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You will notice that there is quite a bit of overlap of numbers and years.The only way to try to narrow the date range of your specific instrument would be to remove the neck and check the butt end of the heel of the neck for a production date, which may be stamped or written there.
So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, it cannot be a definitive reference.
Unlike the auto industry which has specific model years for their products, most specifications for a given Fender instrument model, change little if any, through the lifetime of the model.
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.
The following chart details the Fender serial number schemes used from 1965 to 1976.
You will notice that there is quite a bit of overlap of both numbers and years.
If you have what you consider to be a somewhat "odd" serial number, please check the following chart to see if you find your serial number configuration here.
This chart contains If you are unable to place the approximate year of manufacture of your instrument using the above charts, there are a few great books available, which have invaluable information on the history of Fender instruments.
Your last chance to own a vintage Fender Stratocaster is with the guitars of the late 1970's.
You spot a '79 in a local shop, or online, but how can you be certain it is a '79?
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..