Dating your fender strat

Serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the years.

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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.

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.

There is quite a bit of overlap of both numbers and years.

The following charts detail the most common Fender serial number schemes used from 1976 to the present.

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.

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

Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.

While this neck dating is useful in roughly determining the age of a guitar, it is certainly not definitive.

Please note the introduction of the "S" prefix serial numbers.

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