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So you need to figure out the year of production for your Fender guitar or bass.


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I often get asked, how old is my Fender guitar? The Fender s tell the story of the company over the years. Unfortunately, the serial placement is sporadic and many ID s over lap between years and models.

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When was my Fender instrument made? If you have a Fender in your hands, you can use this guide to precisely date your Fender instrument all the way back to Information on Japanese and Mexican-made instruments is included towards the bottom. This information is courtesy Fender.

Hit the jump to see just how old that guitar or bass really is. Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses, although there were periods when this was not consistently done tofor example or simply omitted.

Neck-dating can be useful in determining the approximate age of a guitar, but it is certainly not definitive because the neck date simply refers to the date that the individual component was produced, rather than the complete instrument. Given the modular nature of Fender production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, then stored for a period of time before being paired with a body to create a complete guitar, perhaps, for example, in the following year.

De changes and features

Therefore, while helpful in determining a range 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.

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. For years, serial s have been used in various locations on Fender instruments, such as the top of the neck plate, the front or back of the hetock and the back of the neck near the junction with the body.

The chart below details Fender serial schemes used from to Notice that there is quite a bit of overlap in s and years. Fender was sold to CBS in January The charts below detail the most common Fender serial schemes from to the present.

Find the date of a fender guitar by serial

Once again, there is quite a bit of overlap in s and years. As seen in the overlap of s and years, even these references to actual production dates are rather loose. The only way to definitively date U. CBS sold Fender in March The s and decals were produced far in advance, and some N9 decals denotingwere inadvertantly affixed to some instruments in Z0 denotes ; Z1 denotesetc.

As always, there is typically some prefix overlap and carryover from year to year. If you have what you consider an odd serialit might appear here. We highly recommend each of them. They are detailed reference resources with a wealth of information on determining the production years of various instruments and on Fender history in general.

Indeed, we use these same books here at Fender when researching historical and date-related issues. You can order these titles through your local Authorized Fender Dealer.

The Music Zoo is not responsible for any inaccuracies that may exist in this information. Republished from Fender. Close Giveaways. Enter To Win! Dating Your U. Dating Your Instrument The chart below details Fender serial schemes used from to Some may have stayed in the U. Popular .

Gear genealogy: how to date your guitar

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