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The Campy Forum

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Just for fun: amp recommendations?
  • I'm interested in getting a tube amp (using a Mustang now) and, naturally enough for someone on this forum, I'm mostly considering some sort of Princeton. Let me give you a little context and then ask for the recommendation. I play at home for the most part, but occasionally will jam with friends. I'm mostly an acoustic player (I've been playing for 45+ years), but I've been playing more electric over the last few years. I've got an American Special Tele, a Strat knock-off (with Lollars), and a recent Ibanez AS153 semi-hollow body. Stylistically I (try to) play a range of stuff: some of Jim's material and styles that he's associated with (would that I were young again and maybe I could really learn some of this stuff), some straight ahead jazz, some blues, and some more distorted jazz-ish stuff (Frisell, Monder, etc). But, fundamentally I'm a complete novice when it comes to equipment, and especially amps. The array of choices is somewhat bewildering. I think that what I'd like is an amp that has warm clean (Fender-ish?) tones at low volumes and breaks up a bit at slightly higher volumes. From reading and listening on the web, this leads me to lean toward the '68 Custom Reverb. But there's also the '65 reissue, and I have the opportunity to get a 1970 Princeton (no reverb), but that's over twice as expensive as the other two. So, if anyone wants to weigh in with any observations, opinions, or recommendations, I'd be most grateful. -Paul
  • One other question: if I buy it online, any recommendations as to where to buy it from?
  • I think a Princeton, either a '68 Custom or '65 Reissue, is a good place to start. Deciding between the 65 and 68, is really a matter of personal taste, playing them both at the same shop would be ideal, if possible. They are both good amps, they just sound a little different from one another.

    If you want any kind of amp breakup at all, stay away from the non-reverb princeton. It's clean all the way up to 10. And it's loud.

    As far as online retailers, I buy from many, and usually from whoever has the best price or has a sale going on, but I seem to use Sweetwater more these days than Musicians Friend. Also, eBay sellers sometimes sell NEW gear for prices a little lower than the big online retailers.
  • Ruger9, Thanks for the advice. I think my opinion flipped a bit last night as I listened to more and more demos (unfortunately, I won't be able to easily go somewhere to try them both out). I think that, on the whole, I like the '65 better. There's something Fender-ish about the basic tone that I find very appealing. If I buy new, Sweetwater is likely where, but the have a demo version of a Deluxe that's essentially the price of the '65 PRRI. Likely I'll stick with the PRRI. Everyone at home can hear me; I don't really need a Deluxe. It's just tempting.
  • This is in danger of becoming my own close-looped thread, nevertheless...

    I decided to go with the '65 PRRI. I did as much listening and research as I could do at a distance (not optimal, I know), and just resonated (no pun) better to the '65 than either the '68 custom or the briefly considered Deluxe reissue. If anyone has suggestions about tubes, speakers, etc. I'm all ears! I'm really inexperienced and I would value others insights. Thanks - Paul
  • I will say this... I had a 65 PRRI, and I tried some mods, and different speakers, etc....

    If I got another one (which I do plan to do in the future), the first (and maybe only) thing I would do is change the speaker. The stock speaker sounds good but does not handle volume and bass frequencies very well. Personally, I will probably put a Celestion G10 Gold Alnico in mine, but they are expensive... you would do well with the Celestion G10 Vintage, which is in several of Jim's amps.
  • Thanks for the advice. I'll look into it. The amp arrived on Friday and I've been putting it through its paces since then. I live in a small house so I don't need much volume (sort of a shame because I can't often explore what the amp can do at higher volumes). Nevertheless, I'll probably looking to making mods once I've gotten a feel for what it does and doesn't do. Right now, I have to say that I'm very happy I made this choice!
  • As long as you keep it at lower volumes, like 4-5, I don't think you'll need any mods or speaker changes. It's when you turn the volume up higher that things start to get dicey with the stock speaker.

    Keep in mine, the way Jim generally runs his (I don't want to speak for him, but I'm a huge fan and gear head), he basically puts the volume on 10, then controls the clean/dirty blend from his guitar's volume knob. But it can get very loud very fast doing it that way, the Princeton is much louder than it gets credit for, and THAT is the area where a better speaker can really make a difference.

    I still say a PR/PRRI on 4-5 with the reverb on 3-4 is the most beautiful clean sound I've ever heard. (Tele neck or middle position)
  • So far, as to volume on 4-5 and reverb on 3-4, I agree. My Tele is being worked on right now, and waiting on a Callaham bridge, so right now I'm playing the Ibanez AS153, which is a sort of Gibson 335 type of semi-hollow body. It's a very nice guitar, but it's not a Tele!
  • Did a speaker swap last week . With the celestion G10 vintage , it sounds british , and the response on the bass strings are real tight . Worth noting too is the increased sonic detail throughout the spectrum
  • So, Broadcaster, would you give a thumbs up, or thumbs down (or neither) to the G10? Just curious.
  • And, what does "sounds British" mean? You amp now has an accent? ;)
  • I think I know what that means, at least with respect to amps from the '60s. Vox amps sounded different than Fenders for sure. Actually, even though I couldn't describe it very accurately, my impression was that the '68 Custom Princeton Reverb Reissue sounded more "British" somehow (I'm wrong a lot though...). It's one of the reasons I liked the '65 more.
  • I was half-joking; "British" with regards to speakers generally means more mids and high-mids... compared the the American Jensens, which were more top & bottom, with less mids.

    65 PRRI = American
    68 CPR = British
  • Yeah, I'm kind of sleepy today. After I posted the comment, I got the sense that you might be joking. Slow on the uptake.
  • Think brian may's solo im Bohemian Rhapsody. It just sticks out.

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