S.V.V.A. - Dating Fender Amps
Find your vintage Fender amplifier date code to see when it was manufactured. that has compiled the dating list for Fender Serial Numbers. Dating Fender Tube Amps by Serial Number, Part I . especially James Werner, Tim Pershing, Gregg Hopkins at Vintage Amp Restoration, Jim Strahm and Matt. Dating Fender Amps Dating Contemporary Fender Amplifiers Serial Number ranges from amplifiers made between the late '40s – late '70s.
This was the first year for the blonde 6G9 Tremolux. To make things more interesting, there were two versions of the 6G9 6BQ5 circuit. The earliest version had 12 coupling caps. The best estimate is that about of these were made before the circuit was revised.
The revised amp had 14 coupling caps and there may have been upwards of made. Since these amps are so rare, it is impossible to comment on the technical or tonal differences between the two circuits. Another anomaly was observed in with the 6G6-A Bassman.
Rather than waste those 8-ohm output transformers in stock from previous 6G6 production, Fender used them up on the first 6G6-A with 4-ohm speaker cabinets.
Yes, Fender went with a deliberate mismatch, not unlike the 3x10 brown Bandmasters that shipped with 8-ohm output transformers. Very few of these were and those who own one of these oddballs can either be happy with the fact that it is a rare amp or be sad that the mismatched impedance means the amp is less efficient.
How to date vintage fender amps
And now for an important update! The following charts are the revised dating tables for Fender tube amps. The revisions were made based on data collected since the tables were initially published. Some tables changed very little and others changed quite a bit. For some reason, folks are willing to poke their head into tweed, blonde, brown and blackface amps, but not into silverface amps. For now, the dating schemes for these series are: Sometimes date codes are ink stamped on the inside of the cabinet mainly blackface and silverface amps including the piggyback speaker cabsbut those handwritten numbers you see in wax pencil or lumber crayon are actually matching marks.
As a worker would through a run of cabinets and fit baffles to each one, he would mark the cab and baffle so they could be "married up" again after the baffle was grilled. The cabs were probably numbered sequentially within the production run.
We've received some interesting reports about some oddball amps. The first was a brown Super Amp. The latest date code on it indicated 30th week of and the circuit and layout were neither 6G4 nor 6G4-A. This must have been one of those "Leo messed with it" amps that Forrest White speaks of in his book.
Superior Music - Fender Amp, Amplifier Serial Numbers
This circuit is unique and transitional - part 6G4 in places, part 6G4-A in places, part "unique experimentation" in places. An October Deluxe Reverb was reported with transformers all Schumacher all dated to mid, except the reverb drive transformer which dated to December 62! The tube chart indicated the AA circuit, but there were some very strange original resistor values inside.
Specifically, the reverb drive tube's cathode bias resistor was a 1K, 1-watt, instead of the normal 2. The tail resistor in the phase inverter was 6. The bias feed resistors were 68K instead of the normal K, and there was a disc ceramic cap on the board connected between the phase inverter plates.
The ceramic cap is more commonly found on brown and blonde amps to prevent parasitic oscillation. Some amp techs have observed examples of blonde and blackface amps with power transformers without center-tapped filament windings. These amps are usually the ones that have "hum" problems if they don't have filament resistors added. Somewhere along the line Fender went to a center-tapped filament winding and no ohm filament resistors.
These amps could be modified simply by lifting the center tap, and installing the ohm resistors in the usual place on the power lamp socket. Sometime in latethe cloth covered wire went away. However, several amps from the late '60s non-reverb Princeton, Vibrolux Reverb, Bandmaster Reverb, and possibly a Deluxe Reverb with oddball wire have been reported.
IPVC wiring is usually found in electronics like computers, not lo-fi amps. Keep your eyes peeled for wire with very thin, cream to yellow insulation. Scanning a few internet discussion pages, I've noticed quite a bit of misinformation going around regarding Fender tube amps mainly from people who haven't studied the available published literature on Fender amps, i. The good thing is that the misinformation is often corrected by someone who is knowledgeable.
One of the most common topics that falls into this category is early silverface amps. Here's a very quick summary that may be helpful: I'll leave you with a bit of juicy info, namely, some preliminary production estimates for several random amp models.
This info will be further refined and presented in a future article and y' all can hardly wait, I know. Bassman blonde 12, units Princeton Reverb blackface 19, units Tremolux blackface 8, units Vibrolux Reverb blackface 10, units Vibroverb reissue 6, units Special thanks to amp tech guru and fellow Jersey Boy, Mark Norwine at Carlson Amplification Inc.
Over 6 years in the making! Finally, what everyone has been waiting for! How to date Fender amps by serial number!!
Okay, I know you're all just dying to skip ahead to the serial number tables but try to contain your excitement and read through the article first. I promise the tables will still be there after you finish reading.
Besides, no article in the Dating Fender Amps by Serial Number series would be complete without some interesting information, n'est ce pas? A tweed Vibrolux was reported with a tube chart printed with circuit "5E3" tweed Deluxe instead of the correct 5F11 see photo. Clearly Fender wasn't afraid to use incorrect parts when they were in a bind.
We also received a report of a tweed 5G12 Concert. 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. Non-Schumacher transformers - It's been universally accepted that Fender only used Schumacher transformers on amps made in the s and s. These are marked with EIA code "" which is the company number for Schumacher.
Well, this universal "truth" was debunked when we found a bunch of amps with transformers made by the Better Coil and Transformers company. These are marked with EIA code "" and are most prevalent during the time period.
These units look, and apparently sound, just like the Schumacher-made units so it's easy to overlook that "" code. 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. 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.How to Spot a FAKE Fender in Seconds!
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.