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New panels made after the CBS acquisition were used beginning in April 1965 and say "Fender Musical Instruments." So, if you have January 1965 amp, it will have a Fender Electric Instruments panel whereas a January 1966 amp (even though it has that green "OA" date stamp) will have Fender Musical Instruments. Although the database doesn't have thousands upon thousands of entries, we are seeing some interesting patterns emerging that will help date amps by serial number. The early amps (woodie and tweed) had serial numbers handwritten on the tube chart.
These appear to be used sequentially independent of model.
To give an example, a typical Oxford speaker from the ’60s will look something like: 465-217.
The blackface and silverface amps (late 1963 to 1980) generally have serial numbers begin with the prefix "A." However, it appears that these were not used sequentially across all models.These say "Fender Electric Instruments." Depending on the model the use of these pre-CBS panels have been observed on amps as late as August 1965, except for Champs and Vibro Champs which had foil stickers on the back the chassis.Fender must have had a million of these labels printed up since they appear on Champs and Vibro Champs well into 1966.Preliminary results show that we're on the right track.Here's a couple of examples using the tweed Deluxe (model 5E3) and the Super Reverb/Bandmaster Reverb. Model Year D05108 Deluxe 1958 D05160 Deluxe 1958 D06528 Deluxe 1958 D07036 Deluxe 1959 D07115 Deluxe 1959 D07418 Deluxe 1959 D08325 Deluxe 1959 D08913 Deluxe 1959 D09014 Deluxe 1959 D09338 Deluxe 1960 D09399 Deluxe 1960 D09524 Deluxe 1960 A27769 Super Reverb 1967 A27796 Super Reverb 1967 A29591 Super Reverb 1968 A31057 Super Reverb 1968 A31079 Bandmaster Reverb 1968 A32839 Super Reverb 1968 A32841 Super Reverb 1968 A34448 Super Reverb 1968 A37667 Super Reverb 1969 A37949 Bandmaster Reverb 1969 A40130 Bandmaster Reverb 1969 A41569 Super Reverb 1969 So, with the knowledge gained thus far, we feel that Fender tube amps can be dated by serial number.
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.