Dating blackface fender amps
Mid-1968 Super Reverb export model modified by Hagstrm for the Swedish market.
Note the removal of the voltage selector switch and hard-wiring. I just discovered that the silverface Bandmaster speaker cabinet (the big, tall one without tilt-back legs) is ported (see photo). I guess this is what the 1969 catalog refers to as “large, individual specially designed baffles.” And all along I thought the big n’ tall silverface cabs were just a macho thing to compete against the awesome looks of a Marshall half stack or full stack.
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).
These units look, and apparently sound, just like the Schumacher-made units so it’s easy to overlook that “831” code.
Working at FMI – I was able to interview a fellow (who wishes to remain anonymous) who worked at Fender in 1972-73 in the amp department.
They actually held clipboards and stopwatches to measure how long it took for me to attach various parts.
Of course I tended to hurry more when they were there, and I would fumble more, too.” Another really interesting fact was that he recalled that the eyelet boards were loaded/wired/soldered in Mexico!
“I remember the circuit boards were pre-made, from Mexico, easy to screw into the chassis. When we had filled our cart we'd wheel it over to the Chicano chicks.
A 1990 JAN B 1991 FEB C 1992 MAR D 1993 APR E 1994 MAY F 1995 JUN G 1996 JUL H 1997 AUG I 1998 SEP J 1999 OCT K 2000 NOV L 2001 DEC M 2002 N 2003 O 2004 P 2005 ALL other Fender Amplifiers can be dated by the components inside: In almost every Fender amplifier there are several EIA (manufacturer) codes followed by a date code, typically found on the speaker(s), transformer(s), tubes, caps, and occasionally pots.
The EIA code will consist of 3 numbers followed by a date code of 3 or 4 numbers designating the year and the week.