Dating vintage fender
The following charts detail the most common Fender serial number schemes used from 1976 to the present.
Please note the introduction of the "S" prefix serial numbers.
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.
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.
Serial numbers are also helpful in determining the year of production of a given instrument.The neck date simply refers to the date that the individual component was produced.Given the modular nature of Fender's production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, placed in the manufacturing warehouse and remained in stock for a period of time, and then subsequently paired with a body to create a complete guitar in the following year.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.But once again, due to the modular nature of Fender's production methods, and the fact that most serial numbers schemes are not sequential and usually overlap from between 2 to 4 years, (from the early days of Fender, through to the mid 1980s), dating by the serial number is not an exact science.
MADE FENDER STRINGED INSTRUMENT For the majority of Fender's U. instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.