So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, it cannot be a definitive reference.
Unlike the auto industry which has specific model years for their products, most specifications for a given Fender instrument model, change little if any, through the lifetime of the model.
(If you are not comfortable performing this operation, please use an experienced professional guitar tech in your area).
The "S", stood for decade of the 1970s, and began CBS' attempt to use serial numbers to identify the year of production for the piece.
The "E", stood for the decade of the 1980s and was, as shown below, introduced in 1979. "V" prefix serial numbered instruments, is to remove the neck, and check the butt end of the heel of the neck for a production date, which may be stamped or written there.
These books are the same resources we refer to here at Fender, when trying to research answers to these same history and dating questions.
Electronic components such as transformers, potentiometers, speakers, and some capacitors are often stamped with a date code, which indicates the manufacturer and the manufacturing date.
The following charts detail the most common Fender serial number schemes used from 1976 to the present.
Please note the introduction of the "S" prefix serial numbers.
For example, if you find pots from late ‘64 and transformers from early ’65, you can be pretty sure your amp is a 1965.
The following chart, was originally printed in VG magazine, by Gerald Weber.
The neck date simply refers to the date that the individual component was produced.
Given the modular nature of Fender's production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, placed in the manufacturing warehouse and remained in stock for a period of time, and then subsequently paired with a body to create a complete guitar in the following year.
If you see any data that is not listed here or notice any errors, for 1970’s and earlier Fender amps, please send us an email and we will update the chart.