Dating a fender guitar
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.
Although a serial number is helpful for roughly determining the age of a guitar, this is often not the exact date.So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, it cannot be a definitive reference.Unlike the auto industry which has specific model years for their products, most specifications for a given Fender instrument model, change little if any, through the lifetime of the model.Most specifications for a given Fender instrument model change little (if at all) throughout the lifetime of the model.While there have been periods of dramatic change—such as the transition periods between the Leo Fender years and the CBS years or the transition between the CBS years and the current ownership—most models are generally feature-specific and do not change from year to year.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.
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The Fender serial number decoder currently supports all documented MIA, MIJ, MIM, MIK and MII formats with the exception of Custom Shop, Relic and Reissue instruments.
Please note that fender serial numbers tend to overlap by at least a year, and thereby the date of your guitar can only be approximated.
Usually, the production date is stamped or written is on the heel of the neck.