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 With the year 2000 came the introduction of the "Z" prefix serial numbers on US made instruments, which stood for the 0 of the new millennium.So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, it cannot be a definitive reference.
The numbers and decals are produced far in advance, and apparently, some N9 decals, (which were supposed to be used in 1999), were affixed to some instruments in 1990.
As a result, you will see some 1990 guitars bearing N9 serial numbers.
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.
In January of 1965, Fender was sold to the CBS Corporation.
The serial numbers do not immediately reflect the change, as CBS continued to make instruments using existing, tooling, parts, and serial number schemes.As you can see by the overlaps of numbers and years, the reference to the actual production date is rather loose. The serial numbers do not reflect the change, as Fender continued to make instruments using existing tooling, parts, and serial number schemes.With 1990 came the introduction of the "N" prefix serial numbers, which stood for the 1990s.They were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate (early '50s Strats), and on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles on some Telecasters.But once again, due to the modular nature of Fender's production methods, and the fact that most serial numbers schemes are not sequential and usually overlap from between 2 to 4 years, (from the early days of Fender, through to the mid 1980s), dating by the serial number is not an exact science. MADE FENDER STRINGED INSTRUMENT For the majority of Fender's U. instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.