Fender Princeton reverb ii?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Tele81, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. Tele81

    Tele81 Member

    Jan 1, 2014
    Beavercreek Ohio
    How do these compare to other Princeton circuits? I have the opportunity to trade into a minty one. I wouldn't use any of the pull boost knobs etc. but from what I gather it's a higher headroom Princeton with a mid knob and presence. My questions; how is the master volume on this? I don't need tons of gain but how are the edge of break up tones? Can I get into tweed territory with the mid boost knob? I'd be giving up a Savage Macht 12x for it. Awesome amp but I'd like something with built in verb and some more EQ knobs would be nice. My main amp is a BadCat 30r so this would just be my grab and go. Thanks.
  2. dazco

    dazco Member

    Jul 25, 2003
    It;s been so long maybe my experience isn't real valid considering i was just starting to play in bands and also I can only go by old memories. Well, except that i had a recording of us back then with that amp and it did not sound great. It would be hard to tell you how it sounded clean because i just don't recall. What i do recall having owned that AND the larger Rivera design, the concert, is that the OD circuit in them was horrible. Like a bad OD pedal. I also had recordings of the concert and the OD was very much the same in both. The concert however i DO recall having a good clean channel. But in any case i would stay away from them if you intend to use the OD channel at all. It's one of the worse i have owned in that regard.
  3. doublescale1

    doublescale1 Suhr S-Classic, V60LP's, Soft V neck Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    I live on the east side of metropolitan Detroit
    I've had a couple of them, though not at the same time. They are not like any traditional Princeton Reverb at all. Its a larger cab and comes as 1X12, so they bark a little louder from that. They do have a killer classic Blackface voicing in the clean channel, the mid control will in fact add more mids but I'd not say that you get to tweed deluxe territory, just more mids than a trad. scooped BF voice. I was in the camp that found the OD not pleasant - I just used it in the clean channel and used good OD pedals, which worked very well with the amp. In all, as a clean channel amp, I found it to be very musical. We mic all our players to the PA so I had no problems gigging that amp, regardless of the room size. I had to have my tech do a little more clean up on one of them, but even the one that needed more attention cost me $115. to get back to factory spec fighting mode, the other one a little less. They are Point to Point and the schematics are readily available, so they can be fixed by a competent tech. It's a great grab-n-go type combo, and an interesting point in Fender amp history. I never lost money on either of them, but they don't appear to be appreciation like other old Fenders (who knows, perhaps one day) I had other amps that covered that ground so I eventually sold the two I had to fund other gear pursuits.
  4. vrdyer

    vrdyer Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    This is a whole different type of amp. Fender wanted a high gain circuit and that's what they got with Rivera design. Two channel amps had a very clean almost sterile clean channel. The second channel had a pull mid control to hump the distortion and a presence control was brought back instead of a bright switch. Plus a very good loop in this amp that could be jumpered to add even more gain as there were variable level in/out controls.

    But, if you are looking for a vintage blackface princeton sound.....this is not at all it. The silverface princeton had the addition of a negative feedback circuit and phase invertor with the CBS intention of making the amp more stable and have more headroom.

    For the Fender II Rivera circuits think Super Champ amp that they put EVs in for awhile. A different type of amp. The Concert was not a Super Reverb either (which had just been retired as the Rivera amps came into production).

    Also, they were based on Sylvannia and GE tubes (6L6GC and 6V6s). Good tubes. These tubes got phased out for awhile and then Sovtek 5881s and the like were available. Those tubes did not work with the Rivera research and design of those amps at all.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
  5. ChampReverb

    ChampReverb Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2007
    Slightly west of Boston
    I own seven Fender amps total (BF/SF, Champs, PR's, DR, VR) and the one I take most to gigs is the vastly underrated PRII.

    I only use the clean channel.

    The Mid and Presence controls are a great help to get the amp dialed in wherever I play.

    It sounds really nice with an alnico Weber Blue Dog.

    Use a good drive pedal and a decent reverb pedal and you'll be all set.

    -bEn r.
  6. jpastras

    jpastras Supporting Member

    Jun 28, 2006
    Decatur, GA
    I agree with champreverb and I think some of the other posts in the thread are a little confused.

    If you go to the amp demo section of tgp, you can watch a little clip of me playing mine. It's a recent upload. If you just ignore the switching, the amp sounds like a deluxe reverb. The speaker in mine is original and tired, and it still sounds good.
    jpagey, ChampReverb and rubbersoul like this.
  7. rubbersoul

    rubbersoul Member

    May 3, 2008
    I got my Princeton II recently in a trade. I think it's a wonderful sounding amp. Mine came with a Cannabis Rex installed, but the previous owner also gave me the original speaker. I haven't tried it yet since the C Rex sounds great. A very, very versatile amp.
    jpagey and ChampReverb like this.
  8. Guitartim

    Guitartim Member

    Apr 3, 2007
    If you are considering a PRII, the first thing I'd recommend is to try it out first. They stopped making these amps in 1986, so you might get a great hand-wired, PTP amp, comparable to some boutique amp builders are making today, but with the Fender branding, you'll not lose your shirt when its time to sell or trade.

    Some folks love them and others not so much. The knock on these fine amps is the overdrive. Solution...don't use it. The cleans on this amp are very good, reverb is decent, and it is a very loud 20 watts...even louder with a more efficient speaker. Mine came with the optional EV12L and it is very gig-worthy...but heavy because of the EV.
    PRII's take pedals very well, and they have a ton of EQ capability, unlike other Fender amps. It may take time to dial in your favorite tones. (Think Mesa-light).

    More info about the PRII and all Rivera era amps at this site:
  9. BlueRiff

    BlueRiff Member

    May 19, 2016
    My buddy has a Princeton II and while the amp is seriously loud, it has a harsh, chiseled break up tone. But he dimes the mids and trebles and has a tight, modern Brit speaker in it. When he's not looking on the gig I take the mids and treble down to 4. Ahhh....relief! Fortunately he has not noticed. He might have lost some of his hearing. I am amazed at this amps volume though.
  10. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 9, 2004
    Just to be anal, these amps were designed by Jahns just before Rivera started at Fender, although they fall under his umbrella. Also the two "small" channel switchers have a very different system for switching channels, they're actually a single channel amp that steals some gain from the reverb circuit for the lead channel. And with the foot pedal you actually have 4 sounds-lead and clean with pedal and lead and clean without, which are subtly different. The larger amps have separate channels with individual gain and distortion for the second, and the distortion channel does suck. Withe the Superchamp and PRII though, I dig it in a Mesa kind of way.

    If you're going straight up clean, you could save some money by going with the Champ 12-it's the clean channel from the SC/PRII into a 12" speaker with just a pull boost and two EQ knobs. Sounds great with pedals. But the PRII, if you can land it for a reasonable price, is a great sounding little amp! Loud with a sweet, warm clean, more like a tiny Mesa than a traditional Fender. And the PRII with it's mids knob and 12" speaker is definitely the best of the bunch!
  11. stratopastor

    stratopastor Member

    Apr 27, 2005
    NorthEast England
    I agree with much of what's written above. To get REALLY anal... yes, Ed Jahns designed the PRII, but that was in order to fulfill the brief set out by Paul Rivera once Rivera had joined Fender.

    Let me know the serial number of any Rivera-era Fender and I'll give you a reasonably accurate date for it. I'm researching this range in the same way, albeit on a much smaller scale to what Greg Gagliano has done for all the Fender ranges that came before.
  12. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

    Jan 1, 2004
    Southern Oregon
    I played one for awhile when I was trying to downsize from my Super Reverbs. Pretty decent amp, but I can also confirm it's nothing like a Princeton Reverb. It turned out to be the wrong amp for me because I dislike using pedals for drive. I prefer to turn up the amp and get my clean sound by turning down the guitar volume. I'd say if you're the type that gets the drive you need from a pedal and enjoy that, it's a decent choice. But even for that, I'd rather have a silverface Princeton or Deluxe. I found a better solution in a Silverface Princeton Reverb, mounted into a head cab. I played it through a open back, single 12 cab and it was my rig for a couple of years. With the PR, I could at least turn it up enough to get it working a bit. Although I still had to resort to my Klone in small rooms where I couldn't get the amp up to at least 5 or 6.
  13. vds5000

    vds5000 Member

    Mar 6, 2008
    Some of the Fender amps I've owned:

    1978 Silverface Champ
    1979 Silverface Vibro Champ
    1966 Blackface Vibro Champ
    1970 Silverface Princeton
    1976 Silverface Princeton Reverb
    1978 Silverface Deluxe Reverb
    1981 Deluxe Reverb ('Blackface' cosmetics)
    1983 Concert II
    1985 SuperChamp
    1985 Princeton Reverb II
    1984 Deluxe Reverb II
    1985 Deluxe Reverb II
    1987 Champ 12
    1987 Champ 12 (Snakeskin)
    1988 Super 60
    1989 Super 112

    The only amp in the list above that sounded remotely similar to the Princeton Reverb II was the SuperChamp. I didn't find the PRII similar in sound to the Deluxe Reverb, The Champ 12 or any of the other amps mentioned above. The PRII sounded a bit 'bigger' than the SuperChamp, but both amps sounded 'boxy'. The gain on all the Rivera designed Fenders sound harsh to me. The larger the amp, the more harsh the tone. I've swapped the speakers out on all the Rivera designed Fenders I've owned which did help the gain channel again, but at the expense of negatively impacting the clean channel.

    Although the value of the Macht 12X and PRII may be similar on the used market, I wouldn't do the trade, unless your intent was to quickly flip the PRII.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2016
  14. hank57

    hank57 Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 4, 2006
    I had the PR II once and actually maybe twice. I think it works great and if you want the lead channel to sound different you can go mod crazy. Or just use the nice Fender Reverb channel and enjoy.
  15. Guitartim

    Guitartim Member

    Apr 3, 2007
    I hear a lot of negative comments about the overdrive of Rivera era amps. While I agree that the PRII's sucks at OD, it is great with pedals. It's my #1 choice for jazz or clean RnB gigs, especially with the EV speaker.

    And the secret to sweet OD from a Super Champ is to disconnect the tone-sucking foot pedal, bring the Volume up to about 7-8 and the Master Volume to suit the room.
    Result?...Very Nice OD. Also, depending on your speaker (and guitar) pull out the Mid Boost for more Marshall/Boogie tones. (Connecting to a 1x12 or 4x12 ext. cab. is crazy good tone!

    And finally, the Champ II has a great sounding overdrive...probably the best of the bunch...again, connect to an ext. cab. for a giggable 18 watt screamer.

    I love this little beast!!
  16. JDW3

    JDW3 Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Below Flint
    Is it that hard to mod the PR II for better overdrive?
  17. Guitartim

    Guitartim Member

    Apr 3, 2007

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