Dating guitars by serial number
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.
The serial number will be located on the neck plate on the back of the bass.After the year prefix, these models us a code digit of "9", indicating a set-neck model bass.The Fender serial number decoder currently supports all documented MIA, MIJ, MIM, MIK and MII formats with the exception of Custom Shop, Relic and Reissue instruments.The year of manufacture is determined the same way for the EG models.Like the CE models the serial number is located on the neck plate on the back of the guitar.To the right and below, you will find some images that will hopefully help you to locate the complete serial number on your instrument.
Please be aware that some instruments manufactured in the late '50s cannot be interpreted by this decoder.
Toward the end of 1967, Baldwin took over the Gretsch Company.
“Made In USA” was added to the serial number stamp and the numbers were date coded in the same way that they had been between ’65 and ’67.
These serial numbers were also either 5 or 6 digit numbers, depending on the month of production.
The numbers were once again located on the back of the headstock and would have been printed in Gold, Black or White (depending on the color of the guitar).
This third iteration of the label had “Fred Gretsch Mfg. and serial No., and it said “That Great Gretsch Sound” at the bottom. The 5-digit numbers on these labels always begin with 1 or 2 and are sequential, do not follow the “date-coded” convention, and precise dates cannot be determined using the serial numbers.