How Does The Fender Serial Number Reveal The Age & Origin of My Guitar?

Ascertaining the date of your Fender guitar is imperative if you want to find out what its value is! Additionally, it can be fun to decipher the serial number of your prized instrument to find out what year it was made, even if you have no intention of selling it. In order to help you date your Fender guitar, I have compiled a comprehensive list of Fender Serial numbers, and how to decipher them. Keep in mind that Fender serial numbers are not necessarily the most accurate way to date your Fender guitar. That being said, they are a good starting point. For a more precise assessment, consider taking advantage of our free appraisal services. As always, I’m happy to help and am just a phone call or email away! Contact me to Sell your Fender guitar to an avid collector!

Where to Find the Serial Number of Your Fender Guitar

On instruments from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the serial number can be found either on the bridge plate or the neck plate. On later instruments, they can be found on the front or back of the headstock. Check out the 3 photos below for help identifying where your serial number is!

A Fender serial number on the bridge plate.

A Fender serial number on the neck plate.

A Fender serial number on the headstock.

What Are The Different Formats of Fender Guitar Serial Numbers?

Click on one of the links below that correspond to the location of your serial number on your guitar. You will be jumped to the corresponding section of this article!

Dating Your Fender Guitar with a Four or Five Digit Serial Numbers on the Bridge Plate

Fender serial numbers from this time period are particularly tricky because they use different serial numbers for different models. Below are the serial number ranges for each model from this time period that have a serial number on the bridge plate.

Fender Broadcaster, Esquire and Telecaster

If you would like help dating, valuing or selling an instrument from this time period, I’m just a phone call or email away!

  • 0001 – 1300: 1950 – 1952
  • 1300 – 3000: 1951 – 1954
  • 3000 – 5000s: 1952 – 1954

Fender Precision Bass

  • 100 – 600 = 1951 or 1952
  • 0001 – 0900 = 1952 and 1953
  • 0900 – 2000 = 1954
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Dating Your Fender Guitar with a Four or Five Digit Neck Plate Number

Four or five digit serial numbers on the back of the neck plate apply to all Fender models from this time period, including the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, Jaguar, Precision Bass, Jazz Bass, Coronado and others.

As always, if you would like help dating, identifying or selling a guitar from this time period, feel free to reach out via phone or email!

  • 0001 – 8000 = 1954
  • 6000 – 10000 = 1955
  • 9000 – 16000 = 1956
  • 16000 – 25000 = 1957
  • 25000 – 30000 = 1958
  • 30000 – 40000 = 1959
  • 40000 – 58000 = 1960
  • 55000 – 72000 = 1961
  • 72000 – 93000 = 1962
  • 93000 – 99999 = 1963
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A five digit Fender neck plate serial number.

What Is the Date of My Fender Guitar If It Has an L Serial Number?

These guitars were manufactured between 1963 and 1965. If you’d like any help from an expert, feel free to reach out via phone or email. I am a top dollar cash buyer for all Fender guitars.

  • L00001 – L20000 1963
  • L20000 – L55000 1964
  • L55000 – L99999 1965
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A Fender neck plate serial number that starts with an

When Was My Fender Guitar Made If It Has a 6-Digit Serial Number & an ‘F’ Logo Underneath?

These guitars were made between 1965 and 1976

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  • 100000 – 110000 1965
  • 110000 – 200000 1966
  • 180000 – 210000 1967
  • 210000 – 250000 1968
  • 250000 – 280000 1969
  • 280000 – 300000 1970
  • 300000 – 330000 1971
  • 330000 – 370000 1972
  • 370000 – 520000 1973
  • 500000 – 580000 1974
  • 580000 – 690000 1975
  • 690000 – 750000 1976
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A Fender six digit serial number with large

How to Date Your Fender Guitar Using Headstock Serial Numbers

Starting in 1976, Fender switched the serial number to the headstock. These serial numbers started with a Letter that denoted the DECADE of manufacture. S=Seventies, E=Eighties N=Nineties and Z or DZ= 2000s. The first number following the letter indicates the exact year.

For example:

  • S958010 = 1979 because S=70s and 9=1979
  • E212355 = 1982 because E=80s and 2=1982
  • N975436 = 1999 Because N=90s and 9=1999
  • Z504999 = 2005 Because Z=2000s and 5= 2005
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A Fender serial number on the headstock

What Does It Mean When My Fender’s Serial Number Leads with a ‘V’?

These guitars have a serial number on the neck plate that starts with a V. Unfortunately, these serial numbers are not accurate and the guitars must be disassembled to check the neck heel date.

How Can I Check My Imported Fender Serial Number?

How to Determine the Age of Your Japanese Fender Using Serial Number Prefixes

Fender began making guitars in Japan starting in the early 1980s. The Japanese made Fenders are generally regarded as very good quality instruments, however, with the exception of a few models, their collectability and value do not come close to American made instruments. Japanese made Fender guitars are dated using the letter prefix that comes before the numbers in the serial number. The serial number can be found either on the headstock, or at the base of the neck where it meets the body.

  • JV = 1982, 1983, 1984
  • SQ = 1983, 1984
  • D = 1982
  • E = 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987
  • A, B, C, = 1985, 1986
  • F = 1986
  • G = 1987
  • H = 1988
  • I, J = 1989, 1990
  • K = 1990
  • L = 1991
  • M = 1992
  • N = 1993
  • O = 1994
  • P = 1995

A Fender made in Japan serial number

How to Date Your Mexican Fender Using the Serial Number

Fender began making guitars in Mexico sometime in the 1980s. These guitars offer a great value for the money as they are relatively inexpensive and of good quality overall. Check out this great resource for Mexican Fender serial numbers. Fender’s site also has a serial number lookup page.

Decode your Fender’s Past with Joe’s Vintage Guitars

Looking over the history behind your Fender or considering its market value? Reach out to Joe’s Vintage Guitars for a no-obligation evaluation!  I will be happy to help you uncover the tales your guitar holds. I offer premium prices for vintage Fenders and other iconic instruments. Contact me today and discover why I am a top rated guitar appraiser and buyer!

Written by Joe Dampt

“Driven by a love for classic tunes, I specialize in buying, selling, and appraising vintage guitars, bringing music and history together.”