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.The Fender Band-Master VM amp head is ideal for onstage versatility and big, fat Fender tone.Our Buyer’s guide to vintage Fender amps explains in detail how you can date your amp by looking at serial numbers, tube charts, transformer codes, speaker codes, Fender logo, etc.His particular area of expertise is in Fender amps made from about 1960 through 1967.Devin runs Doc's Music in Springfield, Missouri and his interest lies in the woodie and tweed Fender amps made from 1946 through 1960.
After reading Teagle and Sprung's excellent Fender amp book, I took them up on their challenge that maybe someday someone will compile enough serial numbers so that Fender amps can be dated that way. I contacted several Fenders collectors and dealers who were kind enough to supply me with data.A 1990 JAN B 1991 FEB C 1992 MAR D 1993 APR E 1994 MAY F 1995 JUN G 1996 JUL H 1997 AUG I 1998 SEP J 1999 OCT K 2000 NOV L 2001 DEC M 2002 N 2003 O 2004 P 2005 ALL other Fender Amplifiers can be dated by the components inside: In almost every Fender amplifier there are several EIA (manufacturer) codes followed by a date code, typically found on the speaker(s), transformer(s), tubes, caps, and occasionally pots.The EIA code will consist of 3 numbers followed by a date code of 3 or 4 numbers designating the year and the week.And that, you’d think, would have nicely rounded out an amp maker’s midsize/larger offerings. Especially when you consider that the amp that carries them is the same under the hood as its siblings with a single 15″ speaker or two 10s (other than that the output transformer was wound to match the odd 2.7-ohm speaker load).Wedging another between it all, a combo with three speakers no less, would seem utter madness; yet that’s precisely what Leo Fender felt he needed – and precisely the amp, in the form of the 5E7 Bandmaster combo, that sends collectors gaga today. Yet, as pointless as the Bandmaster might seem when considered amid the Fender line of the day, there is something strangely glorious about this configuration.