Dating fender stratocaster serial number

Given the modular nature of Fender's production techniques, a neck may have been produced in one year, placed in a 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.

So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, cannot be a definitive reference.

SERIAL NUMBERS and APPROXIMATE PRODUCTION DATES 1965 to 1976 In 1982 the Vintage Series of guitars was introduced.

The vintage series used a "V" prefix in serial numbers.

Neck dating is useful in determining the age of a guitar, but is not definite.

The neck date simply refers to the date that the neck was produced.

Hence during 1985 to 1987, production of Fender guitars was only done in Japan, while USA Fender created a new factory in California. BUT note that the "E" and "N" series does sometimes appear on "made in Japan" models. In any case, if it says "made in Japan", then it is... 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). Sorry, since I do not collect new Fenders, I don't really keep track of these things.

The Japanese-made Fenders do have some slight serial number differences (typically a "J" serial number prefix). I believe this was a mistake on Fender's part using the same prefix for both U. Below are some examples of letter prefixes used in recent serial number schemes.

A Z0 prefix dates to 2000, a Z1 prefix dates to 2001 etcetera.

The American Deluxe Series use the same dating code but add a "D" in front of the "Z", i.e. The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the more, well known Fender serial number schemes.

Production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.

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