This is a study of source characteristics of 13 earthquakes with magnitudes between 2.4 and 5.1 located near the San Andreas fault in central California. On the basis of hypocentral locations and fault-plane solutions the earthquakes separate into two source groups, one group clearly related to the throughgoing northwest-trending San Andreas fault zone and the other apparently associated with generally north-trending bifurcations such as the Calaveras fault. The basic data consist of broad-band recordings (0.03 to 10 Hz) of these earthquakes at two sites of the San Andreas Geophysical Observatory (SAGO). Epicentral distances range between 2 and 40 km, and maximum ground displacements from 4 to 4000 microns were recorded. The whole-record spectra computed from the seismograms lend themselves to source parameter studies in that they can be interpreted in terms of low-frequency level, corner frequency, and high-frequency slope. Synthetic seismograms have also been used to estimate source parameters in both the time domain and frequency domain, and the results compare favorably with those estimated directly from the spectra. The influences of tilts and nonlinear response of the seismometer were considered in the interpretation of the low frequencies. Seismic source moments estimated from the low-frequency levels of the spectra show a linear dependence on magnitude with a slope slightly greater than 1. The geology at the recording site can contribute an uncertainty factor of at least 3 to the estimated moments. Observed corner frequencies are only weakly dependent on magnitude. Interpreted in terms of source dimension, these corner frequencies imply values of 1 to 2 km for the earthquakes of this study. The corner frequencies may also be interpreted in terms of the rise time source function, yielding values in the range 0.5 to 1.0 sec. The data indicate that the earthquakes of this study are all surprisingly similar in their fundamental source parameters, with only the seismic moment showing a strong dependence on magnitude.