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1958 Fender Strat & 1959 Fender Twin

1958 Fender Strat & 1959 Fender Twin

A look at the evolution of the Fender Twin -- the amp that defined an industry.

In 1953 Fender launched an amp that would become the industry standard for decades: 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 had reached 80 watts.

The new high-powered Twins were favored by late-‘50s rock and roll musicians, because the sound was able to fill most dance halls (this was before micing amps through a PA system was standard practice). A number of these rockers also plugged Fender’s space age Stratocaster into the Twin because of the solidbody’s ability to reach high volumes without feedback. The Strat/Twin setup was favored by Buddy Holly and Tommy Allsup of The Crickets, and by Johnny Meeks of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps.

Even though the high-powered tweed Twin was eventually replaced by the black tolex-covered Twin Reverb and various incarnations of channel-switching Twins, it is still a sought-after, collectible amp. The most notable proponent of the 80-watt tweed Twin today is Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Since the ‘90s, he’s always had a Twin or two on stage to achieve his signature clean/dirty rhythm and lead sound.

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 & 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