Carl Verheyen: Desert Island Amp

June 13, 2011
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I’m a Fender Princeton fan. I have three of them and they seem to be ON all the time.  Two 1964 blackface Princetons live in my studio, built into the cabinet /counter top / work station where I write, practice, arrange, jam with fellow guitarists and occasionally teach.  The third one, a Silverface  ’67, lives in the garage as a go-to amp for smaller sessions that require an overdub or two. It fits in the trunk and always delivers the goods.  On important record dates (especially on my own records) I’ve mic’d a stereo pair for a truly gorgeous clean tone.  With the volume on 3 or 4, these amps have a tone that blooms in a way that only a pair of 6V6 tubes can do.
    But I rely on the Princetons for another important reason: tweaking. I consider this model amp to be “ground zero" for electric guitar. The way electric guitar was intended to sound, as per Leo and possibly God.  I can sit directly in front of one and really hear what the guitar is doing. A Princeton is a reliable window to the rest of my amp collection, too: If I get pickup heights, tone controls or the action on my guitars sounding good through a Princeton at home, I can be assured it will sound good through the big amps on stage. 
    Recently one of them was getting a bit brittle sounding in the top end. I had my amp repairman take it home and when it came back it quickly became Princeton #1.  It needed some new caps and tubes, so I gave him a second one and once again, he improved the tone so much I had to lay the third one on him, too. Each one came back sounding better than ever and I’m inspired once again to call the early sixties Fender Blackface Princeton my desert island amp.  —Carl Verheyen

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