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It wasn’t long after the introduction of the Down Brownie™ in 2016 that I started getting questions (and a bit curious) about the 6G2 Brown Princetons. It seemed that this circuit had a cult following not unlike it’s big brother the 6G3 Brown Deluxe. So about a year ago, after some encouragement from an early Down Brownie owner, I decided investigate further. One of the first things I found was this very informative article by Dave Hunter. What I was able to read and listen to intrigued me, and I figured why not build a couple and see if anybody takes their feet off the desk?
The Penguin -Amp™ is a faithful recreation of the 6G2 Brown Princeton, that really does live up to it’s reputation as a screaming little dirt box. This is not assembled from a “kit”. The Penguin -Amp™ has about 175 parts, consisting of approximately 90 discrete part numbers sourced from over a dozen different vendors. No corners cut on these; only the best components were used. Furthermore, it comes standard with some really cool features that take it well beyond a one-trick pony, without altering the original “brown sound” or DNA these little gems are known for. And yes, it has that seductive bias-vary tremolo that just a select few of the Brown-era amps are known for.
The Penguin -Amp™ is a single channel amp, but with dual voicings. Huh? Stay with me. Plug in as usual and you’ll get the vintage spec, unmodified 6G2 tone. Now pull the volume pot to switch out the 6G2 preamp section and engage a JMP50 voiced preamp section for a very British flavored tone (i.e. tighter with slightly less gain). Pull the tone pot and a gain boost is engaged. The works especially well at lower volume settings. Also present are a switchable rectifier, switchable negative feedback (NFB) and the best (imho) master volume out there. More on this below…
You’ve probably noticed by now that it’s not a Brown amp. Well, turns out in late ’63 they made these for a short time in a transitional blackface color scheme. Known as the “tuxedo” Princetons, they had black face plates, ivory “cupcake” knobs, black bronco tolex, silver grill cloth and black rubber “spring” handles. As an homage to the 6G2 “tuxedos”, the Penguin -Amp™ sports black rough tolex (same cool texture as the brownface amps), aged blackface silver grill cloth and a black rubber “dogbone” handle. I also felt that the cab might sound a bit bigger (and it does) with a 10″ if it was 1″ deeper than stock. The name? Well, it just kind of fits, doesn’t it?
Penguin -Amp™ Features:
- Single channel/dual-voiced preamp section: Normal mode is pure, unadulterated 6G2 chewy goodness; pull the volume pot to engage JMP50 mode for a tighter, lower gain vibe.
- Gain boost feature on tone control for more aggressive gain at lower volumes; works in 6G2 & JMP50 preamp mode
- Rich Mod II PPIMV (Post Phase Inverter Master Volume); sounds fantastic + this little bird gets loud!
- Switchable tube/solid state rectifier
- Switchable negative feedback; choose between 6G2/5E3/JTM45 NFB settings
- Adjustable bias pot on underside of chassis
- Bias-vary tremolo
Penguin -Amp™ Components & Specifications:
- Weber Vintage Alnico 10A125-O 8 ohm, 30 watt speaker (a P10Q-inspired Alnico, but with a hemp cone for a slightly warmer tone)
- Mercury Magnetics FBPP-Penguin custom power transformer, FBPO output transformer
- Heavy Duty 16AWG 8′ power cord
- 12 watts, (2) matched 6V6GT’s; (1) 5Y3GT, (2) 12AX7
- Old-school hand wired construction with our custom-made G10FR ‘glass eyelet boards and correct gauge pushback wire
- SoZo NextGen Blue Molded Vintage and Yellow Mustard Vintage capacitors
- Sprague, F&T electrolytic capacitors
- Carbon composition resistors
- Belton sockets, Carling switches, Switchcraft jacks
- CTS, Bourns potentiometers
- Custom-made (1″ deeper than stock), vintage correct cabinet to our specs using selected lightweight #2 pine & 1/4″ finger joints just like Leo made ’em. They’re even stained inside for that vintage “cedar” look (dust bunnies not included).
- Fender style single button footswitch for tremolo
- Weighs just 28 pounds; grab ‘n go!
*Components and Specifications are subject to change without notice due to availability, or to improve reliability, function, design or otherwise.