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Well, here's something you don't see every day!
This amp is a 1965 Fender Princeton that was modified by Randall Smith, founder of Mesa Boogie, back in the late 60's ish when he was running Prune Music in the North Bay Area of California, working on amps in the back of the shop.
Quite a few era guitar heroes made these early Boogies famous, including Carlos Santana and Jerry Garcia.
I have some interaction with Mesa staff that confirms this is actually a Boogie that Smith laid his hands on, which is important because of course there are amps out there that copied his work.
The transformers in the amp are mid 60's Fender parts, the power transformer is likely equivalent to that in a Twin Reverb.
The amp absolutely SMOKES. There are three gain stages - the knobs for the tremolo were borrowed for this purpose and two were added to the back. The availability of extreme, musical overdrive at the lowest volumes possible is one killer trait, as is the ability to fill a hall from an incredibly small package.
The amp weighs 50lbs. I've been having fun telling people to "grab that Princeton" and watching them freak out over the weight!
This is your chance to grab a piece of rock n roll history!
Here is a portion of a piece I googled, Randall Smith's narrative of the Prune Music story:
"Kessner was a street-smart kid from LA and he was floored I could fix it. But I was more floored when he suggested we open a music store together. “What do we know about running a music store?” I asked, shocked at the idea. He said, “We’ll sell some of our band gear. I found a store front for $75 a month. I’ll run the front and you can fix stuff in the back.” …which turned out to be the meat locker of an old Chinese grocery store. Dave was right about the demand: so many bands in the SF Bay Area back then and no one to fix the gear! I felt a huge responsibility to do things right because in no time our customers at Prune Music (yeah, right) included the heavies of the SF scene: Big Brother, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Sons, Quicksilver, Santana, Steve Miller and so many more you’ve never heard of. Finally, sick of the riots in Berkeley, we moved across the Bay to charming Mill Valley at the north end of the Golden Gate.
Around 1969 we wanted to play a prank on Barry Melton of Country Joe and the Fish. So I took his little Fender Princeton practice amp which, stock, puts out about twelve watts into a ten-inch speaker. I cut up the chassis to fit big transformers and entirely rebuilt it using the famous 4x10 Tweed Bassman circuit. After careful measurement, I cut out the speaker board and squeaked in a twelve-inch JBL D-120, the hot speaker back then. When I finished building it, I took it out to the front of the store to get a good play test and who happened to be hanging out right then? Carlos Santana.
He just wailed through that little amp until people were blocking the sidewalk. When he stopped playing he turned and said, “Shit man. That little thing really Boogies!” Word spread fast and before long there were over a hundred little Princeton/ Boogies appearing on Bay Area stages including the Fillmore and Winterland …all of them built up a dirt path in a mountain shack I had converted from an old dog kennel. (It became too hard to get work done at Prune as the shop area had become a notoriously hip “hang zone” with everyone from Clapton to Santana chilling out there, fragrant herb always wafting . . ."
- Color: Black
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 16 1/4"x20"x9.5"
- Weight: 50lbs
- Watts: 80
- Date: June 1965
- Where date is noted: Tube Chart, Chassis Serial number
- Speaker One Brand/Model: EVM12L
- Speaker One Code: 200087476
- Transformer 1: 606236
- Transformer 2: 606604
- Extension Speaker Out?: Yes
- FX Loop: No
- Reverb Or Other Effects: No
- Rectifier Tube: SS
- Power Tubes: (2)x5881/6L6
- Pre-Amp Tubes: (3)x7025
- Pedal: No
- Tolex: Original
- Grille: Original
- Knobs: Original
- Handle: Original
- Power Cord: Replaced w/3prong