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History of the Fender Amplifier
The beginning of Fender amps pre-dates the beginning of their guitars (at least, the ones we know them for) by about 5 years. It's not far-fetched to believe that Fender amps laid the foundation for all that the company has become—both in lore and actuality. When they were released, they filled a big need for reliable, well-made guitar amplifiers.
Way back in 1946, the same year that Fender became Fender, Leo and company put out three amps that ignited some of the biggest changes in music history. Designed for use with their early steel string guitars, Fender's initial amplifier offerings included the Princeton, the Deluxe, and the Professional. All three eventually became known as "woodies," referring to the improved hardwood cabinets they were built with.
The story goes that Leo Fender received some hardwood, which was intended for steel guitar bodies, but was actually too thin for that purpose. So Leo did what he did best—he innovated. He used that wood to create the Fender amp cabinet frames.
These first Fender amps had a pleasingly simple design. The aesthetics included gleaming blonde maple, black walnut, and dark mahogany. The grille cloth was red, blue, and yellow/gold. Each amp had a wooden handle on top, as well as black pointer control knobs, and protective metal strips running vertically over the speaker opening.
The Deluxe and Professional models had rear-facing control panels stenciled with numerals 1-12 for the control knobs while the Princeton had no control panel and no markings. Perhaps this was since the Princeton was intended as a student model, with six watts, powered by three tubes, and a single Jensen 8" filed-coil speaker. Not even a power switch.
These models were of course upgraded as Fender's technological prowess expanded and new technology became available. And in true Fender fashion, they began to introduce new models as the years went on. But the models from the early years have a special place in the history and tradition of the electric guitar—much like the brand itself.
Popular Fender Amp Models
Blues Junior: The infamous Blues Junior has steadily held the torch for all other small-sized, blues-focused, tube combo amps. The original model was highly successful and remains sought after. Meanwhile, Fender has released a number of reissues you'll want to check out.
Twin Reverb: Another vintage tube-amp beauty, the Fender Twin Reverb boasts incredible sonic clarity and plenty of volume, thanks to dual 12" speakers. It also has dual inputs for both normal and vibrato channels. 1965 was a marked year for the Twin Reverb and as such, Fender has created a '65 reissue, with 85-watts of all-tube tone into dual 12'' specially designed Jensen C-12K speakers.
Mustang GT: The Mustang GT varies widely from its vintage tube forefathers in a number of ways, but it's still a big part of the Fender family. Built on advanced digital amp technology, the GT gives you the opportunity to replicate a huge number of tones. Onboard amps and effects are controllable via the exclusive Fender Tone app. The Mustang GT also has a built-in looper, an integrated chromatic tuner, bluetooth/WiFi connectivity, and a USB recording output.
Super-Sonic 22 Head: Tube amp heads began to dominate most of the rock landscape from the '60s on. But Fender didn't usually follow suit—and when they did, they did it their way. In recent history, they gave us the Super-Sonic 22 head. With the circuitry of the Deluxe Reverb, this amp has powerful tube sound with gorgeous sparkling tone. The knob layout is simple and there's a "Burn" channel, with 2 separate gain controls. Also available as a combo amp.
Deluxe Reverb: The Deluxe Reverb is another amazing vintage Fender tube amp that has reached the level of fable. It's not easy (or cheap) to get you hands on one, so of course, Fender has a great reissue. The ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb Amp pays tribute to the classic look, sound, and performance of Fender’s mid-'60s “blackface” amps. It features Bright and Normal channels, tube-driven spring reverb and tremolo on both channels, plus 20 watts of output power.
Signature Artists and Their Amps
Chris Stapleton Edition'62 Princeton: Chris Stapleton is a Grammy winning artist whose music has entranced millions. His fun, unique brand of country-rock flows beautifully from this signature Fender amp. True to form, Fender went to great lengths to capture the characteristics of his sound, with hand-wired circuitry, and tone derived from the aspects that make the "Brown" Princeton amp great. The '62 Princeton has never been reissued before now—an incredible honor for a Fender fan like Chris.
George Benson GB Hot Rod Deluxe: As a classic-styled jazz player, few things are more important than having responsive clarity and natural tone from an amplifier. That is what George Benson appreciates about his Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. His powerful and unique jazz playing has carried him through half a century—and this Fender Hot Rod Deluxe supports him and all others who play like him.
The Edge Deluxe: Having accidentally stumbled upon the wonders of Fender amplification with a friend's 1950s Fender Deluxe, U2's The Edge quickly turned around and used it on the recording of "Vertigo." When The Edge began to work with Fender that was the direction he immediately went in—big, vibrant, vintage tone blazing out from one wondrous Celestion speaker.
Why a Fender Amp?
Fender amps basically started it all. Leo and the gang put out the first quality, production amps which supported the electric guitar. They continued to innovate and improve, creating beautifully powerful tube amps, which still stand the test of time today. From then until now, Fender has added much more to their lineup, with continuous high-quality amps in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Surely one of them is perfect for you.
Check out Top 5 Classic Fender Amplifiers Of All Time on Sam Ash Spotlight.
Want advice from real musicians on which Fender Amplifier is right for you? Call us at 1-800-472-6274 to speak to one of our experts today!