We combined all of our information into a computerized database for this project and for the past 18 months have been slowly (sadly, very slowly) gathering information that we collect ourselves as well as from other people. What we need is the following: 1) Model name 2) Model number on the tube chart 3) Date code letters on the tube chart 4) Speaker codes (if speaker is original) 5) Transformer codes (if the amp doesn't have date codes on the tube chart) 6) Cosmetic features (flat/raised logo, tweed/tolex, blackface/silverface, rough/ smooth blond tolex, white/skirted knobs, TV-front/wide-panel, etc.) One very interesting and very important factoid has surfaced regarding the date code letters on the tube chart.
In the fall of 1965, Fender switched from stamping these numbers in black ink, to dark green ink.
A Champ from this era can easily be dated by the code stamped on the tube chart, The 5F1 lasted until 1964, when the Champ finally made the transition to the "Blackface" style of circuit and cabinet. The Champ switched from Blackface to Silverface four years later.
A small number of the last 5F1 style cabinets were covered with the "Blackface" amp cosmetics around this transition, as the factory most likely ran out of the tweed cloth covering. Fender brought back the blackface cosmetics for a short time in 1981 before discontinuing the Champ the following year. Cosmetically similar to the original Champion 600, internally it features a modified blackface Champ circuit (with the settings of the tone stack being hard-wired rather than adjustable via Treble and Bass controls, and a couple of additional resistors reducing input-stage gain) and a switch to solid-state rectification from the original 5Y3 tube.
That Music Master Bass amp or Silverface Champ that you could have bought all day for 50 bucks as recently as 2 years ago can run as high as 350-400 on ebay now.
Though, hopefully no one will bid on those that are that high. But, they are still available at killer prices, if for no other reason, there are many of them still available..a silverfaced amp was passed over in the 80's and 90's by someone that HAD to have a tweed or blackfaced one.
by Frank Stroupe ***WARNING-There are voltages inside of a tube guitar amp that can KILL you.
I am not an expert on amps, Fender amps, or Silverface Fender amps. I am merely someone that loves old gear, appreciates Silverface amps, loves to write, and loves history.
Greg and Devin's experience meshed well with mine since I'm essentially the blackface/silverface amp guy (amps made between 19) in the group.
Additionally, Greg and Devin also had data that they had been collecting from Fender amps for years. Everything is confidential, we don't make record of who owns what amp in the database.
If you are not familiar with working on vacuum tube equipment, you should consult an experienced technician before opening any equipment containing vacuum tubes. The Free Information Society will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused to you or your equipment.*** Early Silverface Logo on Standard Silverface Grillcloth So, you've heard all of your guitar playing life, whether it be for 2 years or 25, that you don't want a Silverface Fender amp.
I can't say today that they are the "best kept secret", because over the past few years, the prices on them are steadily climbing..obviously, the secret has gotten out.