Dating a fender stratocaster
Serial numbers are also helpful in determining an instrument’s production year.For years, serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments, such as the top of the neck plate, the front or back of the headstock and the back of the neck near the junction with the body.
While this neck dating is useful in roughly determining the age of a guitar, it is certainly not definitive.
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.
Neck-dating can be useful in determining the was produced, rather than the complete instrument.
Most specifications for a given Fender instrument model change little (if at all) throughout the lifetime of the model.
While there have been periods of dramatic change—such as the transition periods between the Leo Fender years and the CBS years or the transition between the CBS years and the current ownership—most models are generally feature-specific and do not change from year to year.