Dating stratocaster

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.Serial numbers are also helpful in determining an instrument’s production year.Notice that there is quite a bit of overlap in numbers and years.The only way to try to narrow the date range of your specific instrument is to remove the neck and check the butt end of the neck heel for a production date, which may be stamped or written there (if you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, please refer to an experienced professional guitar tech in your area). Serial numbering didn’t change immediately because instruments continued to be made using existing, tooling, parts and serial number schemes.For years, serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments, such as the top of the neck plate, the front or back of the headstock and the back of the neck near the junction with the body.

This new numbering scheme was short-lived and was replaced only a few months later by an improved scheme that identifies an instrument’s country of origin and year of manufacture in the body of the serial number.But once again, due to Fender’s modular production methods and often non-sequential serial numbering (usually overlapping two to four years from the early days of Fender to the mid-1980s), dating by serial number is not always precisely definitive.The chart below details Fender serial number schemes used from 1950 to 1964.The chart below details Fender serial number schemes used from 1965 to 1976.The charts below detail the most common Fender serial number schemes from 1976 to the present.

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