Start Dating fender amplifiers by serial number

Dating fender amplifiers by serial number

The System II tremolo system was designed by John Page, Chip Todd and Charlie Gressett.

Champion 800 (green tweed)* 01 to 1000 – 1948-49 Champion 600 5B1 (two tone) 01 to 1300 – 1948-49 1300 to 1700 – 1950 1700 to 5000 – 1951-52 5000 to 5500 – 1953 Champ 5C1, 5D1 (tweed) 5500 to 6600 – 1953 6600 to 8000 – 1954 8000 to 9999 – 1955 Champ 5E1, 5F1 (tweed) C00001 to C00800 – 1955 C00800 to C03100 – 1956 C03100 to C06000 – 1957 C06000 to C08800 – 1958 C08800 to C12500 – 1959 C12500 to C15500 – 1960 C15500 to C16800 – 1961 C17000 to C19000 – 1962 C19000 to C21000 – 1963 C21000 to C23000 – 1964 So we can see that a serial number of C 09556 is pretty close to the lower end for serial numbers for 1959 5F1 tweed Fender Champs.

Combined with what we saw with dating a tweed Fender Champ by the tube chart and speaker code, I’m feeling pretty good that all of the various dating methods point to early 1959 for my amp.

I wish I could say that I figured all this out on my own.

While doing research on Fender amps in general, and the Champ in particular, I came across the most amazing series of articles by Greg Gagliano on the subject. If you have any interest in vintage Fender tube amps, without question you’ve got to read them all.

Stamped on the metal backing of most amps is the serial and production number. The following list, compiled by Greg Gagliano, establishes dates through 1976: A00100 to A01200 - 1964 A01200 to A04300 - 1965 A04300 to A07000 - 1966 A07000 to A10400 - 1967 A10500 to A11300 - 1967 A10500 to A16500 - 1968 A16500 to A21400 - 1969 A21400 to A25600 - 1970 A25600 to A37000 - 1971 A37000 to A50500 - 1972 A50500 to A68000 - 1973 A68000 to A99999 - 1974 A81000 to A99999 - 1975 B01000 to B15000 - 1975 B15000 to B68000 - 1976 If these steps are unsuccessful, a number of books have been published that help to date amps based on part codes.

Another method of dating a tweed Fender Champ is by serial number.

There are also Fender Contemporary Telecaster models with HSS or HH pickup configurations and switches for selecting pickup options.

The Fender Contemporary Telecaster models used the same tremolo systems as the Fender Contemporary Stratocaster models.

The process that went into figuring all of this stuff out over 6 years and countless owners of vintage Fender amps is hands down an amazing story.

“Dating Fender Amps by Serial Number,”20th Century Guitar Magazine, Gagliano, G., March 1997, pp 28 – 29.

Amps from the silverface era, which have a silver faceplate, were manufactured from 1968 to 1982.