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Vintage Fender Amplifiers - 1949 to 1967    (NOTE: Some images will enlarge when clicked again)
 

My first Fender amp was a 1965 blackface Deluxe, purchased new for $119 at The Music Manor in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  I couldn’t scrape together the extra $30 to get the Deluxe Reverb upgrade, but I figured I didn’t need reverb anyway.  The Deluxe was pretty loud for a small amp, but it wasn’t as loud as the Bandmaster our lead player used.  I eventually traded it in for a used blackface Showman with a 15” JBL.  That amp worked pretty well with my Rick 12-string.

Many years later, in the ‘80s, I was back into playing and recording and looked in the want ads for a Fender tube amp.  I picked up a Fender tube amp with a 15” speaker. That amp turned out to be an early-production 1960 Pro-Amp.  I started to investigate the world of pre-CBS Fender amplifiers.  There was a lot more variety than I had ever experienced first-hand while playing in bands in the mid-to-late ‘60s.  During that era Fender blackface amps, covered in black tolex with silver grilles, were everywhere. 

I combed through vintage dealer ads and began to pick up Fender amps in tweed, white, brown and blackface versions, trying to stick to 1967 or before.  I’ve done minor work on a few of the amps, like having original speakers reconed and changing out frayed power cords.  Some of the amps in my collection have their original tubes, capacitors and speakers; on some they have been replaced. 

I have presented my amps in rough chronological order by era. The general information provided was obtained from books, online sources or personal observation. Other than the tweeds, where I am missing some of the high-end models, I believe you will find here a fairly good representation of Fender amp models in the brown, white and blackface eras.  I hope you enjoy what you find.

 
 
Tweed Amps
Back in the day, tweed was considered a pretty durable material.  Tweed was the covering of choice for Fender amps from the late ‘40s through 1960.  During the tweed era, the early models of the ‘40s – the Champ, Deluxe and Pro – were evolving and new models were being introduced.  Tweed amps can be placed in three general categories by the styling of the front of the amp: “TV”, “wide-panel” and “narrow-panel” tweed. The tweed amps depicted below are all one-speaker combo amps – not exotic, but very desirable even today for their tone. 

Note on Jensen alnico speakers.  The speakers in the Fender tweed amps, except where noted, are Jensen alnico speakers – that is, the speaker magnet was made of a compound of aluminum, nickel and cobalt.  The alnico magnet was designated by a “P” in the speaker code; thus, a P12R is a 12” alnico speaker rated “R” as to its output capability.  “N” was the highest-rated guitar amp speaker for 10” and above; “R” the lowest.  The ratings were lower still  (T, U, V, etc.) for 6”, 8”, PA and other small or light-use speakers.   In the early ‘60s, Jensen changed to more rugged ceramic magnet speakers.

Note on date codes.  Fender adopted a two-letter date-coding system for its amplifiers.   Starting in 1951, the tube chart of the amp (and sometimes the speakers and chassis) were stamped with two letters: Year/Month.  1951 was year A; January through December were represented by leltters A through L.  For example, DC indicated a March 1954 production.  This date-code system continued on a consistent basis through the late 1960s.  I have included the date code (where available) following the description of each amp below.


1948 Dual Professional Super Amp.  This amp has been restored with new professional re-tweed of the cabinet, new mohair grille cloth and metal “V” frontpiece, while retaining the original electronics and tubes.  First named the “Dual Professional,” this amp was soon renamed the “Super Amp,” with two 10” silver Jensen speakers.  The Dual Professional was the first to have tweed covering, a top-mounted control panel and a tube chart, which would eventually become standard for all but the smallest amp models. It was also the first to have two speakers.

1949 Pro-Amp.  This amp has a TV front and a 15” Jensen Alnico bluebell speaker with the choke mounted on the side.  This example is all original with linen grille cloth and vertical wooden slats hidden underneath the grille cloth to protect the speaker.  It has four inputs, two each for the instrument and microphone channels, with two volume controls.  The capacitors are original and the preamp tubes are the old metal 6SC7 tubes, which would be replaced in the early ‘50s by the glass 12AX7 – type vacuum tubes.

1949 Deluxe Amp.  This amp is constructed much the same as the Pro, with TV front and a single 12” Jensen Alnico bluebell speaker.  The mohair grille cloth is less worn than the linen cloth of the Pro. 

1952 Bassman Amp.  This amp has been recovered in tweed and fitted with a later-era woven grille.  It is notable for its construction which was unique to this early model Bassman (1952-54).  The heavy transformers and copper chassis assembly were placed on the bottom of the amp cabinet.  An internal “umbilical cord” linked the chassis to the volume and tone controls at the amp top.  This amp has a silver Jensen 15” speaker and two “port” holes in the back cover to better control the diffusion of sound. The copper chassis and upper control panel are badly corroded on this example; again, the use of copper instead standard chrome metal was a departure by Fender. This also was the first amplifier made by Fender specifically for the bass guitar. (Fender produced the first electric bass, the Precision Bass, in 1951 and it needed an amp.)  No tube chart or Fender serial number can be found on this amp, though the control pots date it to 1952.

1953 Pro Amp.  This amp, made in late 1953, is one of the first wide-panel tweed amps.  The “TV” front was altered to “wide-screen” shape, with the grille extending horizontally all the way across the front of the amp and equal-sized panels on front top and bottom.  This amp has its original 15” Jensen P15N Bluebell speaker and its original 6SC7 preamp tubes.  All original except for updated capacitors/resistors.  CK

1954 Deluxe Amp.  This wide-panel tweed amp has a 12” Jensen P12R bluebell speaker.    It also has the then new glass preamp tubes – the references to the old 6SC7 tubes on the printed internal tube chart were altered by hand at the factory to designate the progression to the new 12AX7 and 12AY7 tubes.  DC

1954 Twin Amp.  This wide panel Tweed Twin is in very good all original condition. Though the lacquered tweed material is tattered and worn, the brown cloth grille is well-preserved and the electronics and the original Jensen Bluebell speakers are in original functional condition.  DH

1955 Champ Amp. Continuing with the wide-panel tradition, still with tweed and mohair grille, this amp was the ultimate in simplicity – two inputs and one control.  A volume pot that went to “12” also served as the power switch.  The speaker is a 6” Jensen P6V Special Design Alnico.  Though made both for lap steels and as a student amp, this amp is easily overdriven and produces a classic dry hi-gain sound that sounds great with single-coil pickup guitars – like a Tele or Strat – and are great for recording.  EG

1955 Deluxe Amp.  We enter the final tweed era, that of the narrow-panel, with this amp.  The upper and lower front panels are simply narrower, and the grille changed from cloth to a woven maroon grille of a type still in use today.  This amp has a 12” Jensen P12R bluebell speaker. Around this time the serial nos. of amps took on a prefix coded to the amp model.  The serial no. on this one is D-00995. This amp is in near-mint condition.  I was in the store when a guy brought in this amp with a matching 1955 Tele that his dad had given him but that he never played. SO he wanted to sell them.  I bought this amp from the store afterwards.  The Tele was out of my range!  E J

1957 Deluxe Amp.  Another narrow-panel tweed with a P12R Jensen.  The principal external difference was the placement of the model name of the amp on the front logo-plate.  All Fender amps up to this point had a metal plate mounted on the front top panel simply stating “Fender.”  The logo plate on this amp designates it as a “Fender Deluxe.”  The naming of the Fender amp model on the front panel continues to this day.  GG

1957 Harvard Amp #1.  Now we are getting into the Fender Ivy League of amps.  Ironic that the Harvard and the Princeton were a bit down-market from their more generically-named older brothers, the Deluxe and the Pro. Perhaps the Ivy names were designed to appeal to the “advanced” student player. This Harvard sports a 10” Jensen blue frame P10R speaker and has a slightly smaller cab than the Deluxe.  “Fender Harvard” is on the front logo plate.  GB

1957 Harvard Amp #2.  I couldn’t decide which one to include, so they both made the grade.  These two Ivy amps graduated in the same year. This one sports a blue frame Jensen P10Q speaker.  The speaker for each amp dates to early 1957.  Though the amps are rated to handle the same output wattage, the Jensen “Q” speaker is rated slightly more heavy-duty than the “R”  speaker. Unlike almost all the other tweed amp models, the Harvard exists only in its tweed version; it did not graduate to brownface status.  GK

1959 Princeton Amp.  The Princeton amp in its tweed version is kind of a fake-out.  The cabinet is nearly as large as that of a Deluxe, though it only has an Oxford 8” speaker and is a low-powered 5 watts, same as the Champ.  It also has the same tube setup and speaker size as the smaller Champ – but it looks bigger.  GK

1959 Champ Amp.  Popular as a student model and for powering up lapsteel guitars, this small package packs a wallop when overdriven.  Still a favorite among recording guitarists of all levels of competence, as evidenced by Eric Clapton’s use of a Champ on the recording of Layla.  I A

1959 Pro Amp.  This is the narrow-panel version of the Pro Amp, sporting a P15N bluebell speaker.  This is my one tweed amp with the “presence” control, introduced on some of the larger narrow panel tweed amps in the late ‘50s. I E

1960 Vibrolux Amp.  The Vibrolux is essentially a Harvard amp with tremolo.  This amp came with a P10R speaker and a small footswitch for tremolo activation.  JD

1960 Tremolux Amp.  1960 was the last year for tweed amps, and this example was among the very last, dated October 1960, made even as Fender was rolling out its new line of brown tolex-covered amps earlier in 1960.  The Tremolux is essentially a slightly higher-powered Deluxe with tremolo in an oversized cabinet that housed a P12R speaker.  The tremolo footswitch on this amp is the “wooden wedge” variety, rare to find in its original condition.  J J

1962 Champ Amp.  The Champ was the only Fender amp to continue with tweed covering after 1960, which lasted until 1964 when the switch was made to blackface.  Fender did not produce a brownface Champ Amp.  LA
   
 
 
Brown/Brownface Amps

Each amp produced during this era had an aluminum control panel with screen-printed lettering on a brown background, This “brownface” control panel was mounted on the top front of the amp on a slant for easy player access.  The combo amps were covered in brown tolex with brown “barrel” knobs, with one exception – the top-of-the-line Twin was covered in white tolex with white knobs. The smaller combo amps did not have the metal “Fender” badge on the grille; this logo did not appear until 1965, when all Fender amps were issued with grille badges.  The brown tolex had a faux “burlap” texture, with the brown  pigment used in early examples having a pink overtone;  the brown of later examples resembled milk chocolate. Tolex is a cloth-backed flexible vinyl that proved extremely durable as an amplifier covering. This amp covering and its successors remained Fender’s standard amp and guitar case covering material through the 1980s.

Note on control panels. The amplifiers in the Fender brownface line were produced during late 1960 and 1963, a time when Fender experimented with increased amplifier outputs,  speaker configurations and the extension of tremolo to almost all models.  On all but the Vibrolux, Vibroverb, Deluxe and Princeton amps, the control layout was the same:  two channels, “Normal” and “Vibrato,”  with each channel having two inputs and separate volume, bass and treble controls.  The Vibrato channel also had speed and intensity controls for tremolo with a pedal supplied. A “presence” control was added to almost all the amps (see 1959 Pro Amp, above). There are differences of opinion on just what the presence control contributed; in my experience, it can be used to produce a brighter tone, boosting up the highs and lows which might otherwise be overpowered by the mid-range tones. The “Vibrato” channel is named “Bright” on the smaller two-channel amplifiers not having a presence control.

Note on speakers. During the brownface period Fender switched from Jensen to Oxford speakers for most amp models.  There appear to be several factors driving this change. The Jensens generally were perceived as not “heavy duty” enough to handle the increased power output of the evolving wattage of the Fender amp line.  Also, other amplifier manufacturers were putting demands on Jensen for its speakers – forcing Fender to resort to other sources.  During a period in 1962/3, the Oxford speakers used in Fender combo amps were adorned with a special maroon-and-gold “Fender Special Design” logo magnet cap, which is shown in four of the amps depicted below – the brown Deluxe, Concert, Pro and Twin models.  Jensens made a comeback with their gold-label ceramic-magnet speakers in the mid-60s Fender blackface amps.

1960 Pro Amp. This is the amp that first turned me on to the pre-blackface Fender amps.  It is a very early production brownface amp, with a date code of June 1960 ( J F), earlier than some of the tweed amps pictured above.  The speaker is a blue frame P15N.
J F

1962 Pro Amp. Almost two years later and there are just a few differences.  Note the more “chocolate” colored brown tolex than the 1960 Pro and the original wheat grille.  This amp also has the distinctive “Fender Custom Design” magnet cap on the Oxford 15” speaker – maroon with yellow lettering.  LC

1960 Super Amp.  This is an early production Super amp in all original condition – pinkish tolex, two matching P10R bluebell speakers, maroon/gold “tweed era” grille cloth and original “dog bone” handle.  Tremolo and presence controls are standard.  Notice how the knots in the pine wood on the cab show through the tolex where the resin has bled through – the mark of a true vintage amp.  JH

1961 Super Amp.  A few months later and some cosmetic differences – chocolate tolex, maroon grille cloth, a nice pair of matched silver Utah 10” speakers with magnet caps.  Footswitch included for tremolo; original amp cover.  KF

1961 Concert Amp
.  This stunner of an amp took the place of the 4 x 10” speaker tweed-era Bassman, while the Bassman morphed into a piggyback amp (more below).  Four matching P10Q bluebell speakers handled 40 watts just like its predecessor Bassman.  KC

1962 Concert Amp
.  A year later finds this amp with a wheat grille and four matching 10” Oxford “Fender Custom Design” speakers.  Very classy rear-view on this one.  Footswitch included for tremolo.  LI

1961 Twin Amp.  Nice early example with rough white tolex and maroon grille.  A recurring theme with early Twin Amps is that they seldom have their original Jensen speakers – this was Fender’s first 80 watt amp with four 6L6GC power tubes.  The Jensen 12” alnico speakers being supplied to Fender simply could not handle the output.  This amp comes equipped with a pair of 12” JBL 120F speakers, which take the output in stride.  The Twin has plenty of clean headroom to pierce through any mix when cranked and, if necessary, remove any loose paint from surrounding objects.  It also is the first combo amp to have tilt-back legs.  KA

1963 Twin Amp.  Two years later finds this Twin with wheat grille and two matched 12M6 “Oxford “Fender Custom Design” speakers.  The Twin was the only brownface amp – other than the unique Vibroverb – that was fitted with “tilt-back” legs for better sonic projection.  Footswitch for tremolo.  MC

1962 Deluxe Amp
.  A very clean example with the original leather handle used on the smaller combo amps.  The inputs on the  front panel are divided into “Normal” and “Bright” channels, each with volume and tone controls; the Bright channel has speed and intensity controls; no presence control.  This amp is fitted with a 12K5 “Oxford “Fender Custom Design” speaker.  Power output boosted over the tweed version from 12 to 20 watts.  LA

1963 Princeton Amp.  The “baby” of the brownface amps, this amp has a single channel with volume, bass and treble controls and a 10J4 gold frame Oxford speaker.   Power output was tripled over the tweed version from 5 to 15 watts.  MH

1961 Vibrolux Amp.  The brownface version of the Vibrolux graduated from a 10” to a 12” speaker and output was increased from 10 to 35 watts. This early example has a somewhat hybrid control panel, similar to the Deluxe with a “Bright” channel with vibrato, but also with separate treble and bass controls for each channel.  KK

1962 Vibrasonic Amp. This amplifier was Fender’s top of the line when first introduced in 1960.  It was the first amp to sport all the brownface features, including the new tremolo circuit, and came fitted with one 15” JBL 130 speaker as standard issue, through which it pumped a whopping 50 watts.  It was designed by Leo Fender for the electric guitar player – of whatever electric guitar, steel or Spanish – who wanted to be heard over the mix.  L I

1963 Vibroverb Amp (RI).  Okay, this is not a vintage amp but I just had to include it here.  The short-lived Vibroverb was Fender’s first amplifier with built-in reverb, was only available in brownface and closely resembled a Super in its design with two 10” speakers.  If you can find one, the original today commands a staggering price.  A tribute to its innovation and desirability is that Fender chose in 1990 the ’59 tweed Bassman and the ’63 Vibroverb as its first reissued amplifier models.  This early example dates to 1991.  The vintage reproduction detailing on this particular amplifier is tremendous, right down to its two 10” gold-frame Oxford speakers.  BJ
   
 
 
White Piggyback Amps

Another transitional event at Fender was the development of the two-piece amp in 1960.  Partially due to the increased weight of the power and speaker components, they were separated into two units.  This “head and cab” set – termed by Fender as a “piggyback” amp – consisted of two pieces:  the chassis, transformers and other electronics of the amplifier were mounted in the smaller top cab; the speakers were mounted in a matching bottom cabinet with an enclosed back.  The piggyback amps produced from 1960 through early 1964 – the Bassman, Bandmaster, Tremolux and the new Showman amp – were covered in white tolex. 

Tilt-back and lock-down hardware.  Each piggyback amp head was equipped with slide-out plates that mounted and could be locked down via thumbscrews protruding from the top of the speaker cab, which had “tilt-back” legs for (theoretically) better sound projection. The anchoring and tilt-back hardware added several pounds to the weight of these amps; in practice, however, the amp head was often placed atop the speaker cabinet turned lengthwise on its side, rendering unusable the tilt-back and mounting hardware. 

Speakers and cabinets.  The speakers in the enclosed cabs of piggyback amps were a variety of Oxford, Jensen, CTS and Utah speakers, each identifiable by its own 3-digit code.  Unlike speakers in the tweed and brown combo amps, these speakers were generally devoid of decoration, stickers or magnet caps.  They are often plain black, silver or gold, stamped with date and model codes.  The first versions of each of the four white piggyback amps had one speaker; all but the Showman quickly graduated to a two-speaker setup.

White tolex and grille cloth.  The white amp era started with a white tolex covering having the same faux “burlap” texture as the brown tolex covering; in late 1963, the white piggybacks graduated to a smooth white tolex covering and in 1964 generally shed the brownface control panel in favor of a blackface control panel.  The grille cloth on the early whites was maroon, which changed into a wheat-colored grille after 1962 and later, about the same time as the advent of smooth white tolex, the wheat grille enhanced with gold threads emerged.  Notwithstanding this apparently orderly progression, various tolex/grille/control panel variations can be found throughout the white piggyback amp era.

   
 
 
Showman

1960 Showman Debut (Fender brochure).  Fender made a big marketing splash with the introduction of its new model, the Showman, as featured in excerpts from the 1960 brochure/ad shown here.  “Piggyback,” “projector ring,” “tilt-back legs” and “mounting plates” are each illustrated and explained.   The Showman was essentially a Twin Amp chassis arranged with a heavy-duty speaker in the dual-cabinet mode, one cab each for chassis and speaker.  The Showman head was matched with a 12” or 15” JBL speaker mounted on a double baffle by means of a “projector ring,” later known as a “tone ring.”

1961 Showman 15.  This example is a very early original Showman head paired with a repro cab featuring a vintage 15” JBL speaker.  Like all early piggyback amps, this example has a brownface control panel with the brownface-era “Fender” logo mounted on both cabs. The 15” Showman speaker cab was the largest yet produced by Fender at 24” high by 36” wide.  KA

1963 Showman 12.  This all-original example mirrors the one in the ad and features a 12” JBL D130 speaker, rough white tolex and maroon grille.  Note the tone ring and the fiberglass batting around the interior of the amp and the reinforced back panel that were part of the single-speaker cab construction.  Note also the oversized head (26”) as compared to the width of the 12” speaker cab (30”).  There was barely room to mount the thumbscrews for the head brackets.  The 12” version of the Showman was discontinued in 1964.  MB

1964 Showman 15.  This example has the smooth white tolex covering with wheat grille and a blackface control panel, which differed from the brownface panel in several respects:  the “presence” control was replaced by a “bright” switch next to the inputs on each channel and the indicators of 1 – 10 were reversed, no longer marked on the control panel but rather on the black chrome-topped black knobs. The width of the blackface Showman head was reduced from 26 to 24 inches – same as the Bandmaster.   NA

   
 
 
Bassman

1961 Bassman 15.  This early example features the Bassman head powering a Jensen C15N speaker. There were two channels on the control panel – Bass and Normal.   As in this example, the single-speaker Bassman and Bandmaster amps had a speaker cabinet two inches narrower than the standard 32” width.   KK

1962 Bassman JBL 12.  Much like the Showman 12, this Bassman featured a small cab with a 12” JBL 131 speaker mounted on a double-baffle tone ring.  The single-speaker Bassman cabs became less common as Fender realized that a 2 x 12” setup was optimal and desired by players for the 50 watt Bassman and Bandmaster piggyback amps.  LA

1962 Bassman 2x12 JBLs.  The Bassman was an amp made – at least in name – for bass players.  If you played bass through this amp and cranked up the volume, the overpowered Jensens or Oxfords would start to flap.  Solution:  a pair of JBLs in the cab, apparently a factory assemblage on this model featuring two matched JBL D120F speakers.  L I

1962 Bassman 2x12 Oxfords.  This very clean example features two 12L6 Oxford speakers in a standard double-speaker cab. Note the baffle board between the two speakers and the loose rectangles of raw fiberglass stuffed into each side of the cab’s interior, presumably for sonic purposes.   Also shown are the "mounting plates" on the bottom of the head.  LA

1963 Bassman 15.  This unusual amp has a regular sized speaker cabinet with four small ports visible through the wheat grille, surrounding a 15” JBL D130F speaker mounted without tone ring.  Although the amp looks to be original, it is possible that the speaker baffle arrangement was a post-factory modification.  The “strap handle,” new for 1963, is visible on this model.   MH

1964 Bassman 2x12 Jensens.  This amp is another example of the smooth white tolex, gold/wheat grille version Bassman with a matched pair of early Jensen blue frame C12N ceramic magnet speakers.  NF

1964 Bassman 2x12 Oxfords.  This amp is an example of the smooth white tolex covering with gold/wheat grille introduced in late 1963, with a matched pair of Oxford 12M6 speakers.  NC

   
 
 
Bandmaster

1961 Bandmaster 2x12 Jensens.  This rare early Bandmaster piggyback example has an unusually light-toned brown faceplate and an early 6-tube preamp configuration.  The two matching Jensen P12R bluebell speakers are from an earlier era.  Like its early brethren, it has rough white tolex covering with a maroon grille.  KC

1962 Bandmaster 2x12 Oxfords.  An early wheat-grille example, this amp has the rough white tolex and matched 12L6 Oxford alnico speakers.  L J

1964 Bandmaster 2x12 Oxfords.  This amp is an all original example of the smooth white tolex, gold/wheat grille version with a matched pair of Oxford 12L6 speakers and a matching Reverb unit (see below).  Note the blackface control panel.  ND

   
 
 
Tremolux

1962 Tremolux 2x10.  The little brother of the white piggyback brood, this amp was the lowest powered of the foursome.  This early example features two matched Jensen P10Q blue frame alnico speakers.  The earliest version of this piggyback amp had one speaker with a tone ring – in this case, a 10” speaker, which was quickly replaced by the two-speaker setup.  LA

1963 Reverb Unit.  This smooth white tolex/wheat/gold grille was the only source of Fender reverb for the amps of that era – an external, add-on unit.  It was, however, a tube reverb unit and blended nicely with the tube amp sound.  Later internal combo reverb setups were also tube-powered, but used a spring in a sack to add extra “pizzazz” to the echo.  Controls were Dwell, Mixer and Tone.  M I 

   
 
 
Blackface Amps

Fender’s conversion to blackface with black tolex took place first with the combo amps.  The blackface control panel emerged among the white piggyback amps in 1964.  At the same time, the combo amp models were being issued with black tolex and blackface control panels instead of brown.  The combos were the first to make the complete transition to black tolex with silver grille cloth;  the brown/wheat color scheme was being phased out as too “bland.”  These blackface combos include some of Fender’s all-time popular amps,  a number of which have been reissued since the start in 1990 of Fender’s reissue series.

The blackface combo era was introduced with a flurry of sometimes confusing name changes and speaker configurations.  The narrow panel tweed Bassman with 4 x 10” speakers, which had morphed into the Concert Amp, had reverb added and became the Super Reverb.  The Pro started its blackface life with a 15” speaker, then was replaced in 1965 by the Pro Reverb model, which had a 2 x 12” speaker setup, similar to the Twin with less output and middle-weight speakers.  The Vibrolux was first produced as a blackface combo amp with a single 12” speaker; it was replaced in 1965 by the Vibrolux Reverb with a 2 x 10 speaker setup, replacing the short-lived Vibroverb.  Some amps, such as the Deluxe and Princeton, were issued both with and without reverb.  In 1964 the Champ Amp was invited to shed its tweed covering and joined the blackface lineup, both with and without tremolo; the tremolo version was known as the “Vibro Champ.” 

The blackface differed from the brownface in that the blackface had black control knobs marked 1 – 10 with no numbers on the panel, and a “bright” switch was mounted on each channel, replacing the presence knob.  The “middle” control was introduced between the bass and treble controls on the Twin Reverb (both channels), the Super Reverb and the Showman (vibrato channel only). Among the combos, almost every high-end amp had Reverb with a separate control, also on the vibrato channel.  The extra preamp tubes in the vibrato channel often provide an extra stage of gain.  The blackface era for most Fender combo amps began in mid-1963 and lasted through mid-1967.
   
 
 
Blackface combo amps

1964 Deluxe Amp.  In the Deluxe, Fender achieved the perfect small-venue combo amp, powered with 23 watts through a 12” speaker.  NF

1964 Deluxe Reverb Amp.  Make the best better – add reverb and you have one of the most desirable small combo amps of all time.   NI

1964 Princeton Amp.  The blackface version of this amp was boosted to 17 watts through a 10” speaker.  NL

1966 Princeton Reverb Amp.  Take a good thing and make it better – with reverb.  The Princeton and Deluxe Reverb amps from this era are highly valued by players and collectors. As shown on this example, the Fender badge was applied to the front grille of the smaller Fender amps starting in mid-1965.   PE

1964 Pro Amp.  The durable Pro was dragged into the blackface era with its traditional 15” Jensen speaker.  Although it was loud, pushing 40 watts, it was overshadowed by the more impressive-looking and arguably better-sounding piggyback Bandmaster and Bassman amps.  N I 

1965 Pro Reverb Amp.   The solution for the pedestrian Pro was a redesign that phased out the 15” speaker and substituted the Pro Reverb, also 40 watts but pushing  2 - 12” speakers with the addition of reverb to the vibrato channel.  This amp was brought into the blackface lineup late in the game and was the little brother to Twin Reverb with plenty of volume and great tonal diversity but with half the power of the 80 watt Twin.   OE

1966 Pro Reverb Amp.  This slightly later example bears the post-CBS ID marking of Fender Musical Instruments, which began to replace the “Fender Electric Instruments Co.” designation on the blackface panels and tube charts after Fender’s sale to CBS in 1965.  The Pro Reverb amps of this era are considered among the best-sounding and versatile ‘60s blackface combo amps.   PB

1964 Concert Amp.  Like the Pro, the Concert wandered into the blackface era with 40 watts and no reverb but a tube combination that shrieked through a 4 x 10 speaker combination.  The treble on this amp when cranked can take the top of your head off.  No kidding.  NG

1964 Super Reverb Amp.  Essentially a Concert with reverb.  This became the gold standard among Fender blackface combo amps for delivery of powerful tone with a sparkling reverb.  NJ

1964 Twin Reverb Amp.   This amplifier was given reverb from the get-go of the blackface era.  This early example – January 1964 – like many other Twins has later-dated replacement Jensen C12N speakers.   The original speakers on these amps were often blown out by its 80 plus power rating..  This amp became the gold standard of Fender blackface combo amps for the assured delivery of powerful volume and tone for larger venues.  NA

1965 Super Reverb Amp. A slightly later example with a different brand of speaker but the same sonic qualities.  OC

1965 Twin Reverb Amp.  A later example sporting a set of gold-label Jensen C12Ns from 1967.  Having the "Middle" control on each channel was unique to the Twin Reverb.  OD

1964 Vibrolux Amp.  Like the Pro and Concert, this amp wandered into the blackface era a bit unsure of itself.  It was driving 35 watts through a heavy-duty 12” speaker, but was heavier and more expensive than the Deluxe – plus it had no reverb.   NC

1965 Vibrolux Reverb Amp.  The Vibrolux was revamped as a 2 x 10” combo rated at 40 watts with reverb added.  This example bore the label “Fender Musical Instruments,” the post-CBS designation appplied to all Fender amps starting in the fall of 1965.  This example sports a pair of Fender blue label Oxford 10L5 speakers.  O I

1966 Vibrolux Reverb Amp.  A later example,  sporting a pair of gold-label Jensen C10R speakers.  The Vibrolux Reverb amp of this era is prized today for its versatile tone and volume.   PH

1967 Champ Amp. The Champ was considered a student amp and not in need of any changes, so it remained tweed until early 64 when the tweed covering was simply replaced with black tolex and a strap handle with no other changes.  That arrangement only lasted until the fall of 1964, when the Champ was given the full blackface treatment with separate tone knobs and a front mounted control panel as on the example shown here.  Note the “decal” for the back chassis control panel, in contrast to the aluminum plate used on the other blackface combo amps. Though this example dates far into the post-CBS era, it had not yet taken on silverface characteristics.  QD

1965 Reverb Unit.   Now more than ever used with the piggyback amps, none of which had built-in reverb, the electronics of this unit were essentially unchanged from the earlier ‘60s reverb units.   OF 

   
 
 
Blackface piggyback amps

1965 Showman 15.  This model of Fender amplifiers was in the backline of almost every touring groups in the late ‘60s. Unlike some other Fender blackface amps, very few of the Showman model remained in "mint" condition.  These amps were not purchased to sit in the music room, they were players' amps and were hauled around and played.  The Showman was Fender’s most powerful piggyback amp, and both the amp and cab were virtually indestructible.  The JBL D130F speaker could handle just about anything you could pump through it.  I found this amp particularly well-suited to my Rickenbacker 360-12 string, with lots of clean headroom.  The Showman was and is also widely used as a bass amp.  OE

1965 Showman 2x15.  The "Dual Showman" designation was not formally introduced until later in the blackface era (see below); the speaker baffle of this example was modified to fit two 15” JBLs into the 24 x 36” cab for greater sonic coverage, especially on the bass end.  OH

1967 Dual Showman.  These two examples of a Showman head have the “Dual Showman” moniker on the blackface control panel.  The question is: just how does the performance of the Dual Showman head differ from that of the “regular” Showman?  From what I can gather, the electronics of both amps are similar, with the same tube configuration and transformers.  One source has noted a different designation on the output transformer of some Dual Showman heads.  The blackface “Dual Showman” head was produced in late 1966 and 1967.  QC, QD

1964 Bandmaster.  This amp is an early blackface/black tolex example, producing 40 watts, paired up with matching Oxford 12L6 speakers. Compare with the 1964 white-tolex blackface Bandmaster, above, which was produced a few months earlier.  NH

1965 Bassman.  Some guitar players swear by the tone available through the bass channel of this amp. Note that the "Bright" switch is termed "Deep" on the bass channel. The amp shown is paired up with two Jensen C12N gold label speakers.  OB

1965 Tremolux.  The smallest of the piggyback amps, the Tremolux had a control panel and tube configuration similar to that of the Bandmaster, with 35 watts of output through two Jensen C10N gold label speakers.  OC

End of an Era: Fender Acquired by CBS; Back Panel Transition.  Most students of the Fender legacy know that there are “pre-CBS” and “post-CBS” Fender instruments and amplifiers.  January 1, 1965 was the effective date of the purchase of Fender Electric Instruments Co. by Columbia Broadcasting System, owner of the Columbia Records label.  There would be many changes made at Fender by its new owner.  But that is another story and far beyond what I am able to show here.

A comparison of three back panels of pre- and post-CBS blackface Fender amps shows the early external signs of CBS ownership.  For a brief time the back panel was changed from “Fender Electric Instrument Co.” to “Fender Musical Instruments, a division of Columbia Record Distribution Corp.” The use of the Columbia corporate name on the Fender amplifier products was quickly eliminated, with the simple “Fender Musical Instruments Corp.” substituted.  Corporate liability lesson learned:  don’t put the Columbia corporate name on high-voltage electrical equipment! 

 
Silverface Amps

1968 Deluxe Reverb Amp.  This early silverface amp differs from its blackface predecessors in several cosmetic respects, including a silver front panel with blue lettering, a grille cloth with a blue stripe woven into the fabric and an aluminum trim that goes around the speaker grille cloth edges. This feature is also referred to as a “drip edge,” which would be eventually phased out in 1969.  This particular amp has many of the pre-CBS blackface electronic features which would soon vanish as Fender amps would undergo a radical transformation in the 1970s. 

 
 
 
 

Rickenbacker Amplifiers (NOTE: Some images will enlarge when clicked again)

 

Note: Rickenbacker amps do not appear to have a uniform date coding system.  The dates indicated here have been either extrapolated from Rickenbacker catalogs or other literature and/or from speaker date codes.  Where a Rickenbacker code was found, it was usually stamped in ¾” letters on the bottom of the inside of the wooden amp cabinet.  I generally found this only in amps made in the 1950s.  Further, the descriptions of the amplifiers below are not meant to be technical from an electronics viewpoint; hence little or no information on items such as tubes, controls, transformers or output wattage is provided.  Except for the “Modern Era” amplifiers (e.g., Transonic 100), all the vintage Rickenbacker amplifiers set forth below are tube amps. Although the listing is relatively chronological, I have listed the post-1950 8” speaker amps toward the end in a separate category. It is believed that the early Rickenbacker amps influenced, among others, Leo Fender who, in the e arly 1940s, repaired them in his radio shop in Fullerton, CA, nearby the Electro/Rickenbacker facility. 

 
Early Rickenbacker Amp Models

Model 59 “Lunchbox” in Gray Sunburst c. 1938.  Small, compact steel guitar amp with an 8” speaker; metal housing is black shaded to gray; front grille consists of many small holes in the metal casing. 

Black Metal Lunchbox c. 1934.  Larger, heavier version of the Model 59 with a uncoded 10” speaker; metal “Rickenbacher” badge on top of black crinkle metal amp casing, next to leather strap handle.       

M-10 in Silver, 1938.  This model has a 10” speaker and was designed to be used with the Rickenbacker steel guitars popular in that era.

Pro 12 in Brown Linen, 1938.  One of my very favorite Rick amps both for design and sound.  The grille cutout reads “RICK” in art deco letters.  The Pro 12 is an upgraded version of the M-11 with a slanted back control panel and a heavy-duty 12” speaker; a metal screen is visible through the front cutouts.  This example features a 12” Rola speaker and a red control panel.        

Pro 12 in Brown Linen
, 1939.  This example features a 12” Rola speaker and a cream control panel; replaced leather handle; missing choke transformer. 

M-11 in Two-Tone Brown, 1940.  This amp has another clever Rick grille cutout, in the shape of a capital “R.”  A successor in design to the Pro 12 models featured above, the M-11 and M-12 designations continued to apply to both styles of amplifiers despite external design and other differences.  This example features the “Rickenbacker” badge on the upper left front and the rare Permaflux 12” speaker, date code prefix 395; a metal screen protects the speaker front.  According to one source, the speaker for this amplifier was designed by James B. Lansing, who later founded his own sound equipment company.   

M-11 in Two-Tone Brown, 1940.  This example is identical in features to the previous one, except it has no logo badge on the front; Permaflux 12” speaker dated to 1940.

M-88 Ace “Surfer” in Two-Tone Brown c. 1940.  This lightweight amplifier features a grille cloth with a surfer motif and was designed to accompany the popular Hawaiian steel guitars that Rickenbacker also sold; has one unmarked 8” speaker with on/off switch and volume control.      

Circular Cutout Amp in Black
, c. 1934.  This example has a wooden casing covered in linen and painted black with a metal screen to protect speaker, a Rola 10”; “Rickenbacher” logo colored decal on the back; replaced leather handle.    C2568 stamped on back speaker magnet.     

   
 
 
The 1950’s “M” Series; Larger Amps

Model M-9 c. 1957 in Stag Gray.  This model is somewhat of a mystery because it does not appear in any of the Rickenbacker literature I have seen; however, it shares many features of Rickenbacker amplifiers of that era; I have chosen to date it to 1957 due to the Lucite handle introduced on several models that year.  Has an early 12” Oxford speaker which features a stencil picture of an Ox on the magnet but no other coding information.  “Stag Gray” is the description of the amp coverings in the ‘50s Rickenbacker catalogs, which describe it as a “washable covering.”  Unfortunately, this covering has the consistency of wallpaper on a thin cloth base and did not hold up well to heavy wear or exposure to moisture.  Rickenbacker instrument cases of the ‘50s were covered in the same material, also known as “Elephant Hide.”   

Model M-9
1961 in Silver.  An early silver tolex-covered example, handle appears to be a replacement; has a 12” Jensen alnico P12-Q speaker.  

M-11-A 1957 in Stag Gray.  This is one of the first Rickenbacker amplifier models to feature built-in tremolo, indicated in this and other Rick amp examples by the “A” designation following the model number.  Features an early uncoded Jensen 12” speaker (possibly not the original speaker) and a thick plastic strap handle with aluminum end-caps.  These handles – used through the early ‘60s – were made of a thick plastic substance not reinforced with metal; many decomposed or broke; the one on this amp has stood the test of time.

M-11 1956
in Stag Gray.  Similar electronics as the preceding model; no tremolo.  Features a Blue Bell Jensen 12” alnico P12-R speaker. The Rick amps of the early ‘50s had noticeably thicker casings with rounded corners, as shown in this example; also note the thick Rick plastic strap handle with aluminum end-caps common on the larger amps.       

M-11 1957 in Black.  The casing of this particular example was covered in Stag Gray, which was later stripped and painted black, which is the state in which I acquired it.  The Jensen P12-R speaker dates to 1961; however, due to the traces of Stag Gray amp covering remaining (see photo), this amp may have been made in the late 1950s.  

M-11 1959
in Stag Gray. Similar in features to the 1957 model except the cabinet is wider notwithstanding the lack of tremolo; notice also the addition of a 4th input on the control panel; four inputs became standard in 1959 for all Rick combo amps; this example has a Jensen alnico P12-Q speaker.   

M-12 1959 in Stag Gray.  This rare amplifier has its two original Jensen Special Design P12Q speakers and has been heavily used as shown by the wear to the cabinet.

M-15 1954 in Stag Gray.  This amp is a first-year of production M-15 with its original Jensen Blue Bell P15N speaker (but no tweeter, as would be found on later versions of this model).  Subjected to heavy wear and replete with a former owner’s initials.

M-15 1959 in Stag Gray.  This model was in existence from the mid-1950s and billed as a “bass amplifier”; in the late 1950s, a 4” tweeter was added to the 15” speaker.  This example features a Jensen 15” P15N speaker with a Jensen 4” tweeter.  

M-16 1959 in Charcoal Gray Tolex.  The cabinet for this amplifier appears to have been recovered; a great job was done in selection of material and execution.  This is one of the nicest, most subtle amp coverings I have seen: charcoal gray tolex-like covering with a diagonal pattern of small light gray squares. Unfortunately, the chrome control panel is somewhat corroded.  This amp sounds great; it nails that late ‘50s Fender Bassman sound with similar electronics – and, of course, was built during the same era.   Fitted with four P10-Q Jensen speakers dated to 1959.   

M-98 “Hi-Fi”
1957 in Stag Gray.  This amplifier is unusual in that it has a 3 x 8” speaker configuration and was billed in the Rickenbacker catalogs of the time as a “high-fidelity” amplifier having inputs for “microphone, phonograph and instruments.”  Clearly, this amp was designed to include applications other than guitar.  This particular example has three Jensen 8P-U speakers and a plastic strap handle.  This model first appeared in the 1955 catalog with the two-tone covering.   

M-22 1959 in Stag Gray. This combo amplifier is one of Rickenbacker’s largest, at 38” wide,  to accommodate two Jensen P15N speakers and two Jensen 4” tweeters mounted in the upper cabinet corners.  It has a great, rich sound – enough to fill a medium venue.  This example is in excellent condition and all original.  I acquired it from the nephew of the original owner.

M-30 1960 Ek-O-Sound in Stag Gray.  This unusual amp – also designated by Rickenbacker as the M-10 -- was produced in very limited quantities and modeled on the EchoSonic amplifier designed by Ray Butts.  This amp has tons of power driven through a single Jensen blue frame P12N speaker.  It is also the first (and only) Rickenbacker tube amp to have a built-in tape echo/delay transport, a mechanical contraption located at the bottom of the cabinet with a circulating tape loop.  The variety of tones this 11-tube amp will produce is astounding.  A very rare and sought after amplifier.

   
 
 
The 1960s “B” Series; Larger Amps

B-14A 1961 in Silver Tolex. This amplifier has a Jensen P12-Q speaker and what some would say is an oversized cabinet; it does, however, come with tremolo which requires two extra knobs, so perhaps that explains the larger cab.  Though the tolex is indeed silver, the grille cloth on this and the other two B-14A models shown below is essentially early-to-mid ‘60s blonde Fender-style grille cloth somewhat spottily spray-painted silver – which gives it that distinctive transitional look! Another interesting feature about this model is the new-for-Rickenbacker slanted front control panel.  Unfortunately, the control panel and all the interior hardware, including tubes and transformers, are mounted to a copper plate which is attached to the interior of the wooden case by two thin wire brackets.  These amps do not travel well;  one good jolt and the control panel may disappear into the speaker cavity.   This particular example features its original “wooden wedge” footswitch for the tremolo function.

B-14A 1963 in Silver Tolex.  Not much changed in 3 years, except the speaker magnet is ceramic, with this example sporting a Jensen C12-Q speaker.  It is possible that the speaker was replaced and this amp is actually an earlier model like the other two above.    

B-14A 1965 in Silver Tolex.  This example is in near-mint condition and comes with footswitch for tremelo function  and a ceramic magnet C12Q Gold-Label Jensen speaker.  Note that, as seen from the back, the chassis has been shifted so the tubes are vertical (pointing down) as opposed to diagonal, as was the case on the earlier versions.         

B-9A 1965 in Silver Tolex.  Finding information about this amplifier model is as elusive as its ‘50s tremolo-less counterpart; in fact, this model bears no markings on the chrome control panel identifying it as a B-9A.  This example has a thin metal handle missing the Lucite insert; Jensen C12-Q speaker and tremolo. 

B-9A 1965 in Black Tolex.  Rickenbacker finally caught up to Fender in the appointments department with black tolex cab covering, not-quite-silver grille cloth and metal-reinforced vinyl strap handle; however, this was one of the last ‘60s pure tube combo amps that Rickenbacker would build.  This example is clean as a whistle and features a Jensen Gold Label C12-PS speaker and tremolo.  

B-15A 1964 in Silver Tolex.  This amplifier is an updated version of the B-15 amp, with a 15” speaker and a 3” tweeter in combo amp format with the addition of tremolo.  This example also features an original “wooden wedge” footswitch for the tremolo function.

B-16 Amp Head and Cabinet c. 1964. This is the cleanest and most complete silver tolex B-16 stack that I have come across.  The serial number on the output jackplate of the amp head matches that of the input jackplate on the cabinet, which houses four original Jensen C10Q ceramic magnet speakers.  As the B-16 model tends to be under-powered, this amplifier was fitted with Hammond transformers to take advantage of its full sonic range. 

B-16 Amp Head
c. 1964 in Silver.  There seem to be more of these B-16 heads than there are B-16 cabs.  At least that’s been my experience.  This particular head came with it’s matching cabinet – the shade and condition of the grille cloth is the giveaway as to the pairing of these.  This amp head has been fitted with Hammond transformers. This head came with no back panel and, hence, no output jackplate with a serial number.  The amp sounds great through its dedicated cab, described below.

B-16 Amp Head
c. 1964 in Silver.  This appears to be an earlier model as one of the transformers and some tubes are located on the bottom of the inside head cab.  That is a very good idea, as the weight of the tranny tends to pull down on the control plate, as described above with the B-14A.  Unfortunately, this was discontinued and later models have all the hardware suspended from the underside  of the control plate.  No dedicated cab for this one, though it does have a backpanel with a metal jackplate on which is stamped a serial number.

B-16A Amp Head c. 1964 in Silver.  This model includes tremolo which means two extra knobs on the control panel -- Speed and Depth; some knobs are numbered but the numbers don't appear to correspond to the function that is controlled.  Other than tremolo, closely resembles the other B-16 amp heads.  Also no dedicated cab for this one, though it does have the lower half of its backpanel with a metal jackplate on which is stamped a serial number.  

B-16A Combo 1964 in Silver.  Here’s the complete package – the B-16 amp with tremolo and four original Jensen C10-Q speakers with identical speaker code dates. Unfortunately, no jackplate, no serial number; sports its original “wooden wedge” footswitch for tremolo function.

B-16 Amp Cabinet
c. 1964 in Silver.  This cabinet comes loaded with four original Jensen C10-Q speakers with identical speaker code dates. There are also some photos of this cabinet with the matching B-16 Head (described above).  They make a dynamic duo when paired up as the designer intended.                
   
 
 
The “M” Series Amps -- 8” Wonders

Rickenbacker produced a wide variety of amplifiers with 8” speakers under it’s own name and the “Electro” brand.  The circuitry of many of these models has been compared to the Fender “Champ” amplifier; in fact, Leo Fender worked on early Rickenbacker amplifiers before he started his own amp and guitar business.  The ones below are in my collection.

 

M-88 1956 in Blonde vinyl.  The M-88 appears to be very similar to the M-8, except that the cabinet is thicker and the handle is a thick Rick plastic strap with aluminum end-caps.  This example comes with a Jensen P8-T speaker, which has a slightly heavier magnet than the P8-U and P8-V speakers usually found on the M-8 models. 

M-88 1960
in Stag Gray.  This example has a Jensen P8-RS speaker, with the magnet a notch heavier than the P8-T.  Note the thickness of the cab (to accomodate the larger speaker magnet) as compared to the M-8 E amplifiers in Stag Gray described below.

M-8 1955
in “Two-Tone” finish.  This “paint splatter” finish was directly applied to the wooden cabinet and termed “two tone” in Rick catalogs.  It seems to have appeared on some models from 1955 through 1957 and then disappeared.  The handle on this model was a rubber/latex strap, the ends of which were inserted into slots in the top of the cab instead of being bolted to the top; missing back panel..  This was billed as a “student” amp or one for steel guitar.

M-8 1956 in Blonde.  This little amp is in very nice shape and has the rubber/latex end-inserted handle. 
Speaker is a Jensen P8-U.    

M-8 1956 in Blonde. This amp has the rubber/latex end-inserted handle; Permaflux 8” speaker.  (See the early M-11 models for more about Permaflux).   

M-8 1957 in Blonde.   Leather handle, similar to those found on the smaller Fender tweed amps; Jensen P8-U speaker.

M-8 1957 in Blonde. Another upside-down plastic “U” strap handle; Jensen P8-U speaker.  Note the difference in the metal badge on this amp, as contrasted to the "Rickenbacker" metal badge on the M-8 amps above.  The badge style was changed in 1957.

M-8 1958 in White covering.  Smaller cab with Lucite handle; rare White (as opposed to Blonde) covering.  Jensen P8-U speaker.

M-8 1958 in Stag Gray. This amplifier is the "missing link" between the "small cab" M-8 amplifiers and the "large cab" M-8E amplifiers that emerged in 1957.  It has all the features of the larger M-8E amplifier -- lucite handle, stag gray covering, metal badge, 8" Jensen Alnico speaker -- but in the smaller M-8 sized cabinet.

M-8 E in Stag Gray.  I have three of these, dated 1957, 1959 and 1960, each with a Lucite handle.  The ’57 has a  Jensen P8-V speaker; the other two have Jensen P8-U speakers.  There is no discernable difference in styling among the three (other than the front grille panel of the 1959 seems to be upside-down), so they are presented here together.     

M-8 E in Brown by Electro.  I have two of these, dated (from the speakers) 1954 (Jensen P8-RS) and 1955 (Jensen P8-U). The 1955 has the “Electro” badge on front and a Lucite handle; the 1954 has no front badge, replacement grille cloth and a black plastic handle; an “Electro” badge is on the back control panel.

   
 
 
The Modern Era

Transonic 100 1968 in Black.  These are perhaps the most notorious of all Rickenbacker amplifiers; featured in the 1968 Rickenbacker catalog, they were used by several popular rock groups in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.  The larger brother to this amp is the Transonic 200, which features a separate head and a speaker cab mounted on a metal trolley (think Vox Super Beatle), and a little brother, seldom seen, the Transonic 70.  All have the reverse-triangular/trapezoid shape. I can say from personal experience that, because Rickenbacker loaded the transformers and other internal hardware for this amp on a 3/16” sheet of plywood, this amp is a bear to travel with or to ship.  It has all manner of knobs and buttons and two 12” heavy-duty Utah speakers. 

B410 Head 1974
Black.  I acquired this well-used head and had a compete electronic freshening done on it, new tubes, caps, etc.  It has a great, powerful sound with lots of headroom.

   
 
 
 
Other Amplifiers    (NOTE: Some images will enlarge when clicked again)
 

Vox 1965 AC30 Super Twin.  This amplifier comes equipped with a pair of 12” Vox Bluebell speakers in a separate cab, and the standard AC30 with Top Boost in a “slope-sided” trapezoid head. These speakers were made by Celestion specifically for the AC30 and re-labeled by Vox. The Petersen and Denney book on Vox amplifiers states that: “This model is reputed to have the best sound of any Vox amplifier.”  I will attest to that!  It is the only Vox amp I own but it is the one  through which I most often play my vintage Rickenbacker guitars.  All original with stand.

ELPICO AC-55 in Turquoise/Cream, c. 1956. This British-made amplifier was made in the 1950s to amplify tape recorders and record players (note the “Gram” input jack, for “gramophone”); however, they were also capable of being used as guitar amplifiers, notably by Paul McCartney and Dave Davies in the early days of the Beatles and Kinks respectively.  Dave Davies allegedly obtained his trademark guitar distortion on “You Really Got Me” by taking a razor blade to the speaker of his Elpico amplifier.

 
 
 
 

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