When Did Fender Start Making Amps in Mexico

People commonly wonder when did Fender start making amps in Mexico instead of Corona, California. It helps knowing if you are trying to buy a vintage amplifier.

To put it short, Fender started making amps in Mexico in 1989, because that is when they began to produce amplifier sub-assemblies at their factory in Ensenada. Over the years, Fender grew their Mexican manufacturing efforts, amps included. Let’s dive in and take a look in more detail.

when-did-fender-start-making-amps-in-mexico-article

Where Are Fender Amps Made

Today, all new Fender amplifiers are made in Mexico.

Amps that are made in the USA have ALL of their construction and assemblies completed in the United States. Fender started incorporating sub-assemblies made in Mexico for the amplifiers in 1989, losing the “made in the USA” tag.

By 1996 and until today, Fender amps were almost completely made in Ensenada, Mexico.

fender-ensenada-factory-location-map showing the exact location of the fender factory in ensenada on a map with a pin

My favorites are vintage Fender amps fully made in Corona, California. I prefer the quality in the vintage components, as well as the superior construction. Vintage amps are like tanks, they play much better than new amps with less issues.

For example, one of my favorites is the Leo Fender designed Music Man HD-130 amp which is also made in the Fender Corona factory,

If you want to buy a Fender amp that is “Made in the USA”, I would recommend buying models made before the late 1980’s.

When Did Fender Start Making Amps in Mexico

Fender Ensenada Factory

Fender opened their new factory in Ensenada, Mexico in 1987 in a converted old church. Initially for small scale activities, such as packing strings.

As the demand for Fender guitars grew, the company decided to expand its production at the Mexican facilities both for guitars and amplifiers.

fender-amp-manufacturing-in-mexico-through-the-years-diagram showing the years 1987 1989 and 1996

In order to achieve this, in 1989, Fender relocated the factory to its present site on the southern edge of Ensenada (as seen on the map above). This year marked the beginning of Fender using sub-assemblies from the Mexican factory in their amplifiers.

By 1996, most of Fender’s amplifier manufacturing had moved to the Ensenada factory in Mexico.

expensive-fender-amps-are-made-in-mexico-figure

Today, Fender continues to make all of their amplifiers in Mexico. Some of the back plates will display the “made in Mexico” phrase (as in the photo example above). Others will simply say the: “a product of Fender Musical Instruments Corp., Corona, CA U.S.A.”

Check out the video below for a quick tour inside the Ensenada Fender factory. Cosmo music does a great job showcasing the facilities.

Final Thoughts: Fender Amps in Mexico

In summary, Fender began manufacturing amplifiers in Mexico in 1989 since that is when they started making sub-assemblies for the amps in Mexico. By 1996, Fender amps were almost fully made in Mexico.

The Fender Ensenada factory, where Mexican made Fender gear is made, is a staple of the production landscape in Ensenada. They have over 30 years of experience making guitars, basses and amps.

Even though my preference lies in vintage Fender amplifiers, I have played some really nice sounding Mexican-made Fender amplifiers over the years.

I hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to drop a comment! Thank you for reading.

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