This was a question of the day blog post on 12-1-09. I thought it would be interesting for some readers.

This Question of the Day comes from Vlad in Minnesota. He sent me an email asking me about input #2 on his reissue Fender Princeton Reverb amp and what it is used for. This particular amp has two inputs marked with the numbers 1 and 2. As a matter of fact most vintage amps and vintage style amps have two inputs. Usually input #1 has a bit higher gain than input #2 resulting in a louder, hotter sound.

Back when these vintage archetypes were being produced most every manufacturer incorporated two inputs on each amplifier model. The two inputs were supposed to accomodate two players believe it or not! Nowadays no player would dare plug into input #2 with their buddy occupying the favored input #1. But nonetheless that’s what the original intent was for. Some issues would occur like when one player turned his guitar down it would turn down the other player at the same time. On some less expesive models there would be some humming as you turned down as well. Not the best situation at all. But if you could not afford another amp this is the way it was done. Sometimes even a microphone was plugged into input #2! If you were lucky and had an amp with two channels this problem was minimized……..unless one channel had reverb and the other did not which is a whole other “heads or tails I get the reverb channel” situation.

Fast forward about 45 years and there is the basically dormant input #2 which brings me back to the original question…..what is it good for? “Absolutely nothin’, sing it again……uh“! Just kidding. Input #2 can be used for guitars with hot or active pickups. This gives these particular guitars a “padded” input so the first gain stage is not overdriven resulting in some unwanted distortion. There will be more headroom for the high output. Ol’ #2 is good for players using a multi-effects board that has a hot signal coming from it as well. Many jazz players like input #2 for the same reason: more headroom which translates into a bit of a cleaner sound. This is very effective for jazz players.

So there you have it. I doubt you’re going to invite your BFF over to jam on your Princeton Reverb and make him plug into input #2 but it’s there for high output guitars or pedalboards and for jazz players. Some modern boutique amps do not have an input #2 to save room and keep things simple. I hope this answered your question Vlad and that you keep visiting 300guitars!