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The Cost of Fender Tube Amplifiers: 1959 to 2017

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by theprofessor, May 29, 2017.

  1. The Guy

    The Guy Tele-Holic

    593
    Sep 15, 2016
    Guitarsphere
    Check the reviews from amazon, it seems he played "some" reissues instead of the originals....

    I'm going to get the book though, looks like a great book to have ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
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  2. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    The 400 PS truly puts an SVT in its place. Three things led to the lack of popularity of the 400 PS:

    -Sticker shock when faced with the need of buying 3 cabs.
    -Ed Jahns waited for reliable tubes to be produced, instead of sending a tech out with every amp, like ampeg did with the SVT's in 1969.
    -Cabinets: the W bins rattled, didn't sound great (although they were stupidly loud), and fender did not market the amp for guitar as they didn't make a cabinet suitable for this amp for guitar.
     
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  3. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 10, 2014
    Philadelphia, PA
    Oh, and they make 485 watts at 5% THD when operating within spec.

    Koerner modified his to 600 watts by beefing up the driver circuit.
     
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  4. chris m.

    chris m. Friend of Leo's

    I think the comparison to today's boutique amps is apt. I bet total sales volume was pretty small compared to today, with much less economies of scale. As total units go down, price per unit goes up.

    I also agree that in the 70s we didn't perceive vintage gear as investments. In '76 I bought a '68 Tele for $130 and three years later sold it for $190.
     
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  5. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    I didn't read all 56 reviews on Amazon, but I just gave them a look. From what I read, and from what I've listened to on the vintage CD, I think there may be some reissues involved on the vintage CD, like the 57 Twin. But there are certainly some amps on the CD that don't have reissues. And I think at points Koch actually mentions some years and models he's playing through. I know he does that with his guitars.

    There is also a modern CD. So two CDs in total.

    Even if the book didn't have CDs (which are really just icing on the cake), I give this book my very highest recommendation for any Fender amp enthusiast. The pictures alone are worth the price of the book, and yet it's very thorough, well researched, and well written.
     
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  6. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Meister

    373
    Jun 11, 2016
    USA
    I recently acquired a '61 Gretsch Stereo King head that sold new for $485.00 in that year. That's nearly $4,000 today. I guess that explains why they didn't last into '62.
     
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  7. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Tele-Afflicted

    Small stores discounted Fender equipment 10-20% in the 60s. Manny's was 40% off MSRP, that was what they quoted you.
     
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  8. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Holic

    556
    Jan 15, 2013
    Heart O' Dixie
    A couple different things going on. First, in 1959, there were far fewer aspiring electric guitarists than later, say the 1980s. You can verify by looking at the production numbers, and normalizing by the population then and now. So the market was emerging and not stable at that time. Second, in 1959, Fender had only been in production for a few years, so the surplus of used amps was really low. Whereas today, there are millions of used amps in circulation today, and hundred thousands new every year. I bet if you calc the amp per player in 1959 versus today, you'll find there's a glut of availability/supply today, which has forced the relative prices down for the twin-size. Not sure about the Champ size trend. Must be some additional factor related to its market.
     
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  9. King Fan

    King Fan Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    Excellent point, Wally. Hmm At the (1971) Bangladesh concert, Champs might actually make sense -- George was good friends with Eric, and the engineer who recorded Layla (1970) confirms the report that Eric (and Duane?) used Champs in the studio. Their singing OD sounds like something that George would have loved.

    I'm not sure how George and Eric were getting on in 1971, given who the song Layla was actually about, but IIRC it never really came between them that much.
     

  10. The Guy

    The Guy Tele-Holic

    593
    Sep 15, 2016
    Guitarsphere
    I'm definitely going to order it. Cheers
     

  11. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Hey @King Fan - I think you may be right. Maybe a SF Champ (or 4 of them!) makes more sense than I initially thought, especially in 1971.

    Here is a paragraph from Peter Frampton that I read in The Soul of Tone (p. 325): "I got my first Fender when I was in Humble Pie. Steve Marriott and I both got Champs with the silver front in about 1970, right about the time Layla came out. I believe Eric was using Champs as well. That was my last year of studio work with Humble Pie, and we did the whole of the Rock On album [1970] with those two silverish Champs. We bought them brand new. We tried them out and that was it -- we never unplugged."
     
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  12. King Fan

    King Fan Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Salt Lake City
    Excellent! I've been noticing those 'silverish Champs' and their Vibro Cousins are still pretty popular here on TDPRI...
     

  13. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    They are! And it kinda makes me sad. I had a pristine 1973 one that sounded tremendous. But to get the amp I'd always wanted--a vintage DR--I had to trade it. Oh, well... I'm happier when I just think about the SF DR I now have, and not the SF Champ I no longer have.
     

  14. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2009
    Minnesota
    Wow - 10,000 points on My Amazon Prime account. Time to go shopping here too!
     
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  15. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    \
    Dude! 10,000 points! Yeah, go get that book. It's fantastic!
     
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  16. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2009
    Minnesota
    Hey Professor - I've asked this in the past and never got a response, but it sounds like you have some resources. How many Champs were made? It seems like millions, but I'm still curious.
     

  17. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Hey FenderLover - I don't know. I'm curious about that now, too. The only book I have on Fender amps is the one I've been referring to: The Soul of Tone. I don't recall the author ever mentioning production numbers of specific amplifiers, though he may have. And of course we'll have to narrow it down to Champs from a particular period or model, like 5F1 or AA764, or whatever.
     

  18. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

    Jun 11, 2009
    Minnesota
    Ordered this last night and received it a minute ago. I love Amazon! Too nice outside to read. I'll crack the cover later.

    RE: the Champ production numbers, I imagine if production numbers are available, they would be broken out by model - I've just never come across Fender amplifier production totals. Hmmm...
     

  19. theprofessor

    theprofessor Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2016
    Chattanooga, TN
    Cool! Maybe there's something in the book that I forgot about that estimates production numbers for early Champs, for example.

    On a related note, I ran across this in The Soul of Tone, p. 349: Steve Grom said, "I heard stories from back in the '70s where some weeks they'd make a tone of Twin Reverbs -- nothing but Twin Reverbs for a whole week, maybe 2,000 of them." Then from Lee Jackson: "The Twin and the Stratocaster were Fender's staples, absolutely. At one time, those things were going of the line every day by the hundreds. That had a gigantic warehouse that looked like the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and floor to ceiling it was Strats and Twins."

    So if anyone is ever worried about finding an SF Twin, just remember: you will always be able to find a 70's Twin!
     

  20. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Tele-Afflicted

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    (Quite) a few years ago (1997-2010), there was an web-author who was collecting & compiling Fender amp serial numbers to determine/estimate model-year amp productions. Anybody here remember this?

    Addendum: Found him! The author was Greg Gagliano ("ggjaguar") and this is his website: http://www.ggjaguar.com/gggjag.htm

    However, this website shows similar information: http://www.superiormusic.com/page195.htm
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017

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