Mexican Instruments Product Dating

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How can I find out when my Mexican-made instrument was manufactured? How can I find out how old my instrument is?

DATING YOUR MEXICAN-MADE FENDER INSTRUMENT

Fender began producing instruments in its Ensenada, Mexico, factory in 1990. Instruments made between 1990 and 2000 carry “MN” prefix serial numbers, with the “M” designating Mexico and the “N” designating the 1990s.

The numbers for each year typically overlap, as there is always a transitional period between successive years and as necks that are made and serial numbered late in any given year are used on instruments assembled in the early months of the following year.

SERIAL NUMBERS PRODUCTION DATES
MN0 + 5 or 6 digits
1990-1991
MN1 + 5 or 6 digits 1991-1992
MN2 + 5 or 6 digits 1992-1993
MN3 + 5 or 6 digits 1993-1994
MN4 + 5 or 6 digits 1994-1995
MN5 + 5 or 6 digits 1995-1996
MN6 + 5 or 6 digits 1996-1997
MN7 + 5 or 6 digits 1997-1998
MN8 + 5 or 6 digits 1998-1999
MN9 + 5 or 6 digits 1999-2000

At the end of 1999, the serial numbers transitioned from an “MN” prefix to an “MZ” prefix with the “M” designating Mexico and the “Z” designating the 2000s.

SERIAL NUMBERS PRODUCTION DATES
MZ0 + 5 or 6 digits
2000-2001
MZ1 + 5 or 6 digits 2001-2002
MZ2 + 5 or 6 digits 2002-2003
MZ3 + 5 or 6 digits 2003-2004
MZ4 + 5 or 6 digits 2004-2005
MZ5 + 5 or 6 digits 2005-2006
MZ6 + 5 or 6 digits 2006-2007
MZ7 + 5 or 6 digits 2007-2008
MZ8 + 5 or 6 digits 2008-2009
MZ9 + 5 or 6 digits 2009-2010

A new serial-numbering scheme was adopted toward the end of 2009 using the number “10” as a prefix, followed by a space, followed by seven digits. The “10” prefix was designed to identify the first year of the second decade of the new millennium, and while it appears on the instrument decals, it was not captured in Fender’s operating system. Only the seven-digit suffixes were actually entered into the database. These serial numbers did not identify the country of origin in the body of the number. Instead, the instrument’s country of origin appears on the decal on the back of the headstock, near the serial number.

This new numbering scheme was short-lived and was replaced only a few months later by an improved scheme that identifies an instrument’s country of origin and year of manufacture in the body of the serial number.

This new scheme uses the letters “MX” as a prefix to designate an instrument made in Mexico, followed by an eight-digit number. The first two digits of the number identify the year of manufacture, (10 for 2010, 11 for 2011, etc.). The following six digits are the unit identifier, although it should be noted that these final six numbers are not sequential and do not provide any other identification information about the instrument. This new scheme is now used on the majority of Fender instruments made in Mexico, with certain exceptions.

SERIAL NUMBERS PRODUCTION DATES
“10” prefix followed by a space and eight digits
Late 2009 through approximately March 2010
MX10 + 6 digits 2010-2011
MX11 + 6 digits
2011-2012

EXCEPTIONS

The Jim Root Telecaster, James Burton Standard Telecaster, Buddy Guy Stratocaster (polka dot model), Robert Cray Stratocaster and Jimmie Vaughan Stratocaster use an “MSN” serial number prefix. Note: in October 2010, some artist models switched to the new “MX10” numbering scheme.

The Ritchie Blackmore Stratocaster and Duff McKagan P Bass use an “MSZ” serial number prefix.

The Reggie Hamilton and Frank Bello Jazz basses used an “MX” serial number prefix before the 2010 change.

California Series electric guitars and basses from 1997 and 1998 use an “AMXN” prefix and share U.S./Mexico origin.