There were periods of time when this was not consistently done, (between 19), and there are certainly other examples of short periods of time, and individual pieces, where the dating was simply omitted.

While this neck dating is useful in roughly determining the age of a guitar, it is certainly not definitive.

Start by cleaning the guitar and bringing it back to playable condition, if possible. You could sell it for much more if you know its exact year and if it has any special feature or is a limited edition.

dating a chinese made fender guitar-19dating a chinese made fender guitar-69

As you can see by the overlaps of numbers and years, the reference to the actual production date is rather loose. The numbers and decals are produced far in advance, and apparently, some N9 decals, (which were supposed to be used in 1999), were affixed to some instruments in 1990.

As a result, you will see some 1990 guitars bearing N9 serial numbers. 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). The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the more, well known Fender serial number schemes.

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.

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 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.They have been placed at the top of the neck plate, on the front of the headstock, on the back of the headstock, and on the back of the neck near where the neck bolts onto the body.They were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate (early '50s Strats), and on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles on some Telecasters.So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, it cannot be a definitive reference.Unlike the auto industry which has specific model years for their products, most specifications for a given Fender instrument model, change little if any, through the lifetime of the model.Together, they cited information from 16 references.