Fender Princeton Combo Amp (original issue Blackface & Silverface cosmetics 1963-1981)
During its long and storied run the princeton line of amps with 2 band tone controls underwent few significant revisions. Fender played fast and loose with the use of 5AR4 or 5U4 rectifier tubes as evidenced by exampels with originals tubes intact... read more
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The BEST Fender tone
The Princeton started as a practice amp, but with today's technology stage volumes don't have to be so deafening in order to make sure audiences hear you. This works great for small to medium gigs, but is a PERFECT recording amp for the sorts of stuff I do. I have a 1979 Silverface, all original but for the Weber 10F150T speaker that replaced the original Oxfart. Mike Campbell loves them. Jim Campilongo loves them. Ryan Adams loves them. The Princeton works great for about any style of music (except metal).
if you don't need reverb, just pure fender tone? the plain Princeton sounds better to my ear than the PR. The silverface ones tend to be cleaner even if you put the same type of speaker in both and you swap the stock 5U4 for the 5AR4 that you would find in blackfaces (even though the blackface tube charts specify a 5U4, they all came with 5AR4s, usually RCA branded Mullards)… but all in all I have never played a bad sounding Princeton. ABY box one of these with a wide panel deluxe or something similar and you can pretend to be a Heartbreaker. This and the PR used to be my sound in the 90s.
During its long and storied run the princeton line of amps with 2 band tone controls underwent few significant revisions. Fender played fast and loose with the use of 5AR4 or 5U4 rectifier tubes as evidenced by exampels with originals tubes intact with tube charts that do not match the factory installed rectifier tube! The effect on the response of a 12 watt amp is very subtle at anything less than full volume and the tubes can be interchanged freely if you have both types and a bias adjustment will probably not even be needed. The other significant change came during the silverface CBS period when the volume pot was converted to a push-pull gain boost. Most people ignore this feature as its very poorly inplemented and its barely worth mentioning. Every other change had to do with the layout of the circuit. CBS made changes to all of the amps to streamline production. These changes defintiely icnreased the noise floor but its debatable whether they influence the sound of the amp. Fender also varied OEM speakers a lot during the 60s and 70s. While many will claim jensen was the original OEM for a princeton it seems to vary from year to year with OEM ceramic 10" speakers being supplied by Oxford, Utah and later CTS and Eminence.