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In January of 1965, Fender was sold to the CBS Corporation.The serial numbers do not immediately reflect the change, as CBS continued to make instruments using existing, tooling, parts, and serial number schemes.The following chart details the Fender serial number schemes used from 1965 to 1976.

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They are detailed reference resources with a wealth of information for helping to either establish the vintage of your guitar or bass or for just learning more about Fender history in general.

These books are the same resources we refer to here at Fender, when trying to research answers to these same history and dating questions.

The "S", stood for decade of the 1970s, and began CBS' attempt to use serial numbers to identify the year of production for the piece. "V" prefix serial numbered instruments, is to remove the neck, and check the butt end of the heel of the neck for a production date, which may be stamped or written there.

The "E", stood for the decade of the 1980s and was, as shown below, introduced in 1979. Vintage Series instruments and the use of the "V" prefix serial numbers. In March of 1985, the CBS Corporation sold Fender to a group of private investors.

So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, it cannot be a definitive reference.

Unlike the auto industry which has specific model years for their products, most specifications for a given Fender instrument model, change little if any, through the lifetime of the model.

The American Deluxe Series instruments use the same dating convention but with the addition of a "D" in front of the "Z", i.e. Once again, and as always, there is typically some overlap and carryover of number prefixes from year to year.

The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the more, well known Fender serial number schemes.

The following charts detail the most common Fender serial number schemes used from 1976 to the present.

Please note the introduction of the "S" prefix serial numbers.

The numbers and decals are produced far in advance, and apparently, some N9 decals, (which were supposed to be used in 1999), were affixed to some instruments in 1990.

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