1968 vs. 1969 fender faceplates... interesting...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by JubileeMan 2555, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. JubileeMan 2555

    JubileeMan 2555 Member

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    Hey, don't laugh if this is some sort of crazy common knowledge.

    Recently I was in a strange fortune to have a 1 - 2 punch buying a 68 twin reverb and a 69 super reverb for roughly $550 each (super deals). Neither amp is connected. Bought one on ebay the other local.

    Anyways, I decided it would be interesting to proove their dates. IT was easy enough since the twin had a couple of 67 transformer dates and one 68 and the super had one 69 and two '68 tranny dates. WHich make them the right age amps. (even though the super is missing the drip edge... I think the whole grill was replaced at one point anyways.)

    My point of this post is to mention it occured to me the 68 faceplate has strange black line vertical dividers and the 69 does not. I have never read anywhere this mentioned. it seemed odd. I then proceeded to find as many 68s as I could on the net to find that all 68s have the black lines, and all the 69s do not. And where there was an amp that CLAIMED to be a 1968 and not have the black lines, a quick rundown of the transformers show them all to have 68 dates (which we all know means its a 69 or later since fender usualy had 6month to a year lag in putting parts in).

    SO... why does this matter? well, I think its really cool way of prooving if someone is trying to claim an amp is a 68 when its really not, which might happen more than not since '68s have a chance of being blackface ciruits.

    Here's a pic of my two amps for reference. any thoughts?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mayflower

    Mayflower Supporting Member

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    Ahhh.
    The "Black Lines Theory", I've heard that one before..." Silverface Fender Amps 101" at Belmont College, Nashville. Tn.... My Masters Thesis was based upon that same subject!
    Way to go, you may have just opened a nest of bee's! LOL!
    Nice eye, and never have heard of this! It if it hasn't been discussed or reconized before, you should be well commended Sir Jubilee.
    I am now interested what the overlapping periods were for the drip trim/black lines/1970 amp were.:AOK
     
  3. ddeand

    ddeand Silver Supporting Member

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    From what I've gathered with the transition Princeton Reverb amps I've owned (and maybe a Bandmaster Reverb), the "Blacklines" were the first iteration of the Silverface models and many had a Blackface chassis. The faceplates were merely cosmetic. Soon after, the black lines were dropped, and eventually, the word "Amp" was dropped (1972, I think).

    If I am searching for a Silverface fender, I'll always try to get a "Blackline" - they seem to add a few $$$ to the value. And, of course, they sound better!

    Dean
     
  4. bob-i

    bob-i Member

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    I had a Twin reverb that had all black lettering on a silver faceplate. I've never seen another one like it.

    Fender had many changes in the look of their amps.
     
  5. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    The drip edge didn't hang around long. It's pretty typical of a '68, but in '69 they started to disappear already, but they still maintained the Fender logo with the tail just awhile longer.

    The black line thing is something I hadn't seen before. Interesting!
     
  6. kevmin

    kevmin Member

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    I have owned several "blackline 68's" All of them have had cloth wiring, blackface circuits and layout, 67 or older transformers, and the blue Mallory molded caps that really help give the blackface amps their distinctive sound. So basically a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    But buyer beware, I have also seen reproductions of these faceplates on Ebay. I think the seller was from Hong Kong.
     
  7. Dr.Tom

    Dr.Tom Supporting Member

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    This has been know for years by many. The real trick is knowing which early '68s have Blackface electronics. For this , you have to open the amp up and take a look. Having the black lines is a good indication that you may have black face electronics , but it is no guarantee. Here are some that are '68s with blackface electronics inside:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Tom
     
  8. JubileeMan 2555

    JubileeMan 2555 Member

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    My only real point of the post was to show that there was a way to tell if someone was pulling your leg about the date of the amp at a quick glance. Since its safe to say the '68 fenders are the most sought of the silverface years, and that no 1969 fenders have the vertical black lines, its a pretty cool guide when looking one over cosmetically. blackface circuit or no blackface circuit... if it has the lines, its a 68. I like that;)
     
  9. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    :eek: DOOD! :eek:
    :AOK
     
  10. Shea

    Shea Member

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    Y'all are talking about using transformer numbers and these blackline faceplates to figure out the year silverface amps were made. Well, I've seen at least 3 early-ish silverface Fenders that had a number code rubber stamped onto the chassis, and on each one, the last two numbers in the code coincided with the year that the circuit would have been in use.

    Specifically: I have a Bandmaster Reverb and a Twin Reverb that both are stamped with codes ending in '68. They both originally had that hybrid cathode bias / fixed bias circuit that was instituted in 1968. The Bandmaster has drip rails. The Twin Reverb has an AB763 tube chart, and it might have had drip rails originally, but by the time it came to me, it was missing the grill cloth and logo as well as any drip rails that may have been on the baffle.

    Also, I once worked on a friend's Twin Reverb on which that code ended in a 70. It was a non-master-volume circuit, all fixed bias with a bias-balance control, and the types of capacitors you'd expect to see in a 1970 Fender. No drip rails.

    So, what's the significance of that code number that is stamped on the chassis? Is it just a code for the chassis, or for the whole amp?

    Anyway, whenever I've seen an amp with drip rails, that hybrid bias circuit, and a rubber stamped code that ends in '68, I've assumed it's a '68. Neither of my amps that I believed to be '68s on this basis have had blackline face plates.

    Anyway, I don't think all '68 Fenders had blackline faceplates. Also, from what I've read elsewhere, the blackline faceplates started in 1967. For example, this says that silverface cosmetics started in 1967: http://www.ampwares.com/ffg/time_line.html And since the first silverface amps had those black lines, that would mean the first blackline faceplates came out in 1967.

    Shea
     
  11. Dr.Tom

    Dr.Tom Supporting Member

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    Shea,

    The '68 Bandmaster Reverb does not have a blackface circuit because there were never any Blackface Bandmaster Reverbs. I was showing the '68 Super Reverb. It only looks like a Bandmaster Reverb because I have the Super Reverb Head(chassis) mounted in a Bandmaster Reverb cab.

    I was also referring to the 2 '68 Vibrolux Reverbs, the '68 Princeton Reverb and the '68 Deluxe Reverb.Many of the '68s , including all of mine , do not have the fixed bias circuitry. That's why early '68s are more desirable than late '68s and '69s. Here is a close up of the Super Reverb

    [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Tom
     
  12. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    Well....I have a 69 blackline Twin. At least it is a 69 by tranny and speaker codes. Also came with cloth wire and the cathode/fixed bias arrangement. No drip rail BTW.

    With Fender there are few absolutes.

    hunter
     
  13. Shea

    Shea Member

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    Ah, I just remembered another signature of '68 Fenders - turquoise stripe grill cloth. Does anyone know whether it was still used in 1969?

    My Bandmaster Reverb has it.

    Shea
     
  14. Dr.Tom

    Dr.Tom Supporting Member

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    Shea,

    According to the Fender Amps book there were 2 styles of the blue sparkle grill cloth. The first was in use from'67-81.In this style, the blue thread sparkled. It says that there were several variations with the sparkly blue thread.

    There was a second version where the blue cloth was present but the blue didn't sparkle, no date info is given.

    Regards,

    Tom
     

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