In 1953, Fender launched an amp that would become the industry standard for decades to come: the Twin. Named for its pair of 12" speakers, the Twin evolved in looks and power output through the 1950s. In 1955, it changed from a wide-panel 25-watt amp to a narrow-panel 50-watt amp. By 1958, the tweed Twin reached 80 watts. This high-powered version lasted until early 1960.

By 1960, most Fender amps were upgraded to a new style of brown Tolex covering with the control panel located in the front. Initially, the Twin was abandoned while Fender focused on the new Vibrasonic, which contained a single 15" speaker. A brown Tolex Twin was shown in a June 1960 Down Beat magazine insert, but actual examples in this color are extremely rare.

By 1961, the white Tolex Twin was released. It shared the color scheme of the new “piggyback” series (amp heads paired with separate matching cabinets). This Twin had four 5881 power tubes putting out 80 watts like the ’50s version, but added the vibrato channel used by most Fender amps at the time. The amp’s grille cloth had a dark maroon color from ’61 to ’62, and a wheat color from ’62 to ’63. Blonde Tolex Twins like the one shown here were discontinued in 1963, when the black Tolex Twin Reverb became the most ubiquitous combo amp of all time. (Also pictured this month are a 1965 Olympic White Fender Jaguar and a 1964 Fender Reverb unit.)

More detailed information on Fender amps can be found in Fender Amps: The First Fifty Years by John Teagle and John Sprung, and in The Soul of Tone by Tom Wheeler.

Dave's Guitar Shop
Daves Rogers’ collection is tended to by Laun Braithwaite and 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