I turned to the Internet to do some more networking which resulted in a major turn of events as I met two individuals who have become instrumental partners in this project: Greg Huntington and Devin Riebe.
Greg is a long time Fender collector who is very knowledgeable not only in the details, but in the circuitry as well.
This makes things a little more interesting and difficult in playing the "dating game." And yet there is another variable to contend with as it appears that models that share chassis may also share the same serialization scheme.
New panels made after the CBS acquisition were used beginning in April 1965 and say "Fender Musical Instruments." So, if you have January 1965 amp, it will have a Fender Electric Instruments panel whereas a January 1966 amp (even though it has that green "OA" date stamp) will have Fender Musical Instruments. Although the database doesn't have thousands upon thousands of entries, we are seeing some interesting patterns emerging that will help date amps by serial number. The early amps (woodie and tweed) had serial numbers handwritten on the tube chart.These appear to be used sequentially independent of model.The biggest tip off would be the control panels which brings us to interesting factoid #2.After CBS bought Fender in January 1965, there were still plenty of control panels for various models that were in stock.If anyone has an amp with a "PA" stamp, please let us know.
Still, I wouldn't be too quick to just glance at that tube chart and accept an "OA" as a January 1965 amp.The 4x10 Bassman used the prefix "BM" while the piggyback Bassman used the prefix "BP." The reverb units have the prefix "R." In addition, the tweed Super, Pro and Bandmaster sometimes have the prefix "S" in the serial number.The blackface and silverface amps (late 1963 to 1980) generally have serial numbers begin with the prefix "A." However, it appears that these were not used sequentially across all models.Jeff is an amp tech who specializes in Fender amps, i.e.only Fender amps, and single handedly has submitted well over 250 very complete sets of data.First I would like to thank everyone who responded to our request for data as outlined in the initial article that was printed in March 1997 issue of TCG.