Fender Princeton

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1966 Fender Princeton amplifier

The Fender Princeton was a guitar amplifier made by Fender. It was introduced in 1947 and discontinued in 1979.[1] After Fender introduced the Champ Amp in 1948, the Princeton occupied the next to the bottom spot in the Fender line. Fender Princetons (as well as their sister amp the Princeton Reverb) from the early models into the 1970s models are highly valued particularly as recording amplifiers.

The original Princeton used one 6SL7 dual-triode tube to provide two stages of RC-coupled voltage amplification in the preamplifier section. The power amplifier section used a single cathode-biased 6V6 beam power tetrode configured for Class A operation. The amplifier had a single volume control and a simple low-pass tone control to control treble response. The Princeton circuits numbered 5A2 through 5F2 were essentially slightly modified versions of the Fender Champ circuits 5A1 through 5F1 that allowed for slightly higher gain preamplifier tubes, and added the tone controls that were absent in the Champs.

In 1961, a new Princeton of fundamentally different design was introduced, which instead of being essentially an upgraded Champ was more like a junior Deluxe. This version used a single 7025 dual triode in the preamplifier; a 12AX7 dual triode, one half of which operated a tremolo oscillator and the other half of which served as a split-load phase inverter; and two 6V6GT tubes, which were fixed-biased in Class AB push-pull configuration in the power section. In 1963, the single tone control was replaced with individual bass and treble control knobs. A pull-out "boost" switch was added to the volume pot in 1978.

It is particularly famous as the basis for Mesa Boogie's Mark I, which is a heavily hotrodded Princeton equipped with modified preamp and a Bassman transformer, allowing it a higher gain output of 60 watts.

In 2006, Fender revived the Princeton name, under "Princeton Recording-Amp" (Pro-tube series) and "Princeton 650" (under Dyna-touch III series). The Princeton recording amplifier is basically a blackface Princeton with built-in overdrive, compressor and power attenuator. Fender also reissued the Princeton Reverb in 2008.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Teagle, J. and Sprung, J.: Fender Amps: The First Fifty Years.