There were periods of time when this was not consistently done, (between 19), and there are certainly other examples of short periods of time, and individual pieces, where the dating was simply omitted.
To read this it is necessary to unscrew the neck from the body.
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 (1973 to 1981, for example) or simply omitted.
Our serial number guide shows approximate date of manufacture.
For all dates, you will need to look at the construction technique and components used to get a more precise idea of the date of manufacture.
SERIAL NUMBERS and APPROXIMATE PRODUCTION DATES 1950's to 1964 In early 1965, Fender was sold to the CBS.
The old Fender serial number scheme did not change immediately as CBS to use up existing parts and use existing tooling however a large F logo was added to the neck plate shortly after the accquisition.SERIAL NUMBERS and APPROXIMATE PRODUCTION DATES 1965 to 1976 In 1982 the Vintage Series of guitars was introduced.The vintage series used a "V" prefix in serial numbers.But an incomplete registrations and illogical serial numbers is its history often unclear.Fender's production methods from the early fifties had the effect the numbers may not be consecutive.Most specifications for a given Fender instrument model change little (if at all) throughout the lifetime of the model.