Dating a fender stratocaster by serial number
From its beginnings in Leo's radio and record store in Fullerton, California, to the Fender Musical Instrument Corporation of the 1990's, Fender instruments seem to be rated in terms of their historical value or relationship to the past as seen in their reissue models.
The 5 - digit serial numbers were preceded by a dash from late 1956 to early 1958 and between late 1957 and late 1958 some neck plates were double stamped, 6 digits outside and 5 digits with dash (different number) on the underside. From July 1964 it changed to a more modern looking gold "transition" logo and mid 1968 until 1977 they had the black "CBS" logo.
The gold outline then appeared, and in mid-1983 the smaller silver logo appeared.
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. Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses. instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.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.
From 1954 to 1976 the neckplate carried a stamped serial number that prior to this time was located on the bridge. 1965, until late 1976 the neck plate consisted of a large "F" on the plate that covered the 3 bolt Micro Tilt adjustment installed in the guitars from the fall of 1971 to 1979.