Fender 65 vs 68 Princeton Reverb

COYS

Member
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5,728
So, we have these two contenders currently on offer from Fender.

Differences: (other than cosmetic)
The '65 seems to be MIA, the '68 Custom is MIM.
The '65 has a Jensen C10R speaker, the '68 Custom has a Celestion Ten 30 speaker.
The '65 has the traditional blackface circuit, while the '68 Custom has "modified tone circuitry for greater tonal flexibility with pedals, reduced negative feedback for greater touch sensitivity, and quicker overdrive onset."


I played a few of each of these and I ended up buying a the '68. I tried them between 0 and 5 on the volume dial sitting about 10 feet in front.


For me, I felt that:

-The '68 sounded a touch warmer - not worlds different, but enough to give what I felt was a more pleasing tone with both an LP and a Tele.
-I felt the '65 sounded kind of raspy in comparison, and it had a sharp edge to the tone particularly in the highs. That might be useful in some ways, but for me, it felt like this was something I was going to have to work to control if I got that one. The '68 just sounded fine with no attention.
-I went back and forth between the two for a half hour or so, and an older fellow came up behind me and said "Buy that one", pointing to the '68, explaining that he'd been listening to it all while over at the repair bench. I was already feeling that way, almost from the first touch.
-Reverb and Trem sounded good on both. Wouldn't favor one over another.
-I wanted to like the '65 better because it's MIA, I tried to like it better, I just didn't.
-At this shop, the '65 was $200 more.


So anyway, I'm the happy owner of a new '68 Custom Princeton. Anybody else a big fan of these?

Can't wait to hear what it sounds like after the speaker gets broken in, but it' really nice as-is. Fender got it right :)
 

jblake

Gold Supporting Member
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2,257
I’ve owned both but still have the ‘65. The extra raspy edge was a plus for me, but if I played with more OD, I could see the ‘68 getting the nod.
 

Figaro

Silver Supporting Member
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12,768
I much prefer the 65 PRRI. Once the C10R speaker breaks in and possibly install some good tubes if needed, it sounds like a PR should.

The 68 CPR has too much low end so you have to keep the Bass control turned down, especially with humbuckers. Also, it doesn’t have much clean headroom so it’s only good for playing at home, not with a band.
 
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budglo58

Silver Supporting Member
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2,698
I bought the 68 several years back and still love it. It’s a great contrast to my drri amp because it has more mids whereas the drri is mid scooped. I personally prefer a warmer amp than the 65 could offer. It sounds great with my strats and 335 and Lp. I don’t regret buying it . If I had to keep only 1 amp it would be my 68 Princeton. I use mine with a tilt back stand to keep it off the floor a bit . This keeps the amp from being too bassy.
 

COYS

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5,728
I primarily play humbuckers, and while I do turn the bass down on the '68, like to 2 or whatever I typically do on Fenders, I think either one would work just fine with a tele or an LP or anything. The adjustment range is fine.

In the shop, I turned both up to the point where they started breaking up which for the '68 was around 4 and for the '65 was around 5. These are probably as loud as I would ever set them since the place I would play most all the time has amps off stage and miced. Headroom isn't an issue there.

(I heard someone joke recently that if your band is too loud for a Princeton then your band is too loud :p Not sure if that is true but it's funny)

I was expecting a bigger difference than I found in breakup and volume - maybe you guys with keener ears would have different results.

I will say that for some reason the '65 seemed louder to me, in terms of perceived volume, at any setting.

They are both very very nice, I think either a 65 or 68 could be a person's only amp and they'd do well.
 

Castlebreath

Member
Messages
386
I lean toward the 65 because of the bass issue with 68. Currently have a blonde Tolex reissue with a celestian gold and cupcake knobs. Best I’ve heard for my stuff.
 

64 Tele

Member
Messages
695
I've got the 68 and also like you, I spent a great deal of time A/B'ing the two.
I also "wanted" to like the 65 better (I had a 1964 PR for about twenty years before selling it).
Except for speaker (which seems to be the weak spot of the 68) the amp is pretty close to perfect for me.
If you have (or have access to) a Blues Jr., run the two together (either A/B/Y pedal or stereo out from a pedal) and thank me later.
They REALLY compliment each other very well.
 

tochiro

Member
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2,551
I A/B'ed the two and kept the 65 because of 2 reasons: first the 68 was far too noisy, second it had too much bass.
 

COYS

Member
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5,728
I lean toward the 65 because of the bass issue with 68. Currently have a blonde Tolex reissue with a celestian gold and cupcake knobs. Best I’ve heard for my stuff.
What speaker did you have in there, stock? How do you think the Celestion Gold changed the sound?
 

COYS

Member
Messages
5,728
I've got the 68 and also like you, I spent a great deal of time A/B'ing the two.
I also "wanted" to like the 65 better (I had a 1964 PR for about twenty years before selling it).
Except for speaker (which seems to be the weak spot of the 68) the amp is pretty close to perfect for me.
If you have (or have access to) a Blues Jr., run the two together (either A/B/Y pedal or stereo out from a pedal) and thank me later.
They REALLY compliment each other very well.
I've owned two blues juniors, an older one and a BJ III, and I liked both of those amps, but I like the princeton SO much more.

The BJ really has a lot of potential, in terms of speaker changes and upgrading the reverb - I know some people get great results with new, custom cabinets or tone mods... but for me I can't think of a situation where I would choose the BJ over the '68 Princeton. Y-ing them sounds like it might be very interesting through.
 

blaster

Member
Messages
1,205
I like both the 65 and the 68. I own the 65 and it works for me, and like other said once the Jensen speaker breaks in, it sounds so much better. Like Caldera above, I traded my Blues Jr. for the Princeton and have never looked back.
 

budglo58

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,698
This amp replaced a blues jr which to my ears was lacking bass. This amp has it in spades . Very controllable. First thing to deal with the bass is turn it down. If you try to run the bass like all your other amps you’ll regret it. I run it 2-3 with my strats and 1 (which is off) with humbuckers. Second thing is get it off the floor just a bit. I use just a small tilt back stand that does this nicely. Let the speaker break in too. Once my speaker was broken in much of the bassiness went away. Mine is also very quiet too. The VM line of amps if you are looking for something different than what the vintage reissue line has to offer.
 




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