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Super Champ vs. Blackface Princeton


Which one would you buy if both were priced the same (fairly reasonable at less than $700 each)?

Heard so many great things about the BF Princetons (BF Fenders in general for that matter) that it's hard to look at the Rivera designed Super Champ as a potential equal.

Look forward to hearing back from the resident experts.



Gold Supporting Member
That's a decent price for a Superchamp and a KILLER price for a PR, so after I suggest the better amp is the SC, will you shoot me the store name so I can buy the PR myself? Seriously, the last time I looked, BF Princeton Reverbs were selling in the $1500 range. Even if it's the non-reverb version, close to $1k. As to which is the better amp, it depends on what you're doing.

The PR is THE BF recording amp. Mic'd it'll sound as big and as good as any Fender, so in a gig where you can mic or a recording studio, it can't be beat. The tremelo sounds good, the reverb is sweet and big sounding, the clean is great. Personally I'm not a big fan of overdriven PRs, but they take pedals very well...

The Superchamp doesn't do BF clean as well as the Princeton. It's got it's own, warm, compressed clean going, but it's just a bit more generic. The overdrive channel is also warm and fairly high gain: think early Mesa. The 10" speaker doesn't do much for me, but an extension cab with a 12" or two (I love the alnico JBLs and EVs with this amp) make a huge difference. It's not easy to set it up for both good OD and good clean sounds, might be easier to think of it as a 1 channel amp with some really different sounds.

Personally, I'd find a way to get both and sell the one you don't bond with. They're both killer amps, and I plan to keep both in my stable for many years to come (my PR is actually SF, but that's no lost, it still sounds great).


drbob1 had some great points. Going strictly on my own preference, I think the Superchamp is a bit more versatile and dollar for dollar you can't go wrong with the Superchamp.

Dave Yeats

Silver Supporting Member
Sounds like this is a non-verb Princeton? Do you use reverb?

I prefer the Princeton tone over the Super Champ, but the SC is not inherently bad. Go listen to them.


they are equals in that neither does the other's tone very well.

what it comes down to is which sound do you want? the princeton sound or the Super Champ sound?

i think that from an investment standpoint the Princeton would probably be a better choice. plus, you just can't beat the tremolo, it's a wonderful recording amp, and it takes pedals extremely well. i love my '65 Princeton (non-reverb).



Silver Supporting Member
I have had a Super Champ, a blackface Princeton Reverb and currently have a '72 PR that has modded to have a 12 inch speaker.

I had them for something light and easy for grab-and-go situations. The Super Champ was the first to get sold as I like the cleans and edge of breakup on the PR better. The blackface went because it was worth a fair bit and allowed me to do a fun trade, but it was a great amp.

I still have the '72 PR. Used it this past weekend and plan to again at a gig next weekend as well. With pedals, it is a smokin' little amp IMO. Really good cleans and takes pedals well. With the 12 speaker, it has more bottom and and headroom it seems. Mic it and you can cover a lot of gigs (or of course home use).



Silver Supporting Member

Barring that, I'd choose the BF Princeton ...just more versatile IMHO.


Steve Dallas

If it is a Princeton Amp (no reverb), it will stay clean up to 10 with a Strat. So don't expect any OD with that one.


Fully Intonatable
Silver Supporting Member
Matters of taste aside: the Super Champ requires a footswitch for the channels which was proprietary to the Rivera-designed models, and which Fender no longer makes. The actual gain/reverb balance is different when switching using the f/s versus the pull-pot. If the piece you're shopping doesn't have one or it's not working properly, factor in an additional $50 or so for a 3rd-party replacement.


Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
My Rivera-era Super Champ came today and after swapping in NOS USA tubes, the cleans on it almost brought me to tears, they were so precious. Using a Guild Starfire II hollowbody (harp tailpiece) I swear it was like almost an acoustic response, except given that extra breath of life (used a bit of the onboard reverb too). It was so good I got to noodling and actually wrote a song using it in one session. Very clean, very chimey, Blackface but with a bit more substance and snap. Compared to my old late 70's silverface Princeton Reverb, which could get sterile, this lil Rivera has plenty of shimmery character, yet also the dynamic punch I've been missing from the cleans since I got rid of my solid state hybrid Music Man 112RD.

Totally different animal than my 1964 Transitional Princeton, which has the warm warbly brownface guts and bias tremolo. The right answer is to keep both!

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