Dating mexican made fender instruments
Although for some, 'Standard Stratocaster' is a label that evokes an American-made instrument.
For the last couple of years, Standard Series Fenders have represented the bulk of the Mexican Ensenada factory's output alongside the Classic Series vintage reissues.
While there have been periods where dramatic changes have occurred, for example: the transition periods between Leo's Fender and the CBS years, as well as the transition between CBS' Fender and the current ownership, generally speaking, most models are feature specific and do not change from year to year..
Serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the years.
They have been placed at the top of the neck plate, on the front of the headstock, on the back of the headstock, and on the back of the neck near where the neck bolts onto the body.
They were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate (early '50s Strats), and on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles on some Telecasters.
Electronically, there are no surprises, and the expected configuration of five-way pickup selector blade switch, master volume and individual tones for the neck and middle single-coils.
The neck date simply refers to the date that the individual component was produced.
Given the modular nature of Fender's production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, placed in the manufacturing warehouse and remained in stock for a period of time, and then subsequently paired with a body to create a complete guitar in the following year.
That there is no more iconic electric guitar design than the Standard Stratocaster is a given, but it's reasonable to say that the periodical reorganisation of the Fender range and its demarcations might leave some prospective buyers scratching their heads.
There are just so many Stratocasters at so many price points these days that even we feel a little bewildered on occasion.