Amp Debate!!!! Fargen BB20 vs PRRI


Silver Supporting Member
Earlier this week I had my mind set on a Fargen Blackbird 20W. I had narrowed it down to what I want in an amp and thats what I came up with. Stellar clean BF sound, ability to reach a nice rich OD without having to make your ears bleed. I hadnt actually played through one but I had not heard one bad comment about them and lots of people who had bought one sold their Vintage BF amps in favor of the Fargen. If you dont know the Blackbird is modeled after a Deluxe Reverb, Ben Fargen says to imagine the best sounding DR youve ever heard.
I figured that Fender Reissues are overpriced at the moment and would never compare to the quality of a boutique Amp. I know guys on here will say go vintage, but theyre just hard to find, especially smaller ones like Princetons. I bring up Princetons because Im not looking for a huge amp like a Twin. Something small and portable that sounds really good. Plus its not unusual for vintage Princetons to go for over 1000 bucks anyway. However, I went to my local Best Buy tonight on a whim and they had the Princeton Reverb Reissue for $620. This is the cheapest this amp has EVER BEEN. Ive been weighing the pros and cons but what would you do?

Pros -
2 inputs

not Point to point.
presumably does not sound as good
10" speaker
Assembly line quality - Fender quality these days is hit or miss
Depreciates as soon as I carry it out of the store

Fargen BB
Point to Point wiring
Better tone
12" speaker
Built like a tank, not mass produced, better quality in every way.
I really like the fact that it has a Mid control and Bright switch
Better resale value

$1500 for a head
$1800 for a combo
at ~3x the price, will it really sound 3x better?

Your thoughts?


I love my PRRI. For most of my needs it's the perfect amp. If your drummer is moderately to heavy handed a 15W 10" won't have enough power whereas a 20W 12" might just cut it.

At $620 I'd probably be asking "what wrong with it?" Of course, I'd still buy it and then spend the time fixing whatever was wrong with it :)


Dang Twangler
The PRRI will disappoint you in the end and you'll take a loss when you finally sell it. Be patient and try to find an 80s Princeton Reverb II for about 800. Put a better speaker in it, like a Private Jack or Texas Heat, and it will be your faithful companion for years to come.

james russell

Silver Supporting Member
I have a 1971 Silverface Princeton Reverb that I dearly love, so there is no Fender hate here. However, in this case, I would go with the Fargen without giving it a second thought. The Fargen is WAY more amp, and can hold it's own with a drummer. The PR will be borderline with a drummer, and clean headroom could be an issue. If you go with the head vesion, you will have lots of speaker cab options. I dig the Princeton, but the Fargen is in a different league, IMHO.

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