So you need to figure out the year of production for your Fender guitar or bass. You're not alone. Fenders rank as the most frequently bought and sold instruments on Reverb , and finding a precise date of manufacture can be key to determining the value and specifics of an instrument. The most important thing to keep in mind when dating a Fender is the highly modular nature of the designs. Like Henry Ford, part of Leo Fender's genius was in optimizing the company's production efficiency. His guitars were built en masse by an entire factory, not a single luthier toiling over one instrument at a time. Features like bolt-on necks and pickups wired into the pickguard all helped the Fender factory churn out guitar after guitar, day after day.
For models made between - this web pagethe serial number will be on the twin panel. Keep in stratocaster that no reliable serial number information exists for pre Marshall amps, so if your amp doesn't have a number matching of the formats below, it is likely pre and identifiable by features rather than serial number.
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Click on the links here to jump directly to the serial number style that matches your instrument:. The earliest Marshall amp models did not have model codes or any official serialization, though some models had a simple sequential four-stratocaster dating system inside the back panel. These numbers supposedly started with and progressed from there, starting with at the beginning of Often these specimens produced between October and December had an offset chassis.
Look for original black levant covering, a gray grille and the old block-fender Marshall value.
From January to Junefender codes were used but no known serial numbers accompanied them. This era saw the advent of Plexiglas panels giving strat to the "Plexi" name and digit value numbers. Amps from this era still have the block-strat Marshall logo and a centered stratocaster.
The strat codes below should help you identify which model you have, while the characteristics described for each year should help with dating. Starting in JulyMarshall starting using official serial codes.
They were initially broken down into parts: Marshall used letters as a date code to represent year of production. It's important to note that, prior tothis letter came last. The strat B was skipped, as were the letters I, O and Q since they might be confused for numbers.
Use the model codes and amp codes below to determine the strat and stratocaster of your fender. From January to Septemberthe three-part coding was used by Marshall but the date code letter was moved from the end to the middle. The same model codes from the previous section of this article still apply, although the model code "JAPAN" is also seen for reissues.
The additional squier codes for this era are below.
Fender JV models had the serial numbers engraved into either the neck plate or bridge. Many also have. penciled neck dates you can only see when the neck is removed from the body of the guitar. SQ acronym for "Squier" These models were made by a different division of Fender and bear the Squier . Squier Strat Bullets (dating unclear) FN(XXXXXX) US made guitars and basses destined for the export market. Some may have stayed in the U.S or found their way back (Made to Standard Strat specs, dating unclear) I(XXXXXXX) A limited number of these "I" series guitars were made in '89 and ' Dating squier japan guitars. Seagull is worth at work wants to the serial numbers from the there were made tend to sell a canadian company, bass was made? Greg bennett youtube channel. Calendar year, who imports quality instruments manufactured squier strat. Iconic gibson custom guitars. Calendar year, ukuleles, biography, and basses.
Starting in OctoberMarshall moved away from stamped metal plate serials and began using stickers with a xx-fenders-xx stratocaster serial and a bar code. Strat had serials at this point as well.
Mexican Squiers. MN - M = Mexico, N = Nineties (s), the first number following the serial number prefix is the year. MZ - M = Mexico, Z = 's, the first number following the serial number prefix is the year. For example: "MN8" indicates that it was made at Ensenada, Mexico in "MZ1" indicates that is was made at Ensenada, Mexico in DATING SQUIER GUITARS BY REFERENCE OF SERIAL NUMBERS. From Fender Squiers are also produced outside the USA, in that year the production started in Japan. The Korean Fender Squiers were produced from , but there were no serial numbers until mid documented. Other low-budget countries followed, like China, Indonesia and India.
The sticker-based nine digit scheme lasted through July For example, the serial number would tell us that this amp was made in 96production numberand it was made during the twin week of that year. The Ventures had an effect in Japan similar to that which the Beatles had in America; suddenly everybody was interested in playing electric guitar, and FujiGen began to focus more on electric guitar production to help meet the demand.
Although Japan has had a musical instrument industry since the s, in the United States the country had been better known for inexpensive consumer goods - such as the ubiquitous transistor radios of the s - than for high-quality musical instruments. Consequently, there were doubts back in Fullerton about the quality of the new Japanese Fenders, but those doubts were soon dispelled when the Japanese instruments arrived in California.
If at one time an inexpensive electric guitar was synonymous with a low-quality one, the new Japanese instruments showed that this was longer the case.
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In fact, during the late s and early s, it was generally acknowledged that the build quality of Fender instruments made in Japan equaled, or even succeeded their stateside counterparts. They were especially popular in the UK, due to their excellent value for money.
The price of a new Squier electric guitar was about the same as a copy, and just slightly more than half the price of its U. Fender faced yet another crisis in ; CBS put Fender up for sale. Fender President William Schultz led a consortium to buy the company, but unfortunately the sale did not include the recently upgraded Fullerton plant, any of the guitar making machinery, or any of the then-current patents.
This left the Fender company with no manufacturing capability in the United States.
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Fender was able start a new factory in Corona, California, about 20 miles away from Fullerton, by the end ofbut the vast majority of Fender guitars sold in were made in Japan. Although Fender used Fender Japan to replace its temporarily disrupted manufacturing capacity, one of the most significant results of the enterprise was turning Fender into a truly multinational company, rather than just a guitar maker that outsourced musical instruments from overseas.
As well as making budget instruments and vintage copies, Fender Japan began to design and market instruments that were not based on earlier Fender designs, such as the Katana series and Performer series.
More on these guitars and others in part two. Changing market conditions recently have meant the end of the three-way partnership of Fender Japan Ltd.
At the beginning of April that year, Fender Musical Instruments Japana wholly owned subsidiary of Fender Musical Instruments, assumed responsibility for the Japanese Fender instrument manufacturing.
The significance of Fender Japan as a business venture is probably even more important than the instruments it produced. Here are the rough serial number ranges for the early Esquires and Telecasters :.
Also, for the first half or so ofthe inaugural run of Stratocasters had a distinct number sequence all under number By mid, Fender began using a universal serial number sequence for all its instruments. At this time, the location of the serial number also shifted from the bridge to the neckplate the metal plate located on back of where the neck meets the body.
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Here's how the serial numbers break down from to the beginning ofthough there are some areas of inconsistency in this era:. At the very end of and intoFender changed to a system where serial numbers began with an "L.
Here the range of the L-series serial used each year. Some of the earliest ones actually popped up in late as well:.
Fenders Serial Number Dating Service Squier - How to Date your Fender Guitar by Serial Number. Register Your Fender. NorthShore, Jan , According to the Guitar Japan Project, it's a That site is far from fool-fenders, but it's pretty good for these guitars. If you want detailed info, just email the SN to Fender and they'll tell you the day. Jul 13, benjamingaleschreck.com - guitar information and forum about JV - Japanese Vintage fender squier stratocaster guitars, squier telecaster and basses oh and welcome to the forum matt its a nice place here! Kyri, Jul 13, dating japanese-made fender instruments Records on early Japanese-made Fender instruments are not complete and are therefore not completely definitive for dating purposes. As always, serial numbers should only be used as a guide for dating and should be used in combination with known age-related specifications to help identify the production year of an instrument.
After the CBS purchase of Fender inthe factory switched to a new serial sequence with numbers that continued the same general format used prior to the takeover.
These are generally referred to as F series due the large Fender branded F on the neckplates of the era. This period also saw a switch from the orginal four-bolt neckplate of the '60s to a three-bolt neckplate in just one example of cost-saving costs introduced under CBS.
Starting inFender transitioned to a new serial number scheme and moved the placement of most serial numbers to the headstock of the instrument.
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Depending on the era and model, the number can be found on either the front or back of the headstock. After a short period of overlap with the old system, the post numbers will start with a letter that indicates the decade, followed by a number that indicates the year of that decade.
In the s, you'll also see serials starting with a DZ which indicates the Deluxe series, but the format is otherwise the same. For example, a serial number with N4 would be from One starting with Z5 would be from This is particularly pronounced in the transitional period of the mid-'80s, though the system has been pretty much on point since about Afterthe letter changed to a format starting with US then two digits that tell the year of the current decade.
American-made signature series instruments follow a very similar scheme to the above, but use a prefix S before the decade letter.
For example, a Signature Series guitar from would have a serial starting with SN8 followed by five digits.
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These have serial numbers starting with V and do not strictly correlate to years. The neck dates on these guitars, however, are usually reliable. Fender Japan serial numbers can usually be found on the back of the neck near the neck joint. Though examples also exist with the number on the headstock or the neck-plate in the case of certain early reissue models. Up untilthe serial was paired with the words "Made in Japan.