He never invisioned a need to pinpoint the manufacturing date of any of his guitars.

At least not while he was at Fender Musical Instrument Corporation.

It helps narrow things down, but in most cases is an inexact science.

fender custom shop product dating-44

F Series guitars are generally considered CBS Fenders…

though most collectors will value all 1965 Fenders similarly to Pre-CBS (the sale was consummated in early February, 1965) 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 = 1976For many reasons, Fender decided to change the serial numbering system and it’s location in the mid-1970’s.

After CBS took over Fender changed the neck plates once again.

This time, probably in a corporate branding effort, a large Fender script “F” was added to the neckplate below the serial number.

In mid-1954 Fender changed the location of serial numbers to the neckplate. Because different companies did the stamping of the serial numbers on neckplates they vary in location and layout.

In 1957/1958 some serial numbers started with a minus sign (“-“), or had a “0” prefix before the number.

Before 1977 Fender guitars hd a serial number on the bridgeplate or neckplate.

Serial numbers are basically chronological, but there is some overlap in some years.

Even with the new system, Fender didn’t like to throw away a perfectly good serialized decal just because the year code would be incorrect.