Is there a better low watt portable tube combo than a Fender Princeton? With a surge in popularity over the past 10-15 years, the venerable Princeton is undoubtedly one of Leo Fender's best designs. There are few amps that deliver such a great clean tone at low volumes better than a Princeton.
The non-reverb Princeton doesn't get quite the attention that its reverb-loaded sibling does, but that doesn't mean these amps can't provide a lot of that great vintage tone. With the absence of the reverb circuit, a non-reverb Princeton delivers a much cleaner response through the entire volume sweep. The lack of gain staging from the reverb driver tube changes the behavior of the amp to keep that lovely Blackface clean tone more stable as you push the volume. You're still afforded that fantastic bias tremolo (unique to the Princeton circuit from this era) as well.
This particular amp recently came to us from the family of its original owner, who also purchased a 1957 Gibson ES-175D as its performing companion (see photo). It sat untouched and unused for about 35 years until it made its way to us. It represents the earlier Blackface version often identified as a pre-CBS build, with no Fender logo present on the speaker baffle, and 'Fender Electric Inst Co' designations on the faceplate and rear chassis plate. The tube chart is stamped 'OB' indicating completion in February 1965, and this Princeton's internal components all date from 1964, including both transformers. The original Oxford 10J4 speaker dates from the 2nd week of 1965.
With the exception of a missing tremolo footswitch, this is about as complete an example you'll see, even down to the back panel screws. It was recently serviced by Boston-area amp tech Stan Day, and required very little service to come back to life. A preamp tube was replaced along with a bias cap, which not only reduced some noise but improved power tube output, balance, and tone. The signal caps and even the electrolytics tested fine. The original two-prong cable was left in place due to the cleanliness and originality of the amp. The original black tolex is in fabulous condition, with just a few small nicks and marks to show its age. The original grill cloth also remains very clean and tight. It's even got the original RCA 6V6 power tubes that test great and sound amazing in these amps.
These 12-watt 1x10 combos are always in high demand, and for good reason! Compact, lightweight, and rich with great tone, it remains one of the great vintage combos from Fender's Golden Era.
- AA964 Princeton Non-Reverb Circuit
- Pre-CBS spec w/ tube chart date stamp of 'OB' - February 1965
- Original OT - dated 38th week of 1964 (606-4-38)
- Original PT - dated 47th week of 1964 (606-4-47)
- Replaced bias capacitor
- Replaced preamp tube
- Original RCA 6V6 power tubes
- Original Oxford 10J4 speaker