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.

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The numbers and decals are produced far in advance. The following serial numbers stay somewhat outside the well-known Fender numbering.

Due to a mistake at the factory in 1990 N9 decals (which were intended for use in 1999) applied to a several instruments that were built in that year. If you have doubts about an odd serial number check the chart below, maybe you can find the number composition here.

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

Leo Fender never intended for his guitars to become collectors items.

As you can see by the overlap of numbers and years, the reference to the actual date of manufacture is rather vague.

In 1990, the N came as a prefix to the numbers, which stands for the nineties. Deluxe Series have the same standard but with the addition of a D for the Z, eg. Also here some overlap of numbers, prefixes and year.Most specifications for the Fender guitars are hardly changed.Although there have been periods in which major changes occurred as the acquisition of Fender by CBS, and the transition from CBS Fender to the current owner (Fender Musical Instruments Corporation), most models are in general not changed.The next table shows the most common Fender serial numbers schemes from 1976 to the present.Here is the S first introduced as a prefix to the serial numbers. The E stands for the decade of the eighties, and was introduced in 1979.Fender's production methods from the early fifties had the effect the numbers may not be consecutive.