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Our serial number guide shows approximate date of manufacture.For all dates, you will need to look at the construction technique and components used to get a more precise idea of the date of manufacture.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 Year 2000 introduced the "Z" prefix serial numbers on US made guitars, which stood for the 0 of the new millennium.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.Perhaps the best way to date the Vintage series is to carefully remove the necek and check the bottom of the neck for a production date.
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.
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.
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.