1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

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1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby keithb7 on Tue May 10, 2016 11:27 pm

Hi folks, I recent found a 1959 Twin 5F8-A amplifier. I am trying to learn more about it's parts to check for originality or not.
These amps are very rare and as you can imagine I am having trouble locating much info on the net. I would love to hopefully
locate someone in a forum or Facebook group who has experience and can help me. The amp appears to be all original as fas as I can tell.
Tube Chart "ID". April 1959. Chassis and tube chart both matching SN, A00714. The amp has been in storage for decades. All the pieces are
there. I pulled the rear panels off for the photos. Original speakers, pots, caps, etc.

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I have some questions but will refrain from posting them until someone who is experienced with these amps steps up here. Thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing from you.
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby spidey66 on Wed May 11, 2016 2:12 am

You say "found" as in "I found my missing sock. It was under the dryer". Who "finds" a late 50's hi powered tweed Twin? Congrats!
It appears to be all there- leaky Astrons and all. The speakers appear to be later replacements possibly? The date code puts them in late fall 1959. Maybe the amp chassis sat from Spring until Fall? Maybe the originals cooked and it went back for a 2nd set of P12ns? In any event there are lots of folks on this wonderful forum who can school you on this incredible piece of Fender history you seemed to stumble upon. Just wish it were me. Enjoy it!
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby keithb7 on Wed May 11, 2016 2:45 am

Maybe I should have said I unearthed a 59 Twin. Lol. It's been in storage for decades. There is quite a story behind how I got this 59 Twin, as well as a 59 Deluxe from the same seller.
Both bought new by the original owner in 59. Both with identical tube chart date stamp codes. "ID". Both very close to all original. It was certainly a discovery and purchase most of us dream about.

The way I put the Twin history together is like this:
Fender may have pre-stamped tons of tube charts. Its almost as if during April of 59 someone stamped "ID" on a ton of 5F8-A tube charts. They sat in a pile and were used up throughout the year?
Either that or a few "ID" stamped charts got left at the bottom of the pile and not used up as the months passed and they made more. Then in Dec 1959 they hit the bottom and used the "ID" stamped charts in Dec.
So it seems to me, possible that this 59 Twin I have, was built in the late fall of 59. The chassis SN is A00714. According to records the Twin chassis SN's started
in 1957 with the 5F8 at A0010 and ended at A00725 5F8-A in 1959. There is a very good chance mine is a late '59. The date on one of the pots in mine is 21st week of 59. The dates on the original electrolytic caps
in there is 13th week of 59. One cathode cap reads 43rd week of 59.

My tube chart shows a production run number of 21. Not sure what that means. Maybe it was the 21st time the factory organized the parts and gave instructions to the assemblers to make a certain qty of 5F8 amps?
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby Naked Clarke on Wed May 11, 2016 3:41 pm

The tube chart pictured is stamped "IL". The chassis is also stamped a few times "IL". December 1959.
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby keithb7 on Thu May 12, 2016 1:10 am

"IL" makes sense. I thought it was "ID". Everything lines up if indeed it ids a Dec 1959 amp.
I believe you are correct. Thank you for posting. You mentioned that the chassis is stamped
IL in a couple of places. Where? I don't see those stamps. I did find these letters stamped
inside the chassis:

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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby keithb7 on Thu May 12, 2016 1:17 am

Is there anyone that can help with the power transformer? No identification markings on it that I can see anywhere.
There are two different sets of 6.3V AC wires coming out of the PT. One brown pair that go to the pilot light and end there.
Another set of heavier black wires go directly to the heaters on V7. From V7, green cloth covered wire travels to all the other
tube heaters.

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Here is the other side, sitting next to my 1963 Blonde Twin Chassis. Is there any history of Fender using a PT with dual 6.3V windings?

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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby Naked Clarke on Thu May 12, 2016 12:59 pm

keithb7 wrote:"IL" makes sense. I thought it was "ID". Everything lines up if indeed it ids a Dec 1959 amp.
I believe you are correct. Thank you for posting. You mentioned that the chassis is stamped
IL in a couple of places. Where? I don't see those stamps. I did find these letters stamped
inside the chassis:

Image


You must see them in your posted image. Flip it over. "IL" twice.
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby keithb7 on Fri May 13, 2016 12:15 am

Thank you. I could not see the "IL". It looked like the letter F twice to me.
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby Dean Jr. on Fri May 13, 2016 5:22 pm

Keith, that PT just doesn't look like that is how it looked when it was built, imho...no matter where it came from. That black vinyl covered wiring does not look original to me. That PT should be a 7993...ime ink-stamped on the bell like the 8087's of the time??? . The 6G8 used a 67233, the 6G8A number was 125P7A.
IT appears to me that someone has been inside that PT and added those black vinyl secondary leads. I am a curious sort and would have to open that PT up to see whadahey? One wonders why, correct? The schematic, as I am sure you know, shows a 'normal' wiring for the heater filaments...one secondary to the pilot light and then to the heaters.
Question...is there continuity between those black leads and the heater filament leads at the pilot light? IF so, then one need not open up the PT.....someone went in and for whatever reason added those leads to the existing heater filament circuit. Is there 6.3VAC give or take on each of those two 'secondaries'? IF there is no continuity between the two 'secondaries' and if the voltages are good---6.3VAC---then there are two identical heater filaments secondaries there. OR....is there a different voltage on the pilot lamp...meaning that here are two different windings there that yield different voltages.
Inquiring minds and all......what does your meter tell you regarding continuity and voltages?
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby keithb7 on Fri May 13, 2016 7:57 pm

Thanks for your response Dean Jr. I have been thinking along the same lines as you. Someone may have been in the PT. Not sure why. I will be going in there to do some research with my DMM and check continuity and voltages from the PT. I found a 10A fuse in the amp when I acquired it. One of the Bias caps had failed and blown apart. There was also a 3.3K, probably a 5W resistor with one end soldered into one end of a bias cap connection. Other end was not connected to anything. Someone maybe tried to control bias voltages here.

See 2 bias caps here. Top one failed. Brownish resistor between caps. Once the parts arrive, I will get back in the amp and power up the PT without any tubes in it and take some measurement and post them here.
I will not be surprised to find something out of whack. I may need a PT. We'll see.

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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby Dean Jr. on Fri May 13, 2016 8:20 pm

I wish I could be in the 'operating room' when that one goes under the knife.
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby eolon on Sat May 14, 2016 11:24 am

What a gorgeous amp. Don't throw away those Minimites - you can use the shells around new capacitors to maintain the vintage look.

Like this:

http://nebula.wsimg.com/52b82b2a23519a8ed8da99686b668bb2?AccessKeyId=BAC414AF30642113B29C&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

Best Regards,

e
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby keithb7 on Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:41 pm

Good news. The parts I needed to service my 59 Twin showed up. It turned out to have a bad PT as well. I installed a new Mercury Magnetics. I flashed it up and it sounds amazing. These are wonderful amps. I can see why Joe Bonamassa tours with them.
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby Bigsbyguy on Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:43 pm

I never was a huge fan of 2x12's for my steel until I plugged into one of these! I'll never forget it!
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Re: 1959 Twin 5F8-A Discovered and Exposed - Help Wanted

Postby keithb7 on Sat Jul 02, 2016 3:38 pm

New PT, a few caps and pots, she's good to go. I pulled the 25W rated stock speakers. The amp sounds amazing.

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