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Serial numbers may be useful in determining the year of production of a guitar.
But an incomplete registrations and illogical serial numbers is its history often unclear.
Your last chance to own a vintage Fender Stratocaster is with the guitars of the late 1970's.
You spot a '79 in a local shop, or online, but how can you be certain it is a '79?
The numbers and decals are produced far in advance. The following serial numbers stay somewhat outside the well-known Fender numbering.
Due to a mistake at the factory in 1990 N9 decals (which were intended for use in 1999) applied to a several instruments that were built in that year. If you have doubts about an odd serial number check the chart below, maybe you can find the number composition here.
As you can see by the overlap of numbers and years, the reference to the actual date of manufacture is rather vague.
To read this it is necessary to unscrew the neck from the body.
The serial numbers in principle chronological, but as already mentioned, as a result of Fender's production, there are a several serial numbers that overlap.
The only way to try to figure out the date is to remove the neck from the body and check the butt end of the heel of the neck.
Fender's production methods from the early fifties had the effect the numbers may not be consecutive.
Also overlap of serial numbers and dates come with regularity.
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Most specifications for the Fender guitars are hardly changed.