An example of Fender instrument dating information found on the “Support” section of the Fender website.
The “Product Dating” information found on the “Support” section of the Fender website has now been updated through 2012 and to include information on instruments made in Korea and Indonesia. Accordingly, Tech Talk now presents an update of its 2010 “Dating Fender Instruments and Amps” article …
Dating Fender instruments and amplifiers is an immense topic worthy of volumes. And believe us, there are volumes of information out there, in print and online. It is a topic subject to much scrutiny, speculation and debate, as there is now well more than half a century of Fender history to draw on, a thriving vintage market and digitally connected legions of Fender enthusiasts worldwide.
The sheer amount of Fender instrument-dating information is far too voluminous to be presented here in a single Tech Talk column. Rather, we’d like to direct your attention to a section of the Fender website devoted to the subject. This is the “Product Dating” section of the “Support” page of the Fender website, and it contains a wealth of useful information, including these product dating links:
Throughout its long history, Fender has adopted various serial numbering systems that can prove helpful in establishing fairly reliable ages for its electric guitars and basses. There are of course serial numbering exceptions and anomalies in each era of Fender history, but the instrument and amp dating information found at the Support section of the Fender website is a generally useful starting point. The first three links above by themselves contain an extensive amount of information dealing with electric instruments going back as far as 1950.
Dating Fender amplifiers with pinpoint accuracy, on the other hand—especially older ones—presents a far more challenging prospect, as Fender never kept amp serial number records before 1994. Nonetheless, the link above dealing with amplifier dating contains several reference tables and outside reference work suggestions useful for determining amp age as closely as possible despite the lack of detailed records before the mid-1990s.
Dating Fender acoustic guitars presents its own distinct challenges, as serial numbers were never archived, but the model name and construction guidelines suggested in the “Acoustics” link above go back as far as 1965, which isn’t too long after Fender acoustic guitars were first introduced in summer 1963.
Generally speaking, however, the majority of product dating inquiries deal with Fender electric guitars and basses, and the “Support” page of the Fender website contains a great deal of useful information.