Vintage amp dating
This may also be helpful when dating a vintage tube guitar amplifier.
Dating early Fender amplifiers is sometimes quite challenging.
There are a number of resources available online to help you to date your guitar amplifier or bass amp.
Many of these resources refer to source-date-codes located on pots or speakers within your amplifier.
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.
A 1957 tweed Vibrolux was reported with a tube chart printed with circuit “5E3” (tweed Deluxe) instead of the correct 5F11 (see photo).
Many tube amplifiers will have a tube chart within the amp itself.
It would be more accurate to say that approx 650 of each of these models were produced in ’60.
Oddlings – Yet another printing error has surfaced, this time from the FEI (pre-CBS) days.
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.
Search for vintage amp dating:
The final line contains a date code of two printed or handwritten letters denoting the amplifier’s production date by year (the first letter) and month (the second letter).