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Twin Amp, ’59

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Tweed, High Power

In 1953 Fender launched an amp that would become the industry standard for decades: The Twin.

The Twin, named for its pair of 12” speakers, evolved in looks and power output through the 1950s. In1955 it changed from a wide-panel 25 watt amp to a narrow-panel 50 watt amp. By 1958, the tweed Twin reached 80 watts.

 

The new high powered Twins were favored by late ‘50s rock n’ roll musicians because the sound was able to fill most dance halls (this was before miking 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 solid body’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 collectable 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/lead sound.

 

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