Dating fender guitars by serial number

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Serial numbers were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate on early ’50s Stratocaster® guitars, and on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles on some Telecaster® guitars.

In March 1985, CBS sold Fender to a group of private investors.

Serial numbers are also helpful in determining an instrument’s production year.

This new scheme uses the letters “MX” as a prefix to designate an instrument made in Mexico, followed by an eight-digit number.

So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, cannot be a definitive reference.

While there have been periods where dramatic changes have occurred, for example: the transition periods between Leo's Fender and the CBS years, as well as the transition between CBS' Fender and the current ownership, generally speaking, most models are feature specific and do not change from year to year..

The “10” prefix was designed to identify the first year of the second decade of the new millennium, and while it appears on the instrument decals, it was not captured in Fender’s operating system.

Only the seven-digit suffixes were actually entered into the database.

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