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Vintage Fender Guitars and Amplifiers

Updated on May 25, 2013

Vintage Fender Guitars and Amplifiers

I grew up learning to play guitar on what is now considered a vintage Fender guitar and amplifier, and there was no sound like the unique sound these old Fender amps and guitars created.

If you ever check around, all Fender fans lament the day when CBS bought out the company and changed things for the worse, but of course that has also created the scarcity of the old Fender guitars and amplifiers, which are high in demand.

The evolution of music and the Fender instruments came together at the right time, and became a part of the history of the emergence of rock and roll music. I'm not sure rock and roll could have ever been as successful and popular without the Fender guitar and amps of that day.

The Fender Stratocaster

I want to talk about the primary and what most collectors and fans of Fender consider the must-have and most important instruments and amps produced by Fender ever.

The first and foremost guitar is the Fender Stratocaster, which singlehandedly put the solid body guitar into mainstream music.

Some of its unique characteristics included a body built with the musician in mind, which made playing a guitar far more comfortable with the new contour design.

There was also three pickups included and built-in tremolo that worked just like it was meant to. Those features made the guitar a hit from day one.

Decades after its introduction it is still the standard by which every guitar made is measured.

The Fender Stratocaster

The Jazzmaster

Depending on if you're a collector or the Fender company, The Jazzmaster is considered their leading instrument by Fender, although the collectible guitar market doesn't agree with that conclusion.

While it's still considered a good guitar, it doesn't compare with the Stratocastor or the telecastor; both earlier Fender guitars.
Interestingly, when Fender released the Jazzmaster, they thought they had tapped into the jazz market, but in reality it was the surf bands of the 60s that adopted it as their own. 

Vintage Jazzmaster Fender Guitar

The Precision Bass

Another guitar standard that is measured by a Fender vintage guitar is the Precision base, which all other basses are judged by. The Precision Base was unique in that it was the first electric base that had frets.

While the early versions are popular among collectors, it's those created from mid-1957 to mid-1959 that captures their imaginations, with aluminum pickguards, maple necks and split coil pickups.

It wasn't until the latter part of the 1980s when the Precision Base  sound finally gave way to the sound produced by the J-bass.

Jim Weider - 1955 Fender Telecaster & 1957 Tweed Bassman Amp

Vintage fender amplifier

When it comes to vintage Fender amplifiers, there's no argument by collectors or musicians as to the greatest amplifier ever made, and that's the tweed Bassman from 1957-1960.

This particular model included four 10-inch speakers and four plugins, and is highly sought after.

It's extraordinary when you think of this ugly little pine box with some tweed wrapped around it would become the historical standard of the music industry and help launch a music revolution still going today.

One interesting thing about the vintage Fender Tweed Bassman, was it wasn't originally built to use with a regular electric guitar, but for bass guitars.

Not too many think of it as a bass guitar anymore, and some don't know that it was at the time. 

Vintage Fender Tweed Bassman Amp from 1955

Brown and white tolex amps

A couple of other desirable vintage Fender amps were the brown and white tolex amp which was produced from 1960 to 1963, and a few of what was called the 'black face' models, manufactured from 1964 to 1967.

Most amp models after that time from Fender aren't considered important from a collecting point of view.

Importance of vintage Fender guitars and amps

When you consider what we just talked about with vintage Fender guitars and amplifiers, you have the foundation of everything else that followed, and in the case of the Fender Tweed Bassman amp and the Fender Stratocastor guitar, the two most important instrument and amplifier in recent music history.

Like I mentioned, two forces came together at the right time: the emergence of rock and roll, and the demand for a guitar and amp that could help create a new music for fans, and a tool for musicians to ply their trade in a way they were never able to in the past.

Those two powerful forces brought the legendary Fender company to the forefront of music, and collectors and musicians still hunger for any piece from that time they can get hold of.

As with many having learned from hindsight, man I wish I would have kept my Fender guitar and amplifier from those days.


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    • Wendy He profile image

      He Shu Xia 3 years ago from China

      This model guitar is so vintage, Fender one, I love it very much.

      Vintage Fender Guitars and Amplifiers

    • profile image

      Marv 5 years ago

      Check on the info below this video link to see details about a rare 1960 Fender Bassman Amp, owned by Myron Lee for 50 years. The Amp has a great history described on the page with this link. Used on tour with many stars from the 60's.


    • profile image

      Fender bass guitar 6 years ago

      Fender made amazing electric guitars which is what their basses were modeled after. I don't think you could go wrong choosing any Fender model.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 8 years ago from Canada

      Congrats on your nomination. We still have a Fender bass amp that we sometimes run the spare mike through - it is awesome and still has the jam to put newer rigs to shame. Geat hub.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Halllooo MakinBacon, your vintage guitars have caught the eye of the Hubnuggets Team and you are included in this weeks Hubnuggets!  Check it out:

      Enjoy the Hubnuggets as you promote your hub and vote too! See ya!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Great hub but where is the air guitar? Just joking

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      I learned something new today. I did know that the Fender Stratocaster is a well-loved guitar by musicians, but I never realized it the the standard to measure others by. Thanks for the info! :D

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 8 years ago from Canada

      My sons are in love with that guitar pic, lol. :)