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1959 Fender Harvard with 1962 Fender Esquire

As important and innovative as Fender guitars were in the 1950s, Fender amps were the industry standard, renowned for their tone, durability, and easy maintenance. At Fender, the amplifier was considered as important to the overall sound as the guitar. The right electric guitar needed to be matched to the right amplifier before music could be made.

If the legendary recordings made at the Memphis Stax-Volt studio in the 1960s are any kind of evidence, the perfect mate for a Fender Esquire (or Telecaster) would be a Fender Harvard Amp. Steve Cropper, session guitarist and member of Booker T. and the MGs, used this combination on nearly every Stax hit of the 1960s. The sounds ranged from mellow (Otis Redding’s “I’ve been Loving You too Long”), to biting (The MGs’ “Green Onions”), to distorted (The MGs’ “Hip Hug Her”).

Fender introduced the 10-watt Harvard in 1955 to fill the space between the 5-watt Princeton and the 15-watt Deluxe. It had one 10” speaker (sometimes an 8” was used) driven by two 6V6 power tubes. It had one tone control and one volume control. The Harvard was discontinued in 1961.

Detailed information on Fender Amps can be found in Soul of Tone: Celebrating 60 Years of Fender Amps by Tom Wheeler and Fender Amps: The First Fifty Years by John Teagle and John Sprung. The Tele/ Harvard combination can be heard on The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959–1968 CD box set.

Dave's Guitar Shop
Daves Rogers’ Collection is tended to by Laun Braithwaite & Tim Mullally Photos and words by Tim Mullally Dave’s Collection is on display at:
Dave's Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601
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