Dating fender instruments
Below is a list of date formats and how they were marked on the neck-butts: 1950-1954: Hand-written below the truss rod adjustment at the butt end of the neck.
Date format is usually M-D-YY and often features the woodworker’s initials as well.
The following three digits, here 384, could be a batch or lot number, or i could be the count for how many of this one instrument that was made within the month.
Since Fender could probably produce more than 999 of any one type instrument in a month, it is more likely a batch or lot number.
From the production of the first solidbody Fender guitars and until 1976, Fender tagged a production date at the butt of the detachable neck of their guitars.
Only about half the guitars still carry any intelligible information here.
The neck stamps on Fenders from 1969 to 1971 can be most logically translated by reading from right to left.Also, labeling techniques have changed with Fender owners, slightly adding to the confusion. S.-made Fender guitars and basses from 1950 until today, since they are some of the predominant vintage guitars for sale on Vintageand Typically the serial number is penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.Finally, the first one or two digits of the code tells you which model you are holding; 22 being a Stratocaster.There are some exceptions as you can see in this information provided by Mike Gagliano.
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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.