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Help with Fender 2x12 Cab Identification - I think it's a 1963 or 1964...

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  • Help with Fender 2x12 Cab Identification - I think it's a 1963 or 1964...

    Hi guys, I feel like I've performed a pretty exhaustive internet search looking for information to help date a speaker cabinet I just picked up last week ($20!). There is plenty out there on dating amplifiers, but not much at all on dating cabinets. One thing that is throwing me off is that there are "original looking" Altec 417 Dia-Cone 16 ohm speakers in there but in my research I haven't been able to find a date range where Altecs were OEM in Fender cabinets.

    The code stamped on the speakers is 391330 which apparently means 391 (Altec Manuf. Code) and the 30th week of 1963. There is another number in what looks like blue lumber crayon that says 428 - or the 28th week of 1964. The only other number I can find is on one of the 16" cabinet legs, and it is M38663.

    My questions are:

    1. I can't seem to find anything that shows these speakers as the OEM speakers used by Fender, but I found a list of speaker manufacturers and their respective speaker codes and Altec was listed as a supplier used by Fender. Does anyone know more about Fenders with Altecs? Were these OEM speakers? All the hardware looked and felt original, and some of the paper gasket stuck to the baffle when it was removed so it seemed like it had been there for many years. Nothing to indicate that these were not OEM speakers...

    2. The dating information I've been able to find is only for amplifiers, not for cabinets. If this were an amp, I found that the serial number starting with M indicates that it is a 1963. The blue crayon markings on the back panel (428) indicate 1964 so maybe they stamped the serial numbers on a whole bunch of legs and then used them in production into 1964?

    Most importantly, this thing sounds phenomenal connected to my homemade 5E3. Since the previous owner had spray painted the grill cloth black and the tolex is nasty, I've stripped the old Tolex and ordered new Tolex and grill cloth material from Mojo to restore it to like-new condition. I don't think the boss would like a ratty cabinet in our "music room"

    If anyone has additional information that could help me in learning exactly what I have here, it would be much appreciated.

    Here is a link to more photos of the cabinet on flickr (hope this works):
    Last edited by VictoryNVH; 02-17-2009, 06:18 PM.

  • #2
    If the nuts holding the speaker don't have a bunch of scratches around them I would say it's original. The period is correct, and it may have been a custom order speaker installed from the factory. That is great score on an excellent speaker, you are lucky.
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    • #3
      That is a great score. Of course, some folks will tell you that Altec is too close to JBL and therefore sounds like ice picks in their ears, etc. I'm a JBL fan, so I'm sure is sounds great too! Plenty of headroom for you 5E3...
      Black sheep, black sheep, you got some wool?
      Ya, I do man. My back is full.


      • #4
        What I remember, was that at one time you could special order Altec or JBL, depending upon how deep your pockets were. At least up until Fender became a major distributor for JBL.

        I believe that the blue crayon numbers are only batch codes used to keep different parts together as they went through the factory.

        I've often seen actual date codes rubber stamped inside the bottom of the cabs, in the same format as the chassis stamps.

        I thought that the list that 20th Century published also included some cabinet/leg info as well.

        In any case that is a great find and quite a bargain too.


        • #5
          Originally posted by 52 Bill View Post
          I thought that the list that 20th Century published also included some cabinet/leg info as well.
          The only thing I have found on this has been one short paragraph saying that for a few years Fender put the serial number on a leg - so you'd have the serial number AND "PAT. PEND" on one leg, and just "PAT PEND" on the other. Now that I have the leg in front of me, the serial number is M38663 if that helps at all.

          I have a co-worker who is a vintage Fender guy so he is going to bring in the "Fender Amps" book, as well as a "blue book" to see if we can find anything.

          Thanks for all of your input on this, it has been really exciting to find out what a great score this was. All this history is so fascinating! Now if only I could find a matching head...

          The speaker mounting nuts had star washers that looked un-touched. I wonder if I could scrape up any material like an old order form where the Altecs were an option?
          Last edited by VictoryNVH; 02-17-2009, 06:23 PM.