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Can anyone compare/contrast the Swart AST with a Tweed Deluxe and a Princeton Reverb?

hbentley

Member
Messages
1,355
Hey folks. I'm considering making an amp change for my lower volume gigs and stuff around the house and studio. I have several bigger amps, so it isn't needing to do double duty. Right now I'm playing a Clark Beaufort 5E3 in this role. It does a great job. I've picked up another gig that really needs amp trem and verb so I've been pondering picking up a Princeton Reverb. I've done some tracking with a PR and dig what it can do in the studio. I guess my question is... I'm thinking that the Swart is kind of a blend of those two amps but slightly louder, is that right? I've only really played an AST once for few seconds... not really enough time to figure anything out. I'm trying to decide if I'd rather have the 2 amps (5E3 and PR) or if the Swart will get me enough of each to satisfy me. How does the AST sound with humbuckers, p90's and fitertrons? I know it'll sound great with my tele. Is it somewhere in between tweed and blackface tonally?? If so i think it might be perfect for me.
 

googoobaby

Member
Messages
1,858
I go back and forth between an AST and a Rivera Chubster which I think does an excellent blackface. They're not that similar to my ears. The AST is always more harmonic, a smidge rougher sounding even clean. It sounds great with my Strat and with my Filtertrons (TV Classics and Magnatrons). I have to say that I don't like it that much with Fralin P92s or P90s (the Eastwood version of these). Both of which sound fine with the Rivera.
 

Jimmydeez

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,791
I love my AST with humbuckers. I have been using my PRS Hollowbody I w/ WCR pickups and love the tone. I am using a goodwood in the neck and Darkburst in the bridge.
 

Crazyquilt

The Fool
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,619
I've owned all 3 of those amps at the same time. Right now, I have an AST and a Clark Beaufort, and I'm seriously GASsing for another PR or PR clone.

The AST is a great deal more like a 5E3 than a PR. The AST is thicker and richer than a PR, with considerably less headroom. Its mids aren't scooped, either, like a blackface Fender. The trem is kind of like a good PR trem (they're both bias trems) but the character of the amp is so different, that they feel different. I actually found the PR's trem more useful than the ASTs, but the ASTs trem has a killer sound & feel. The reverbs are nothing alike, to my ears. The AST's verb is considerably denser, and not really sproingy like a PR's can be (I loved the PR for surf!)

ASTs sound fantastic with PAF-type humbuckers, and even better with P-90s. I used to have a Hamer Artist Korina with WCRs that was loads of fun. I've played more P-90s through it than I can easily list, and those, and Teles, are the best match for the amp, imnsho. I've had mixed luck with Filtertrons, although I've had a lot of fun lately with a Gretsch 6119-1959 -- the red one with the single Powertron in the bridge -- my current avatar.

If I were trying to be 'practical' and I was going to get two amps, it'd probably be a PR and a 5E3, because there is far less overlap. I would not sell my Beaufort. Not ever. I love my AST, but the Clark...well, you've got one. You know.

All that being said, if I wanted to get an amp the combined a PR and a 5E3, it'd be a brown Princeton. Which is why I have a '62 Princeton. :)
 

Jim Soloway

Member
Messages
14,404
I play through a Headstrong Lil' King (a blackface PR recreation with a 1x12 configuration). I posed the same question a few months ago and someone here in Portland graciously offered to bring by his AST for a side by side comparison. It was remarkable to me how different the two amps sounded.

As noted already, the AST lack the classic Fender mid-range scoop. It also had a much less pronounced low end. The Fender also sounded much focused while the AST sounded much more atmospheric. I thought both sounded great, but to my extremely biased ears, I preferred the Lil' King. The trem was more subtle and I love the Fender scoop and low end thump. I also prefer the seperate bass and treble controls on the Lil' King. I could certainly understand someone prefering the AST. The ambient sound was very lush and rich and I suspect it would fill a room a bit better.

I did have two serious reservations about the AST and they both involved the physical placement and mounting of the controls. Being rear mounted, I found them to be incredibly inconvenient. You can't see them for reference and it makes it very difficult to make adjustments on the fly. The knobs also extend directly out from the veritcal rear panel with no recessing or protection. That makes them an accident waiting to happen. I could easily see banging the controls into a door frame and te results would not be pretty. All other things being equal, those two aspects would probably be a deal breaker for me, but the amp did sound terrific.
 

thesjkexperienc

^^^ I made this guitar^^^
Messages
4,723
Anyone else? HOw does the Swart compare to the Tweed Deluxe in headroom and overall volume? The trouble with my Deluxe is it goes from nothing to loud real fast (I also have a Blue in it).

I love my Swart STR-tweed and would like a big brother for it.
 
Messages
1,809
The AST is thicker and richer than a PR, with considerably less headroom. Its mids aren't scooped, either, like a blackface Fender. The trem is kind of like a good PR trem (they're both bias trems) but the character of the amp is so different, that they feel different. I actually found the PR's trem more useful than the ASTs, but the ASTs trem has a killer sound & feel. The reverbs are nothing alike, to my ears. The AST's verb is considerably denser, and not really sproingy like a PR's can be
I have an AST and a BFPR, and that is exactly the way I hear them.
 

farlowhigh

Member
Messages
1,186
I haven't owned a Princeton Reverb but I have the AST and a Richter 5E3, and I would definitely say that the volume increase is much more gradual with the AST. I like the Richter a lot but there is definitely that typical 5E3 quick increase in volume...the Richter does sound really good at low volume but it only stays low on 1 or 2. by 3 on the dial, it is on the way to full volume. I would also say that the AST has more headroom than a 5E3 in my experience.

Eric
 

Peppy

Member
Messages
6,884
I had the reissue '57 Deluxe and now have an AST/PRO. The PRO has more headroom and a more open sound. Add 6L6s to the equation and you can add a touch more headroom to that...I haven't felt the need to do such just yet. I ended up running my Deluxe with a 12AY7 up front and a speaker change to add headroom...it worked but not as smooth sounding as the PRO. I find the PRO can handle humbucking pickups much easier. Finally, then there is the reverb and the tremolo on the Swart, which was another deciding factor for me in keeping the Swart and selling the Deluxe.
 

Rick360

Member
Messages
846
Howdy,

Great thread. I'm looking at getting a boutique low/mid powered amp this year. I'm saving. My friends advise tweed 5E3, since I'm a big Keef disciple. The problem is..i've never actually played a 5E3 and am nervous about it's lack of headroom.
I have test-driven a Carmen Ghia and flipped over it. On paper the Swart AST seems attractive. I'm so far from any boutique dealers..shucks!

Rick360
 




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