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Difficult choice : Fender 65 PRRI or Princeton clone or Swart Atomic Jr ?

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by captainmur, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. captainmur

    captainmur Electromatic

    Age:
    55
    43
    Sep 7, 2017
    Germany
    Hello dear members,
    I stand ahead of the difficult choice of buying a new amp.
    So, I'm only "home player" so it must be a low watt amp. I play in the style of Chet/Merle, so clean only, and sometimes use my Boss RE-20 "Space Echo" pedal as a delay / reverb. Now I have the THD Univalve but I'm not really happy with its clean. I like smooth blackface tones so my "dream amp" must have 6V6 or 6L6 output tube, low wattage and tube driven spring reverb.
    So as if old BF Vibro Champ but with reverb instead tremolo. I can find only this candidates :
    http://www.littledawgamps.com/the-wonderdawg/
    http://vintagesoundamps.com/store/vintage-15-princeton-style-head-copy/
    Both in US, so the import to EU is out of my budget :(:( for the new amp : approx. € 850~ $ 1000
    The cab is 2x10 Jensen P10R and I want to keep it.

    cab.jpg

    Now I have following options, all sellers are in EU, so no high shipping & custom fees and the amps are of 230V european voltage :
    - used Fender 65 Princeton (PRRI) for ~ € 600. I want to rebuild it to a head, for that to order custom made tweed covered headshell ~ 250 € and then to sell the cab with speaker for ~150-200 €. Thus total price will be ~ 650-700€
    - custom made Princeton Reverb clone, PTP handwired, with PPIMV Master Volume mode - cool for home use, for 900 € completely incl. headshell
    - Swart Atomic Junior Head for 900€; here there are a lot of preferences : 5W, swap from 6V6 to 6L6 possible, PTP, tube driven reverb US-made, small and handy.
    And what should I choose - that is the question ? :confused:
    Advice needed !
     
  2. emicad

    emicad Synchromatic

    Age:
    40
    952
    Jul 14, 2015
    Rome, Italy
    I play the same Chet/Travis stuff (among other genres) and I live in the EU (Italy).

    [​IMG]

    Get a Dr. Z Z-28 head and you'll be very happy. If one day you'll decide to change genres and crank the amp, you'll be even happier. Clean headroom is good (at home you'll never get any dirt unless you use an attenuator), it takes pedal better than any amp I owned and it's american voiced (brownface era).
    It does cleans, it does dirt, it takes pedal. It's one of my favourite amps with the Carmen Ghia (which is basically a Marshall).
     
    captainmur likes this.
  3. captainmur

    captainmur Electromatic

    Age:
    55
    43
    Sep 7, 2017
    Germany
    @emicad
    Jepp, Dr.Z Maz 8 was one of my candidates. I was confused only with EL84 output tube : it sounds IMHO more VOX-like than Fender-like
    For Z28 is unfortunately no reverb option available. What reverb pedal do you prefer ?
     
  4. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Does that Swart have reverb?
     
  5. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    The Swart will have a middier sound that the PR. The Swarts sound more like the older brown Fenders than the blackface ones.

    So imo, as great an am as it is, if you're looking for "smooth blackface tones", the Swart isn't it.

    A handwired PR/clone will always beat a PRRI (and I have nothing against circuit board amps), and for home playing at lower volumes as you describe, I think the PRRI would be ideal for what you're looking for. At those volumes, you won't even have to change the speaker (PRRI's are famous for the bass farting out due to the stock Jensen P10R speaker, but that only happens when you crank it up and hit it hard. )
     
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  6. emicad

    emicad Synchromatic

    Age:
    40
    952
    Jul 14, 2015
    Rome, Italy
    I don't think a Maz would suit your style, to be honest. Don't let the reverb feature dictate what's the best amp for you, reverb pedals are cheap, fun, and most of the times more manageable compared to let's say... a spring reverb.
    I'd go for a Neunaber Expanse pedal and load a Wet reverb into it. You can also load other effects into it, for free (delay, reverb, chorus, phaser, flanger etc.). If you use only one pedal, put it on top of the amp and forget about it. Oh, and that pedal would replace the delay you're using. There's a reverb+delay algorithm, you can have both at the same time.
     
  7. captainmur

    captainmur Electromatic

    Age:
    55
    43
    Sep 7, 2017
    Germany
    @wildeman
    Yes according to Swart description : Big Swart Tube Reverb via 12DW7 & Spring Tank
    @emicad I'm afraid, the "bigger" 6V6 powered Dr Z will be priced far more than 1000 euros, even pre-owned.
    @ruger9 Thanks for your comment, it's very useful, because I can't test Swart "live" with guitar, the seller is too far from my home.
    And youtube vids are often does not convey the nuances of sound.
     
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  8. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Im leaning towards the Swart, i hear nothing but glowing reviews from people that own them and they are quite beautiful to look at.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  9. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    You mentioned a Champ, this is what i use alot. You should be able to find a SF Champ for much cheaper than the amps you've mentioned, i got mine for 350.00 i think. I know you're not in USA but surely they must be less than 900 euro's.
     
  10. Johnny Alien

    Johnny Alien Gretschie

    100
    Apr 29, 2014
    Harrisburg, PA
    For me the Princeton would be way to loud for just home use. A champ is even pretty loud. Of your options I would go with the Swart but if it were me I would go SF Champ and get some sort of reverb unit.
     
  11. rcboals

    rcboals Country Gent

    Nov 21, 2008
    Springfield Oregon
    This is one of the few amps I can't believe I would have ever ended up with love it!!!! If you can find one Mesa Boogie Trans Atlantic TA15 Will do Vox, and Fender Tweed in Spades and a very reasonable Marshall. 5 watts 15 watts and a psuedo 25 watts in one very compact head. They go for $500.00 to $600.00 used in the US. I have three amps 66 Fender Pro Reverb, and a 5E7 3X10 Tweed Bandmaster clone. I have owned the swart atomic jr and several fender champs over the years forget the champs so limited and not clean enough for our rockabilly which is mostly clean. The little Trans Atlantic is my choice for home use or small room gigs, it is so versatile likes single coils and humbuckers has no problems with pedals. 22 minutes in guitar starts. This video is really long (worth the watch) he does a great job explaining and demoing this amp. I truly is the most versatile amp I have.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  12. ruger9

    ruger9 Country Gent

    Nov 1, 2008
    NJ
    Can't argue with that, I have wanted a Swart for years. You WILL hear nothing but glowing reviews of them. However, I was just pointing out that it is not a blackface sound. The Swarts have beautiful reverb... but the PRRI's reverb is my favorite.

    As for the PRRI being too loud, I don't think so... not when you are playing very clean Chet Atkins/Merle style stuff. It won't have to be turned up very loud, and the guitar won't be being played that hard.
     
  13. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    18D5AF42-D794-445D-883B-3AAD91092964.jpeg Get the SWART. You can‘t compare the Princeton seriously with the handbuilt Swart. Swarts are a class of their own!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  14. Jet_streamliner

    Jet_streamliner Gretschie

    114
    Nov 21, 2017
    Minnesota
    I've played both and liked them. I'd lean towards the Swart, but that's just me. Love how spacey the reverb gets on the Space Tone Atomic Jr. However, some vintage stuff like a Silverface Champ or older Valco/Supro, 50s Vegas, are great choices and come in at far lower price points.

    For example, I just picked up this little guy:
    IMG_1508.JPG

    Beautiful cleans, 6v6, Octal preamp tube, 5y3 - all original - under $500. Also, this particular one is very uncommon from what I've seen.
     
  15. Javier668

    Javier668 Electromatic

    77
    Nov 9, 2017
    Chile
    Build a mojotone champ 57 and use your favorite reverb pedal.
     
  16. Jet_streamliner

    Jet_streamliner Gretschie

    114
    Nov 21, 2017
    Minnesota
    Boss FRV-1 is a great reverb pedal option, btw.
     
  17. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Great little Supro, keep in mind he's in Europe and these kind of amps are very rare and expensive. That's why i was wondering about how available a Champ was.
     
  18. Jet_streamliner

    Jet_streamliner Gretschie

    114
    Nov 21, 2017
    Minnesota
    Yep. Did notice that after the fact. Good options are available on Reverb though, & many offer intl shipping.
     
  19. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    52
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    As a total Reußenzehn nut I would advise you to check this one:[​IMG]
    If you want rich clean voicings and super-highend built quality, this is a great choice.
    The price is about EUR 1.480,- but there are quite a few of used EL34 Models in the market that are equally interesting for about EUR 500. What a bargain for a handbuilt product thought out and built by a real tube-genius.
     
    wildeman likes this.
  20. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Frank, say if one was interested in aquiring this beast, where would you look?