Dating stratocaster neck 50s dating usa
Serial numbers with an "S" prefix denote the 1970s (signifying a CBS attempt to use serial numbers to identify production years); an "E" prefix was introduced in 1979 to denote the 1980s. instruments with "V"-prefix serial numbers 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."N"-prefix serial numbers denoting the 1990s were introduced in 1990.
As seen in the overlap of numbers and years, even these references to actual production dates are rather loose.1982 saw the introduction of the U. Vintage Series instruments and "V"-prefix serial numbers. The numbers and decals were produced far in advance, and some N9 decals (denoting 1999), were inadvertantly affixed to some instruments in 1990. American Deluxe Series instruments use the same dating convention, but with the addition of a "D" in front of the "Z", i.e., DZ1, DZ2, etc.
Your last chance to own a vintage Fender Stratocaster is with the guitars of the late 1970's.
You spot a '79 in a local shop, or online, but how can you be certain it is a '79?
Some dealers simply go by the serial number, which you will discover can be far from accurate.
Some might go by the pot codes, but those could have been stock a year or more old by the time they were put into the newly finished guitar.
Pot Codes: MMMYYWW Example: 1377818 - In 1977 found on the side of the pots, moved to the bottom (and unfortunately sometimes covered with solder) in 1978.
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).
Or perhaps the guitar was even assembled by various parts picked up over the years and is being passed off as "All original".
My intent with this site is to educate those who are on the hunt for that last affordable vintage Fender Stratocaster.
Neck-dating can be useful in determining the 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.