Blackface Princeton Overhaul

We can get your blackface Princeton Reverb sounding and performing better than it ever has. As part of the standard maintenance/tune-up service, we clean all pots, jacks & switches, clean & re-tension all tube sockets, test all tubes, tighten all pots, jacks, switches & transformers, and give the entire circuit an exam.

Shop rates are $90/hour plus parts. A typical complete blackface overhaul takes about 2.5 hours, and tends to average around $300 – $400 for the full treatment, depending on selection of certain components – NOS or new production carbon comp resistors, tube condition, etc. This estimate allows a new preamp tube or two, but does not include the price of a full re-tube if needed or desired.

A full electrolytic recap is often required in original amps.

As part of the service we dial in the blackface circuit (called blueprinting) – certain key components are replaced if out of spec.

The original blue ‘molded’ signal caps are some of the best caps ever made, regarding tone, performance, and longevity! Those stay in!! If your amp had those caps removed for some unfortunate reason, we can restore the circuit using Jupiter Condenser ‘vintage tone’ series signal capacitors. These sound remarkably close to the original blues.
Many Princeton Reverb amps did not have these blue signal caps, but had inferior brick red caps. If this is the case, a Jupiter signal cap upgrade will do wonders to improve the tone!

We replace certain resistors that do get noisy over time such as the plate resistors in the preamp, bias board resistor, and power drop resistors in the power supply.

If you choose to keep you blackface amp circuit dead stock, we are more than happy to oblige! However, there are some folks who like to get a little more variety from their blackface amp. Again we are happy to oblige! These are minor mods, easily reversible if you ever want to return the amp to stock, original condition. We WILL NOT drill your blackface amp for a mod, so don’t ask 😉

The popular mods in blackface Princeton Reverb amps include:

Sexy Vibrato: This mod allows a much slower range on the vibrtato speed knob! Fast stays fast, but the slow end gets considerably slower. We also make the vibrato effect have a deeper range of intesnity. You get deeper vibrato effect available on the knob. VERY useful and players love this mod. If you’re a vibrato fan this is highly recommended.

Standby Switch: Another very useful mod. We convert the obsolete ground switch (with a grounded three prong power cable installed) to a standby switch! Very handy and increases tube life.

Power Tube Resistors: Another great feature that extends tube life. The Princeton Reverb amps were built to be affordable student model amps, and some cost saving practices were impelmented as a result. Resistors were left off of the power tubes. These resistors act as buffers and improve the operating conditions of the power tubes themselves, making them much more ‘comfortable’ in their operating conditions. All larger Fenders are fitted with these resaistors. Minimal change in tone (if any), these resistors are more of a performance enhancer.

A speaker upgrade is also a big step towards better tone. The original speakers were ‘ok’ back in the day (keep in mind that Fender did offer a JBL upgrade at additional cost). These original speakers are often flat and dull now (some 50 years later)! We use Fat Jimmy Vintage Series speakers in our shop. They pair incredibly well with vintage Fender amps and really help bring a dull amp to life! Highly recommended!

We like to send the player back a blackface amp that blows away the tone & performance of the amp that was sent in!

After an overhaul, your amp will be good to go for a very long time circuit wise.
Current turnaround time is approx 15 – 20 business days.

Please let me know if you have any questions!