Dating your fender stratocaster

They have been placed at the top of the neck plate, on the front of the headstock, on the back of the headstock, and on the back of the neck near where the neck bolts onto the body.

They were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate (early '50s Strats), and on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles on some Telecasters.

As you can see by the overlaps of numbers and years, the reference to the actual production date is rather loose. The numbers and decals are produced far in advance, and apparently, some N9 decals, (which were supposed to be used in 1999), were affixed to some instruments in 1990.

As a result, you will see some 1990 guitars bearing N9 serial numbers. Fender has recently (in the last 20 years) introduced LOTS of different serial numbers schemes, depending on the country the Fender was made (USA, Mexico, Japan, Korea, etc). The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the more, well known Fender serial number schemes.

If you have what you consider to be a somewhat "odd" serial number, please check the following chart to see if you find your serial number configuration here.

This chart contains If you are unable to place the approximate year of manufacture of your instrument using the above charts, there are a few great books available, which have invaluable information on the history of Fender instruments.

Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.

instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.

A: The serial number of your guitar will begin with one of the above lettering sequences.

The following chart details the Fender serial number schemes used from 1965 to 1976.

You will notice that there is quite a bit of overlap of both numbers and years.

The "S", stood for decade of the 1970s, and began CBS' attempt to use serial numbers to identify the year of production for the piece.

The "E", stood for the decade of the 1980s and was, as shown below, introduced in 1979. "V" prefix serial numbered instruments, is to remove the neck, and check the butt end of the heel of the neck for a production date, which may be stamped or written there.

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