"I played a [’67 Harmony Bobkat](http://equipboard.com/items/1967-harmony-bobkat-electric-guitar) through a [Death by Audio Interstellar Overdriver Supreme](http://equipboard.com/items/death-by-audio-interstellar-overdriver-supreme) pedal, usually straight into a late-’70s Fender Princeton— not lots of pedals, more driving the amp pretty hard." – St. Vincent, via an [interview](http://www.guitarplayer.com/miscellaneous/1139/st-vincent/21680) with GuitarPlayer.more
This was my 1st amp. Not my 1st tube amp, my 1st amp. It was given to me by one of my uncles who is primarily a classical guitarist. At first I played it with my 1st guitar, an mij squire strat. Classic 60s tones. Fender Princeton Reverbs feature 1 channel with volume, treble, bass, trem speed, trem intensity and reverb controls. The 2 effects can be controlled via the classic 2 button footswitch with an RCA jack. The back features a courtesy outlet for another amp or whatever (but its non-polarized with no ground pin) and an external speaker jack to add a 2nd cab for more projection. The preamp is classic blackface 2 band EQ like channel 1 on a bandmaster head feeding a cathodyne phase inverter instead of a long-tailed pair that keeps the preamp tube count down to 3 12ax7es (2 stages for preamplification, 1 stage trem oscillator for the swampy bias-vary tremolo, 1 stage phase inverter, and 2 stages for reverb drive and recovery). The amp runs 2 6V6 tubes in fixed bias for a respectable 15 watts of clean tone through a 10" speaker (the PI structure probably cuts the wattage a bit, but its part of the sound) and she is tube rectified. The tube chart calls for a 5U4 rectifier (which is way overspec for a 15 watter, Leo was the man), but mine had the stock RCA rectifier, the robust and manly GZ34 (that can easily power a 40 watt amp with only a hint of tasteful sag). I have seen many 60s Princetons and they always have a GZ34, whereas the silverface ones have 5U4s.
This amp is almost a single channel deluxe reverb, but the difference in the style of tremolo phase inverter and plate voltage on the 6V6es give this fender a softer, touch sensitive sound and feel that's closer to the brownface amps preceeding it. This was my only amp from '92 to around '99 and remained my go-to until '02. I paid my dues, jazz, rock and blues on this little demon. I particularly liked it paired with a Guild SF1 or my Carvin sh225. I pretty much ran her right at the edge of overdrive in all scenarios with both tone controls around 5 and then added drive and level with a conservatively set tubescreamer (at 1st a TS5, later a TS9). A guy I was in a rock band with collects all different princetons from brownface to silverface chasing my old sound. Go figure.
Mine had an alnico JBL speaker installed by the guy who sold it to my family (who I know personally, what a crazy, awesome dude). Stock it had an oxford, so I was happy to have the JBL. The story goes that this cat who installed the JBL had done some tech work for Blood Sweat & Tears and wasn't paid, so he swiped this from the guitrarist in payment. Being a bassist he didn't want to keep it, so he upgraded the speaker and gave it to my dad who promptly sold it to my uncle. Then I was born and the rest is history.
In the blackface line I feel there are no amps sweeter than the princetons. Being older and wiser I now know that the non-reverb models sound better. The reverb bogs the circuit down. Unless you are a die hard Fender surfy reverb fanatic (and don't have scratch for a Fender outboard reverb), get a non-reverb. They are cheaper and better. Ask Mike Campbell of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers.
I do not recommend turning this amp way up into distortion. As you get her past a semi-dirty tone she exhibits the boxy and ill-defined power-amp saturation that most blackface amps have. The dimed small amp thing is not her forte because she is not built or voiced like a small, student amp. If you want that sound get a tweed deluxe or Gibson equivalent (like the ga14 or ga6).That said, her edge-of-breakup tones are to die for and the clean sound is pure 1960s Americana. Through a larger cabinet wired for 8 ohms she can keep up with a drummer set dead clean (unless you have really hot tubes in V1 and V2). I used to keep a handful of different tubes with me for V1 (12au7, 12at7, 12ax7 and super hot European ecc83 ax7 varieties) to vary my gain for each gig. Also, the bias vary trem on this amp (erroneously termed vibrato by fender) is to die for. This is the tweed tremolux and vibrolux sound you have heard so much about. In fact, the preceeding brownface and white knob princetons with their single tone control are direct descenats of those late 50s tweeds with trem. Pretty much any version of the Princeton from 1960/61 until about 1981 (when Rivera added lame-o overdrive circuits to everything and put a 2 after their model names... GAAAAH! damn you mooooooother-FUCKER!) is a total winner and you should buy one if you see one for under a grand these days.