skip to content »

Dating your fender bass

Well, this universal “truth” was debunked when we found a bunch of amps with transformers made by the Better Coil and Transformers company.These are marked with EIA code “831” and are most prevalent during the 1966-68 time period.

dating your fender bass-17

He recalled, “We just went to a big bin every morning and loaded our wheeled rack with a batch of whatever chassis we were working on that day.Some examples include a '66 Princeton Reverb and ’66 Pro Reverb with Better Coil output transformer, a ‘66 Deluxe Reverb and ‘67 Twin Reverb with Better Coil reverb transformer, and a 1968 Vibro Champ with Better Coil trannies.These units look, and apparently sound, just like the Schumacher-made units so it’s easy to overlook that “831” code.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.It’s unknown if the tweed covering was a mistake (“Oops, I thought this was a 4x10 Bassman cabinet that I was covering”) or intentional, perhaps as a special order. 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.

A 1957 tweed Vibrolux was reported with a tube chart printed with circuit “5E3” (tweed Deluxe) instead of the correct 5F11 (see photo).

Besides, no article in the Dating Fender Amps by Serial Number series would be complete without some interesting information, n’est ce pas?

I promise the tables will still be there after you finish reading.

After that the foreman would add the tubes, turn 'em on and set the bias.” Export models – We’ve confirmed that Fender amps were distributed by Hagstrm in Sweden.

Not only that, but to meet Swedish safety codes, Hagstrm removed the external voltage selector switch (fitted to all blackface and silverface export models) and hardwired it internally (see photos).

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.