Fender 65 Princeton Resissue Mods

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by timmerel, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. timmerel

    timmerel Member

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    I'm thinking about one of the new 65 Princeton Reissues, and would like any thoughts from those who have tried the following mods:

    - New speaker (10 or 12, and which one?)
    - Higher quality tubes (new or NOS - and which ones for each position?)
    - Paul C mod
    - Stokes mod
    - Blueprinting the components
    - Adding two 470 ohm resistors to the screen grids of the 6V6 power tubes (a la David Boze)

    The sound in my head is the Hendrix/SRV clean with a strat (and I know they had completely different rigs and were themselves). Overdrive is a secondary consideration (although would be nice if it still sounded good).
     
  2. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Not for nothing, and I don't usually say things like this, but IMO the best "mod" would probably be to not buy one and to buy a silverface Princeton Reverb instead.

    I think the Musician's Friend price for the RI is about $899 IIRC. MSRP is over a grand.

    You can find a nice silverface Princeton Reverb for that, or usually less. Blackface and silverface princetons are very similar... there weren't many changes made to that particular amp. The silverface with its tagboard construction will be easier to service down the line and more durable, and also has the same Schumacher transformers as the blackface amps. If you are buying it to immediately mod, why not go for an original which is the same price and easier to mod/service, and of which you don't destroy the resale value immediately. This is one reissue that truly doesn't make much sense to me, as the original Princetons (particularly the silverface ones and the non-reverb ones) are still affordable. Maybe they know something I don't.

    Short of that, the first places to look would be the speaker and tubes and maybe the output transformer, as you have said. If overdrive is not your goal, I really like the clean sound of the Princeton Reverb in its stock configuration. But that's just my opinion.
     
  3. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    If you need more volume and 12-inch speaker, why not just get a DRRI? ;)
     
  4. SatelliteAmps

    SatelliteAmps Member

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    Agreed. That's a lot of effort to modify an amp that you could probably already get that sound out of somewhere else.
     
  5. timmerel

    timmerel Member

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    I like the Princeton because of its light weight and sound, and am interested in hearing from anyone who has done any of these mods.
     
  6. teleman1

    teleman1 Supporting Member

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    timmerel,

    Leo designed this cabinet for a 10". Thats what it is voiced for. I don't recommend a 12. Its too big and rattles the cabinet even more. Besides, I have heard a 68 with the orignal 10" in there and it sounds fine. Nothing wrong with trying out other 10" for your particular sound.

    Of Course the amp benifets from NOS. You can get the currently built recommened 6v6's. But you might try a Mullard in the v1 12ax7 slot and perhaps a NOS rectifier tube.

    This amp sounds pretty dang good stock. A couple of the mods you spoke of increase the volume. Do you need that?. I also wonder about the Stokes mod cause it was for the PTP models. Has it been coverted for circuit boards?
     
  7. timmerel

    timmerel Member

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    Sounds like a good Weber 10" might be the way to go then.

    I'm using a Mullard in another amp, and that sounds a good idea for V1.

    On the volume focused mods, I was really thinking in terms of higher headroom to keep it clean. I don't know about the Stokes mod for circuit boards, just read about it for Princetons in general.
     
  8. SatelliteAmps

    SatelliteAmps Member

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    You will have a lot of difficulties doing any of the circuit mods, due to the fact that this is a circuit board based amplifier. Those mods are easy on any of the other Princetons because they are point to point wired. The mods you are asking about would entail cutting traces, and a bit of buggering to try and get everything to fit and work well together.

    Any of the mods can be done, but if you want to have those mods, there are cheaper, better ways to get them. Having done them to some SF Princetons, there are some benefits to them. There isn't a great change in overall volume, but there is a difference in clean headroom.

    The easy way to get more headroom out of any amp is to change the tubes to different types if you can. Going with a 12AT7, 12AY7, or 12AU7 will all alter the gain characteristics dramatically. Changing the rectifier and the power tubes to different types will also alter the clean headroom.
     
  9. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Not to mention that such changes may have reliability issues if not done carefully and expertly.

    And, thus, brad347's suggestion to check out SF Princeton Reverbs is a good one. :)
     
  10. timmerel

    timmerel Member

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    So if I stick with the reissue (without the circuit mods, but with the speaker and tube changes), what specific tubes would you recommend?
     
  11. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    ...and are non-reversible, permanently damaging resale value. :)
     
  12. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    What is your tube budget?

    Ideally, blackplate RCA (original to the Princeton) and Brimar are very nice. Both are very expensive by now.

    For cheap tubes, JJ 6V6 is very robust and good sounding for the money.
     
  13. timmerel

    timmerel Member

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    I've been down the NOS route before, so know they aren't cheap.

    I think the amp has the following tubes:

    3 X 12AX7
    1 X 12AT7
    2 X 6V6
    1 X 5AR4 Rectifier

    Are you suggesting RCA blackplate for the 12AX7s? And what would you suggest for the other tubes?
     
  14. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    I was speaking strictly about the 6V6s.

    I thought the Princeton used a 5U4 but it's been a long time since I've been inside one.

    The best 5AR4 by far is the old Mullard/Philips/Amperex. You will pay for them.

    My favorite 12AX7 in Fender amps are blackplate longplate RCA and longplate Amperex Bugle Boys. Shortplate Mullards are what I use because I have a bunch of them around. They're actually not as nice sounding for guitar use as the other two, IMO. Of those, the RCA is probably the most economical.

    I don't know if Mike K has any of those Marconi coke bottle 6V6s left, but those were great for the price.

    Other guys here know more about tube snobbery than me, so listen to them. Those are just my personal experiences. ;)
     
  15. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    Honestly, I'd consider speaker first. A speaker is arguably the biggest impact on the tone of the amp, outside of the circuit design and cabinet. You might actually like the stock speaker. :) If you don't, then consider a couple of highly recommended ones, including (but not limited to):

    Weber 10F150T
    Weber 10F125
    Eminence Ragin Cajun
    Eminence Copperhead
    Jensen C10Q re-issue
    Reverend All-Tone 1030 [no longer in production]
    Vintage Jensen C10Q
    Vintage Jensen C10NS
    ...
    (And the list goes ohn, deeeeeee deet deet deet.....
    the list goes ohn.... deeeeeee deet deet deet.....
    drums keep poundin' the rhythm to the brain....)

    BTW, the BF Princeton and Princeton Reverbs used 5AR4 (GZ34) rectifiers. :)
     
  16. timmerel

    timmerel Member

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    I agree - Ted Weber recommended the first speaker on your list, lightly doped and broken in by them.

    So guess its that plus paying silly prices for a bunch of NOS tubes.

    I'll try the amp stock first, but my previous experience with good NOS tubes has made me encouraged to give them a try with any amp.
     
  17. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    so what are the advantages, in your mind, of buying the reissue amp versus an original or silverface?
     
  18. SatelliteAmps

    SatelliteAmps Member

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    The speaker will make a huge difference. If that still isn't enough, have someone plop in some 5881's, and maybe a 12AT7 in the V1.
     
  19. timmerel

    timmerel Member

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    What is the difference with 5881s? I've used an 12AT7 in another amp, and it worked well.
     
  20. SatelliteAmps

    SatelliteAmps Member

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    I may have spoken too soon. The reissue Princeton Reverb PT won't work well with 5881s. Apparently it just won't keep up.

    If it had worked, the difference would have been a bit more bass response, and a bit more clean headroom.
     

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