Princeton Reverb Amp Kits

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Gretschtim1, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. Gretschtim1

    Gretschtim1 Country Gent

    Dec 4, 2012
    Dundalk, Md
    So last Thursday I had a guy come to the studio and he had a mid 70s silver face Princeton reverb.
    You know I have owned and still do own lots of classic amps but never a Princeton Reverb.
    I always thought they were just a tad too small for me and that my black face Deluxe could do anything the Princeton could do just louder and better.
    After hearing his amp I now know I was W R O N G !!!! to ever think that.
    That little amp just floored me.
    So now I'm searching for one - got to have one.
    The prices these days are really high and I don't want a reissue because I'd like to try some of the mods that are available.
    I've been considering building one so I'm asking has anyone here built any of the kits available out there such as Marsh & Mojo tone? I'm looking to get opinions since hand wired is preferred.
    Lots of people say that the black face ones made from 64 - 67 are the best but I've got to tell you that mid 70s silver face sounded awesome - I can't imagine any black face could sound any better. I also read that the Princeton Reverb amps from 1964 - 1977 were pretty much the same amp with very little changes made until 1978 when they added those stupid push - pull switches. True?
     
    Tony65x55, Lionpotato and hcsterg like this.
  2. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    I recently built a Tube Amp Doctor kit, which I understand is a re-badged Mojotone one. I used the instructions available as a download from StewMac and it worked great first time. I followed the TAD layout, which I've since found out incorporates the Stokes mod; this increases the signal to the phase invertor from an un-used power node, which increases the headroom so it breaks up a bit later. In conjunction with the 12" speaker and bigger trannies, the PR will give any DR a run for its money.

    The StewMac kit is also Mojotone supplied. https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onli...its/65_P-Reverb_15W_Amp_Kit_Instructions.html


    Good quality cab, good components etc. I swapped all the carbon comp resistors for metal film, and the floor noise is zero. I also added some of the recommended upgrades listed on the Robrob site- https://robrobinette.com/AA1164_Princeton_Reverb.htm

    I'm tempted to build another in Brownface trim with a stock circuit and 10" speaker just for fun. If I was to do it again, I'd use a turret board rather than a tag board. It's easier to keep things in place when populating the board, and better for swapping components later on.

    I'd also use smaller caps in the trem section. The Orange drops are a royal PITA.

    The trem is a little weak, but that could be down to tube bias, but it's good enough. if I ever tear it down I'll do a couple of cap swaps to make the wibble wobble deeper.

    I'd say go for it. At least as good as the real thing but without 40 years of wear and tear. The only real difference in the Black and Silver face circuit is as you say, the push/pull on the later version.
     
    Gretschtim1 and Groutsch like this.
  3. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
  4. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Well yes, the sound of the push-pull switch faciliy is rather an agressive and crunch, but this can be modified in a valuable footswitchable booster option, the kind you need to just push your amp into smooth overdrive and compression. It's what I did on mine...

    A+!
     
  5. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    I’ve learned recently:
    The Silverfaces and the last Blackfaces until 1981 shared the same circuit except the push-pull volume. It’s an option, but no need to use it ;)
     
  6. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    I'm sure this apply for Champs, they're always been basically the same amp.
    If this is true for Princeton as well, I wonder why one has to spend double money for a Blackface. Over here a Silverface Princeton costs about 1500 euros, a Blackface (or pre '68/69) not less than 2800.
    Like I said I'm no expert, but by ears I always found some difference between Black and Silver face Princetons (mainly Silver have a more "icy" tone and a different grain of saturation, more definite than Black which is more growling and has warmer cleans), apart from those transitional years where they were basically the same amp with a different case.

    That would be good news thought: I've been offered a '74 Princeton with non-original speaker for a bargain price lately. I passed because I wanted to have a blackface... in this case, I may reconsider it. :)
     
    Lionpotato likes this.
  7. Lionpotato

    Lionpotato Gretschie

    428
    Oct 10, 2018
    Upland
    Silver face have a different rectifier tube, and the bias cap is a little bigger, the power transformer may be wound a little different but CBS left the circuit almost in tact. They sound a little different to the discerning ear but both beat anything on the market today in my opinion. I own a 66. I played a 70’s silver face at GC in Iowa. Chord, Tele. Plugged into every amp in the store. Nothing touched the Princeton for 3D sound, glass, and harmonic richness including a reissue sitting right beside it. They are magical amps. That circuit is much different than the Deluxe that is so popular. I can’t live without one.
     
    blueruins likes this.
  8. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Florence, Italy
    A funny tale of Princetons: A couple of years ago I went to see Mark Lanegan band to play in Florence (in one of their latest lineup, the one with a lot of electronics into it). The guy at the main guitar (played a Black Les Paul standard with Bigsby mainly) had a great, great sound. Behind him there was one of those new AC30 made in China, head and cabinet. The sound was really huge. At the time I had an AC30 cc2 too that I never bonded with, so I was wondering what pedals or what setup he could have for obtaining a sound like that. Also, I was asking myself why the head+cabinet version sounded so much better compared to the combo...
    After the gig (The house soundman was a friend of mine, and he was doing stage monitors) I stepped up on stage to check the guy's rig. I noticed the Vox cab wasn't miked. Well, that was because on the back of the cab were sitting two Blackface Princetons, both miked, placed backwards to the front stage. Nobody could see them because the cabinet was in front of them and completely hide them from the crowd viewpoint. I don't know if it could have been some endorsement issue, but it made me smile.
    Sometimes the best kept secrets are the simple ones. :)
     
  9. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    The differences are very small, it‘s the same circuit (besides the push-pull option) in an MDF-cab whereas the blackface cab is made of pine. Will you hear that? Dunno, but this may be a 5% difference but a different speaker generates at least a 30-40% difference in tone.
    Received mine yesterday, everything cleaned up and installed the Emi Allessandro:

    3AB441EC-2087-4051-B838-34FDA94B4D1E.jpeg

    5ED81BF9-52B6-4EDC-B317-7153AB013EAE.jpeg
     
    Outlaw, ZackyDog, Wozob and 3 others like this.
  10. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Age:
    63
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    Hey Tim, I have a few Princeton's and find them to be among my most useful amps. They get plenty loud for most applications and they sound great. Two of my PRs are blackface clones built by a very talented guy in Toronto named Brian Luckhurst.

    In the daytime Brian makes custom radar intallations for ships and at night, builds the sweetest blackface PR clones I've ever heard. Pine cabs, choice of speakers etc.

    Pricing is in the $1,000 to $1200 range - CANADIAN. Yes, he ships to the USA.

    I have a silverface PR in a 12" cab and an Allen SweetSpot to compare them too. I also had a '68 custom but just sold it as it wasn't being used much. They all sound terrific. I have a Luckhurst clone in 15 watts and another in 22 watts. While the 22 sounds wonderful, I tend to use the little 15 more often. The Eminence Legend 1258 12" is a very sweet match for the PR. Intall it yourself after you recieve the build and save some money on the shipping.

    PM me if you want contact details.
     
    pmac11, Gretschtim1 and Lionpotato like this.
  11. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    I'm using a modern Jensen C12Q, with a sensitivity rating of 93, which is great for round the house. Very, er, Fendery and not overly loud.
     
  12. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    They are great amps. Stock I can't use one in the big band some places, they get too nasty. My clone has a big power tranny and Deluxe OT. That's the only difference from stock but it increases headroom immensely, while still retaining the PR sound. You might consider upgrading the trannys. "fat stack" power tranny. Be sure to get a kit with good pots and only Switchcraft jacks.
    My belief is the phase invertor scheme and bias trem are what make the PR sound a bit different than a DR. But if you already have a Deluxe try plugging into the normal channel, it get's closer to a PR gritty tone.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
    ZackyDog, Lionpotato and Stefan like this.
  13. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    That‘s a cool clone. Since I need a european transformator that‘s an option.
    But on the other hand I think Leo‘s got it right with his design. Even the small 10“ speaker is one part of the Princetons magic mojo...
     
  14. EC Strat

    EC Strat Gretschie

    133
    Jan 11, 2019
    Louisville
    I put a GA 10SC 59 in my tweed vibrolux clone and it is fantastic
     
    Stefan likes this.
  15. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Friend of Fred

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    As well as the fatter PT, TAD also supplies an uprated OT that also fits the Deluxe reverb.
    https://www.tubeampdoctor.com/en/sh...for_Fender_Deluxe_Reverb_Princeton_Reverb_154
     
  16. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    70
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    As long as you don't utilize the pull switch, the amp acts like it should as normal. On my Deluxe, it would nearly kill the reverb if you used the switch.
     
    Stefan likes this.
  17. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    I like 12" fine.
     
  18. Stefan

    Stefan Country Gent

    Jan 20, 2016
    Germany
    I like them too- a 12“ speaker is best choice if you’re playin‘ a Princeton on Stage, better spread and more 3-D. More power, more mids.

    But at lower volumes (recording, home) nothing beats the dynamic response and sweet frequencies of a 10“, at least in my experience.
     
  19. Lionpotato

    Lionpotato Gretschie

    428
    Oct 10, 2018
    Upland
    PR can be small for some applications. I installed a Mercury OT, sent more voltage to the Phase Inverter from the filter cap, solid state rectifier, and 12” Jupiter alnico speaker. It’ll keep up on any stage and still has the PR signature tone. But at home or a quieter setting total stock is perfection. Or you can use multiple PR’s live stock to compensate for volume or too much breakup. Either way they are one of the most beautiful amps ever. They are not like anything else Fender makes as mentioned above on the PI and bias.
     
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