I am convinced our senses can heal us.  Chicken soup saves the soul.  Our eyes entertain the body.  Our ears bring us the vibrations of joy.  In my ongoing quest to find the right guitar amplifier, I thought I’d hit nirvana with Egnater Rebel 20 — but their terrible customer support was so sour that they curdled my joy.  I am happy to report today that I have found my ultimate amp in the reissue of the Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb!


I had my heart set on the reissued ’65 Princeton Reverb ever since I heard the dulcet tones of great Telecaster guitarist Jim Campilongo demonstrating the glistening amp for Fender:

The ’65 Princeton Reverb is a delicious-sounding amp in a small size.

Here’s another killer review for your listening pleasure.

The ’65 Princeton’s innate ability to sound big, chimey, large and robust in such a small and portable size is awe-inspiring.

I will warn you straight up that the reissue ’65 Princeton Reverb from Fender is based on the original amp — so it crackles and pops and hums and spits and generally misbehaves at times. 

Don’t send the amp back as damaged or broken until you’ve given it a good chance to break in and burn in the tubes.  Those initial wonky sounds are the waking up and the why and the wherefore of the reissue.  Scratchiness, thy name is “The Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb Reissue!” 

You want that ’65 sound?  You pay for it with amp intemperance.  If you want something less authentic, cheaper, quieter — but still inspired by the ’65 Princeton Reverb — check into the Fender Vibro-Champ XD.

When I first plugged in my ’65 Princeton Reverb it crackled and popped and hummed — all on its own with nothing plugged into it except the power cord into a socket — for about three hours as it “burned in.”

Whenever I’d turn something electrical on or off in the same room as the amp, the ’65 Princeton would pop and snap its defiance right in my tender ear.  Any little movement in the room would set off the amp into a screeching that actually pained any ear.

I finally figured out the ’65 Princeton Reverb is incredibly sensitive to movement of any kind because of the actual, physical, springs inside that provide that authentic, “analog,” retro reverb sound.  If the amp is on, and if you move or jiggle the amp — or even breathe on it wrong — those tender springs inside the amp will go wild and “sound” with unsatisfying tones.

The solution for me was to — duh! — move the amp off my wobbly wooden table and place it onto the floor.  The moment I did that, the popping, hissing, crackling and shrieking instantly stopped and the famous, warm, human, voice I was hunting for returned to my joyous ears in full.

Remember, if your amp is sounding unhappy and acting out — it just might be because you haven’t provided a proper location for it yet.  Sometimes the fault is not in our springs, dear Reader, but within ourselves.

The ’65 Princeton Reverb is a perfect performance and home amp.  Here are my favorite at home settings that bother no one else while providing me intrinsic joy:

Volume = 2
Treble = 8
Bass = 10
Reverb = 5
Speed = 2
Intensity (Vibrato/Tremolo) = 3

Cranking the volume up to 10 will give you a cool tube break up that is to die for — just make sure you control the volume on your guitar if you have neighbors who are sensitive to stunning thumping of a Fender amp in action.

The amp also comes with a nice cover and a two-button footswitch for Reverb and Vibrato on and off.

Go get the ’65 Princeton Reverb Reissue right now — I bought mine during the four-day Fender 10% off Thanksgiving weekend special — and start hearing your guitar as it was meant to be in 1965. 

12 Comments

  1. Unparallel sound David, thanks for sharing!
    Fender claims they chose the speaker after lot of R & D and found Jensen to be a good choice…
    It definitely shows!

  2. You won’t be disappointed in the ’65 Princeton Reverb Fender amp, Anne. It is truly magnificent. It has that old world sound and yet the tone is still fresh and vibrant. I can’t stop playing it!

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