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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). Oddlings – Yet another printing error has surfaced, this time from the FEI (pre-CBS) days. Besides, no article in the Dating Fender Amps by Serial Number series would be complete without some interesting information, n’est ce pas?
Also, another thing I’ve never seen before is a what appears to be a shipping tag of some sort (see photo).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.Since the new owner would have likely removed this tag immediately upon arriving home, I’m amazed that the one in the photo has remained intact since mid-1968!Along with dating amps by serial numbers, we were interested in determining production totals, if possible.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.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.There is some debate about how to interpret the production code information on late ‘50s to mid-1967 tube charts and Greg Huntington is still working with those.One thing we know for sure is that production codes can help date an amp to a particular month within a given model run.