Endorsements V-picks Souldier Celestion D'Addario Lessons

The Campy Forum

Be polite and respectful. Don't sell stuff. No envy, no fear, no meanness.
Recap advice on my '66 Princeton Reverb
  • Hi, first of all thank you so much Jim. For everything ! Ok, here is my question.
    I need to change my electrolytic caps on my Princeton. I hate to do it because everything on the amp is original but I dont have a choice. Id like to know what electrolytic caps are the closest to the original. I dont mind if they cost a little more . Did you , Jim, ( or anybody else in this group ) ever replace them ? Would love to know what you recommend.
    Thank you so much.
  • Hi Enzo -

    I've changed caps on most my vintage amps- but only when my repairman suggests it...
  • When it comes to caps, tolerance is more important than brand. Try to find something with identical values and 5% tolerance, or even 1% if you can find it. I have Sozo caps in two amps, and Lelon caps in one. If I remember correctly, I think the Sozo were 5% and the Lelon were something like 20%. The lower that number the better. But to be honest, the 20% (which isn't very good) Lelons still sound fine.
  • Hi Jim,

    I guess I need to find a trustworthy repairman. It seems like the ones I spoke to are eager to swap out the originals and sell me some new caps . Good advice ! I will shop for a trusty repairman first.
  • Thanks morroben ! Good advice
  • enzo - I'm not sure where you live - I wonder if Yelp would be helpful in finding a good amp repairman?
  • Enzo, I know it hurts a lot to replace those old parts in a vintage amp. But the electrolytics are simply need to be replaced after 10 or 15 years. At least that's what all techs I know claim. Yes, a lot of old Fender amps with original electrolytics still make good sound and test well. It's a mystery. The vintage mojo? haha.
    Many people would tell that the blue molded coupling and tone caps are the BF tone. I replaced them all with the orange drops and tested if I could hear any difference in a BF Princeton. Not at all. :)
  • I think the 2 biggest elements to this mystical "vintage" "mojo" in the old amps are:

    NOS tubes (if they are still working)
    Old speakers (that have been beaten for years)

    As for tubes, there are still NOS tubes out there, usually more expensive than new production tubes, and there are finally some new production tubes that are "up to the standards" of the old NOS ones. Personally, JJ 6V6s are my favorite. Tighter low end, a little louder I think. They handle over-biasing better than any other new production 6V6 because they are built so study.

    as for speakers, even the old ones sometimes need to be re-coned; Jim has done this with some of his vintage Jensens. I've never had a speaker re-coned, so I can't speak to if a re-coned speaker sound like a NEW speaker, and OLD speaker, or something in-between. I know Jim likes the Celestion G10 Vintage because "it sounds broken in immediately". I hold a similar opinion to hemp-coned speakers.
  • rugar- Thank you for your post- I always learn a lot here and from you.

    I've had good experiences with re-coning(see below) and I had my main amp re-coned a day before recording the tracks for "Orange". The speaker sounded energized more then "new" ...

    After using NOS tubes for years and years I switched to Sovtek tubes. Granted, they don't last as long as some NOS tubes but to my ears they sound about as good coming out of the gate. And NOS tubes are just getting TOO DAMNED EXPENSIVE! (yes, I'm yelling! ha ha) Although I champion spending a little extra for a good sound, the price difference between Sovtek and NOS has become prohibitive - and for a guy like me, who replaces tubes every 6 months or so the cost is substantial. Again- Sovtek's are a small compromise in longevity and I've had NOS tubes that had an incredible sound for a couple weeks, but even high priced NOS tubes can be inconsistent. If one can "cherry pick" through Sovtek tubes, the results are more then satisfactory.


    John Sworen does a great job...
    Vintage Radio
    144 N. Beverwyck Rd., #208
    Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034
    (973) 575-0717
  • Thanks for the kind words, Jim. I always learn stuff from you too... mostly from your records, lessons or your Truefire course! LOL

    Yes, I used to use NOS as well (and will again, if I ever hit that lottery LOL), but they have become very expensive. If you ever choose to, do some googling: reviews on the JJ 6V6s... alot of people call them "little 6L6s"... they are a tad bigger, and built differently... they can take more plate voltage (a very good thing if you're still biasing those Princetons at 30!), and are VERY sturdy. As I said, they do feel a little "stiffer" compared to regular 6V6s, but to me this is a good thing... the low end is tighter, and overall the amp is punchier. These are are subtleties of course- it's not a ground-breaking difference. I just recently re-tubed and rebiased (I replaced the JJs with a set of Tung-Sol (new) that I had, and I immediately missed the tightness and clarity of the JJs. Tung-Sols are good, they just kind of sound more "tweed Fender" to me instead of "Blackface fender", if that makes any sense....

    Lake Hiawatha! Memories... my band recorded a self-produced album at a studio there back in the early 90s...
  • Will do! thank you
  • Hi Jim. Who do you use for guitar work (set-ups, re-frets) in NYC? My Les Paul needs a re-fret and I'm looking for recommendations.
  • JJ 6V6s are probably their 7591s with 6V6 filament. Many people use them as 18W tubes. Regardless of the tubes, I read that the biasing hotter, more than 30ma at idle like Jim does is safe because the PT on Princetons is so wimpy that it causes SAG like a rectifier tube when it's pushed hard. Which means the voltage drops when it needs more current (playing a big chord with volume on 10). That's why over-biasing doesn't destroy or melt power tubes in Princetons or Deluxes. Apparently Fender's old transformers are very durable. Very interesting.
  • Jim - I live in Montreal, Canada.

    I found a tech who told me to leave the caps be for the time being and replace my unmatched GE output tubes from the 60's. I replaced my output tubes with JJ's and to my surprise, the amp sounds new again !
    I want to thank you and all the other brothers who gave their advice. Much appreciated

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!