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The Campy Forum

Be polite and respectful. Don't sell stuff. No envy, no fear, no meanness.
Vintage 1968 Princeton Reverb
  • Thanks to Jim, I have a vintage 1968 Princeton Reverb on the way! Here's a teaser photo from the seller:

    photo EBDEE301-34D6-44F7-91E5-215D48EBAE55_zpspavhwxw9.jpg

    I've never liked lugging around big amps and fancy pedalboards, but I thought that's what ya had to do when you played electric guitar.

    But after buying Jim's albums (6 complete albums at last count + 2 lessons) and watching a bit of YouTube, I realize I don't need all that gear.

    It's going to feel good to sell all that stuff and focus on the instrument instead.

    Thank you for setting an example Jim. You are indeed a Tele Master!
  • Thanks for the gracious post- and I hope you enjoy the amp!
    All the best- Jim
  • Very nice!! I've owned 2 '68s before. A super reverb and a bassman. Can't go wrong with old fenders.
  • So, while I'm impatiently waiting for the Princeton to arrive, I ordered a replacement Celestion from Sam Ash. I don't want to have to worry about blowing up a 45 year old speaker. Now I just have to figure out how you guys are mounting 4-hole speakers in a cabinet that probably has 8 mounting bolts!
  • Congrats on the '68, I think you will enjoy it.
  • Yay, it's here!

    I was pleased to find all RCA tubes except for a GE rectifier tube.

    It still needs a bath and a checkup, but I'm just going to play it as-is for a while before taking it to a tech. And the Celestion hasn't arrived yet anyway...


    Now, time to finish up the Twister lesson!
  • that's sweet!! what's the worry about the old speaker? if it's in good shape and you;re not punishing it with some big gain booster, it should be fine.
  • did it come with the Jensen C10N speaker? Will likely be worth sticking with that, and/or refurbishing it, if so. nice score...

    Twister, huh? better turn that thing up!
  • Thanks guys. I'm not sure what speaker is currently in it, but it looks like this:


    I don't think it's the premium C10N though. I assume it's the low-end (cheap) one.

    Why replace it? The Celestion only cost me $90 delivered, and I don't have to worry about blowing it up. I think it will tame the highs a little too.

    I'll post another photo after I get it cleaned up. I hope the "killer toan" doesn't wash down the drain with the 45 years of funk on that grill cloth... ;-)

    EDIT: I just discovered that speaker is an Oxford.
  • Some of those Oxford's in those late 60's and 70's Princeton's are pretty bad, they fart out real quick. I've got at least one laying around. If you only play your volume on 2-3 they are fine, but after that not so good.

    Which Celestion did you get? I've got a few speakers for my Princeton, right now it's got a Hemp Cone Tone Tubby Ceramic in it. Sounds great, but makes it a much louder amp! I may put the Weber back in it. I keep thinking I need to buy a few more PR's so I can have all my speakers available to use :D

    Congrats on the great amp!
  • Thanks Aaron!

    I got the exact same Celestion that Jim uses, the G10 Vintage. The tech that installed it raved about how well that particular speaker suited this amp. He said he cranked it up after hours and the bass didn't get flabby at all.

    The original speaker, wire and jack were carefully packed away for safekeeping in the Celestion box. I had him drill four additional holes in the speaker vs. cutting four bolts out of the baffle. I wanted to be able to completely reverse this mod if/when I cease to be this 45-year-old's caretaker.


    I was quite happy to hear his report on this particular Princeton. He said it was all-original (except for things like a 3-prong chord) and raved about what a superb sounding amp it was. He's been in business for 20-30 years so I'm sure he's heard a LOT of Fenders. And he never had much to say about any of the previous amps I took in for repairs... so maybe this time I got a good one! Ha! Ha!

    When I got it home, I spent several hours very carefully cleaning it inside and out. I could have done it quicker if I knew what I was doing and was rushing but frankly, I was enjoying the work and just took my time. Here is a close up:


    So, how does it sound? G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S!!! Well, better than that, but I just don't have the words to describe how wonderful this thing sounds.

    I've found 'my' amp.

  • even those photos sound good!

  • Awesome, congrats on it! My brother in law has a 1968 Princeton Reverb, his came with the Gold Label C10N. That amp is great! He picked it up when you could still get a 1968 for $500! Boy I miss those days, would've bought a few had I known they'd reach the prices they have today :D
  • Yeah, 1968s aren't $500 anymore. Then again, I'm not making $3.50/hr either.

    I wonder if I need to pick up a few more so when they hit $5k I can cash out?
  • Yeah, maybe! Funny thing is, Silverface Princeton's were sub $1000 only about 6 years ago or so. I remember looking at them on ebay, $500-700 thinking "I should get some of those."

    I bought my 1964 Fender Vibro Champ about 6 years ago for $400. Now I've seen them creeping near $900.
  • $900 seems steep for a Vibro-Champ... but NOTHING sound like them and the vibrato is usually woofing. Anything comparable to a 60's Princeton or Vibro-Champ is a boutique amp.
  • Yeah, they are great sounding. Just looked up the 1964 VibroChamp and 2 sold for over $800! That is one of my 2 amps I wished I never sold.

    Can still get Silverface VibroChamps in the $300 range if you keep an eye out for them.
  • I've seen 65-66 BF vibro champs in the 500-600 range pretty recently. One was totally original and the other had all the necessary changes one would expect, both were very clean looking. I wouldn't even pay that much for one of those but that's just me. Not sure if the black face and silver face VIbro champ even sound any different. My guess is they are basically the same, but that is purely a guess.

    Generally speaking, good deals are still out there if you are patient and resourceful. A while ago I was looking to acquire a silverface vibro champ. I wound up with a silverface super reverb instead. Not exactly what I needed but was seemingly too good a deal to pass up. It sounds absolutely unreal (is a 73) and is a looker as well.

    Anyhow congrats again on the 68 Princeton Reverb! That one looks very nice and has the "drip edge." She's a keeper!
  • So Jim, what's the appeal of the Vibro-Champ? I hear the vibrato is wonderful, but it seems you use reverb a lot more than vibrato...

    I had a '73 Super Reverb a few years back. The original cabinet was WRECKED so I bought a repro cabinet with blonde tolex and a wheat grill cloth. While far from original, it was beautiful to see and hear. Unfortunately, it wasn't fun to carry and I replaced it for something more portable.
  • Though it has a narrow range of uses- I use the Vibro-Champ for vibrato and despite it's low volume- it's a good "recording" amp. I used the Vibro-Champ on "Menace" and Hamster Wheel (slight return) from Heaven is Creepy... exclusively.
  • I think, where the PR uses the POWER tubes for it's tremolo, the Vibro-Champ uses a PREAMP tube.... someone correct me if I'm wrong... and while both are tube-bias-vary tremolo, they sound a bit different from one another.
  • The PR uses a preamp tube for Tremolo. Here are what the tubes in a PR do. V1A & V1B mean that half of the tube is doing one thing, the other half another.

    V1-A: input and tone stack driver
    V1-B: tone stack recovery
    V2-A/B: these are paralleled and drive the reverb tank
    V3-A: reverb recovery
    V3-B: pre-inverter gain stage
    V4-A: tremolo oscillator
    V4-B: unity-gain (almost) phase inverter
    V5, V6: output tubes
    V7: rectifier

    V4 is the tube right next to the power tubes.

    On a side note, my favorite tube for V2, the Reverb 12AT7, is a NOS JAN Phillips which you can get for around $20 at TubeDepot.com. Right now I do have a Telefunken 12AT7, it's nice but its a little too "hi-fi" sounding.
  • I can't read schematics, but from what I have read online, the preamp tube in the PR is the DRIVER for the tremolo circuit; it is used to vary the bias of the output tubes for tremolo. I could have sworn I read somewhere that in the VC, it's the bias of a PREAMP tube ITSELF that is varied for the tremolo, and why the trems on the 2 amps sound a bit different.
  • Congrats! I got my first Princeton Reverb this year too. I've got all the other BF's pretty much, Super, Vibrolux, Deluxe, Bassman, etc. But this little Princeton has a very nice THICK tone, great in the house for rehearsal. I picked up a little tilt back device recently too that is nice since these amps don't have tilt legs. I have no affiliation with this company but it's very compact and tilts the amp right up at my head which is nice for the sound, and it folds flat so I can store it in the back of the cabinet. http://www.standback.net/
  • Florida: Hey, I like that tilt back device. If I start playing out again I'll get one. My feet don't hear very well... ;-)

    Aaron: thanks for the tube tip. I'd like to get a few tubes and experiment. What are your favorite power tubes?
  • Favorite power tubes are getting harder to find. Brimar are my favorite, but they're getting to be rare & expensive. I also like NOS Tung Sol & RCA. For new 6V6's I really like the TungSol reissues.
  • I'm not an NOS tube expert, but it seems like Brimars are everyone's favorite if you take money out of the equation.

    I often wonder how much longer the worlds's NOS tube supply will last.
  • Sadly the NOS supply will dry up one day. But there are a lot out there. I just recently got a lead on a old TV Repair business. The gentleman is in his 80's now, and was a repair man in the 50's 60's. Has a HUGE supply. Trying to get in touch with him to get some extras.
  • I love NOS tubes as much as the next guy, but at some point, they get cost prohibitive, at least for me.... I could see keeping a short supply around for recording, but for constant use, most of them have just gotten to expensive... and with the exception of rectifiers (current production rectifiers still suck), today's preamp and power tubes have gone a long way towards competing with NOS- I'd say they are 90% the equal, at least in tone if not in longevity.

    That extra 10% isn't worth 5x the price for me (for example, JAN Phillips NOS 6BQ5s... love 'em, but ain't gonna' pay for 'em).

    But, like I said, it would be nice to have a short supply around for certain recording amps.
  • Sovteks have gotten better and better ... although I agree with the posts above, because of circumstance- I used Sovteks in my Princeton while recording Dream Dictionary and they did very well. I was impressed. My amp guy Eugene at Southside Guitars likes Sovteks too.

    Last time I compared, it's J J tubes that LOSE the Pepsi challenge!
  • Those JJ 6V6s are kinda..."hard"... sound a little like 6L6s.... I prefer the "normal", (softer?) 6V6s... I've had good results with the new Tung Sols and Electro-Harmonix.

    I haven't tried Sovteks in awhile, years.... but I'll have to look into them again, thanks for that!
  • I going to have to admit my Princeton doesn't have all NOS tubes anymore. It did when I bought it but a few tested bad and were replaced by the tech. I found out after the fact that he had replaced them with non-NOS. He said NOS just wasn't worth it anymore. I figured I'd at least give his recommend ration a try before complaining, and sure enough, the amp sounds great.
  • So, I've got Sovtek 6V6s and a couple Tung-Sol 12ax7s in V3 and V4 in mine now.

    The power tubes don't actually say Sovtek from what I can see but rather "EHX" and "Made in Russia".

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