Dating early fender amplifiers


21-Jul-2017 07:44

Other things to look for include chasses placed in cabinets from a different year, “doctored” tube charts, non-original control plates (usually reproductions) on silverface amps, original transformer bell ends (they have correct date codes, of course) on non-original transformers, and non-original knobs (either repro or silverface knobs on blackface amps).unusual things can be found such as the empty “Pulse Adjust” hole on the rear of early ’60 brown amps, the “middle” volume control, use of tweed style grill cloth, strange non-documented transitional circuits, and changes in tolex color including the super-rare cream colored “brown” tolex that is found on some late ’60 amps. Given that people may refer to this information seeking specific production quantities of amps they are curious about, it should be pointed out that the serial numbers apply to chassis types, and not specifically to amplifier models.Looking at serial numbers next to the ’60 5G5 brown Pro Amp for example, we see numbers ranging from 00001 to 02000, suggesting that there are 2000 of these amplifiers made in ’60.These were easily the most powerful amplifiers commercially produced back then.They all had the classic features we're familiar with now: heavy steel chassis, chromed control plates, and heavy pine cases covered with tweed fabric.Could Fender make so many PRIIs, considering they were making another 13 amp types in the range at the same time?Then Soren in Denmark started showing serial numbers on his excellent Super Champ website, which is no longer on the web - some of those numbers fell in between some of 'my' PRII numbers.Leo soon realised that amplifiers needed to be sturdy to withstand the life on the road, and decided to build his own, to care for the needs of travelling musicians such as his customers.In 1946, Fender began manufacturing a series of now-legendary amps: the Deluxe, the Professional, the Dual Professional, and the Princeton.

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Then I became aware of the amazing work Greg Gagliano had been doing since the 1990s - the summary of his latest results are here - and that his research stopped just before the Rivera-era. However for this range of amps at least, I reckon it's not just a policy of withholding company-confidential information. It's no criticism of Fender to suggest that they were too busy making great amps to keep records just so some amateur can use them thirty years later.

The list of artists who've used a Fender guitar amp live or on record is enormous.



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