Dating Fender Tube Amps by Serial Number, Part I by Greg Gagliano Copyright 1997, 20th Century Guitar Magazine. Well, we'll get to good parts, but first a little background information is in order.
After reading Teagle and Sprung's excellent Fender amp book, I took them up on their challenge that maybe someday someone will compile enough serial numbers so that Fender amps can be dated that way. I contacted several Fenders collectors and dealers who were kind enough to supply me with data.
The main focus of this article will be speakers found in Fender amps, but before we get into that topic let’s go over a few other areas first.
Devin runs Doc's Music in Springfield, Missouri and his interest lies in the woodie and tweed Fender amps made from 1946 through 1960.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.We combined all of our information into a computerized database for this project and for the past 18 months have been slowly (sadly, very slowly) gathering information that we collect ourselves as well as from other people. What we need is the following: 1) Model name 2) Model number on the tube chart 3) Date code letters on the tube chart 4) Speaker codes (if speaker is original) 5) Transformer codes (if the amp doesn't have date codes on the tube chart) 6) Cosmetic features (flat/raised logo, tweed/tolex, blackface/silverface, rough/ smooth blond tolex, white/skirted knobs, TV-front/wide-panel, etc.) One very interesting and very important factoid has surfaced regarding the date code letters on the tube chart.In the fall of 1965, Fender switched from stamping these numbers in black ink, to dark green ink.only Fender amps, and single handedly has submitted well over 250 very complete sets of data.