1954 Fender Princeton

Discussion in 'Amps' started by TWANG, Feb 17, 2018.

  1. TWANG

    TWANG Well-Known Member

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    Pretty cool to see a dead stock unchanged unmodified and totally all there amplifier from 1954.
    That's a long damn time ago!

    It was soooo dirty. dust bunnies and cobwebs throughout.
    Nicely cleaned now, but will still reclean.. man it's just hidden filth everywhere.

    It fires up, but crackles.

    First thing I found was, (after considering the tubes themselves) the tube sockets.
    Loose screws, and loose for each pin, as well.
    Fixed that easy.

    It's got the two prong power cord.. I think I will change that.
    But overall, I don't want to go any farther than a tube change unless I absolutely have to.
    And even then, have to talk to the owner about it's 'stock' collectible value first.

    It's got the death cap, but that's only scary to techs, so I'll leave that in.
    Astron (Newark New Jersey) caps throughout and carbon comp resistors. cloth covered wire
    everywhere.
    Lupi signed it inside!

    I thought it was a champ. It really is. But it has a choke.
    Some reports conflict, saying the choke only appeared in 1955.
    12AX7 6V6GT and 5Y3GT tubes.
    Original speaker. I think it's a Jensen but no marking to tell me.

    I'll get some pics up asap.

    Really an honor to have this on my bench.
     
  2. pirate19

    pirate19 Well-Known Member

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    Awesome, I've always wanted an old Fender Tweed. Budget only allows for Silverfaces at best at this point though haha

    Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
     
  3. nomadh

    nomadh Well-Known Member

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    Oh yea get us some pics. It's great to have a real time capsule but its also a shame that such a fine piece of machinery sat mostly unused it's whole life.
     

  4. mozz

    mozz Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    It's called a death cap for a reason. If the amp is not going to be played, leave it alone. If you or someone plans on playing it, it needs a 3 prong cord and death cap removed. Then once that is done, if you plan on leaving the original filter caps in there, add a HV fuse. If not and you blow the transformer, you will never find one for any reasonable price. Tweed Princeton was a champ with a tone control. The speaker will have numbers on it, anything with 220 means Jensen. If there is a stamped chassis number, you can look that up.
     
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  5. TWANG

    TWANG Well-Known Member

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    Yeah death cap no good, same with power cord. everything about this amp screams leave it as stock as possible.
    I tested the Resistors they are all close enough for rock n roll.. which is all they ever were.
    Some would be noise producers, but some add to the amps natural grit so I'm leaving them in.
    It's really remarkably pristine even only half cleaned up as the pics below show.
     

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  6. jimytheassassin

    jimytheassassin Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! It does look really good for its age. What is the tan "brick" shaped component on V1. Reminds me of a Diode but it must be a resistor or capacitor, right ?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. TWANG

    TWANG Well-Known Member

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    it's a cap. I'm sure. I haven't looked but there are lots of caps shaped like that. In pedals I've used them.
     
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  8. devdem

    devdem Well-Known Member

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    Twang where did you land on this one? As clean as it looks, I would have a hard time leaving those old caps in (up to the owner of course). It’s for sure a museum piece. Pristine.
     
  9. TWANG

    TWANG Well-Known Member

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    I am not thinking of replacing anything that tests ok.
    I'll ask the owner before anything, too.
    Right now, it's just clean and see if I can get it working as is. then report to him.

    If it were mine, I'd not replace a thing.. not even the power cord or death cap.. I'd just clean it, test it, retube it and sell it.
    Why? Because it's a collector piece --to me-- more than anything else. It's survival unchanged is it's value.
    It's tone is easily copied for next to nothing, I've done it and so have many many others.
    My cake pan amp.. the Plexicake is better.
    This is a piece of history. A survivor. I think I'd sell it, and buy something I really like that does a better
    job, and let the romance pass me by.
     

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  10. devdem

    devdem Well-Known Member

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    Come to think of it, I think I'd do the same. That is just a perfect museum piece for sure.
     
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  11. TWANG

    TWANG Well-Known Member

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    Ok.. what a surprise!

    All I did was clean it all up. tighten a few things. Remove the death cap. Remove the power cord. Replace the
    power cord with a three prong, nicely wired in.
    Tested his tubes in my amp.. they all worked fine.
    Sooooo... I thought ok, I gotta turn it on to check the voltages anyway so.. fire it up
    plug in and see what happens.

    It's dead quiet.
    All the way to 11. tone and volume.
    dead quiet. no buzz, hum, nothing.
    tone is fantastic. I looooove this amp.
    that tiny speaker sounds better than my 10" speaker in my very own amp. damn damn damn how'd they do that?

    How did it last since 1954 and work just beautifully. You'd swear it was a new amp.

    Used my 12 String and it sounded really nice straight in!
    Plugged in my strat... all five positions and a little knob twisting
    and..
    clean to dirty... oh what a crunchy overdrive... very very good.

    I really expected to find.. a bad pot.. they're ancient! But pot cleaner and a few turns and they're like new.

    I thought ok.. could for sure be bad caps... probably a resistor or three..
    but no. .the resistors all tested fine.. the caps are not leaking dc current... the B+ is a little hotter
    than the schematic recommends, but we have higher voltages now than in the 1950's.. so that's just
    nothin' to worry about.

    I don't see that I have anything to do with it now.
    How cool though. I feel great that it turned out this way. I feel great to have had it on my
    bench. I've got an empty epiphone valve junior, a couple of them, in fact, so I think I may have to
    duplicate this Princeton.
     
  12. Manodano

    Manodano Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    That's amazing - it's hard to believe how well designed and manufactured every single part in that amp must have been to allow it to function 64 years later. But the most amazing thing is how right Leo (born 1909) and company had the basic electric guitar and guitar amp design as early as 1954.

    Twang, I dig that cake pan amp, it's right down my alley. And I've saved quite a few tube amps and carcasses from the 1950's and 1960's from the landfill and re-purposed 'em as guitar amps.

    But to match Leo, our homebrew amps will still have to be fully functional and highly prized in year 2082. I guess it's possible, what do you think?
     
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  13. TWANG

    TWANG Well-Known Member

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    I have some that will last, for sure. Even the pelexicake is point to point and all good stuff. some are built like a tank. I think they'd last but holy crap 64 years is impressive.
    cobwebs dust bunnies mouse turds.. I found a snakeskin in the circuit of a used amp I bought.. so it depends on lot on what moron is using them!
     
  14. jtcnj

    jtcnj Well-Known Member

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    I dont know how I missed this thread.
    Mozz beat me to it: you HAVE TO address the old power filter caps or it will be severely damaged.
     
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  15. TWANG

    TWANG Well-Known Member

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    well. seems to me there'd be a symptom of those caps failing.
    Hum for sure. other noise probable.
    but I suppose any of them could go bad all the way all at once...
     

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