Custom 68 Princeton Reverb: opinions

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by stiv, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    868
    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Just curious to know if some of you guys own one and your impressions about it/how it compares to the 65 Reissue.
    There's many of them on the aftermarket over here (unfortunately, none of them too close to spend half a day traveling) so I was considering buying/trading for one.
    I think that a Princeton Reverb it's where I'm headed to. I don't have money enough to buy a vintage one, and still a used reissue is more pricey than one of this Fender new deal.
    I'm trying to downsize my commitment to the live activity, so very soon it would be just me and my stomp box on small to very small stages. I already have a 15w amp (Excelsior) but for what I've heard, Princetons are a whole different (and better) level. Other stuff is too loud or too heavy for the job. The Champ it's not enough.
    Would you guys pull the trigger on one or it's better to rely on a Deluxe Reverb anyway?
    Thanks.
     
  2. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Country Gent

    stiv, I can't speak directly about the Princeton model, but I can say that I have had both a '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb and the '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue, at the same time. I started with the '65, and absolutely loved it's sound, and then every time I went into the music store, the staff there were talking about how they had all gone to playing the '68 Custom . . . so I got one. Comparing the two, I found the '68 to be a bit brighter, with a more aggressive in tone, with a faster breakup. It obviously isn't a bad thing, because so many people love their '68. For me, though, I wanted that slightly more mellow tone of the '65 (if I want a brighter tone, I really have to roll the bass way down, and bring the treble up), with the slightly more headroom.

    Like I said, I don't have experience with the Princeton models, but may this can help you understand some basic differences between the '65 and the '68 Custom.
     
    MKunie and stiv like this.
  3. swivel

    swivel Synchromatic

    778
    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    my opinion is that a Princeton circuit has a bit of trouble holding up in a band mix at times. The 68 is supposedly a bit gainier amp, so that would be a NO for me. You want as much headroom as possible in a Princeton type circuit. But if you are playing only at home, the opposite might be true. JMHO
     
    Waxhead and stiv like this.
  4. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    868
    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Thanks. Well, for home purpose I have my ‘77 Champ that delivers all the gain I need, so an eventual Princeton would see a lot of live action. I love the Princeton Reissue grit, apart from holding pretty good (at limited volume) the clean headroom, but I could see it’s not what one is looking for in a PR. Since you confirmed there’s some real difference in tone from the Deluxe Reissue and the Deluxe 68 Custom, I was wondering if the same difference appeals to the smaller brother.
     
  5. swivel

    swivel Synchromatic

    778
    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    I dont have the 68, so I'm just repeating what I've heard a lot. So keep that in mind.. you know the internet! At low volumes the PR's sound damn good. Once you get a drummer in the mix, then it depends on if he is light handed or not!
     
    stiv likes this.
  6. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Age:
    63
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Hey Stiv, I have two custom PRs (15 and 22 watts), a mid 70s silverface PR and a 68 Custom I just traded. I have owned a 65 PRRI as well.

    All of them are very good although the PRRI stayed the shortest time. All Princetons share the same affliction - one little 10" speaker simply doesn't move enough air and you really need a 12" speaker for gigging. I tried some loud Eminence Ragin Cajun and Copperhead speakers and they were better but still not quite enough. The Eminence 12" 1258 Legend was perfect - very efficient, lots of bottom and top end sparkle.

    The good news was is sounded absolutely excellent with the 68 Custom too. Now there's three ways to do this. Buy a new 1-12" cab for it, buy a 12" baffle for the existing cab or simply screw the 12" speaker over the ten inch hole like musicians have been doing since the 60s. It sounds like a hack but players have been doing it for a long time and it sounds just great. That's how I did my 68 Custom.

    I had to remove the four 10" mount screws, cut a 3/4 " slice out of the top baffle brace and then screwed it down to the baffle over the 10" hole. It significantly improved the sound and it sounded no different than running the amp into my 12" extension speaker.

    It's a great mod and still keeps the cab super small.

    By the way, I only traded it because I had a bunch of Princetons and the guy had a couple of pieces of gear I really needed and was willing to trade for the Princeton. I'm looking for another when I find the right price.
     
    pmac11, Stefan, stiv and 1 other person like this.
  7. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    868
    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Thanks Tony.
    Yes, I’ve heard about the 12” mod before and I’m all for it. I suppose you could mess with a 68 Custom without feeling so much guilt than with a vintage piece :)
    Funny enough, I’ve had the 1258 Legend on my old 1974 Marshall straight cab (all four of them) and never sounded completely right to my ears with my Hiwatt head... maybe they were made for Fender tones.
    I’ll give a look on the aftermarket today. I’m gassing for a Princeton and it doesn’t go away! :)
     
  8. Charging Charlie

    Charging Charlie Electromatic

    55
    Jun 21, 2018
    Maryland
    Hello Stiv, I picked up a used '68 Custom Deluxe Reverb about a year ago on E-Bay and absolutely love it. Check one out .
     
    stiv likes this.
  9. GretschPraise

    GretschPraise Electromatic

    74
    Jun 26, 2017
    Tampa Bay
    Hi Stiv,
    I also own a '65 DRRI and absolutely love it, but my weekly gig is on low sound level stage with in-ears. The Deluxe volume was on 2 max and was more to lug around than I needed. So I ended up getting a '65 PRRI Special Edition, they're only available through the big chain stores here (Musician's Friend and Sweetwater) so you're not likely to find them on your side. But they come stock with a 12" speaker/baffle and also are rated at 15 watts, I don't know if that means a bigger transformer or what. At any rate, if the the DRRI is more firepower than you're needing for your new format then a PRRI might be perfect. It it's not quite loud enough, changing the speaker to a more efficient one might make up that difference (See Stefan's thread on his old Princeton being too loud). I would never sell my Deluxe though, there's some great chemistry in that amp.
     
    Groutsch and stiv like this.
  10. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    I prefer a 10“ speaker in the small cab because it‘s nicer on details and dynamics and avoids unwanted resonances- but that‘s the advantage when you’re in home or recording situations. Gigging a Princeton I would also choose the more 3-D sounding 12 inch speakers and they move 20% more air. The Allesandro 64 would be also best bet for a 12“, to me it‘s the perfect Princeton companion :)
     
  11. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I dont know how to calculate air movement but if it is based on surface area, then, given the surface area of a speaker circle is P*r*r, 12" speaker has 44% more surface area. [(12/2)^2] / [(10/2)^2] = 1.44.
     
    pmac11 and Stefan like this.
  12. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    You make my day :D, I was only guessing!
     
    Henry likes this.
  13. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Age:
    63
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Stefan, please tell me about your experience with the 12" Alessandro. I have one and have tried it with a DR and a PR. I thought is sounded muddy. Is there a serious break in change? Is it just the one speaker I purchased? What guitars are you playing through it?
     
  14. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    I can only speak for the 10“ version but I would assume there isn‘t any difference in tonal character with the 12“. In my Princeton the Allesandro sounds good outa the box, can‘t tell about breaking in time since it’s really new. 30-50 hrs are usual and those speakers aren‘t doped.
    I‘m playin the usual suspects- Gretsches and Tellys- and it sounds everything but muddy.
     
    Tony65x55 likes this.
  15. stiv

    stiv Synchromatic

    868
    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    Just as info, is this “break up the speakers” thing still necessary?
    There’s a guy very close to Florence that builds high quality standard cabs (Hope Cabs) with any speaker you want (I bought with him the 1258 Legend, some Mod, and a WSC Wharehouse). I remember him tell me that nowadays the main speakers producers like Eminence and Celestion already send their product through a break up process so everything goes on sale is ready made for the best sound.
     
  16. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I cant speak for other but I know the Mesa runs all their amps for many many hours as part of testing and maybe break in.
     
    stiv likes this.
  17. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Princeton's are great, the only experience i have is with old one's and they would fart out pretty quick when you turned them up, i would take a Deluxe any day over a Princeton with a stock 10".....now a Princeton with a 12" is something different.
     
  18. TeeDub

    TeeDub Synchromatic

    625
    Jun 21, 2011
    Colorado
    The Youtubes I've seen for the 68 Custom Princeton shows it breaking up a lot after 5. It doesn't appear they have the clean headroom most players expect from a Princeton. If I were in the market for a Princeton (and I may be) I'd look at the 65 Reissue Limited with the 12" alnico speaker.
     
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