1964 Fender Princeton 6G2: restoration or hot rod??

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Ellery, May 26, 2015.

  1. Ellery

    Ellery Member

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    Many years ago I bought a small practice guitar amp off a friend, for maybe sixty bucks. It worked fine, but was a cheap compromise; small, old, no distortion channel, not the heavy metal monster that I wanted. It would hold me over until I could get rid of it and get a real one. But as years passed I started playing bass and that found itself on the back burner.

    Recently, 15+ years later, I felt it was time to make a decision to either fix it up or let it go. Inspecting it, I found a tube schematic inside with numbers stamped on it. I looked these up on the internet, and in an instant my embarrassment bloomed into a coveted collector's item: it was a 1964 Fender Princeton Blackface 6G2, built in September in Fullerton, California, just blocks away from where I had got it. Looking inside it appears the RCA tubes and other components are mostly original, some wires have tweed insulation, it looks untouched. I was surprised it still played as well as it did, Leo sure built them to last!

    This is my baby now, and I am going to invest some time and money into fixing this amp up right. Cleaning the ground fault switch and playing with the speaker wires got rid of that nagging buzz it always had. I am drawing up a game plan, and I need some guidance and input, a little collective wisdom.

    My direction will be either a faithful vintage restoration, retaining as many original components as possible, only replacing caps that need it...or to bring this amp up to the next level, souping up the tubes, replacing all the caps regardless of condition, installing a custom 12" speaker baffle, and converting the power cord to a grounded 3-prong.

    Will the mods yield a worthwhile result, or are they just unnecessary blasphemy? I love vintage equipment but I'm not an active collector, to me ear candy is more important than eye candy. I intend to use this for practice and recording. Any thoughts?
     
  2. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    Send it to the best vintage amp guy you can find/afford.
     
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  3. pbmw

    pbmw Member

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    Put it back together right or sell it to someone that will
     
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  4. Rimbaud

    Rimbaud Tarnished Silver Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a 65 Reverb that I got at the Lambertville Flea MKt in NJ back in 1980 for 50 bucks...original cover and manual included...

    It wasn't a steal back then but still a good deal.

    It is completely original...only thing replaced is the original plug for a 3 pronger.( I had that done)
    Guy that sold it to me said he bought it for his son new in 1965..
    Son took a few lessons on the guitar and quit...the amp went into a closet for 15 years.

    Guy said the son had sold the guitar he bought with the amp years ago...he said it was a Fender.
    If it was for sale that day, I know I wouldn't have bought it because I barely had enough to cover the amp and wasnt looking for a guitar, just needed a practice amp.

    I almost sold that amp for peanuts over the years so many times.

    If I were you, I would keep it original, sell it and buy another amp to hot rod...

    The Princeton is a treasure and will only increase in value.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
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  5. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    Just get it checked over, and play it. Probably doesn't need much, and it can sing or roar with the best of them.
     
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  6. hellbender

    hellbender Member

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    Sounds like a survivor. I'd leave it alone except to fix it if it's not doing what it's supposed to do. I wouldn't replace the stuff that works. Here's a cool site for swappable items and guitar stuff in general.

    tubesandmore.com
     
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  7. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    The Fender Princeton is possibly the best sounding Fender amp ever. IMO restore to original condition.
     
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  8. Roark

    Roark Member

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    Restore.
     
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  9. VicAjax

    VicAjax Male Supermodel

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    Please don't mod. Please.

    Tube rolling is one thing... although I doubt there's much that would beat the originals if they're in working order. But don't mess with anything else unless it needs to be replaced with as close to original spec as possible.
     
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  10. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    The only things that should be done to it are a thorough internal cleaning and inspection by a pro amp guy, possible replacement of the electrolytic caps if needed (only the electrolytic caps), checking and replacement of tubes as/if needed and definitely the removal of the death cap and changing it to a 3 prong cord. Have him return the original parts and keep them in a baggie. PLEASE DON'T MOD IT.
     
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  11. sacakl

    sacakl Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I have a '62 and other than taking it in to have the caps checked out and installing a 3-prong cord, I'd keep it the same. These also sound great cranked. I would put away the original speaker for safe keeping and install another to be played with on a regular basis. I gig with mine and play the hell out of it. Certainly does not sit in the closet for safe keeping.
     
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  12. roadfilm

    roadfilm Member

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    I have a 64 6g2. It's my favorite amp. I agree with the others, just have it cleaned up. Change the chord. I added a bias pot where the ground switch was and there were a couple caps that needed replaced.
     
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  13. Campfired

    Campfired Gold Supporting Member

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    Restore. By definition, original capacitors are more likely to degrade after about 10 to 15 years time, and a good quality amp technician can assess what needs restoration with a bench test, an oscilloscope, and his ears.

    If it were my amp, I'd seriously think about restoring the amp to its original condition with original parts (if they are available online) and invest some of your time and resources into the amp.

    An original '64 Princeton amp is too valuable to sell. If the OP plays his cards right, he'll enjoy a new vintage amp with original parts for the years ahead.
     
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  14. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

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    The only caps that will possibly need replacing are the electrolytics. The signal caps will be fine...take those out and you not only just changed the tone of it for the worse, you cut the value by hundreds... I base this on having owned dozens and dozens of vintage Fender amps over the decades and I still have a couple.
     
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  15. straightblues

    straightblues Member

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    Restore it and sell it. Then buy something you will enjoy. Your amp is worth more than a grand. I am sure you will be able to buy something cool for that. Please don't ruin a classic amp that is in high demand.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2015
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  16. Ellery

    Ellery Member

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    I expected at least one person to express that sentiment in one way or another.
    Thanks, that is the kind of input I'm looking for. So are you saying no modified form could be an improvement over the original?
     
  17. Ellery

    Ellery Member

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    Thanks. Selling was my first thought too, but I can really appreciate the qualities this amp has, and I know I will never get my hands on one of these ever again. But I still wasn't clear if it was a "true" classic to the extent that I should not modify it. Kinda like discovering a '66 Nova in the barn...should I restore it, or slap on mag wheels and drop in a big block?
     
  18. Ellery

    Ellery Member

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    Thank you, out of all my yapping, you've distilled my question down to it's core.
     
  19. Ellery

    Ellery Member

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    So it is at least worth it to add a three-prong? That would be the least destructive to it's authenticity, since the original plug is replaced anyway.
     
  20. Ellery

    Ellery Member

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    Thanx, that helps. On the subject of speakers...I have seen some examples online where the speaker was replaced with a 12", in some cases with a replacement baffle (to save the original from being butchered). The idea was that the speaker alone would make it louder. What do you think about that?
    Would it change the tone too much?
     

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