Meet the Showman.

Before I get too far into the introductions there’s kind of a cool backstory to this thing. If you feel like reading about how I came about this amp click on the About link in the upper menu. Otherwise, lets get on with it…

All tell-tales point this Showman as being a 1967. At first I though it was a ’67 or ’68 but the more I’ve researched the more confident I am that it’s not only a ’67 but a very early ’67. I realize the chassis serial numbers are pretty inaccurate and at best all you can do is pin down an age “range” (i.e. 67 or 68) but this serial number also has a low sequence number (108). This doesn’t really mean much because as I understand it, the guys at Fender when they were building these, pulled pre-stamped chassis from a “bin” of some sort and that was their quota for the day. There was no chronological order to the sequence numbers while they were being built or certainly once they left the factory (G. Gagliano has written these amazing articles from years of research pointing at why I feel confident with the information above. See “Dating Fender Amps by Serial Number Part  1-6”).
Either way, its still a cool number and a fairly low sequence number for being the first year the Silverfaces were being made.
Anyway, that’s my story and I like telling it!

To paraphrase the backstory a little, I played bass out of this thing about 20 sumn years ago, 1997 thru 99, somewhere in there. The tragedy is, back then, this thing had a catastrophic meltdown starting at the power transformer and melting down the choke, heater wires, arcing across pins 2&3 of the middle two 6L6 sockets and worst, filling the whole inside of the chassis (and our jam room at the time) with this nasty brown vapor sludge from the smoke and whatever varnish they coat these things in. The whole thing really is a mess and arguably barely worth restoring. But I have a bit of history with it and would rather it live out its years broken and in my closet than parted out.

Anyway, this diamond in the rough is 100% original. Including all original RCA tubes, filter caps two-prong plug and “death cap”.
Here’s what we got:

  • Single Showman Silverface, “black line” and drip edge
  • AB763 circuit (confirmed with visual/physical trace of all leads and components against schematic and layout drawings)
  • AB763 tube chart although no other stamp or date code exists
  • Chassis SN A12108 (no other ink markings exist or remain) A12000-A12500 is supposed to be 1967. A12500-600 is 1968. according to the Gagliano article
  • Power transformer SN 606731 (number set above that is 022756)
  • Choke SN 606-7-34 (number set above that is 022699)
  • Output transformer SN 606730 (number set above that is 022896)
  • Original JBL D140F tone-ring Bass-specific speaker in matching cabinet (baffle insulation was removed at some point).

This is what she looked like the day I brought it out into the light for the first time in 20 years:IMG_3863

Definitely showing its age after being cooped up for so long:IMG_3865 IMG_3866

Original RCA tubes:

Power transformer:

Original 2-prong plug:

Chassis S/N and Tube Chart:
IMG_3868 Photo Feb 18, 4 23 15 PM

Inside the cabinet:
Photo Feb 18, 4 00 25 PM Photo Feb 18, 4 00 55 PM

Up next… we’ll take a look inside.