deluxe reverb that landgraff rebuilt that I wanted to play... so.... i was playing it... but... for 2799.00, that's all I was thinking about doing.... then... one of the employees walks over to me and we start talking about the amp... he looks at me and says, "you know, that's a lawyers amp..."... I laughed and agreed... we discussed how we'd be REALLY worried to take an older amp like that out on a gig... afraid it'd break down... then we walked over to the corner where they keep all the Rick Hayes amps (Vintage sound)... I've played through all of them before, and they just don't do anything for me... although i've got friends who swear by them.... anyways.. i really didn't want to plug into any of those amps... then I saw a little pine box with one 12" speaker and two knobs on top... One knob was labeled Volume the other labeled Tone.... I'd seen it before....That amp has been in Blues Angel for a while.... I never plugged into it because I (like every other guitar player in my area) didn't think anything of it because it only had one tone control, it didn't have any reverb, it was small, and (sadly) it didn't have a familiar name on it...... but... i decided that i'd give it a try... I literally plugged up a stock MIM tele and powered up the amp.... I turned the volume to 5.... tone at 5.... It sounded great.... I liked it alot... but... it's such a small amp... i assumed that there's no way it'd have enough headroom to play with a band.... and it's gotta break up at a low volume...... well.. i turned it up a bit... it played and sounded great... turned it up a bit more... awesome.... VERY musical... no ear splitting tones..

    I finally ended up with both Volume and Tone cranked and controlling the dynamics with my picking and volume/tone knobs on the guitar.... it was absolutely awesome.... it took everything I could throw at it... everything..

    I asked who made the amp because it was in a Bob Burt cabinet (Bob Burt is a famous local guitar cabinet maker).... Turns out... Bob Burt actually built the entire amp.... I called him to ask him about the amp... it's a 5f2 circuit with a couple of tweaks... but... for all intents and purposes... it's a Princeton amp with a 12" speaker, one volume pot, and one tone pot... The 12 inch speaker gives it TONS of headroom.... and it's a great sounding amp with a tele.... although Bob voiced it for a strat....

    Needless to say.... Took some of the money that i sold my smith amp for, coupled that with some store credit... and walked out of the guitar store with a BAD TO THE BONE amplifier that I can play at any local gig..... I don't want to say how much I paid, but... it was ALOT less than what Bob charges to make a new one....... simple... effective.... and it's easy to haul to and fro my gigs..

    I guess the moral of the story is:

    Smith and Landgraff are doing VERY cool things with their amplifiers... they both are giving the player a TON of choices to dial in whatever tone they would like... Sam Smith is a Telecaster player who wanted to design an incredibly affordable amp that pro/semi/non-pro Tele players could use on any gig... Basically a 25 watt amp based on the deluxe reverb with huge balls and tons of headroom....... he gives you the blackface/tweed options with his fixed/ cathode bias switches and some other tone shaping options you don't normally find on a handwired tube amp...... landgraff is a retired electrician (50 years experience) who played guitar and started making pedals and repairing amps on the side... he took everything he learned about electronics and amp repair and designed an amp that he could get all the tones from the 60's-90's on.... he does everything possible to allow you to shape your tone... i wish there was a picture on the internet to show you just how utterly awe inspiring his quality of work is.... but... if you want one, you're going to have to take a second mortgage on your house... For 2 years he was my neighbor, so... I was lucky enough to play on many of his 50 watt works of art...

    Bob Burt is a carpenter. Until recently, I was only aware of him making cabinets. (now i know he builds amps and pedals too)... I assume he got interested in amp building while he was making high end custom cabinets for John Landgraff, Heritage amps, Fuchs, Fargon, and Dr. Z.. etc..... so... he tried his hand at it... He makes a simple amp... Volume knob... Tone knob... it just sounds great.... I'm sure that some would argue that a more experienced amp builder could make this amp sound alot better by tweaking this capacitor, or using that power tranny..... perhaps it's true.... but.. when I plug into it.... it just feels right..... it's truly an amazing amplifier... here's his webpage describing the amps:

    bob burt cabinets

    Because of my self professed ignorance, I'm not really familiar with Princetons.. so I can't compare this amp to the rest.... but I wholeheartedly believe that a 5f2 circuit Princeton with a 12" speaker (if they're anything like this amp) will hold it's own on the vast majority of gigs most of us (non/semi-pro's) will ever have to play. If it's not loud enough, just slap a mic in front of it.. or tell the drummer to learn some "stick control".

    Ampmakers like Fuchs, Landgraff, Smith, heck even Dumble himself give you a ton of options to shape your tone... That's the trend today.... if you're an amp maker, you've got to cater to a generation of players that want a CRAPLOAD of tonal options..... the princeton (clone), on the other hand is amazingly simple... and i think that's where the beauty lies...

    it's like race cars... Formula one cars are INCREDIBLY complex machines... it takes an entire team to drive one... heck... for awhile Honda had a team of people, WHILE THE RACE WAS BEING RUN, monitoring and making changes remotely on the tire pressure, suspension stiffness, oil pressure, etc...... after winning every race for, what seemed like forever, they were forced to race like everyone else...

    most of us would LOVE to drive a formula one car... but they're incredibly expensive/complex machines...

    the princeton is like an old beat up corvette... most of us could probably afford to get into one... it's got two axles and a huge motor.... that's it... it does one thing well.... and boy.... does it do it well... :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  6. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Wow ... I ... thought... I ... did... this... a lot.
    But seriously, as I've mentioned around here before, I have a serious guilt trip about modding an old Blackface Princeton above and beyond the call of sanity. With good tubes and an efficient 10" speaker, the tone of a BF Princeton approaches perfection- for what it is. If that's not the sound you're looking for, you're really looking for a different amp.
    A Blues Jr. does loud and dirty in a small package, and experimenting on them can only improve them. BF Princetons, on the other hand, are an endangered species, altering them beyond maintenance borders on irresponsible conduct, much like putting a cheesy faux Rolls-Royce front end on a '63 VW Bug, only worse.
     
    voxworld likes this.
  7. wierdOne

    wierdOne Tele-Holic

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    yeah... i do that alot... don't... know... why...

    I type alot... computer programming... :)

    anyways... Scratch my earlier post... it's a great amp.... with lots of head room... if you're the only one playing.... drummer/bass player... not enough headroom.

    Just got out of band practice... need a bigger amp... man. I wish that i could have a deluxe reverb with two knobs.. one volume and one tone... I loved the simplicity of that amp.. just need more headroom.. :D
     
  8. DW18

    DW18 TDPRI Member

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    I bought this Princeton non-reverb for $250.00. When I tried out the Princeton I wasn’t too impressed, but I had read that with a little work, the Princeton could have a very nice clean sound at low volume for playing around the house so I bought it. This Princeton was real grungy and dirty, so I took everything totally apart for cleaning and inspection. While I had the chassis out I cleaned what I could, used a compressor carefully blowing a ton of dust out of the amp, and after discharging the caps, tightened the tube socket pins. I also cleaned all the grunge off the tubes as well checking the tube pins for rust or corrosion. I found that it had 2 - GE 6v6’s, one RCA 12ax7 and one Ei 12ax7. I know I need a 7025 in the Princeton, but the Ei 12ax7 seems to work fine in that position. After a few hours of cleaning, I had the grill cloth looking better and the knobs and Tolex actually has a bit of a shine to it. I carefully put everything back together and plugged in my Guild S-100. I don’t know what I did, but the amp seemed much, much better than when I tried it out before. It now had more volume, no hum, and it was more defined and cleaner. I started to think about changing the speaker. The original is an Oxford and is the weakest part of the amp. Just for kicks, I decided to make and use a long speaker extension cable and hook up the 12” Jensen C12K that is in my DRRI. The DRRI sounds best when I can turn it up to 6 – 7 but I can’t do that often at home when everyone is there. I need a good sounding, lower power amp for home use, like the Princeton.

    Wow, holy cow, what a change that Jensen made!!! I know that a lot of people end up putting 12-inch speakers in their Princeton amps and now I know why. If you have an older all original 60’s Princeton, then stick with something like a 10” Rajun Cajun. Keep the old speaker in case someday you sell it to someone who wants only an all-original un modified amp. My 70 something Princeton may not be much sought after so I didn’t think twice about enlarging the particleboard face to accommodate the Jensen. For me it is now a great amp and has the tone I like in a small package, I think I’ll keep it! Here are the picture links.

    http://s130.photobucket.com/albums/p259/7740/?action=view&current=PrincetonFront.jpg

    http://s130.photobucket.com/albums/p259/7740/?action=view&current=PrincetonBack.jpg

    http://s130.photobucket.com/albums/p259/7740/?action=view&current=PrincetonTagBoard.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2009
  9. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nice score and welcome to the TDPRI, DW! :D

    BTW, a 7025 is just a low-noise 12AX7. Modern-production tubes will carry either or both designations.

    - Scott
     
  10. gionnio

    gionnio Tele-Meister

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  11. tomfarnan

    tomfarnan Tele-Meister

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    thanks for this thread. I bought a '66 bf princeton, nr, about a month ago (which I'm still waiting on conversion to 240V for - currently running on a too small crappy step down transformer). Lovely little amp, and a sweet piece of guitar history I thought I'd never own.

    I had been wondering about trading across to a silverface reverb model but now I'll definitely hold onto it.

    Cheers!
     
  12. DW18

    DW18 TDPRI Member

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    Another bump for the non-reverb thread! I am trying to figure out the real date that this Princeton non-reverb amp was made. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I have visited the various sites that have Fender dating information and I am still unsure of what I really have. I was thinking it was made between 1974 – 76, but the serial number and transformer codes remain a mystery to me.
    The rear of the chassis is stamped with A (single space here) 17819 and centered under the “Made in U.S.A.” is the number “71”. The main power transformer has CSA 827 EIA 606-737. According to what I have read here and other places, it was made the 37th week of 1977. If you look closely at the transformer wiring, you can see it was repaired or replaced at some point in its life. The heat shrink tubing is nicely done so the original transformer was blown and replaced with this one. Maybe it was sent out and repaired and then replaced. The output transformer has 022913-606-3-46 stamped on it. Would that indicate that it was made the 46th week of 1973? There is a faint blue stamp on the side of the chassis that reads “T-4”. The amp came with a 10” Oxford with a tag # of - 023010 465420 10J4-5B and blue Fender decal on back of the magnet.

    The tube chart is missing the info regarding the circuit number but it shows the factory tubes that it shipped with when it was made. I have a 5U4 rectifier tube and I think they were used in later model Princeton amps. The number “71” seen under the made in U.S.A. is confusing. The other Silverface Princeton’s I have seen never have a number under it. Is it possible the chassis is from 1971, has a rebuilt or replaced power transformer from 1977, and an output transformer from 1973 with the orange thread grill from 1975 or later? Any help in solving my Princeton mystery would be great!

    As an aside, the new Jensen C12K arrived, see my earlier post, and is now in the Princeton. The other C12K is back in the DRRI where it belongs. Just for kicks, I hooked up the DRRI speaker to the external speaker jack on the Princeton. With both 12’s going last night, I really, really liked it!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. NKnirk

    NKnirk TDPRI Member

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    I recently bought a 77 sf princeton off of ebay (non-working). It was missing a fuse, the speaker, speaker wire, and tubes. replaced all of those and it is sounds great. Can't wait to do a gig with it. I bought the recommended Weber speaker (10f150 i think) for princetons and JJ 6v6's. In all, I have about $500 bucks into it and it was a fun project.
     
  14. eddiewagner

    eddiewagner Poster Extraordinaire

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    my sf 74 princeton is in the hands of a good tech right now and gets a lot of care plus a 220 volts conversion. can´t wait to get ot back. and then i will see, if i find a good 1x12" cab for it.
     
  15. unzari

    unzari Tele-Meister

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    '70 or '72 SF Princeton

    Love this thread!!

    Last October I picked up a SF Princeton. At some point in its life the hole in the speaker baffle had been enlarged to fit a Celestion G12L-35.

    According to where I got it, the amp is from 1972, but according to the serial number info on this site it might be a 1970. Unfortunately, there's no tube chart in the cabinet.

    It doesn't really matter whether it's a '70 or a '72, I guess. All I know is that it sounds amazing. With the bass at 4-5 and the treble at 3-5 its clean tones are something to hear, almost ethereal. Like baby bear's porridge, not too hot, not too cold (although if I crank up the treble the amp can get very, well, trebly!)

    As I turn up the volume it begins to get throaty at 6. Fully dimed, the amp breaks up incredibly with a warm and punchy bottom that sounds amazing, although it can get a little flubby if playing a humbucker with the guitar's tone turned all the way down. With the treble turned up and the volume at ten crisply played barre chords sound close to early Kinks or even Who (which is a good thing imho!) Yet even with the volume at 10 it will play cleanly with very light picking. All in all, definitely more than a one trick pony, especially when it takes pedals so well.

    One question, though: it came with two 6V6s, along with the other tubes. As a complete tube noob, what is the difference between 6v6s and 6L6s?
     
  16. brittwin

    brittwin Tele-Meister

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    I recently scored a near mint '76 Fender Princeton Non-reverb with original speaker. I took the original speaker out to store and installed an Eminence Ragin' Cajun. This amp has to have the cleanest cleans I have ever heard in my life.
     

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  17. Spybeach007

    Spybeach007 TDPRI Member

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    I have (among other fender tube amps) a 1970 SF Princeton nr and a 1976 SF Princeton nr.
    These are about the sweetest clean sounding bell tone chimey tube amps I have ever heard.
    I'm not really into amps that distort..unless I use one of my champs for some stones.
    I really appreciate the bell-tone clean of an amp. I also own a pair of Fender '75's that are sweet clean but loud as hell.
    Running a boss reverb stereo pedal with the two princetons is so sweet of a sound it seems magical.
    At first I would never play an amp without reverb on principle. But these amps sound so good I dont even notice when I play them without reverb...thats how good they sound. I think amps made with reverb kind of need the verb on but these sound great without it.
    The 70 has thin wiring and chocolate drop caps and is a little ruder sounding but sexy as hell. The 76 is more "stereo-ish" sounding...less rude...it has blue caps...they compliment each other very nicely and sound great on their own. I put a Jensen alnico 35 watt speaker in the 76 and A jensen 35 watt ceramic in the 70.
    I hear a lot of hype about rajin cajin..never heard one but I think any good speaker will do...and I love alnico's.
    These amps are very simple in design and techs love them for that.
    If for any reason you have one and it doesnt chime out beautiful notes then get it tuned up!
    I have nothing but praise for these amplifiers and the fact you can dime them and still be clean is so much more important to me than an amp that breaks up at 5.
    Just my opinion as I like surf music and other clean moody music and can always add an OD pedal. I highly recommend these amps and also I put gz34 rect tubes in mine to get a little more oomph. One came with a 5y3gt (champ tube) as the rectifier and man did it sound sweet with lots of sag but it wasnt made for the amp and cut the volume some.
    The gz34's are perfectly fine. Fender switched on the schematic in the late 60's due to the unavailability of the gz34 to the 5u4gb but the gz34'S are around now and give the amp balls. I found the 5u4gb to be a bit harsh...maybe its my imagination.

    But still...amazingly I find myself playing without the verb and really digging it. Still hard for me to believe. The tremolo is very sweet also. It varies the tube bias to produce the effect rather than an optic switch. This produces a very mellow tone. I hear it can wear out the power tunes faster though...but don't quote me on that as i just heard it.
    It's still amazing to me that Leo Fender didn't even play guitar? He sure knew what a good tone was on all his amps.
    I'm sure he had help though. Two thumbs way up for the Princeton non-verb!!! :eek::p
     

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  18. Spybeach007

    Spybeach007 TDPRI Member

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    [/QOUTE]One question, though: it came with two 6V6s, along with the other tubes. As a complete tube noob, what is the difference between 6v6s and 6L6s?[/QUOTE]

    6L6's are for larger amps (twins, pro's) Do not use them in a Princeton or you will damage your amp.
    6v6's are less power and are loved for their sweet sound and should be used as the tube chart says. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Hinck

    Hinck TDPRI Member

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    Greetings, I'm new here. First post etc.
    I have a number of 60's Fender amps but recently picked up a '66 Princeton for short money and love the sound up until about 5-6. Once I hit the 7-10 settings the amp breaks up in a bad way, mostly on anything below an open D. The breakup is very farty, no defintion. The amp is super clean and the electrolytics were just replaced, the speaker is a non-original Fender blue label 10".
    Does anyone have any ideas on how to keep it clean or keep the breakup fender smooth when the amp is dimed? I have a set of NOS tubes on the way and a Weber 12F150 I could pop in.
    thanks
    Dave
     
  20. bryan83

    bryan83 Tele-Meister

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    I recently picked up a '64 Princeton 6G2. I'm not one for describing tones but it's an amazing little amp. Had it converted to a grounded AC cable and ordered a Weber 10F100. It didn't come with the original speaker, sounds nice but on it's way out. I really love this amp, it's my first vintage amp. The reissues just weren't doing it for me anymore.

    [​IMG]
     
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