Notice that there is quite a bit of overlap in numbers and years.The only way to try to narrow the date range of your specific instrument is to remove the neck and check the butt end of the neck heel for a production date, which may be stamped or written there (if you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, please refer to an experienced professional guitar tech in your area). Serial numbering didn’t change immediately because instruments continued to be made using existing, tooling, parts and serial number schemes.
Consequently, some 1990 guitars bear 1999 “N9” serial numbers. American Deluxe Series instruments use the same dating convention, but with the addition of a “D” in front of the “Z”, i.e., DZ1, DZ2, etc.
“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.
On Telecasters and certain other models, you will find the serial number on the bridge.
The serial numbers will start with a letter that corresponds to specific years of production. You will not find the MADE IN JAPAN stamp on the headstocks of Fender MIJ guitars. acronym for "CRAFTED IN JAPAN" These guitars were made from 1997 and are still being manufactured today.
Therefore, while helpful in determining a of production dates, a neck date is obviously not a precisely definitive reference.
Most specifications for a given Fender instrument model change little (if at all) throughout the lifetime of the model.
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.
Serial numbers with an “S” prefix denote the 1970s (signifying a CBS attempt to use serial numbers to identify production years); an “E” prefix was introduced in 1979 to denote the 1980s. Vintage Series instruments and “V”-prefix serial numbers. “N”-prefix serial numbers denoting the 1990s were introduced in 1990.
As seen in the overlap of numbers and years, even these references to actual production dates are rather loose. The numbers and decals were produced far in advance, and some N9 decals (denoting 1999), were inadvertantly affixed to some instruments in 1990.
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.