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Shocking side by side test with Fender amps today


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I did a long and careful side by side today at Guitar Center with three re-issue Fenders, the Princeton 65 Blackface LTD in red wine with a 12" Jensen and 15 watts (35 lbs), the Princeton Custom '68 with its stock 10" Celestion and 15 watts (34 lbs) , and the Pro Jr. IV tweed with its stock 10" Jensen and 15 watts (15 lbs)... I highly recommend you do the same! Do not go by reputation.

The '65 was a distant 3rd place for jazz, it couldn't keep up with the push of my playing dynamics through its 12" speaker , the tone was sort of thin and sounded as if too many "mids" were missing. I had the store staff assure me it was operating normally. The Pro Jr. was the warmest, nice clear and present mids, but the '68 was bigger sounding with a classic silverface Fender Reverb-ish. Think Twin silverface. The '68 and the Pro Jr. both had better push in terms of translating dynamics through their speaker behavior. They had "push". I used my P90 pickup Epi Casino guitar. I had another guitarist with me and he came to the same exact conclusions.


I have owned blackface Fender amps: a 60's Super Reverb, a 60's Deluxe Reverb, and actual 1968 silverface Princeton Reverb and a blackface 60's Vibrolux Reverb. I have used and heard many vintage silverface Twin Reverbs.


I've been around, here was my rig in 1970:




Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 350 of Harry's jazz piano arrangements of standards, for educational purposes, and tutoring at https://www.patreon.com/HarryLikas


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Excellent review amigo.


I once had a black face Deluxe around the same time as the one pictured above, later on in the late 70's or 80's, I bought a Silver Face Deluxe as well. Both were good amps. I have no recollection what I did with them, I may have given one to my kiddo and sold the other or whatever, both are lost in time.


Of all the classic Fenders I have owned my favorites were;


#1 by Far a Rivera era Fender 30 which was the size of a deluxe with 30 watts and a tube rectifier. That one had channel switching, or an overdrive setting on one channel. It did everything from clean to Santana like overdrive.


#2 a Silver face pro reverb 40 or 50 watts 6L6 amp with a master volume control with 2 JBL K 120's that I put in it. That thing sang like a birdie at high volumes. Like the one mentioned above I have no recollection of who I sold it to.


My very favorite Fender amp of all time which I still have is the Version 2 Hot Rod Deluxe. I put in several different speakers in it over time, but I settled on an Eminence Cannabis Rex. I recently had it re-capped and the tech who knows the HRD amps well fixed any potential common problem. I only use the clean channel and effect it with stomps.

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+1 on the Hot Rod Deluxe played clean. I'm still using mine...I do like the sound of just about all Fender tube amps with a little spring reverb. The little Princeton is a very cool choice for a small portable IMHO. :cool:
Take care, Larryz
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