Dating a silverface 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.These are marked with EIA code “606” which is the company number for Schumacher.

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To give an example, a typical Oxford speaker from the ’60s will look something like: 465-217.

465 designating the Oxford EIA code, 2 designating the year 1962, and 17 designating the 17th week of ’62.

One has to wonder where all those factory original export back panels are! Another interesting tidbit is that a lot of Fenders were imported into Australia in the late 1950s and early 1960s that were stock 110-volt (domestic US) units.

The Australian Fender Distributor then installed 240V - 110V stepdown transformers in the bottom of the cabinets.

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).

I remember two 'suits' from upstairs standing behind me occasionally doing time studies.

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.

I think in the corners of the boxes were older pots remaining from earlier dates... Like I said, there were 5 or 6 of us at the benches every day.

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