Lego® Princeton Reverb® Amp!
Chatterson with his Lego® Princeton Reverb amp and (real) ’66 Jazzmaster® guitar.
Dave Chatterson was home in his apartment on the evening of Wednesday, April 22, 2009. And the 28-year-old guitarist and resident of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, was feeling kind of bored.
So naturally he did what many of us would ordinarily do—he got out his old bin of Lego bricks and other parts from when he was a kid and started building a remarkably detailed replica of a Fender Princeton Reverb® amp.
Now, Fender News must pause here and urge you to look at the photos, because Chatterson’s Lego/Princeton handiwork simply must be seen to be believed. It’s unbelievably detailed—guts and everything. Lego® cabinet. Lego® grille. Lego® handle, fittings, speaker, knobs, switches, jacks, tube chart, reverb tank, power cord and footswitch. It has a removable Lego® chassis, for God’s sake, with Lego® tubes, wires, transformer, capacitors and stuff. It even has a Lego® Fender logo on the front, sort of.
He didn’t plan everything or use instructions, he just busted out his long-dormant Lego® collection and started building it from found parts, making it up as he went. Fender News assumed that Chatterson had one eye on his real Princeton all the while, but here’s the kicker—the guy doesn’t even have a Princeton.
“I found a bunch of pictures online,” Chatterson said modestly. “Tons of pictures of chassis and speakers and everything. I went for a late-’60s silverface look.”
Why a Princeton Reverb then, if he didn’t already own one?
“Well, what was it, a year and a half ago when you guys came out with the reissue?” Chatterson said. “I listened to the sound clips and watched the videos and thought, ‘Those look pretty cool,’”
Ultimately, Chatterson spent the first day sorting out all his old Lego® pieces, which he hadn’t unearthed in about 15 years, and getting the faceplate done. A few days later, it was done.
“It took around a week of planning and building,” he wrote in a web forum post. “None of it is glued together, and no pieces were altered to make the final product work.”
So now what? Does he take it apart and build a Twin® or a Super-Sonic™ or something?
“No, I don’t think I could take it apart—it took too long to put together,” Chatterson said, laughing. “It was the most extensive build I’ve done since I was, like, five years old.”
When they heard what he was up to, Chatterson’s friends couldn’t resist cracking wise. “A couple of them were poking fun at me,” he said. “Because I told them I had this big Lego® build going on, and they were like, ‘Lego®, eh? You want a juice box for a break or something?’ And I said, ‘You just wait and see—this is gonna be epic.’”
And indeed it is. Chatterson’s Lego® Princeton Reverb replica looks like it belongs behind glass; like you could plug a real guitar into it and fire it up. Especially with Chatterson’s very real 1966 Jazzmaster® guitar sitting next to it. It is epic.
And, logically, the casual observer might have a good guess at Chatterson’s next project.
“Oh, I thought about building a Telecaster,” he said.
All photos by David Chatterson