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Fender Serials  Gibson Serials  Martin Serials  Gretsch Serials  Guild Serials  Rickenbacker Serials 
(Fender Acoustic Dating available here)
Pre1977 Fender guitars have a serial number on the bridgeplate or neckplate. Serial numbers are basically chronological, but there is some overlap amoung years. Fender serial numbers were assigned like this: bin with serialized plates/bridges. Assembler reached in and grabbed one (or many). Put them on the instrument(s). As you can see from this oversimplified example, serial number assignment was fairly random. Just keep this in mind. The only truely definitive way to date a preCBS fender is to look at all the dates on the instrument (body date, neck date, pot dates). The serial number can only generalized the age of the instrument within a few years.
Esquires, Broadcasters, Telecasters 1950 to 1954 (number on bridgeplate). This system of serial numbers is unique to these three models until about the early summer of 1954 (when Fender switched to a universal neck plate serial number system for all models):
Telecaster, Numbers On Bridge Plate 0001 to 0999 = 1950 to 1952 1000 to 5300 = 1952 to 1954Precision Basses 1951 to 1955 (number on bridgeplate). Note there is some overlap. This system of serial numbers is unique to this model until about 1955 (even though Fender went to a universal neckplate serial number system on all instruments in 1954, some old style Precision Bass serialized bridges were still left over and used until 1955.)
Pbass, Numbers on Bridge Plate 100 to 400 = 1951 to 1952 0001 to 0999 = 1952 to 1954 1000 to 2000 = 1953 to 1955
All Models, summer 1954 to mid 1976 (serial number on neckplate). In 1957/1958 some serial numbers started with a minus sign (""), or had a "0" prefix before the number. Also in 1959/1960 some serial numbers were at the bottom of the neck plate instead of the usual top. Double stamped serial number plates were also produced (number on both front and back of the neck plate) in late 1957 to early 1959. As a good example of all four of these serial number oddities, click here. This shows a "double stamped" neck plate, one number with a "" prefix and stamped on the bottom of the plate, and the other number with a "0" prefix! And yes there is some overlap in serial numbers between years.
4 to 6 digit Neck Plate Serial Numbers (no other letters or markings on the neck plate, except for the rare "" or "0" prefix, as noted).
0001 to 6000 = 1954 6000 to 9000 = 1955 9000 to 16000 = 1956 16000 to 25000 = 1957 (some numbers with a "0" or "" prefix) 25000 to 30000 = 1958 (some numbers with a "0" or "" prefix) 30000 to 40000 = 1959 40000 to 58000 = 1960 55000 to 72000 = 1961 72000 to 93000 = 1962 93000 to 99999 = late 1963 to mid 1963LSeries (late 1962 to late 1965) (serial number on neckplate preceded with an "L"):
L00001 to L20000 = late 1962 to late 1963 L20000 to L55000 = 1964 L55000 to L99999 = 1965FSeries (late 1965 to mid1976) (big script "F" on neckplate below serial number):
100000 to 110000 = late 1965 110000 to 200000 = 1966 180000 to 210000 = 1967 210000 to 250000 = 1968 250000 to 280000 = 1969 280000 to 300000 = 1970 300000 to 330000 = 1971 330000 to 370000 = 1972 370000 to 520000 = 1973 500000 to 580000 = 1974 580000 to 690000 = 1975 690000 to 750000 = 1976Serial Number on Peghead Decal.
7600000 ("76" in bold) = 19761977 800000s = 19791981 1000000 to 8000000 = 19761981 (7 digits) S100000'sS600000's = 19791982 S700000's to S770000's = 1977 S740000's to S800000's = 1978 S810000's to S870000's = 1979 S880000's to S980000's = 1980 S950000's to S990000's = 1981 E000000's to E100000's = 19791982 E200000's = 1982 E300000's to E310000's = 1983 E320000's to E390000's = 19841985 E400000's = 1984, 1985, 1987 E800000's = 19881989 E900000's = 19891990 N900000's = 1990 N000000's = 19901991 N100000's = 1991 N200000's = 1992 N300000's = 1993 N400000's = 1994 N500000's = 1995 N600000's = 1996 N700000's = 1997 N800000's = 1998 N900000's = 1999Japanese Serial Numbers
JV+ 5 digits 19821984 SQ + 5 digits 19831984 E + 6 digits 19841987 A + 6 digits 19851986 B + 6 digits 19851986 C + 6 digits 19851986 F + 6 digits 19861987 G + 6 digits 19871988 H + 6 digits 19881989 I + 6 digits 19891990 J + 6 digits 19891990 K + 6 digits 19901991 L + 6 digits 19911992 M + 6 digits 19921993 N + 6 digits 19931994 O + 6 digits 19931994 P + 6 digits 19931994 Q + 6 digits 19931994 S + 6 digits 19941995 T + 6 digits 19941995 U + 6 digits 19951996 N + 5 digits 19951996 V + 6 digits 19961997
Crafted in Japan A + 6 digits 19971998 Crafted in Japan O + 5 digits 19972000 Crafted in Japan P + 5 digits 19992002 Crafted in Japan Q + 5 digits 20022004 Crafted in Japan R + 5 digits 20042005
SERIAL NUMBERS CIRCA


MN0+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  1990  1991  EX: MN0123456 
MN1+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  1991  1992  EX: MN1123456 
MN2+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  1992  1993  EX: MN2123456 
MN3+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  1993  1994  EX: MN3123456 
MN4+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  1994  1995  EX: MN4123456 
MN5+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  1995  1996  EX: MN5123456 
MN6+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  1996  1997  EX: MN6123456 
MN7+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  1997  1998  EX: MN7123456 
MN8+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  1998  1999  EX: MN8123456 
MN9+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  1999  2000  EX: MN9123456 
MZ0+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  2000  2001  EX: MZ0123456 
MZ1+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  2001  2002  EX: MZ1123456 
MZ2+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  2002  2003  EX: MZ2123456 
MZ3+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  2003  2004  EX: MZ3123456 
MZ4+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  2004  2005  EX: MZ4123456 
MZ5+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  2005  2006  EX: MZ5123456 
MZ6+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  2006  2007  EX: MZ6123456 
MZ7+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  2007  2008  EX: MZ7123456 
MZ8+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  2008  2009  EX: MZ8123456 
MZ9+ 5 or 6 DIGITS  2009  2010  EX: MZ9123456 
MX10 + 6 DIGITS  2010  2011  EX: MZ10123456 
MX11 + 6 DIGITS  2011  2012  EX: MZ11123456 
“10” + space + 8 DIGITS  Late 2009  2010  EX: 10 12345678 
A new serialnumbering scheme was adopted toward the end of 2009 using the number “10” as a prefix, followed by a space, followed by seven digits. 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 sevendigit suffixes were actually entered into the database. These serial numbers did not identify the country of origin in the body of the number. Instead, the instrument’s country of origin appears on the decal on the back of the headstock, near the serial number.
This new numbering scheme was shortlived 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.
This new scheme uses the letters “MX” as a prefix to designate an instrument made in Mexico, followed by an eightdigit number. The first two digits of the number identify the year of manufacture, (10 for 2010, 11 for 2011, etc.). The following six digits are the unit identifier, although it should be noted that these final six numbers are not sequential and do not provide any other identification information about the instrument. This new scheme is now used on the majority of Fender instruments made in Mexico, with certain exceptions.
EXCEPTIONS
The following models use an “MSN” serial number prefix
Jim Root Telecaster
James Burton Standard Telecaster
Buddy Guy Stratocaster (polka dot model)
Robert Cray Stratocaster
Jimmie Vaughan Stratocaster
The following models use an “MSZ” serial number prefix
Ritchie Blackmore Stratocaster
Duff McKagan P Bass
The following models use an “MX” serial number prefix before the 2010 change
Reggie Hamilton bass
Frank Bello Jazz bass
Notes:
* In October 2010, some artist models switched to the new “MX10” numbering scheme.
* California Series electric guitars and basses from 1997 and 1998 use an “AMXN” prefix and share U.S./Mexico origin.
With the year 2000 came the introduction of the "Z" prefix serial numbers on US made instruments, which stood for the 0 of the new millennium. A Z0 prefix dates to 2000, a Z1 prefix dates to 2001 etcetera. The 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 etcetera. Once again, and as always, there is typically some overlap and carryover of number prefixes from year to year.
SERIAL NUMBERS  PRODUCTION DATES 
N9 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z0 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ0 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster)  2000 
Z0 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z1 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ1 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster)  2001 
Z1 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z2 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ2 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) 
2002 
Z2 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z3 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ3 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Deluxe Series) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) 
2003 
Z3 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z4 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ4 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) XN4 + 4 Digits 
2004 
Z4 + 5 or 6 DIGITS Z5 + 5 or 6 DIGITS DZ5 + 5 or 6 DIGITS (Am. Deluxe) V + 5 or 6 DIGITS (American Vintage Series except '52 Telecaster) XN5 + 4 Digits 
2005 
The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the more, well known Fender serial number schemes. If you have what you consider to be a somewhat "odd" serial number, please check the following chart to see if you find your serial number configuration here. This chart contains
ODD SERIAL NUMBERS
NUMBER  DESCRIPTION 
AMXN + 6 DIGITS  California Series electric guitars and basses, '97 and '98 
DN + 6 DIGITS  American Deluxe series instruments, '98 and '99 
NC(XXXXXX)  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 '90. They were made for the export market and have Made in USA stamped on the heel of the neck. 
LE(XXXXXX)  Blonde Jazzmasters and Jaguars with Gold hardware made in 1994. Sold as a promotional 3 piece set with a Blonde Deluxe Reverb Amp 
CN(XXXXXX) VN(XXXXXX) 
Korean made Fender/Squier guitars (dating unclear) 
CA(XXXXX)  Gold Strat 1981, 82 and 83 
CB(XXXXX)  Precision Bass Special from 1981, CB(XXXXX) Gold Jazz Bass from 1982 
CC(XXXXX)  Walnut Strat 19818283 
CE(XXXXX)  Precision Bass Special from 1981, Black and Gold Tele from 198182 
CD(XXXXX) CO(XXXXX) 
Precision Bass Special (Walnut) from 1982 
GO(XXXXX)  Precision Bass Special (Walnut) from 1982, Gold Strat 198283 
D(XXXXXX)  Jazz Bass from 1982 
SE(XXXXXX) 
Signature Series Instruments SE8(XXXXX)'88, SE9(XXXXX)'89 SN0(XXXXX)'90, SN1(XXXXX)'90, SN2(XXXXX)'92, etc. SZ0(XXXXX)'00, SZ1(XXXXX)'01, SZ2(XXXXX)'02, etc. 
3 DIGITS OF 500  35^{TH} Anniversary Strat from 19891990 
G(XXXXXX)  "STRAT" from about 1980, (Gold hardware, 2 position rotary tone switch) 
4 DIGITS STAMPED ON BRIDGE PLATE  U.S. '52 Vintage Telecaster 19821988 (Check neck date for specific year) 
5 DIGITS STAMPED ON BRIDGE PLATE  U.S. '52 Vintage Telecaster 1988present (Check neck date for specific year) 
T(XXXXXX)  Tribute series instruments 
C(XXXXXX)  Collectors Series 
XN(XXXXX)  FSRs and '52 Teles 
REFERENCE MATERIALS FOR DATING FENDER INSTRUMENTS
If you are unable to place the approximate year of manufacture of your instrument using the above charts, there are a few great books available, which have invaluable information on the history of Fender instruments. If you have serious interest in learning about the history of Fender instruments, or if you just want to try to establish the year of production of your own axe, we would highly recommend that you pick up one or more of the following books. They are detailed reference resources with a wealth of information for helping to either establish the vintage of your guitar or bass or for just learning more about Fender history in general. These books are the same resources we refer to here at Fender, when trying to research answers to these same history and dating questions.
You may want to consider ordering one or more of the following books through your local Fender Dealer.
BOOKS FROM THE FENDER LIBRARY
TITLE  PART NUMBER  U.S. MSRP 
50 Years Of Fender  0995050000  $19.99 
The Fender Stratocaster 40th Anniversary Edition  0995000000  $14.99 
The Stratocaster Chronicles  0995057000  $50.00 
The Story Of The Fender Stratocaster  0995017000  $19.99 
Fender  The Sound Heard 'Round The World  0995015000  $29.95 
The Fender Telecaster  0995005000  $14.99 
The Fender Bass  0995004000  $9.99 
The Fender Bass An Illustrated History  0995046000  $24.99 
How The Fender Bass Changed The World  0995045000  $27.99 
The Fender Book  2nd Edition  0995006100  $24.99 
The Fender Custom Shop Guitar Gallery  0995012000  $12.99 
Fender Classic Moments  0995013000  $24.99 
The Story of the Fender Stratocaster  0995016000  $24.95 
Other Fender Serial Number Schemes.
Fender has recently (in the last 20 years) introduced LOTS
of different serial numbers schemes, depending on the country
the Fender was made (USA, Mexico, Japan, Korea, etc). Not
all schemes are covered here.
Below are some examples of letter prefixes used in recent
serial number schemes.
V : this prefix used for US made "vintage reissue" models, 1982 to present. 25 + 4 digits : 1979 to 1980 Anniversary Stratocaster. AMXN : "AMX" means assembled in Mexico with American parts, "N" is the decade (1990s). MN : "M" means Mexican made, "N" is the decade (1990s). C : this prefix used in 1982. D : this prefix used in late 1981 to early 1982. EE : this prefix was once used by CBS for Exports. Only a few US instruments have this after CBS sale. 19861988. GO : this prefix used in the early 1980s. SE : this prefix means a Signature Edition, 1982 to present. 4 digit decal on back of peghead: custom order model 1987 to present.
Strat logos over the years.
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