The History of the Fender Princeton Amp
Part II: The Brownface Princeton
The Princeton amp has been around almost since Fender's inception. The Princeton has remained a popular amp in Fender's line. Over the years the Princeton has undergone many circuit and cosmetic changes. For the purposes of our discussion we will only consider the classic Princetons made from 1946 to 1981. This covers the Woody Princetons, Tweeds, Brownface, Blackface and Silverface Princetons. These are the quintessential years for the Fender Princeton that are of the most interest players and collectors. In part II I will discuss the Brownface Princeton.
Brownface Princeton 6G2 1961-1963
The Brownface Princeton represented a big change for the Princeton line and many these changes remained through the Blackface and Silverface years. The Brownface was a 15W amp with tremolo bias wiggle on-board. Additionally it was fitted with larger 10 inch speaker and was the first fixed bias Princeton. This design used a cathodyne phase inverter which is circuit that was found in 5E3 Tweed Deluxe and many other amps of day. However by the Brownface years the Princeton was the only Fender amp that used the cathodyne phase inverter circuit. In truth the Brownface wasn't a new design but rather a updated version of the 5F11 Tweed Tremolux.
The Brown Princeton is favorite of mine and has great cleans but the overdrive is accessible and tremendously pleasing. The bais wiggle trem is a real treat for the ears and gives a nice soft tremolo.
Volume, Tone, Speed and Depth Controls, 15 Watts, two 6V6, Two 12AX7 and one 5Y3, 10 inch speaker.
A. Fender cheaped out and didn't use screen resistors. Adding 1K 2 watt units is good idea.
B. The bias is non-adjustable. Adding bias pot is really helpful to getting the best sounds from the amp and keep the tubes safe.
C. Adding a three prong grounded cord is a must!
D. The amp uses a single can cap for all the filters caps which leads to grounding issues. It's quieter with a separate ground for the filter caps so when re-capping I suggest installing a separate caps.
I've built a bunch of these. I often pair them with 12" speaker, use a GZ-34, and tweak the circuit slightly. This is truly a classic Fender.
Interested in getting one? I can build them as combos, head, and cage heads.