S.V.V.A. - Dating Fender Amps
The machine that stamped the serial number into the back of the chassis got stuck on The following charts are the revised dating tables for Fender tube amps. Another interesting feature of the silverface amps is the change in chassis dates. Many blackface amps were stamped with a date code on the inside of the. Fender Blackface amps & early Silverface amps used cloth covered wire until sometime in FENDER AMP Chassis Serial Number DATE CODES.
In addition, the dating-by-serial number tables have been revised and are more accurate.
Help me date my Princeton Reverb
The bad news is that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done on the silverface amps. Unfortunately, there is some sad news to report as well. Fellow Fender amp researcher, Greg Huntington, passed away June 5, after losing his battle with cancer.
Greg kept his illness very private, even from this author. His passing is a great loss to this research team and the Fender amp aficionado community in general.
Greg was passionate about Fender amps and his knowledge, insight and humor will be missed very much. Paul Linden has volunteered to fill in for Greg.
Paul worked with Greg on their small box brown Twin myth busting research and is extremely knowledgeable about Fender amps in general with a specialization in the brown and blonde amps. Sincemore interesting factoids of interest have surfaced and are presented here.
Interest in vintage Fender amps really took hold about years ago. As a result, there are a lot of amps out there that may look original, but are not. Some things are very obvious such as non-original or reconed speakers, non-original transformers, replaced pots, re-tweed, re-tolex, re-grill, etc.
But other changes may be meant to deceive. These modifications are making this research more difficult for a couple of reasons.
The bottom line is to do your homework or enlist the aid of an expert. The machine that stamped the serial number into the back of the chassis got stuck on number A and a lot of pieces were stamped with this number.
It would have been very costly to destroy these units so two remedies were implemented.
Superior Music - Fender Amp, Amplifier Serial Numbers
First, a foil sticker containing a 4-digit serial number was affixed to the chassis over the A The second thing that was done was the addition of another number stamped into the chassis as a suffix to the A serial number, e. So how many of these chasses were made?
Well, for the 4-digit serials affixed on a foil sticker, numbers as low as and has high as have been observed. Assuming they were all used sequentially and starting atthere would be around non-master volume silverface Twin Reverbs and Dual Showman Reverbs out there. The amps that received the stamped suffix must also be added to this sub-total.
The lowest suffix observed to date is A and the highest is A The 5G12 Concert is the earliest version from very late and early so the existence of a tweed example, while extremely rare, is certainly plausible since Fender was making lots of tweed amps during the same time period. Working at FMI — I was able to interview a fellow who wishes to remain anonymous who worked at Fender in in the amp department.
Although his job was somewhat limited, his recollections provided some really fascinating insights to how the amps were built. For instance, he confirmed our assumption that the amp chassis were put into stock after being stamped with serial numbers and that the chassis were pulled from the stock bins randomly just as with Fender guitar neck plates.
The boss came around and said what we'd be building. The chassis weren't used chronologically. Probably the same as the pots and transformers that we just dug out of the boxes. I think in the corners of the boxes were older pots remaining from earlier dates I think the better, older hands did 35 a day. Like I said, there were 5 or 6 of us at the benches every day.
But it wasn't always 'cool guitar' amps, sometimes I was making Fender Rhodes Satellite amps on bent aluminum, sometimes only Champs. I remember two 'suits' from upstairs standing behind me occasionally doing time studies. They actually held clipboards and stopwatches to measure how long it took for me to attach various parts. Of course I tended to hurry more when they were there, and I would fumble more, too. Same with the little rectifier boards.
When we had filled our cart we'd wheel it over to the Chicano chicks. They were something to behold, all chatting away while soldering so quickly, it didn't hardly seem like they were looking at the amps. After that the foreman would add the tubes, turn 'em on and set the bias. One has to wonder where all those factory original export back panels are! Another interesting tidbit is that a lot of Fenders were imported into Australia in the late s and early s that were stock volt domestic US units.
The Australian Fender Distributor then installed V - V stepdown transformers in the bottom of the cabinets.
Note the removal of the voltage selector switch and hard-wiring. Also note the vertical black lines on the control panel found on earliest silverface amps and the large ceramic power resistors coming off the power tube sockets which indicates the AB circuit.
I just discovered that the silverface Bandmaster speaker cabinet the big, tall one without tilt-back legs is ported see photo. I thought they were completely sealed units. One thing we know for sure is that production codes can help date an amp to a particular month within a given model run.