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Amps That Don’t Exist - Part One: 1959 Brown Fender Super Amp

by vaughn skow January 18, 2011 2 min read

Amps that don’t exist, you ask?  Yea, sorta.  I’m starting out this little series with my 1959 Brown Fender Super Amp, which was featured in the October issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine, and will be featured in Dave Hunter’supcoming vintage amp book.  Fender didn’t officially release any of the "Browns" until 1960, but this one bears a 1959 tube chart circuit designation, and all 1959 dated components ... so, officially, it doesn’t exist.  Interested, then read on!

With its 5G4 circuit designation, this particular amp, with a serial number of 00031 has one foot still in tweed land and one foot in the brown era.  It is one of the very rare models that sports the "backward" control panel layout, which reads from left to right BASS-TREBLE-VOLUME.  These were the very first amps Fender made that had the control panel facing forward, and it seems as though they forgot about that when they made the first few prototypes.  Crazy, huh?  By the time the amps were officially releases, they had corrected that and the controls were VOLUME-TREBLE-BASS, as one would expect.

This "phantom" amp also sports a peculiar "Pulse Adj." hole in the back panel, which came from the factory with a plug in the hole.  It seems as though Leo had some idea in mind that never materialized once the brown Supers were actually out.  Theories abound as to what that mysterious pulse-adjust was going to be, but the truth is, nobody really knows!  Leo took that info with him to the grave.

Like the tweed Super before it, the brown Super Amp is a 2-10 combo.  The Brown version has a pair of 6L6’s putting out about 40 watts.  Its tube rectified, of course and sports five 12AX7/7025’s, the tremolo circuit actually uses two of these tubes (four triode stages) ... wow.  The tremolo of the early browns is legendary.  This amp also employs the long-tail phase inverter that was only also used in the tweed high-power Twin, Tremolux, and the famous tweed Bassman.  This, most early of all brown Super’s sports a pair of blue-bell alnico Jensen P10Q’s, I love all the WGS stuff, but I gotta tell you, those old American made bluebells are some seriously sweet speakers! 

How does this phantom amp sound?  Well, given that it is 100% stock ... with all the original 1959 components, it sounds really darn great.  It breaks up just as a good vintage Fender should and is both very warm and also sweet and chimey, all at the same time.

For the entire story, pick up a copy of the October issue of Vintage Guitar (available online), or look for Dave Hunter’s book to hit the shelves.  For now, here are some pics from the Vintage Guitar photo shoot.  BTW, next week, I really will be featuring an amp that doesn’t exist.  Intrigued?

Until next time,  -Vaughn-

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