Ever since I began repairing tube amps, nearly ten years ago, I’ve been up to my eyeballs in vintage Fenders. In that time, I’ve seen nearly every iteration of Fender’s amplifier legacy – from Champ amps to Twin Reverbs, Musicmasters to the insane 400PS. I remember the first time I ever saw a blonde Fender, how beautiful it was, then soon after a Brownface Deluxe back in Chad Hawkins’ garage…this was before the Heights became completely gentrified! I have so many memories of fixing up Fenders, so here’s a few notables off the top of my head, a picture dump and details about a truly special Fender Pro.
- 1955 Champ Amp (octal pre-amp)
- 1957 Deluxe
- 1963 Reverb Unit
- 1963 Brown Deluxe
- 1966 Super Reverb (yeah I ended up acquiring this one … still use it all the time!)
- 1959 Bassman (the customer thought it was worthless! He was pleasantly surprised)
- 70’s era 400 PS (ended up working on two, retolexed one of them)
- 70’s era 2×15 (we built an all new baffle for this one after the old had rotted through. The gigantic Altec-Lansing speakers were incredible)
- 68-71 Drip edge amps … too many to count. I still have the remains of a 68 Bandmaster Reverb waiting for a total rebuild. These were always fun to see the transition from Blackface to Silverface era circuits.
Earlier this year we had a customer bring us a 1951 Pro-Amp. This is the oldest Fender I have ever seen. This came from an era in audio technology where traditional fixed magnet speakers had not yet come in vogue. Up until then, Field Coil drivers, with their moving magnetic field, were the most common speakers in amplifiers. Of course, the Field Coil 15″ was useless! So we carefully disassembled the amplifier and sent her off for reconing. Every other part in the amp tested perfectly! Most amplifiers this old require a litany of replacement parts, whereas this amps was in astonishingly good shape. Perhaps more shocking than any other aspect of the amp is its pristine covering. This thing looks like its been in a vault! Every other 50’s amp with tweed covering is dark brown nowadays, and this one is pine-yellow. Amazing.