Weird Rattle Noise In 68 Custom Princeton Solved

Gretschtim1

Country Gent
Dec 4, 2012
3,629
Dundalk, Md
I thought I would pass this along.
For the past year I have been having a rattle type noise that comes and goes. It wasn't a cabinet rattle and for a while I thought it was a loose plate in a tube. I swapped tubes but the noise was still there. My guitar player has the same amp with the same problem.
I finally figured it out.
It turned out to be an ill designed Ruby Tubes Chinese ceramic power tube socket.
If you look close at the photo you will see that the 4 bend over metal tabs do not line up with the slots on the ceramic socket. You can see this clearly on the bottom two metal tabs. They are suppose to lock down in the slots on the ceramic section. After the socket heats up and cools down the ceramic part starts moving around and eventually rattles. I have heard this noise in countless new Fender amps over the past few years and couldn't figure this out. If you are hearing a weird rattle - find the low note or chord on your guitar where it's the loudest and try grabbing the power tubes with a t-shirt, rag, etc. If the noise goes away it's a defective tube socket. I'm glad I work on my own amps and was able to track this noise down. I bought a few high grade sockets and did the repair. I can't imagine how much bench time would have been wasted trying to track this down. Now the rattle is gone.
I blame this on quality control and Fender trying to save a few bucks. How many amps were returned because of these cheap ass tube sockets.
I have never had this kind of problem with any of my vintage amps.
Cheap tube sockets are $1 while really good ones are about $3. This kind of cutting corners is what gives companies like Fender a bad name.
The keys on my $400 Squire Jazzmaster are the worst I've seen on a guitar while the keys on my $269 Epiphone 12 string are great. Quality control is the key here.
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MotorCentaur

Synchromatic
May 11, 2016
581
Seattle
You are absolutely right. It seems like most of the old companies like Fender, Ampeg, Gibson, and revamped ones like Supro are ust trading on their name/image. The exterior might look right, but under the hood is just the cheapest scraps that will still "function".
The saddest part is that in/ around the cities, one can find originals in decent condition for near the same price that they charge for new and inferior knockoffs (even of their own brand).
 

speedicut

Friend of Fred
Jun 5, 2012
6,114
Alabama
That's about right, a company cheaps out to save pennies and the consumer suffers.
I would gladly pay a bit more for better parts but they just dont do that anymore. It like they figure it will all be in the landfill in a few years anyway....
Maddening!
 

swivel

Country Gent
May 13, 2018
2,209
PNW
Interesting that that would cause a rattle you could hear. There have been a few threads on Princeton RI rattles, hopefully word will get out.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,693
Petaluma
Yea, this is why I won't buy a Fender. They just aren't hungry like they were, they are riding largely on past glories imo.
 

Gretschtim1

Country Gent
Dec 4, 2012
3,629
Dundalk, Md
Interesting that that would cause a rattle you could hear. There have been a few threads on Princeton RI rattles, hopefully word will get out.
For me it happened when I would hit the low A. It was a sustained rattle and it was very easy to hear in the studio while the amp was miked up. I didn't know if the cabinet, or the speaker or a plate in the tube was rattling. I finally took the back panel off and while playing the A note I reached around with my polishing rag and grabbed one of the 6V6 tubes - the rattle instantly went away. I put the amp up on the work bench and found the defect in the tube socket that is plain to see in the photo. Vibration from the speaker caused the tube socket to rattle. It didn't happen when I plugged the amp into another speaker cabinet so I knew right then that it was a mechanical noise not electrical.
Damn I am so happy that it's gone. The new Fender amps are very capable of sounding good if you are willing to work out the bugs. I could see this being a problem for someone who's unable to trouble shoot this stuff. Chances are they get fed up and return the amp and I don't blame them at all.
I almost built a clone last year but when I played through this 68 custom I really liked the way it sounded. I did mods to it where I can pull a pot and turn a few knobs and turn this 68 custom into a 65 Black face. I have done quite a few mods that's made it even better than stock. I wasn't willing to pay $2000+ for a vintage amp because I actually like the sound of my 68 Custom better than most original Princeton amps I've played through.
 

Gretschtim1

Country Gent
Dec 4, 2012
3,629
Dundalk, Md
That's about right, a company cheaps out to save pennies and the consumer suffers.
I would gladly pay a bit more for better parts but they just dont do that anymore. It like they figure it will all be in the landfill in a few years anyway....
Maddening!
I totally agree. Once it's out the door they're done with it. Fender tech support these days is one guy answering a phone. He listens to your complaint and then tells you to take it to the nearest authorized Fender repair center. If the repair guy can't figure out the problem within an hour Fender does not want to pay any more money to the repair center. That's why most repair guys hate dealing with Fender warranty work. If the amp is new they tell you to return it to the store for exchange and then the cycle starts all over again. If the amp is close to the warranty period running out they dick you around until your warranty expires. No more 5 year warranty on new Fender amps - I wonder why...:rolleyes:.
 

radd

Friend of Fred
Dec 27, 2017
5,818
Santa Cruz
Sorry, no Fender hate here.

I love my Fenders. Ok, my first Fender Strat, American made, was crap.....I bought it around 1982.

I’ll take the new stuff over that guitar any day.

I love my made in Mexico Tele and my Eric Johnson Strat is an amazing piece of workmanship for a non custom shop. My Eric Clapton Strat was also beautifully made.

My Princeton Reverb, 65 RI was also outstanding. But, so was my Twin Reverb in the 80’s.

Mmmmmm, a Texas Tea Fender Tele Ultra.....I want one

6B3E37E7-B8D8-4926-9D26-5F9EE1E79DD9.jpeg
 

Gretschtim1

Country Gent
Dec 4, 2012
3,629
Dundalk, Md
Sorry, no Fender hate here.

I love my Fenders. Ok, my first Fender Strat, American made, was crap.....I bought it around 1982.

I’ll take the new stuff over that guitar any day.

I love my made in Mexico Tele and my Eric Johnson Strat is an amazing piece of workmanship for a non custom shop. My Eric Clapton Strat was also beautifully made.

My Princeton Reverb, 65 RI was also outstanding. But, so was my Twin Reverb in the 80’s.

Mmmmmm, a Texas Tea Fender Tele Ultra.....I want one

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This isn't Fender hate. I've owned and loved Fender amps & guitars my whole life. But their quality control and Tech support these days suck.
Feel lucky that you've never had to deal with them or their so called authorized repair centers - it's a total joke. I know more about their amps than most of their authorized repair guys do.
The problems I've had with parts like way out of tolerance resistors & caps, bad tube sockets & pots, loose and slipping guitar keys, bad bridges, peeling coating on the neck of my $1200 Stratocaster, etc. is unacceptable to me.
 
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kokosz

Newbie
Jan 10, 2022
1
Wroclaw, Poland
Dear all!

Thank You for this advice. Would You be so kind and share the link to socket that might fix the issue? I'm located in Europe, so that would be great if that could be Amazon or Ebay link :)

Thanks alot!
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Nov 13, 2009
21,813
Monkey Island
Thank You for this advice. Would You be so kind and share the link to socket that might fix the issue? I'm located in Europe, so that would be great if that could be Amazon or Ebay link!

Welcome to Gretsch-talk.

I would like to know the make/brand of quality tube sockets as wel! I see plastic, ceramic, NOS bakelite, from $2 up to $150.
 
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chicago slim

Synchromatic
Dec 27, 2008
557
Bowling Green, KY
I came really close to buying a 68 Custom Deluxe because I like the sound. But it did seem noisy. Instead, I stuck with my ten-year-old, Vox TB18C1 and Bad Cat Cougar 15. They both were made in China using printed circuit boards. But they seem to use heavier components and have a really low noise floor.

My Fender SCXD was made in 2009 and is still working flawlessly. Are any of the new amps built to a better standard? Maybe the Tone Masters?
 


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