The Fender Telecaster was originally introduced in , and has been made continuously since then, as of This solid-body electric guitar won fans among professional musicians, many of whom played Telecasters over the following years. Dating a Telecaster is not an exact science, as the dates on the various pieces of the guitar may be inaccurate if the pieces were manufactured before they were incorporated into the instrument. However, the serial numbers on the neck will provide the rough age of the instrument, according to Telecaster. Check the bridge area of the guitar.
These are generally referred to as F series due the large Fender branded F on the neckplates of the era.
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This period also saw a switch from the orginal four-bolt neckplate of the '60s to a three-bolt neckplate in just one example of cost-saving costs introduced under CBS. Starting inFender transitioned to a new serial number scheme and moved the placement of most serial numbers to the headstock of the instrument.
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Depending on the era and model, the number can be found on either the front or back of the headstock. After a short period of overlap with the old system, the post numbers will start with a letter that indicates the decade, followed by a number that indicates the year of that decade. In the s, you'll also see serials starting with a DZ which indicates the Deluxe series, but the format is otherwise the same.
For example, a serial number with N4 would be from One starting with Z5 would be from This is particularly pronounced in the transitional period of the mid-'80s, though the system has been pretty much on point since about Afterthe letter changed to a format starting with US then two digits that tell the year of the current decade.
American-made signature series instruments follow a very similar scheme to the above, but use a prefix S before the decade letter.
For example, a Signature Series guitar from would have a serial starting with SN8 followed by five digits. These have serial numbers starting with V and do not strictly correlate to years.
The neck dates on these guitars, however, are usually reliable. Fender Japan serial numbers can usually be found on the back of the neck near the neck joint. Though examples also exist with the number on the headstock or the neck-plate in the case of certain early reissue models.
Up untilthe serial was paired with the words "Made in Japan. InFender expanded operations with a series of instruments produced in Japan by the Fuji Gen Gakki company.
Body and Neck Dates
Like the US serial numbers, MIJ made in Japan serials start with a letter or pair of letters that indicate the rough year of production. This system, however, is notoriously inconsistent and incomplete, which makes dating by serial number even less reliable for MIJ Fenders.
DATING YOUR MEXICAN-MADE FENDER INSTRUMENT. Fender began producing instruments in its Ensenada, Mexico, factory in Instruments made between and carry "MN" prefix serial numbers, with the "M" designating Mexico and the "N" designating the s. Dating a Telecaster is not an exact science, as the dates on the various pieces of the guitar may be inaccurate if the pieces were manufactured before they were incorporated into the instrument. However, the serial numbers on the neck will provide the rough age of the instrument, according to archotelzeeland.com Dating Mexican Made Fender Instruments from archotelzeeland.com Fender began producing instruments in its Ensenada, Mexico, factory in Instruments made between and carry MN prefix serial numbers, with the M designating Mexico and the N designating the s. The numbers for each year typically overlap, as there is always a transitional period between successive years and as necks that.
AfterFender Japan switched back to marking Fenders as "Made in Japan" though for a few years instruments with both decals were made. Serial numbers since this transition have continued the same sequence as the "CIJ" era. Fender opened a factory in Ensenada, Mexico in the late '80s and instruments started coming off the line in The MIM serial number scheme is actually very straight-forward.
For Mexican Fenders made in the s, the serial will start with an MN followed by a number that indicates the year of the decade. Instruments made in the s follow the same form but start with MZ. For the s, the prefix is MX1.
For example, a serial number starting with MN2 would be There are a number of exceptions to all these serial number schemes. As mentioned above, many reissue models use serial numbers that don't really correlate to their age.
Additionally, there have been plenty of artist models, limited editions and other rare models that use a unique serial number. Examples include the 35th anniversary series, many of the uniquely finished Strats from the early '80s, as well as various export-specific models which carry a serial number starting with FN.
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Again, the serial number alone in any of these cases is not definitive and the best approach is to combine that with other methods like the neck and body dates, as well as just the features of the specific instrument. If you have any questions as to what Fender you're dealing with, I encourage you to seek out a local guitar shop or luthier to help figure it out.
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Learn everything you need to know to choose the right Stratocaster for you. Buying Guide: Telecasters. Learn everything you need to know to choose the right Telecaster for you.
Sell Your Gear on Reverb. Fender Telecaster guitars made in the years from to had a serial number stamped on the bridgeplate of the guitar.
How can I find out when my Mexican-made instrument was manufactured?
Guitars with serial numbers from to were released from towhile those with serial numbers from to were built from to Look on the neck plate area of the guitar. Fender guitars made from to mid have a neck plate serial number, which changes depending on the year.
Guitars with serial numbers to were made into into into into into into into into in and to in Examine the neck plate for a serial number beginning with an "L. However, some Telecasters with this kind of serial number may have been made as early asaccording to Telecaster.
Numbers from L to L indicate that the guitar was made inL to L mean it was built in and L to L date the guitar to Check for a large scripted "F" below the serial number on the neck plate. Telecasters with these numbers were made from to Guitars with serial numbers to were made in lateto into into into into into into into into into in and to in Look for a peghead decal on the Telecaster.