# Dating vintage fender guitars

Given the modular nature of Fender production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, then stored for a period of time before being paired with a body to create a complete guitar, perhaps, for example, in the following year.Therefore, while helpful in determining a of PRODUCTION DATES, a neck date is obviously not a precisely definitive reference.Stamped on every potentiometer (volume and tone pots) is a six- or seven-digit source code that tells who made the pot, as well as the week and the year.The source dating code is an element of standardization that is administered by the Electronics Industries Alliance (EIA).If the pot is an original, it indicates a date before which the guitar could not have been built – so it’s always a good idea to have extra reference material around.

Z3 5 or 6 digits Z4 5 or 6 digits DZ4 5 or 6 digits (American Deluxe) V 5 or 6 digits (American Vintage Series except ’52 Telecaster, which uses a five-digit number stamped into the bridge plate) XN4 4 digits Z4 5 or 6 digits Z5 5 or 6 digits DZ5 5 or 6 digits (American Deluxe) V 5 or 6 digits (American Vintage Series except ’52 Telecaster, which uses a five-digit number stamped into the bridge plate) XN5 4 digits Z5 5 or 6 digits Z6 5 or 6 digits DZ6 5 or 6 digits (American Deluxe) V 5 or 6 digits (American Vintage Series except ’52 Telecaster, which uses a five-digit number stamped into the bridge plate)XN6 4 digits Z6 5 or 6 digits Z7 5 or 6 digits DZ7 5 or 6 digits (American Deluxe) V 5 or 6 digits (American Vintage Series except ’52 Telecaster, which uses a five-digit number stamped into the bridge plate)XN7 4 digits Z7 5 or 6 digits Z8 5 or 6 digits DZ8 5 or 6 digits (American Deluxe) V 5 or 6 digits (American Vintage Series except ’52 Telecaster, which uses a five-digit number stamped into the bridge plate) XN8 4 digits Z8 5 or 6 digits Z9 5 or 6 digits DZ9 5 or 6 digits (American Deluxe) V 5 or 6 digits (American Vintage Series except ’52 Telecaster, which uses a five-digit number stamped into the bridge plate) XN9 4 digits 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 first two digits of the number identify the year of manufacture, (, , 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. S.-made Fender instruments, with exceptions including the American Vintage series and certain special-run instruments.

The EIA assigns each manufacturer a three-digit code (there are some with one, two or four digits).

When dating an instrument by the ‘pot code,’ keep two things in mind: The potentiometers must be original to the piece (new solder, or a date code that is off by ten or more years is a good giveaway to spot replacement pots); and the pot code only indicates when the potentiometer was manufactured!