How to date and identify your Fender instruments using serial numbers and production date stamps.
No one likes it when you forget their birthday and neither does your Fender. For most of Fender’s production history they have applied serial numbers and production dates that can help you determine their production date (within a few years’ margin, at least).
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Determining the date can also be important from a collector’s perspective, since the pre-1966 vintage Fender guitars are generally considered the most valuable.
Fender was sold to CBS in the first week of January 1965, but already in late 1964 mass production was slowly being introduced, which gradually lowered quality and ultimately collectibility.
For example, let’s take a Stratocaster with the serial number 279515 and the code 22384109B.
Starting with the letter B, this is the same neck width code Fender has been using since 1962.
1972: A new eight-digit neck stamp was introduced colored either green or red. From 1972 to around March 1973, this new system was used simultaneously with the previous “XX MMM-YY W”.