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Below is a list of date formats and how they were marked on the neck-butts: 1950-1954: Hand-written below the truss rod adjustment at the butt end of the neck.Date format is usually M-D-YY and often features the woodworker’s initials as well.1980: Little glued labels with MM-DD-YY date stamps appear in the neck pocket, pickup cavity and/or back of the neck.The neck stamps on Fenders from 1969 to 1971 can be most logically translated by reading from right to left.Determining the date can also be important from a collector’s perspective, since the pre-1966 vintage Fender guitars are generally considered the most valuable.Fender was sold to CBS in the first week of January 1965, but already in late 1964 mass production was slowly being introduced, which gradually lowered quality and ultimately collectibility.The following three digits, here 384, could be a batch or lot number, or i could be the count for how many of this one instrument that was made within the month.
Since the neck is only a component of the guitar, it could have been produced a number of years before the actual instrument was assembled, hence the date on the neck is not necessarily the production date of the whole guitar.
For example, let’s take a Stratocaster with the serial number 279515 and the code 22384109B.
Starting with the letter B, this is the same neck width code Fender has been using since 1962.
Sometimes a date is stamped or hand-written on the butt of the neck.
Vintage reissue instruments have the date on the butt end of the neck like the originals.