Does it get any better than a ’65 Princeton Reverb? It certainly gets louder, but does it get better?
The ’65 Princeton Reverb is the holy grail for many Fender amp aficionados, and why not? It has pristine cleans, but also beautiful overdrive when pushed. And that’s saying nothing about the superb reverb and trem on board.
The PR is the perfect recording amp, but it can also hang pretty well on most gigs unless you’re playing with a particularly heavy handed drummer. And if that’s the problem, the Princeton sounds so good that you should probably think about replacing your drummer before you replace the amp.
Enough gushing, here are the pics from this build:
Laying out the inside and running the wires is a breeze inside blackface amps. Not to say that you don’t have to take care to have a good clean layout, but there’s room to work. That’s probably to make up for the hassle of actually mounting the chassis in the combo cab, but even that is an elegant design.
The power transformer and filter caps locked in. Time to wire the heaters and layout the flying leads from the board. I opted for a raised heater design (a la Victoria amps, et. al.) and I don’t know if it was that design or not, but the amp’s dead quiet at idle, so hooray!
There are a few mods that deviate from the original ’65 layout and here’s one of them. With the advent of 3 prong wiring the ground switch is no longer needed or functional, so I rewired it as a way to disable the negative feedback of the circuit.
All I can say about this is WOW! It enhances presence and touch sensitivity in what is an already responsive amp, but it also makes the amp feel and play “bigger.” It broadens the sound and adds a very pleasant harmonic content to the sound.
Princeton Reverbs also sometimes suffer from a loose and flabby low end. To that end I lowered the values on the coupling caps and tightened everything up. I also paired it with an NOS Eminence Blue Alnico speaker.
This amp is heaven.