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DATING YOUR USA
MADE FENDER ELECTRIC STRINGED Guitar 
For most of
Fender's U.S. instrument production
history, production dates have been applied to various components.
Production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the
heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.
There were periods of time when
this was not consistently done, (between 1973 and 1981), and there are certainly
other
examples of short periods of time, and individual pieces, where the dating
was simply omitted. 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.
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.
While there have been periods where dramatic
changes have occurred, for example: the transition periods between Leo's Fender
and
the CBS years, as well as the transition between CBS' Fender and the current
ownership, generally speaking, most models are feature
specific and do not
change from year to year.
Serial numbers are also helpful in determining the year
of production of a given instrument.
Serial
numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the
years.
They have been placed at the top of the neck plate, on the front of the
headstock, on the back of the headstock,
and on the back of the neck near where
the neck bolts onto the body. 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 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.
DATING YOUR GUITAR
The following chart details the Fender serial number
schemes used from 1950 to 1964.
There is quite a bit of
overlap of numbers and years. The only way to try to narrow the date range of
your specific
instrument would be 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. (If you are not comfortable performing this operation, please use an
experienced professional guitar tech in your area or bring it
to Superior Music).
SERIAL NUMBERS  PRODUCTION DATES 
Up to 6000  1950 to 1954 
Up to 10,000  1954 to 1956 
10,000s  1955 to 1956 
10,000s to 20,000s  1957 
20,000s to 30,000s  1958 
30,000s to 40,000s  1959 
40,000s to 50,000s  1960 
50,000s to 70,000s  1961 
60,000s to 90,000s  1962 
80,000s to 90,000s  1963 
90,000s up to L10,000s  1963 
L10,000s up to L20,000s  1963 
L20,000s up to L50,000s  1964 
In January of 1965, Fender was sold to the CBS
Corporation.
The serial numbers do not immediately
reflect the change, as CBS continued to make instruments using
existing,
tooling, parts, and serial number schemes. The following chart details the
Fender serial number
schemes used from 1965 to 1976. There
is quite a bit of overlap of both numbers and years.
L50,000s up to L90,000s  1965 
100,000s  1965 
100,000s to 200,000s  1966 to 1967 
200,000s  1968 
200,000s to 300,000s  1969 to 1970 
300,000s  1971 to 1972 
300,000s to 500,000s  1973 
400,000s to 500,000s  1974 to 1975 
500,000s to 700,000s  1976 
The following charts detail the most common Fender serial
number schemes used from 1976 to the present.
There is
quite a bit of overlap of both numbers and years. The only way to try to narrow
the date range of your
specific instrument would be 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. (If you are not comfortable performing this operation, please
use
an experienced professional guitar tech in your area or bring
it to Superior Music). Please note the
introduction
of the "S" prefix serial numbers. 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. As you can see by the overlaps of numbers and
years, the reference to the
actual production date is rather loose.
SERIAL NUMBERS  PRODUCTION DATES 
76 + 5 DIGITS S6 + 5 DIGITS 
1976 
S7 + 5 DIGITS S8 + 5 DIGITS 
1977 
S7 + 5 DIGITS S8 + 5 DIGITS S9 + 5 DIGITS 
1978 
S9 + 5 DIGITS E0 + 5 DIGITS 
1979 
S9 + 5 DIGITS E0 + 5 DIGITS E1 + 5 DIGITS 
1980 
S9 + 5 DIGITS E0 + 5 DIGITS E1 + 5 DIGITS 
1981 
1982
 U.S. Vintage Series
instruments introduced, and "V" prefix serial numbers used.
The only way to definitively date the U.S. "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.
EI + 5 DIGITS E2 + 5 DIGITS E3 + 5 DIGITS V + 4, 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1982 (For U.S. Vintage Series, check neck date for specific year) 
E2 + 5 DIGITS E3 + 5 DIGITS V + 4, 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1983 (For U.S. Vintage Series, check neck date for specific year) 
E3 + 5 DIGITS E4 + 5 DIGITS V + 4, 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1984 (For U.S. Vintage Series, check neck date for specific year) 
In March of 1985, the CBS Corporation sold Fender to a
group of private investors.
The serial numbers do
not reflect the change, as Fender continued to make instruments using existing
tooling, parts, and serial number schemes.
E3 + 5 DIGITS E4 + 5 DIGITS V + 4, 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1985 (For U.S. Vintage Series, check neck date for specific year) 
V + 4, 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series)  1986 (For U.S. Vintage Series, check neck date for specific year) 
E4 + 5 DIGITS V + 4, 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1987 (For U.S. Vintage Series, check neck date for specific year) 
E4 + 5 DIGITS E8 + 5 DIGITS V + 4, 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1988 (For U.S. Vintage Series, check neck date for specific year) 
E8 + 5 DIGITS E9 + 5 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1989 (For U.S. Vintage Series, check neck date for specific year) 
1990 introduced the "N" prefix
serial numbers, which stood for the 1990s.
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
E9 + 5 DIGITS N9 + 5 DIGITS N0 + 5 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1990 (For U.S. Vintage Series, check neck date for specific year) 
N0 + 5 DIGITS N1 + 5 or 6 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1991 
N1 + 5 or 6 DIGITS N2 + 5 or 6 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1992 
N2 + 5 or 6 DIGITS N3 + 5 or 6 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1993 
N3 + 5 or 6 DIGITS N4 + 5 or 6 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1994 
N4 + 5 or 6 DIGITS N5 + 5 or 6 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1995 
N5 + 5 or 6 DIGITS N6 + 5 or 6 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1996 
N6 + 6 or 6 DIGITS N7 + 5 or 6 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1997 
N7 + 5 or 6 DIGITS N8 + 5 or 6 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series) 
1998 
N8 + 5 or 6 DIGITS N9 + 5 or 6 DIGITS V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (U.S. Vintage Series, except '52 Tele) 
1999 
Year 2000 introduced the "Z" prefix
serial numbers on US made guitars, which stood for the 0 of the new
millennium.
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. DZ1, DZ2 etcetera.
N9 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z0 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ0 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) 
2000 
Z0 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z1 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ1 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) 
2001 
Z1 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z2 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ2 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) 
2002 
Z1 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z3 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ3 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Deluxe Series) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) 
2003 
Z3 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z4 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ4 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) XN4 + 4 Digits 
2004 
Z4 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z5 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ5 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) XN5 + 4 Digits 
2005 
Z5 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z6 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ6 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) XN6 + 4 Digits 
2006 
Z6 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z7 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ7 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) XN7 + 4 Digits 
2007 
Z7 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z8 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ8 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) XN8 + 4 Digits 
2008 
Z8 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z9 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ9 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) XN9 + 4 Digits 
2009 
US10 + 6 DIGITS  2010 
US11 + 6 DIGITS  2011 
US12 + 6 DIGITS  2012 
US13 + 6 DIGITS  2013 
US14 + 6 DIGITS  2014 
US15 + 6 DIGITS  2015 

2016 
The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the
more, well known Fender serial number schemes.
If you have what you consider to
be a somewhat "odd" serial number, please check the following chart to
see if
you find your serial number configuration here. This chart contains
ODD SERIAL NUMBERS
NUMBER  DESCRIPTION 
AMXN + 6 DIGITS  California Series electric guitars and basses, '97 and '98 
DN + 6 DIGITS  American Deluxe series instruments, '98 and '99 
NC(XXXXXX)  Squier Strat Bullets (dating unclear) 
FN(XXXXXX)  US made guitars and basses destined for the export market. Some may have stayed in the U.S or found their way back (Made to Standard Strat specs, dating unclear) 
I(XXXXXXX)  A limited number of these "I" series guitars were made in '89 and '90. They were made for the export market and have Made in USA stamped on the heel of the neck. 
LE(XXXXXX)  Blonde Jazzmasters and Jaguars with Gold hardware made in 1994. Sold as a promotional 3 piece set with a Blonde Deluxe Reverb Amp 
CN(XXXXXX) VN(XXXXXX) 
Korean made Fender/Squier guitars (dating unclear) 
CA(XXXXX)  Gold Strat 1981, 82 and 83 
CB(XXXXX)  Precision Bass Special from 1981, CB(XXXXX) Gold Jazz Bass from 1982 
CC(XXXXX)  Walnut Strat 19818283 
CE(XXXXX)  Precision Bass Special from 1981, Black and Gold Tele from 198182 
CD(XXXXX) CO(XXXXX) 
Precision Bass Special (Walnut) from 1982 
GO(XXXXX)  Precision Bass Special (Walnut) from 1982, Gold Strat 198283 
D(XXXXXX)  Jazz Bass from 1982 
SE(XXXXXX) SN(XXXXXX) 
Signature Edition Strats *For SRV Stevie Ray Vaughn Guitar date info, serial numbers & more, check out the: SRV Fan Club Site. SE8(XXXXX)'88, SE9(XXXXX)'89 SN0(XXXXX)'90*, SN1(XXXXX)'90, SN2(XXXXX)'92, SN3(XXXXX)'93 
3 DIGITS OF 500  35^{TH} Anniversary Strat from 19891990 
G(XXXXXX)  "STRAT" from about 1980, (Gold hardware, 2 position rotary tone switch) 
4 DIGITS STAMPED ON BRIDGE PLATE  U.S. '52 Vintage Telecaster 19821988 (Check neck date for specific year) 
5 DIGITS STAMPED ON BRIDGE PLATE  U.S. '52 Vintage Telecaster 1988present (Check neck date for specific year) 
REFERENCE MATERIALS FOR DATING FENDER INSTRUMENTS
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.
If you have serious interest in learning about the history of
Fender instruments, or if you just want to try to
establish the year of
production of your own axe, we would highly recommend that you pick up one or
more
of the following books. They are detailed reference resources with a wealth
of information for helping to either
establish the vintage of your guitar or
bass or for just learning more about Fender history in general.
These books are
the same resources we refer to here at Superior Music to research answers
to history
and dating questions.
You may want to consider ordering one or more of the
following books through Superior Music.
BOOKS FROM THE FENDER LIBRARY
TITLE  PART NUMBER  U.S. MSRP 
The Fender Stratocaster 40th Anniversary Edition  0995000000  $14.95 
Guitar Identification  0995001000  $ 7.95 
The Fender Telecaster  0995005000  $14.95 
The Fender Bass  0995004000  $ 9.95 
The Fender Book a Complete History  0995006000  $19.95 
The Fender Custom Shop Guitar Gallery  0995012000  $39.95 
Fender Classic Moments  0995013000  $24.95 
The Story of the Fender Stratocaster  0995016000  $24.95 