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For years, serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments, such as the top of the neck plate, the front or back of the headstock and the back of the neck near the junction with the body.
Serial numbers were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate on early ’50s Stratocaster® guitars, and on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles on some Telecaster® guitars.
Neck-dating can be useful in determining the was produced, rather than the complete instrument.
Given the modular nature of Fender production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, then stored for a period of time before being paired with a body to create a complete guitar, perhaps, for example, in the following year.
If you’re unable to identify the approximate production year of your instrument using the above charts, several excellent books are available that contain invaluable and reliable information on the history of Fender instruments. They are detailed reference resources with a wealth of information on determining the production years of various instruments and on Fender history in general.
Indeed, we use these same books here at Fender when researching historical and date-related issues.
“Z”-prefix serial numbers denoting the new millennium appeared on U. As always, there is typically some number prefix overlap and carryover from year to year.The chart below details Fender serial number schemes used from 1965 to 1976.The charts below detail the most common Fender serial number schemes from 1976 to the present. Information on Japanese and Mexican-made instruments is included towards the bottom. If you have a Fender in your hands, you can use this guide to precisely date your Fender instrument all the way back to 1950.