Fender Twin Amp 5F8-A High Power Tube Amplifier (1959)

Fender  Twin Amp 5F8-A High Power Tube Amplifier (1959)
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Item # 11266
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Fender Twin Amp 5F8-A High Power Model Tube Amplifier (1959), made in Fullerton, California, serial # A-00576, tweed fabric covering finish.

The Fender Twin-Amp was initially unveiled at the Summer 1952 NAMM show as the company's new top-line professional amplifier. It remained the flagship model of tweed era Fender amps until 1960, when the new decade brought a revamp of the entire line. The circuit went through many revisions throughout the 1950s, until 1958 when Leo introduced the 85 watt 5F8-A circuit. The 5F8-A revision has since become known as the "High Power Tweed Twin" and is regarded as one of Leo's finest achievements. This was a sonic revelation at the time and to this day is simply the most desired standard production Fender amp ever made, one of the most collectible amplifiers of all time.

In 1956 the 5E8 was initially made with twin 5U4 rectifier tubes in order to give it more headroom and tighter attack, as well a dual 5881 power section. This puts out around 50 watts into two Jensen P12N speakers arranged diagonally in a smaller cabinet. The following year came the somewhat short-lived 5F8, featuring a single 5U4 rectifier, quad 5881 power tubes and a larger output transformer putting out around 80 watts, already an astounding amount of power for the time.

The "F" revision also featured a "Middle" control in the tone stack and a different input jack arrangement, now allowing for channel "jumpering", as later famously used on Marshalls to over-saturate the preamp. The final -A iteration went back to a horizontal speaker arrangement in a bigger box as well as further boosting the power output. The 5F8-A Twin is essentially a 5F6-A Bassman with double the power tubes and two 12" speakers instead of four 10's, it retains that amp's toneful glory with more power and headroom on the output side. Many of the world's most well regarded players have long considered this exact Twin iteration the amp of choice for higher volume situations, and for this size amp to many players nothing better -- or even equal -- has ever been made.
Height is 18 1/2 in. (47 cm.), 26 1/2 in. (67.3 cm.) width, and 10 1/2 in. (26.7 cm.) deep.

This Twin is an attractively well-worn, original and overall well-preserved specimen of this Fullerton-made holy grail. The tube chart bears the stamp IC, indicating assembly in March, 1959. The serial number A-00576 points to the amp being one of the last few hundred made; Fender only made approx. 715 of this particular circuit between 1957 and 1959, hence they are indeed one of the rarest Fender amps made.

Cosmetically, the amp appears to have lived a colorful life; the cabinet retains the original tweed cloth covering, showing a fair amount of use, including various moderate scuffs and small tears along the edges and some of the covering missing at the corners; most notably a partially patched-up area on the right front edge that shows some of the covering missing, as well as what appears to be some white paint on the lower rear corner. The faceplate is great shape overall; the chrome-plated finish is nearly mirror clean and virtually all the stenciled lettering is intact. The baffle and old-style tri-color Oxblood grille cloth are both original and the cloth is taut and shows no notable signs of tearing/fraying. The amp retains the original handle as well. The cabinet sides show that the amp had a pair of tilt-back legs attached at some point, leaving behind bolt holes on each side.

Electrically the amp is all-original, including both speakers, which are the correct 12" AlNiCo Jensen P12N. One is date coded to the 8th week of 1958 and the other to the 50th week of 1957 (220-808 and 220-750, respectively). Both speakers have been reconed professionally and sound phenomenal. The power, choke and output transformers are all the original Triads marked 7993, 14684 and 45268, respectively. All visible pot codes date to mid-1959. The fuse holder has been replaced as well the power switch. This Twin was lovingly wired up by Lily and bears her signature on a piece of masking tape inside the chassis. We salute her work!

The amp has seen typical maintenance and servicing, including replacement of all electrolytic caps, a grounded 3-prong power cord, cleaning of all sockets, pots and jacks and biasing to spec. Additionally, the amp comes with a very well-made replica Tweed cabinet for use as a substitute, should one want to gig with the amp or employ it in the studio without fear that any further wear to the tweed would cause devaluation trauma. Included are covers for each cabinet.

Beautiful to behold and sonically glorious, this imposing amp is a testament to Leo Fender's genius, the finest in the world when new and to some players never equaled to this day. Excellent - Condition.