Fender Serial Numbers
Posted on June 29 2022
Here is a nearly comprehensive list of Fender serial numbers for Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters, and Jaguars made from 1950 until the 1980s. Keep in mind that Fender serial numbers are not necessarily consecutive and the plates are easily swapped out using only a screwdriver. You can begin to date your Fender guitar by checking the serial number, then move on to the model specific pages for a more thorough view on the year your guitar was made.
How to read Fender serial numbers: The most common place to find them is on the back of the guitar where the neck joins the body. The square metal plate is called the neck plate. The second most common place will be at the top of the neck called the head stock, or in the middle of the body where the strings attach called the bridge plate. Preceding V serial numbers are modern reissues beginning in 1982, not vintage guitars. "L" serial numbers were likely made between 1963 and 1965. Numbers with a preceding "-" or "0" were likely made during 1957 or 1958.
Start here: Is there a letter prefix?
Four or Five digits on the bridge plate (1950-1954) Telecaster, Broadcaster, Esquire, Precision Bass
Four or Five digits on the neck plate (1954-1963)
"L" Serial numbers (1963-1965)
6 digits with Large "F" underneath (1965-1976)
"V" Serial numbers Modern reissues since 1982
"S" Prefix 1977 - 1980
E Prefix - 1980s
N Prefix - 1990s
"Z" or "DZ" Prefix
Made In Japan (1982-1995)
Here are some model specific articles on Fender guitar dating:
Fender Serial Numbers on the bridge plate
Fender serial numbers from 1950 until 1955 are different than later numbers in that they are model or style specific. The Broadcaster, Esquire, and Telecaster have one set, the Precision Bass its own set, and the Stratocaster an entirely different set. I am looking for nice examples of each model of Fender guitars made in the 1950s. Let me know if you're considering selling one a Stratocaster, Telecaster, or Precision Bass from this time period: Sell a Fender.
Broadcaster, Telecaster, Esquire
0001 - Low 1300s: 1950 - 1952
1300s - 3000s 1951 - 1954 Contact me if you have a Fender in this range
3000s - mid 5000s 1952 - 1954
100 - 600 Three digits 1951 or 1952
0001 - ~0900 1952 and 1953
0800 - 2000 1954
Fender Serial Numbers on the neck plate
Fender began stamping serial numbers on the metal plate on the back of the body in 1954. This serial number range is appropriate for dating Stratocasters, Telecasters, Jazzmasters from 1958 onward, and Jaguars from 1962 on. Remember that the plates are easily swapped for another plate using only a screwdriver, so it's only the first step in dating a vintage Fender guitar. If your neck plate has a serial number with more than six digits then it was not made in the 1950s or 1960s. Some of the earliest Stratocasters have a four digit serial number on the white plastic tremolo plate cover on the back of the body. I am looking for Fender guitars in the following serial number range so you can contact me here to sell a Fender guitar.
0001 – 8000 1954 Stratocaster introduced
6000 – 10000 1955
9000 – 16000 1956
16000 – 25000 1957 0 or – prefix possible
25000 – 30000 1958 (0 or – prefix) Jazzmaster introduced
30000 – 40000 1959
40000 – 58000 1960
55000 – 72000 1961
72000 – 93000 1962 Jaguar introduced
93000 – 99999 1963
|I am looking for all Fender guitars in this serial number range. Contact me here to Sell a Fender guitar.|
Fender serial numbers preceded by an "L": Fender guitars made between 1963 and 1965 have a letter "L" preceding the serial number. The actual year of manufacture can range wildly during this time period, so it's important to check the model specific pages to accurately date Fender guitars with L serials.
L00001 – L20000 1963 I am looking for all Fenders in this range
L20000 – L55000 1964 Contact the Fender guitar collector
L55000 – L99999 1965
Fender serial numbers with large "F" underneath: Leo Fender sold his company to CBS in 1965. The new owners instituted a mostly consecutive serialization system comprised of 6 digits and a large stylized "F" underneath. The F neck plate style was the location of Fender serial numbers from 1965 until 1976.
100000 – 110000 1965
110000 – 200000 1966
180000 – 210000 1967
210000 – 250000 1968 I am looking for '60s Stratocasters and Telecasters
250000 – 280000 1969 Sell a Fender
280000 – 300000 1970
300000 – 330000 1971
330000 – 370000 1972
370000 – 520000 1973
500000 – 580000 1974
580000 – 690000 1975
690000 – 750000 1976
Fender serial numbers on the headstock:
Fender began applying the serial numbers to the headstock instead of the neck plate in 1976. The serial number scheme usually began with a letter prefix to indicate the decade then a series of numbers. An "S" indicates 1970s, "E" indicates 1980s, and "N" = 1990s. The first digit after the prefix usually indicates the year but there is plenty of overlap. While the first two digits following the letter prefix is supposed to be the year it was made, some were made the following year or even 2 years after. I recommend dating these guitars with the neck date and potentiometer codes.
76xxxxx 1976 The "76" is in bold print for this range."S" Prefix intended to indicate Seventies
S1xxxxx - S69xxxx 1977 - 1982
S77xxxxx 1977 +2 years
S78xxxxx 1978 + 2 years
S79xxxxx 1979 + 2 years
"E" Prefix to indicate Eighties
E.g. E2xxxxx = 1982. There is much overlap during this period, so the serial number is only a ballpark estimate. It's best to use potentiometer codes for a more accurate date.
"N" Prefix to indicate Nineties
E.g. - N1xxxxx = 1991
"DZ" or "Z" Prefix to indicate the 2000s
E.g. DZ4xxxxx = 2004
Fender serial numbers beginning with a letter "V"
Fender introduced a new US Vintage series in 1982 using a serial number system consisting of a letter V prefix and four or five following digits. We recommend dating these guitars using the neck heel and potentiometer codes instead of the serial numbers. Some of the earliest US Vintage series Stratocasters can be considered by many players to be vintage collectible guitars at this point.
Made In Japan Fenders
The 1980s were a strange decade for the Fender company. The quality of imported guitars rose quickly so Fender began marketing less expensive Fender branded guitars manufactured in Japan. Fender's parent company sold the brand in 1984 to a group of investors and closed the Fullerton factory. All Fender guitars were made in Japan from the Fullerton plant closing in 1984 until the Corona plant began operations in 1986.
Letter prefixes for Fenders Made In Japan
JV --- '82, '83, '84
SQ --- '83, '84
D (for Made in Japan) --- '82
E --- '84, '85, '86, '87 Transition years to new ownership
A, B, C, --- '85, '86 Transition years
F --- '86
G --- '87
H --- '88
I, J --- '89, '90
K --- '90
L --- '91
M --- '92
N --- '93
O --- '94
P --- '95
Made In Mexico Fenders
Fender opened the Ensenada, Mexico factory in the late 1980s. Serial numbers for these guitars have an "M" prefix followed by a letter to indicate the decade. For more information on these guitars check out Ensenada from Fuzzfaced.
The best lookup for Made In Mexico Fender Serial Numbers: Fender.
MN --- 1990s
MZ --- 2000s
MX --- 2010s