For most of Fender’s U. Production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses. The neck date simply refers to the date that the neck was produced. So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, cannot be a definitive reference. Serial numbers are also helpful in determining the year of production of a given instrument. Serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the years. The following chart details the Fender serial number schemes used from to There is quite a bit of overlap of numbers and years. There is quite a bit of overlap of both numbers and years. The following charts detail the most common Fender serial number schemes used from to the present.
Fender Eric Clapton Signature Model Stratocaster
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Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses, although there were periods when this was not consistently done to , for example or simply omitted. Neck-dating can be useful in determining the approximate age of a guitar, but it is certainly not definitive because the neck date simply refers to the date that the individual component was produced, rather than the complete instrument.
Given the modular nature of Fender production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, then stored for a period of time before being paired with a body to create a complete guitar, perhaps, for example, in the following year. Therefore, while helpful in determining a range of production dates, a neck date is obviously not a precisely definitive reference.
Most specifications for a given Fender instrument model change little if at all throughout the lifetime of the model. 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.
For years, serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments, such as the top of the neck plate, the front or back of the headstock and the back of the neck near the junction with the body. The chart below details Fender serial number schemes used from to Notice that there is quite a bit of overlap in numbers and years.
So you need to figure out the year of production for your Fender guitar or bass. You’re not alone. Fenders rank as the most frequently bought and sold instruments on Reverb , and finding a precise date of manufacture can be key to determining the value and specifics of an instrument. The most important thing to keep in mind when dating a Fender is the highly modular nature of the designs.
Like Henry Ford, part of Leo Fender’s genius was in optimizing the company’s production efficiency. His guitars were built en masse by an entire factory, not a single luthier toiling over one instrument at a time.
On some Telecaster guitars the serial number is found on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles. Fender neck dates from to.
Inside a Fender Jazzmaster. Inside a to Fender Telecaster video. Inside a to Fender Stratocaster video. For most collectors, pre-CBS pre Fender vintage guitars and amps are the desirable ones. Although CBS purchased Fender officially on January 3rd , it took some time till the guitars changed though by mid , six months before CBS bought Fender, things were already “on the way down”. By the end of , the general look and feel of the Fender guitars had changed significantly.
All collectors feel the quality of their instruments and amps suffered as CBS employed more “mass production” manufacturing processes to the Fender guitars. The “large peghead” starting in late as used on the Fender Stratocaster was one example of the bad changes to come. The “custom contoured” bodies Fender was famous for no longer were as sculped and sleek. Newer and less attractive plastics were used for the pickguards.
Pearl fingerboard inlays replaced the original “clay” dots.
Strat Plus Stratocaster (1987-1999)
Wiring colors in are usually yellow and blue, or white and black. Black bobbins pickups often had no date if they did it was pencil hand written. Nice missmatch of light grey and purple-ish bottom, from a mustang model. Still three black bobbins, yellow and blue wire. CTS pots. Very rare set of pots, with the code usually seen on telecasters and P.
Orig Fender Stratocaster Pickups BELL Tone Pre CBS. (which is common) When fender went to Grey they started putting dates in pencil, for a short time.
We explore their timeless magnetic attraction for guitar players. Carson also wanted four or five pickups on the Strat, but, fortunately, Leo had the good sense to veto that suggestion. Breaking one down into its individual components and examining manufacturing inconsistencies may provide some of the clues. Since the magnetic slugs were of a consistent diameter, holes were made in both the top and bottom flat that were tight enough to hold position on the slugs through friction alone.
Initially, the fibreboard was black, but this changed to grey around March of Later in the s, the grey got darker. I have never seen a pencil date on the base of a pre-CBS Strat pickup with black flat work.
Serial number identification and decoding
Copyright , 20th Century Guitar Magazine. The strange and mysterious neck codes found on Fenders from — 80 have been all but ignored by the vintage and collectible guitar community. Perhaps this is due to the fact that s Fenders have, until recently, been all but ignored by the vintage and collectible guitar community.
Do someone know how to know the exact date of the neck pickup, by the Fender used a metallic lead in the ’80’s and I think your seller was.
Forgot your password? By ashtray , June 1, in Electric Guitars. So I acquired a set of Fender pickups that my buddy had laying around. The pickups are Fender single coil Stratocaster pickups. They have grey bottoms light grey? NO numbers stamped into the bottom of the pickups. They are staggered pole, and have beveled edges to the tops of the pole pieces. FWIW, they have no markings to identify them as Fender or not, and have white pickups covers.
The pickups have been used, but are in excellent shape with long leads. Was hoping someone with pickup knowledge would recognize them.
Dating a Fender Stratocaster
Vintage Fender pickups are highly sought after. Just finding these pickups is a challenge all its own. Even if one is purchased online at a hefty cost, how can you be sure of its vintage value?
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By sbeeb , January 15, in Fender Mustang Discussion. Hey all, I just bought a mustang and was told it’s all original but I have my doubts. The vibrato for one has a patent number on it and it was my understanding this should not be the case. Also after taking a look at the pickups one of them is a grey bottom with a penciled in date, the other is black bottom no date. Would this ever happen? What serial numbers would I need to check? Would a vibrato with a pat number ever have made it to a 66?
Vintage 70s Fender Stratocaster ???
The Stratocaster was first introduced in spring , it may well be the most popular and copied guitar design ever. Asymmetrical double cutaway body, contoured body on back and on lower bass bout where forearm rests , 3 single coil pickups with exposed poles, jack angled into top, tremolo standard but available without special order , 3 knobs volume, tone, tone , gold plated parts optional till Contoured ash body, two-color yellow to brown sunburst finish.
Thanks to Christian and Pasi for putting this date-a-Strat section together!! U.S. Strat Plus [rosewood fingerboard] The Plus’s have Lace pickups, Wilkinson nut.
In typical Leo Fender fashion, the original Strat pickup was an ingeniously simple yet highly effective design. It consisted of a flat, black vulcanised fibre bottom and top plate held together via tension with six sandcast hand-bevelled alnico magnet slugs, fitted into each corresponding hole, around which a coil of gauge formvar wire was wound by hand. White hot and black ground cloth wires were then soldered on before the whole assembly was potted in hot wax to minimise feedback and overly microphonic tendencies.
Although the height of each pickup could be adjusted using screws on the surface of the scratchplate at either end of the coil each screw threading into the bottom flat with tension provided by surgical tubing , the relative height of each slug was fixed. To overcome this limitation, Leo had the polepieces staggered into differing lengths. The first black bottom pickups were identifiable by a prominent fourth string slug, with the third string slug rising to a similar level later.
There are many variables that impart certain characteristics and influence the overall sound of a pickup and some are far less calculable than others. Indeed, it is virtually impossible to identify two identical vintage examples, even on the same guitar. In addition, when a vintage pickup ages the magnetism tends to decrease, rounding out the top end and marginally improving string sustain. After 10 years the formvar wire was changed to enamel. DC resistance tended to increase over the years from around 5.