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It is important to remember that Fender serial numbers are NOT conclusively chronological. Back in the day, Fender made their serial number plates in big batches and the assembler simply grabbed a decal or more from the crate and slapped it on the guitar. To get as close as possible to determining the age of your Fender, make sure to check all dates on both body, neck and pots.
The locations of the serial numbers and dates change from model to model and in some cases they have simply been omitted.
Neck dating can be useful in finding the approximate age of your guitar.
Since the neck is only a component of the guitar, it could have been produced a number of years before the actual instrument was assembled, hence the date on the neck is not necessarily the production date of the whole guitar.
On early ’50s Stratocaster guitars serial numbers were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate.
On some Telecaster guitars the serial number is found on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles.
There are some exceptions as you can see in this information provided by Mike Gagliano.Again, a neck was stamped with either the new or the old date stamp, but not both.The model numbers change yet again (for example, “09”=Stratocaster). April 1973-1980: Fender dropped the old style date stamp after March 1973 and continued with the new 8-digit code.The next number is the production year, in this case 9 = 1969.
The next one or two digits are for the month, here 10 = October.
1980: Little glued labels with MM-DD-YY date stamps appear in the neck pocket, pickup cavity and/or back of the neck.