Other Amps

New Princeton question

1

Hi,

I play mostly at home, sometimes at a jam with friends. Usually play bluesy stuff or 80s college radio stuff like early REM and the Replacements, but I also practice finger-style. Mostly play a standard strat or a dyna jet. I don’t need to run at bedroom volumes.

I have an AC15C1 I will keep. I would like to add a lighter amp with some sparkly Fender cleans to my palette. I had a chance to really test out the 68 Custom Deluxe Reverb and loved the cleans. I have never had a chance to test out the 65 DRRI for comparison. A deluxe is more amp than I need so I am curious about the current Princeton options. Anyone here know from direct experience if the 68 custom Princeton cleans are on par with the 68 deluxes? Is the 65 PRRI able to cover the same ground and more? I have not liked any Blues JR I have tried so far though I have not played one of the NOS ones. An SCXD2 is not off the table but Im hoping for all of that deluxe clean tone in a smaller and simpler package.

Thanks!

2

New or vintage? Those Mitch Easter era R.E.M. albums were recorded on his Ampeg Gemini and they’re still pretty affordable on the vintage market.

3

Im open to any suggestion but don’t want to spend more than about 700 bucks on the used market. How is a Gemini with the cleans?

4

Funny about the amps you mention. I had a tweed blues jr. 3 and a Vox AC15 twin, with the 2x12 celestion greenback setup. I also play a 53 VS dyna jet as well as a strat. I've finally sold all of it and am settled on my one guitar/one amp rig, which is the jet with a 68 custom Princeton reissue. That amp kicks total ass with a jet! If you're looking for clean, the 65 may be the way to go; the 68 gets dirty around 5 and is fully ripping when you dime it, no cleans to be found, but that's what I wanted...

5

Also, I was recently checking out Fender's current amp lineup and it looks like the 68 custom Princeton is discontinued?

6

Im open to any suggestion but don’t want to spend more than about 700 bucks on the used market. How is a Gemini with the cleans?

– Growler

The head of Ampeg was a jazz snob who insisted on designing amps around clean tones. Geminis are available with a 12 or a 15. I don’t recall which was at Drive In Studios but I’m sure you can research it. Mitch Easter is pretty outspoken on the web. They go for about $600 in decent condition. Story goes that Peter Buck’s Fender was in the shop when they went in to record Chronic Town.

7

The head of Ampeg was a jazz snob who insisted on designing amps around clean tones. Geminis are available with a 12 or a 15. I don’t recall which was at Drive In Studios but I’m sure you can research it. Mitch Easter is pretty outspoken on the web. They go for about $600 in decent condition. Story goes that Peter Buck’s Fender was in the shop when they went in to record Chronic Town.

– Junior Q Man (Ryan M)

Same thing with Ted McCarty and Gibson. The 60’s amps were clean and bright.

A PR will never have the same cleans as a DR at the same volume level. An old non-reverb Princeton with a 12” speaker will come close.

8

I have and love my '65 Princeton. I did replace the speaker, as the Jensen had a bit too much bite and a bit less bottom than I longed for. I looked into the '68, but it (could just be the Celestion speaker) had too much mid for me (My favorite pickup is a Hilo'tron and they do the honking perfectly already). I also wanted an amp with nice Fender chime and clean tone. I have no issue using a pedal when I want more grit. I'd love to have a '68 as well, but my '65 does what I usually want perfectly.

9

The Ampeg Gemini is a whole lotta amp. The Gemini I has a 12 inch speaker and the subsequent ones all had 15s. I had a Reverberockt 2 and it was on par with a Deluxe Reverb; the Geminis were the next model up from there. Also, to my ear, the Ampegs, although great amps, did not have the sparkle that the Fenders have. Ampegs have more mids.

The Princetons in any silverface or blackface version certainly have the Fender sparkle, but they are not quite smaller versions of Deluxe Reverbs; different amps for sure, but still in that blackface/silverface tonal soundscape. The reissues have the same design as the silver and black ones from the 60s and 70s. I have a 12" speaker in my 1972 PR and it works great for almost any gig. The 10s sound a bit boxy to my ear, and contrary to the practice of cutting a larger hole for the 12, I simply drilled new holes for the mounting bolts; there is no loss of frequencies.

10

Ampegs also had that afterbeat trem effect which totally turned off the signal instead of just lowering it. Ampegs thru 1968 are misunderstood by Distortion Dudes. I have mentioned before pretty sure that Ampeg was 2 towns away from My Ancestral Home in New Jersey and founder Hull lived in my town. When I was 14 our little dork band was playing at a party and he lived across the street ,came over to see the neighbors and was pleased to see his amps in use. Even then we thought the accordion input was weird.

Hard overstate how dominant those amps were around New Jersey then. The only Fender anyone thought was cool was the tilt back Bandmaster. Guild amps also had it going on. So as hard as it might be to imagine now, the coolest possible rig back in my young life was an Ampeg Gemini and Guild Starfire.

But of course by '69 Ampeg had to compete and the new line of silver front ones and the whole SVT scene came in, and Hull left.

11

I have a 61 Ampeg reverberocket with 6v6s . It’s not clean at all. The Gibson Crestwood RVT series are clean. I have a scout but you may need the extra power of a falcon. I’d definitely check out a Gemini if you hav a chance

I haven’t play d the 65 PR reissue. I have played the 68 at a show and it was much fuller sounding than I expected from a Princeton. I really liked it .

12

So as hard as it might be to imagine now, the coolest possible rig back in my young life was an Ampeg Gemini and Guild Starfire.

Pretty cool rig, if you ask me!

13

Hey thanks everyone for the discussion. I had a brief chance to play the 68 Princeton and it was nice but not much like the 68 Deluxe Reverb to my ears. I have a chance now to borrow a 65 PRRI so we will see what comes of that but since the PRRI and 68 Deluxe are close in price I may just get the Deluxe and get the tone I am chasing.

14

To me Princeton is for crunchy, cranked up sound. Faces, Stones. Quite different to Deluxe reverb. Both great thou.


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