1966 Fender Princeton Reverb – Blackface Nirvana! This is the real deal, not a reissue.
Has become one of the most sought after Fender Blackface amps. Small, compact and great sounding. The Fender Princeton Reverb combo is essentially a Fender Princeton with built-in reverb and vibrato. The vintage ones prices have gone through the roof.
The 12 Watt Blackface version was introduced in 1964 and available until 1967, in 1968 it was replaced by the Silverface version dubbed “drip edge: because of the frame around the grill cloth. The frame was removed in 1969, and a slight change in circuitry. The rectifier was changed from a 5ar4 to a 5u4gb during the Silverface years along with a change in bias resistor value, a “boost” pull switch to the volume control pot was then added in 1977. In 1980 and 1981 the Silverface version was cosmetically changed back to the Blackface. It was discontinued in 1981.
The Fender Princeton Reverb reissues starting in 2008 are now available, but are quite different in the way the cabinets and circuit is made. The reissues are not point-to-point wiring and use a circuit board. This is cheaper to manufacture, but many feel it changes the sound.
The circuit that is used in the ’65 and ’68 Fender Princeton Reverb Reissues is not exactly true to the original. Due to the way the the tube sockets and circuit board that are built they are also harder to repair. The cabinets are no longer the same and some users say they tend to rattle. Some people have changed the speaker baffle to resolve this.
The Fender Princeton Reverb can give you a great blackface clean tone and can also be driven to crunch when pushed. The size, weight and versatility make this amp a favorite. The non-reverb Fender Princeton tends to stay cleaner and will only start a crunch sound at pretty high volumes. Players that like “clean” love these amps. The non-reverb Fender Princeton in the vintage market tend to be priced cheaper. These are also great amps.
Princeton Reverb, 1964-81:
- Preamp tubes: one 7025, two 12AX7, one 12AT7
- Output tubes: two 6V6GT, fixed-bias
- Rectifier: 5AR4 (blackface & reissue), GZ34 (blackface), 5U4GB (silverface)
- Controls: volume, treble, bass, reverb, speed, intensity
- Output: 12 to 15 Watts RMS
- Speaker: 10″ speaker (Jensen C10R, Jensen C10N, Oxford 10L5 or Oxford 10J4)
Note that the Fender Princeton Reverb II introduced in 1982 are completely different amps.
My Fender Princeton Reverb dates 1966 and is in extremely good condition for an amp that is nearly 50 years old. The only changes from being all original is a 3-prong plug for safety and a few swapped components that needed replacing – tubes and capacitors. I still have all the original parts. Amp has Jensen C10N that looks to be original as well. Sounds wonderful. Get great clean tones for a small amp and is more than loud enough for many gigging musicians.
This amp were serviced and rebuilt by John Lebrio from The Amp Place. I have known John for over 30 years and he is the most knowledgable amp tech and builder you will find. John is an encyclopedia of vintage amps.
This amp is from 1966 not long after CBS bought Fender and after John’s re-build it will last another 50 years. The original speaker is still there and sounds awesome.
Jim Campilongo (Mr. Princeton) on the Fender Princeton Reverb Amplifiers