Uncle Sam Says ....

Dating Vintage Fender Amps
 

On the inside wall of your amp cabinet, there may be a tube location sticker which shows the tube layout, model number, production location etc.. There may also be some letter date codes rubber stamped on this sticker. These date codes will contain two letters of the alphabet which refer to the year and month of production, and may be interpreted as follows:
Fender Years
Code Year
A 1951
B 1952
C 1953
D 1954
E 1955
F 1956
G 1957
H 1958
I 1959
J 1960
K 1961
L 1962
M 1963
N 1964
O 1965
P

1966

Q 1967
R 1968
S 1969

 

Fender Months
Code Month
A January
B February
C March
D April
E May
F June
G July
H August
I September
J October
K November
L December

 

 

In the absence of the rubber-stamped date codes, EIA numbers taken from the transformers may allow you to determine the date of production of your amp. These numbers always begin with "606" , and are followed by three or four digits in various combinations. If three digits are present, the first digit would refer the units of the year i.e. ("7" would mean 1967). If four digits are present, the first two digits refer to the year i.e. ("66" would mean 1966). The last two digits would refer to the week of the year i.e. ("26" would mean the 26th week or approximately June). Here is an example: EIA 606-4-21 would mean the 21st week of 1964. It is also advisable to add about 6 months to the date to allow for time these parts may have spent in storage.

There are other methods used to date "Silverface" amps, you will need to get the date codes from your speaker frame, tube chart or pots.

Pots and speakers are usually stamped with a 6 or 7 digit code that can be dated as follows:

The first 3 are the manufacturers code

137xxx = CTS
304xxx = Stackpole
140xxx = Clarostat
134xxx = Centralab
381xxx = Bourns
106xxx = Allen-Bradley

Speaker Manufacturers codes

67xxx = Eminence
117xxx = Credence
137xxx = CTS
220xxx = Jensen
270xxx = Quam
285xxx = Rola
328xxx = Utah
391xxx = Altec/Lansing
433xxx = Cleveland
465xxx = Oxford
649xxx = EV
1098xxx = Pyle

The next number(s) is (are) the year. Initially this was a single digit, latter that was extended to two digits for clarity.

The last two digits are the week of the year. Note that if these digits are larger that 52, it probably is NOT a date code!

Thus a pot with the code of 137634 would be a pot made by CTS in 34th week of 1966.

Note that speakers also use the same type of date code.

Always remember that pots, speakers and transformers may have been changed!!

For more info, check out these references:

"Fender Amps, the First Fifty Years" by John Teagle and John Sprung
"How old is that Fender in the Window" by Richard Smith
Fender's web site - www.fender.com