- 'RAT' Handwired Princeton Reverb -
I am no longer making these Amps - The Following is for Information Only.
Without a doubt - One of the best Guitar Amps ever made was the 1963-65 Blackface Fender Princeton Reverb. The Amp was intended as a Practice Amp but was more often used in the Studio. Back in 1963 'Clean' was the order of the day, Amps that Distorted were viewed as Rubbish. In the late 60s, the Professional and Session Guitarists knew better and were starting to use the High Volume Distortion in the Fender Valve Amps to get their Sound. Most Classic Fender Valve Amps will stay 'Clean' up until about 7 on the Volume Dial, after that, the Amps start to Produce the Beautiful Harmonic Distortion that we all seek today. The Session Guys knew they could not run a Fender Dual-Showman 100 Watt Amp at Full Power in the Studio, WAY too Loud, and as soon as you reduce the Volume - the Magic Sound is Gone. The Answer, it seems Obvious now, Use a 12 Watt Princeton Reverb running Flat-Out. The Magic Harmonic Tone was there, without 100 Watts to blow your Head Off. In the 50s and early 60s all Fender Amps were Hand Made, every Component and Wire was soldered by hand. There was no other way, PCBs were not yet commercially available and most electronic Consumer Products were built this way. And Now, 50 years later, we know that some of the Best Sounding Guitar Amplifiers are Valve Point-to-Point Hand Wired. The Technology is Prehistoric but the Sound produced by these Handmade Amps is the BEST. It's almost impossible to get your hands on an original Vintage Blackface Princeton and if you do find one that works, it will cost you an Arm and a Leg. Fender do make the 65 Princeton Reverb Reissue (PRRI) but it needs a load of work done to get it sounding anything like the original and it is Not Hand Wired.
This is what a Point-to-Point Handwired Amp looks like. This is the RAT Blackface Princeton Reverb Clone. It faithfully follows the 1963-65 Fender AA1164 Circuit Design and Construction Methods. Cloth-Covered-Wire, Fibre-Eyelet-Board, Carbon-Comp-Resistors, Orange-Drop-Capacitors, All Valve Reverb using an Accutronics Long 4AB3C1B Reverb Tank - There are NO Transistors or PCBs in this Amp. I have added/changed a few things - Fuses on the HT and Heater Rails, Bias Control, HT Safety Resistor, a Larger (Fender Deluxe Reverb) Output Transformer and a Larger 12" Speaker in the Pine, Finger-Jointed, Black 'Tolex' covered Cabinet (made in the USA). The Power Output is now 18 Watts RMS. There is NO Background HUM or BUZZ - The Amp Produces Sharp, Crisp Cleans and that Wonderful 'On the edge of Distortion' Sound. Loads of Dynamic Sensitivity - Turn it UP to '10' and the Sustain and Harmonics will Blow you Away. NO Preamp Distortion, the Internal Amplified Signal stays Clean right up to the 'Old Style' Cathodyne Phase Inverter/Splitter (Also known as Split Load -or- Concertina) which unlike most Phase Inverters, Offers No Gain - The Distortion you hear at the Speaker is almost all from the Power Valves.
See the Photos -
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