Dating fender tube amps serial number

First, to get a general idea,there’s the appearance/style of the amp.

There are some exceptions and some overlap, but the general idea is this: Tweeds (early 50’s to very early 60s), Browns (1960 – 1962), Blondes (1962 – 1963), Blackface (1963 – 1967), and Silverface (1967 – 1981).

Oddlings – Yet another printing error has surfaced, this time from the FEI (pre-CBS) days.

Besides, no article in the Dating Fender Amps by Serial Number series would be complete without some interesting information, n’est ce pas?

I promise the tables will still be there after you finish reading.

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.

Some things are very obvious such as non-original or reconed speakers, non-original transformers, replaced pots, re-tweed, re-tolex, re-grill, etc.

Non-Schumacher transformers – It’s been universally accepted that Fender only used Schumacher transformers on amps made in the 1960s and 1970s.

In the above example, the transformer was made in either 1966 or 1976, week 45.

Now if it’s a blackface amp, it’s a safe bet that 6 means 1966. This code can be found on the power transformer, output transformer, choke, and reverb transformer.

A 1957 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. The 5G12 Concert is the earliest version from very late 1959 and early 1960 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.

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