Dating a fender telecaster body

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While there have been periods of dramatic change—such as the transition periods between the Leo Fender years and the CBS years or the transition between the CBS years and the current ownership—most models are generally feature-specific and do not change from year to year.Serial numbers are also helpful in determining an instrument`s production year.Serial numbers with an "S" prefix denote the 1970s (signifying a CBS attempt to use serial numbers to identify production years); an "E" prefix was introduced in 1979 to denote the 1980s. instruments with "V"-prefix serial numbers is to remove the neck and check the butt end of the neck heel for a production date, which may be stamped or written there."N"-prefix serial numbers denoting the 1990s were introduced in 1990.As seen in the overlap of numbers and years, even these references to actual production dates are rather loose.1982 saw the introduction of the U. Vintage Series instruments and "V"-prefix serial numbers. The numbers and decals were produced far in advance, and some N9 decals (denoting 1999), were inadvertantly affixed to some instruments in 1990. 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, etc.Notice that there is quite a bit of overlap in numbers and years.The only way to try to narrow the date range of your specific instrument is to remove the neck and check the butt end of the neck heel for a production date, which may be stamped or written there (if you`re uncomfortable doing this yourself, please refer to an experienced professional guitar tech in your area). Serial numbering didn`t change immediately because instruments continued to be made using existing, tooling, parts and serial number schemes.

1969: A new type of neck stamp of six, seven or eight digits was used on some models. Example: “529129B” (more info on reading there in the “nack stamps” section below.) This new green stamp was used simultaneously with the earlier “XX MMM-YY W” format.The chart below details Fender serial number schemes used from 1965 to 1976.The charts below detail the most common Fender serial number schemes from 1976 to the present.Once again, there is quite a bit of overlap in numbers and years.The only way to try to narrow the date range of your specific instrument is to remove the neck and check the butt end of the neck heel for a production date, which may be stamped or written there (if you`re uncomfortable doing this yourself, please refer to an experienced professional guitar tech in your area).

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