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. Vintage Series instruments and “V”-prefix serial numbers. “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. The numbers and decals were produced far in advance, and some N9 decals (denoting 1999), were inadvertantly affixed to some instruments in 1990.If you’re unable to identify the approximate production year of your instrument using the above charts, several excellent books are available that contain invaluable and reliable information on the history of Fender instruments. They are detailed reference resources with a wealth of information on determining the production years of various instruments and on Fender history in general.Indeed, we use these same books here at Fender when researching historical and date-related issues.Instruments made between 19 carry MN prefix serial numbers, with the M designating Mexico and the N designating the 1990s.The numbers for each year typically overlap, as there is always a transitional period between successive years and as necks that are made and serial numbered late in any given year are used on instruments assembled in the early months of the following year.
If you have a Fender in your hands, you can use this guide to precisely date your Fender instrument all the way back to 1950.Even today, most players start out on some version of his iconic Precision Bass or Jazz Bass.The tone of Fender's "P-Bass" is still widely regarded as the standard by which other bass guitars should be judged and acts as a signpost for comparisons. We specialize in vintage and used guitars and basses.Therefore, while helpful in determining a 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.Consequently, some 1990 guitars bear 1999 “N9” serial numbers. 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.