Dating Brownface Fender Amps

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Matt.campbell, Jul 31, 2020 at 10:32 PM.

  1. Matt.campbell

    Matt.campbell Member

    Oct 25, 2018
    Hey Gear Page, wondering if you could help me with something.

    Right around the start of the quarantine, I was lucky enough to make a pretty killer Craigslist find. What was sold to me as a '61 "Brownface" Concert Amp. It was a killer deal, too. So far, best amp I've ever played. I hope some day soon to pickup one of those Austen Hooks projector amps and run stereo for a full Blake Mills/ Ry Cooder/ Joey Landreth kind of thing.

    But I'm curious - I was talking to Mr. Landreth, and he figured based on the logo and grille cloth colour it was actually a '62. It's certainly not going to make me get rid of it. I just thought it would be cool if it were a '61 as it was my Dad's birth year.

    Full disclosure, the cabinet is a reproduction. The original was destroyed in a flood some years ago. And it had 4 replacement speakers as opposed to the old Utah's that would have come stock. Hence the great price. Sounds killer though, so I wasn't concerned. But how would I go about dating the chassis itself? Any tips for ID'ing these old Brownface wonders?
    Also, anyone know what these speakers are?
  2. fernieite

    fernieite Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Toronto (Age 57)
    Well, transformer and pot EIA date codes will help a lot.

    Unfortunately, your pictures won't show for me.
    Muttlyboy and 56Tweed like this.
  3. deepcove17

    deepcove17 Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2019
    Vancouver, BC
  4. 56Tweed

    56Tweed Sub-Octave Member Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2003
    Cary, NC
    The date code on the tube chart is usually my first step, but with a repro cab that isn't possible. Transformer and pot codes are next as @fernieite said.

    Speaking of dating... I'm going to date myself and call out the ancient web resource in the Fender Field Guide which I started using in the '90s. :cool:

    The concert was one of the earlier switches to brown so there is a pretty wide range for that one and three total circuit variations. Most like the Deluxe and Princeton I love were produced for a very narrow window.
    JK1965, Muttlyboy and fernieite like this.
  5. Muttlyboy

    Muttlyboy Member

    Apr 14, 2011
    The transformer codes work pretty well for getting in the ballpark.
    Most Fender Amps have 606 as the first digits in the code. The next digit is the last digit of the year the transformer was made. The next two digits are the week of the year.

    So for a Fender amp to be made in 1961, the transformers would need to have date codes corresponding with vert late in 1960 to not too late in 1961.
    Something like 606 0 49 to 606 1 35. If all the transformers are within those date codes, chances are strong that the amp was made in 1961
    56Tweed likes this.
  6. HotBluePlates

    HotBluePlates Member

    Mar 27, 2017
    If the cab is a repro, then its details are irrelevant for dating the amp.

    There are also date codes on the pots, and often a chassis stamp with a date code (which could be on the outside of the chassis, near the power cord).

    Pics don't show for me, either.

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