Although the dates derived using the charts below will likely be a good approximation, they should not be considered exact.
All Fender amplifiers manufactured from 1990 to the present include a date code, printed on the quality assurance (QA) sticker on the back of the amp chassis.
Dating early Fender amplifiers is sometimes quite challenging.
While dating Fender amps made before 1994 by serial number is all but impossible (as records of these numbers were never kept), all hope is not lost—the charts below should prove helpful in dating your Fender amp.
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.
They included the Model 26 Deluxe, the Princeton, and the Professional.
Fender amplifiers began making a name for themselves with the Tweed series, so called because of their cloth covering, which is actually varnished cotton twill (tweed is a coarse woollen fabric, commonly used for jackets, coats and caps; it is often woven in a twill pattern, which is likely the reason for the confusion over naming.) They were produced for more than a decade and are now eminently collectible and praised for their sound quality.
Please note that it’s quite difficult to precisely determine the production date of early Fender amps.
First, it will be useful to you to understand the following five terms in order to choose the correct chart for dating your amp: refers to the two-tone woven fabric that covered many early amplifiers.
On early amps, this material was varnished to make it a more durable covering.
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.
It would be more accurate to say that approx 650 of each of these models were produced in ’60.