Princeton lovers - I need your help!

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rbrcbr
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Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by rbrcbr » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:49 am

I saw the comprehensive Princeton thread recently and figured I should post here, as you guys all seem pretty big on those little amps.

I'm currently in talks with my girlfriend about us making the move to New York City. We both studied art and the scene is so much bigger there that opportunities feel boundless in comparison to Atlanta. Things have been a bit stale here and we're ready for a change and to hopefully kickstart our art careers. I just got back from a work trip up there assisting on some photo shoots and I'm convinced that it's a move worth making.

This brings me to my dilemma. We have plenty of space (and cars) in our living situation down here that having a Super Reverb has been doable. I've had it for almost 5 years and I love it. Really dig the 4x10 configuration and it just has a beautiful, balanced and chimey tone to it. But damn, it's heavy. And I haven't been playing with a band for a while now, so it's a bit excessive.

Considering that we'll have significantly less space and no cars to haul gear around in NYC, I've been considering downsizing to a Princeton/Princeton Reverb. I can carry it with one hand, bring it on the train without taking up a bunch of space, and playing it in a cramped apartment would be more reasonable than a Super Reverb. I recently had it serviced so I'm hoping I can get like $800 out of selling mine (it's a reissue).

What Princeton models do you think I should consider? I'll be playing my '62 Guild Starfire and '66 Jag through it. I've been really interested in the Chris Stapleton model because it's handwired like the old ones, and has a 12" in it, so it can get a bit louder for gigging if necessary. Also the 5 year warranty would be nice to have instead of messing with a finicky old 6g2, but I wouldn't be opposed to getting into a real brownface or blackface. I just worry it'd need more maintenance than the new one and I'd like to avoid that for a bit. I've heard the non reverb models have to be pushed harder to distort, which I'd prefer because I mostly play clean fingerstyle sort of stuff.

Is it true that the blackface models are cleaner sounding than a Brownface? What would you go for in this situation? Prices kind of seem to hover around the $1500-2k range for either.

Really, I'm open to any suggestions, especially before selling off my amp and buying one on a whim.

Cheers!

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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by brettjorg » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:34 pm

So, I have no experience with vintage or hand-wired PRs but I recently picked up a used reissue '68 Custom Princeton Reverb as an amp for home/low-volume practice and it is great. I played through a '65 Twin reissue with my band but the thing is a beast to carry around and way too loud for home. I now play through a '68 Deluxe reissue with the band which is way easier to transport but still too loud for home. I've been told that the reissues don't compare to the originals but I can say that my reissue Princeton is warm, beautiful, and a joy to play through. I'd definitely recommend it.

The only thing is I do find that it is definitely a touch bass-heavy but I just EQ it a touch different than my other Fender amps and with my Johnny Marr Jag (usually on the bridge pickup) it sounds great. A friend was looking for a first tube amp and we A/B tested the '68 Princeton and the Blues Jr and to my ear the PR was a million times better. On one hand, I'd love to A/B test the vintage/hand-wired/re-issue Princeton models to really know the difference, but on the other hand, I didn't want to spend the vintage/hand-wired price at the time so maybe ignorance is bliss. I'm curious if the Princeton could compete with the volume of a full band but I haven't tried it yet. I've been thinking of maybe using it as a second amp in a stereo rig.

Good luck with your move!

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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by Larsongs » Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:24 pm

Vintage are great! But agree about new ones being problem free & no maintenance worries..

I bought a new RI 65 Princeton Reverb about 3 years ago after deciding my Twin & 65 DRRI are too big & too loud..

I thought I'd have to switch out the speaker & tubes at least. It sounded great out of the box & left it stock. It's my most played Amp for everything including Gigs..

It doesn't really need it but I may experiment with Tubes just for the heck of it to see if there's any improvement. Speaker is great! I doubt I'll mess with that..

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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by i love sharin foo » Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:58 pm

I have two: a '62 brownface 6G2 and a '66 AA964 non-reverb

The 6G2 is never as pristine and clean as a blackface circuit. There's always at least a little grit. You get more as you crank it up, but it is really reactive to pickup output and signal strength. Cranked to 10 with a '60s Jaguar or Jazzmaster, it will give you some dirt. But play lighter and it is clean-ish. Use something with high output humbuckers like my Travis Bean, and it is like a baby Marshall when up full. It is a GREAT, GREAT amp, but if sparkle and chime are important, this probably wouldn't be the one, IMHO.

The non-reverb.. that is a different amp. The baby Twin similarity is real. It likes to be clean and does detail, sparkly, and clarity very well. Up full, it still doesn't overdrive very much. You can force it to with a booster, but you won't get a lot and it's apparent that it just isn't really meant for that. The cool upside though is that you can whack it with a booster and get a lot more volume, but still be almost perfectly clean.

My background has almost exclusively been with getting as much lowend as possible out of every set up that I use... 4x12 cabs, closed back 2x12s, 15s, etc. That said, I do not find the 10" speakers to be a hindrance at all. I think a 12" would probably put everything out of balance. They make plenty of lowend in proportion to the mid and highs.

I unfortunately have no experience with a reverb model. I do plan on building one within the next year or so though :ph34r:
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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by Unicorn Warrior » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:32 pm

I got to try a Stapleton brown princeton in a shop a few weeks ago. Didn't know what to expect. My consensus is that I liked the amp. But to buy it, I'd have to really like it considering it's price tag. The appeal to me was that it's made extremely well and small. The tone was really good, but it didn't seem versatile enough to me. There is always a character/grit to it that doesn't quite clear up. The trem is absolutely beautiful though.

I've also owned a silverface 69 princeton non-reverb. A pretty decent amp but not "lush". Was a great pedal platform and did well fantastic when pushed with pedals but lacked character on its own. Not necessarily a bad thing for what I do.

That's the extent of my princeton experience. I now play a Jc-120 and am more of a fan of the vox camp these days.

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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by marqueemoon » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:17 pm

My favorite of the reissues is the special edition blackface with the oxblood tolex/wheat grille and the 12”. It’s not so much that it has more bass. The 12” tames the high end in a pleasing way.

I played the Stapleton amp in a shop. I dug it, but the tremolo was pretty noisy. Maybe it’s the nature of the beast.

If you’re serious about taking it on the train
weight is a definite factor to consider. Things like additional tubes, reverb tank, MDF cabinet etc... can really add up if you have to lug the thing a few blocks.

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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by Shadoweclipse13 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:49 pm

marqueemoon wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:17 pm
My favorite of the reissues is the special edition blackface with the oxblood tolex/wheat grille and the 12”. It’s not so much that it has more bass. The 12” tames the high end in a pleasing way.

I played the Stapleton amp in a shop. I dug it, but the tremolo was pretty noisy. Maybe it’s the nature of the beast.

If you’re serious about taking it on the train
weight is a definite factor to consider. Things like additional tubes, reverb tank, MDF cabinet etc... can really add up if you have to lug the thing a few blocks.
That said, NYC has a ton of sidewalk, so you could probably get away with a small little trolley ;)

My thought is that, depending on the music you play, being in NYC might have more people available to play with, and you might want to hang onto the Super Reverb might be needed...
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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by Larsongs » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:38 am

;D
Shadoweclipse13 wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:49 pm
marqueemoon wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:17 pm
My favorite of the reissues is the special edition blackface with the oxblood tolex/wheat grille and the 12”. It’s not so much that it has more bass. The 12” tames the high end in a pleasing way.

I played the Stapleton amp in a shop. I dug it, but the tremolo was pretty noisy. Maybe it’s the nature of the beast.

If you’re serious about taking it on the train
weight is a definite factor to consider. Things like additional tubes, reverb tank, MDF cabinet etc... can really add up if you have to lug the thing a few blocks.
That said, NYC has a ton of sidewalk, so you could probably get away with a small little trolley ;)

My thought is that, depending on the music you play, being in NYC might have more people available to play with, and you might want to hang onto the Super Reverb might be needed...
You make a good point. He might want to wait til he moves to New York & checks out the Music Scene before making a decision...

What kind of Guitar one plays also enters into what kind of sound will come out of those little Princetons.. IMO, the Princeton Reverbs are very versatile & do most everything well in most situations... If It needs to be louder just Mic it....

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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by øøøøøøø » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:53 am

I would get a good old-fashioned black panel AA1164 Princeton Reverb. Make sure it has a good speaker, if the speaker is not original. Second choice would be a silver panel AA1164 Princeton Reverb, which is very similar.

The 6G2 is an awesome amp, but a different beast. If I could only have one, it would be the AA1164.

For lower money or something brand new: the reissue Princeton Reverb (the one with the black panel) is okay. The drip edge/"custom '68" I don't care for as much. I don't think the Celestion speaker they chose is the best match for a PR.

I like the originals much more (but, of course, they're costlier).

You're absolutely right that a Super Reverb is excessive for NYC apartment living/club gigging. Most of the time you will not be bringing your own amp to gigs here, anyway. Virtually every venue has a decent backline amp, and it won't take long before you'd rather play a mediocre amp you didn't have to carry than an exceptional amp you did.

If you mostly play "clean fingerstyle kind of stuff," I don't see headroom/volume being an issue for you in a typical NYC club, unless you're trying to situate that "clean fingerstyle kind of stuff" within a brutally loud ensemble dynamic (but I contend that would always be a challenge).

In larger rooms, sound reinforcement will help you. I'm happy with a PR up to about 500 cap if the sound reinforcement is good and the band dynamic continues to be appropriate.

Incidentally, I'm going to be making the exact opposite move (switching from Princetons to Super Reverbs in my touring rig) this year. But this has entirely everything to do with venue size (3,000-5,000) and dynamic concept (louder stage volume). I actually enjoy playing Princeton Reverbs more. I think it's an easier amp to play expressively in many ways.

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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by rbrcbr » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:31 am

Thanks everyone for your input! Sounds like an original blackface or reissue is more up my alley. I played the Stapleton recently and while it sounded really nice, I agree on the never "fully clean" thing. Definitely a bit of grit, even at lower volumes. Might also just be the DeArmonds on my starfire are so hot but that was definitely the case. I don't know if it was the room or not but even at low volumes, it was feeding back constantly with my Starfire III. Maybe just some weird resonant frequency that matched up on the guitar and amp and room but yeah, super bizarre. I did notice that it was super warm sounding, like I had to crank the tone control to get it where I wanted it. Sounded good but maybe not right for me.

I hear you guys on maybe keeping the Super until I get there, but I just don't think it's feasible to carry it around on a handtruck, as much as I'd love to keep it. Especially considering I recently had a bunch of work done - new tubes, new transformer, new reverb tank and recap job :fp: we'll see whay happens though.
øøøøøøø wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:53 am
I would get a good old-fashioned black panel AA1164 Princeton Reverb. Make sure it has a good speaker, if the speaker is not original. Second choice would be a silver panel AA1164 Princeton Reverb, which is very similar.


You're absolutely right that a Super Reverb is excessive for NYC apartment living/club gigging. Most of the time you will not be bringing your own amp to gigs here, anyway. Virtually every venue has a decent backline amp, and it won't take long before you'd rather play a mediocre amp you didn't have to carry than an exceptional amp you did.

If you mostly play "clean fingerstyle kind of stuff," I don't see headroom/volume being an issue for you in a typical NYC club, unless you're trying to situate that "clean fingerstyle kind of stuff" within a brutally loud ensemble dynamic (but I contend that would always be a challenge).

In larger rooms, sound reinforcement will help you. I'm happy with a PR up to about 500 cap if the sound reinforcement is good and the band dynamic continues to be appropriate.

Incidentally, I'm going to be making the exact opposite move (switching from Princetons to Super Reverbs in my touring rig) this year. But this has entirely everything to do with venue size (3,000-5,000) and dynamic concept (louder stage volume). I actually enjoy playing Princeton Reverbs more. I think it's an easier amp to play expressively in many ways.
Will keep this stuff in mind, thanks. Sounds like a Princeton will do just fine then for gigging. And thanks for the confirmation that a Super is excessive. Makes it easier to be okay with selling it. Just curious, since you live in New York - anywhere particular you'd recommend to check out for an amp? I've been to Retrofret and it's probably my favorite shop I've ever been to now, but a bit pricey. Also, any recommendations on practice spaces and stuff like that? Even though I'm downsizing, we might end up with roommates or neighbors who aren't okay with me playing/practicing, so just trying to keep my options open.

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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by Maggieo » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:41 pm

FWIW, Jim Campilongo uses his PR and a PRRI for all his gigs in NYC, and anywhere he can take a train.
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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by øøøøøøø » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:18 am

rbrcbr wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:31 am
Will keep this stuff in mind, thanks. Sounds like a Princeton will do just fine then for gigging. And thanks for the confirmation that a Super is excessive. Makes it easier to be okay with selling it. Just curious, since you live in New York - anywhere particular you'd recommend to check out for an amp? I've been to Retrofret and it's probably my favorite shop I've ever been to now, but a bit pricey. Also, any recommendations on practice spaces and stuff like that? Even though I'm downsizing, we might end up with roommates or neighbors who aren't okay with me playing/practicing, so just trying to keep my options open.
Most NYC shops are a bit pricey. It just kind of is what it is.

Besides Retrofret, you might enjoy Southside Guitars and Main Drag Music in Brooklyn, 30th St. Guitars and Dan's Chelsea Guitars in Manhattan.

I'm no help on rehearsal spaces, but they're kind of everywhere. Just ask around and you'll find something!

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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by my bloody television » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:29 am

If you’re in the northern end of Brooklyn (Greenpoint, Williamsburg, east Williamsburg, bushwick, bed stuy, etc.) Danbro studios is a good option if there are any rooms available. There are also sometimes openings where people are looking for a single person to come in to a room to help offset the rent. I’ve got a space there and it’s great. There’s also Savaria Studios. They have a few different locations and competitively priced rooms. They also have a mailing list to alert you when there are spaces available.

I’m guilty of having and gigging an old super reverb but it is too loud for most applications and a pain to lug around for sure. If I’m bringing an amp to a gig I’ve been grabbing my ampeg reverberocket 2 much more often as of late.

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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by 46346 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:46 am

i have a '68 Super Reverb, and a '65 Princeton Reverb (along with a dozen other amps...). i have moved very easily between the two - it really does seem like simply a matter of scale to me - similar preamp tone, similar reverb, similar threshold of grind/dynamics (fairly generously clean). the Super will give more of a gut punch to your body, of course, but the two amps behave and respond in similar ways. go for a real BFPR if you can afford it! i did put a 12 in mine, but it's not necessarily necessary :D
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Re: Princeton lovers - I need your help!

Post by cestlamort » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:46 am

46346 wrote:
Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:46 am
i have a '68 Super Reverb, and a '65 Princeton Reverb (along with a dozen other amps...). i have moved very easily between the two - it really does seem like simply a matter of scale to me - similar preamp tone, similar reverb, similar threshold of grind/dynamics (fairly generously clean). the Super will give more of a gut punch to your body, of course, but the two amps behave and respond in similar ways. go for a real BFPR if you can afford it! i did put a 12 in mine, but it's not necessarily necessary :D
I have 68 Super Reverb and early 70s Princeton Reverb and I agree they are more similar than not, other than scale. I replaced the speaker in the Princeton with a jbl e110 and it sounds great but made it waaaay heavier. Worth noting that the 60s amps always seem lighter than the 70s Fenders.
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