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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.
(Stratocaster) Between 19 there were periods that this is not consistently done.
Although a serial number is helpful for roughly determining the age of a guitar, this is often not the exact date.
Although it is not be traced back directly to the serial numbers.
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.Production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.There were periods of time when this was not consistently done, (between 19), and there are certainly other examples of short periods of time, and individual pieces, where the dating was simply omitted.As you can see by the overlap of numbers and years, the reference to the actual date of manufacture is rather vague.In 1990, the N came as a prefix to the numbers, which stands for the nineties. Deluxe Series have the same standard but with the addition of a D for the Z, eg. Also here some overlap of numbers, prefixes and year.