Dating fender tube amps serial number

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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).

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

The first of the three digits tells us the last digit of the year (unfortunately not decade specific) and the last two numbers tell us the week.

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.

Up until the end of the blackface era (1967), all amps left the factory with a tube chart that had a two letter date code stamped on it.

The tube chart date code works like this: the first letter indicates the year and the second letter indicates the month.

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