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Dating Fender Guitars

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DATING YOUR MEXICAN-MADE FENDER INSTRUMENT

from Fender.com

   Fender began producing instruments in its Ensenada, Mexico, factory in 1990. Instruments made between 1990 and 2000 carry MN prefix serial numbers, with the M designating Mexico and the N designating the 1990s.

   The numbers for each year typically overlap, as there is always a transitional period between successive years and as necks that are made and serial numbered late in any given year are used on instruments assembled in the early months of the following year.

SERIAL NUMBERS PRODUCTION DATES
MN0 + 5 or 6 digits1990-1991
MN1 + 5 or 6 digits1991-1992
MN2 + 5 or 6 digits1992-1993
MN3 + 5 or 6 digits1993-1994
MN4 + 5 or 6 digits1994-1995
MN5 + 5 or 6 digits1995-1996
MN6 + 5 or 6 digits1996-1997
MN7 + 5 or 6 digits1997-1998
MN8 + 5 or 6 digits1998-1999
MN9 + 5 or 6 digits1999-2000

   At the end of 1999, the serial numbers transitioned from an MN prefix to an MZ prefix with the M designating Mexico and the Z designating the 2000s.

SERIAL NUMBERS PRODUCTION DATES
MZ0 + 5 or 6 digits 2000-2001
MZ1 + 5 or 6 digits 2001-2002
MZ2 + 5 or 6 digits 2002-2003
MZ3 + 5 or 6 digits 2003-2004
MZ4 + 5 or 6 digits 2004-2005
MZ5 + 5 or 6 digits 2005-2006
MZ6 + 5 or 6 digits 2006-2007
MZ7 + 5 or 6 digits 2007-2008
MZ8 + 5 or 6 digits 2008-2009
MZ9 + 5 or 6 digits 2009-2010

   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 10 prefix was designed to identify the first year of the second decade of the new millennium, and while it appears on the instrument decals, it was not captured in Fender’s operating system. Only the seven-digit suffixes were actually entered into the database. These serial numbers did not identify the country of origin in the body of the number. Instead, the instrument’s country of origin appears on the decal on the back of the headstock, near the serial number.

   This new numbering scheme was short-lived and was replaced only a few months later by an improved scheme that identifies an instrument's country of origin and year of manufacture in the body of the serial number.

   This new scheme uses the letters MX as a prefix to designate an instrument made in Mexico, followed by an eight-digit number. The first two digits of the number identify the year of manufacture, (10 for 2010, 11 for 2011, 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. This new scheme is now used on the majority of Fender instruments made in Mexico, with certain exceptions.

SERIAL NUMBERS PRODUCTION DATES
10 + space + eight digits Late 2009 - March 2010
MX10 + 6 digits 2010-2011
MX11 + 6 digits 2011-2012

EXCEPTIONS
   The Jim Root Telecaster, James Burton Standard Telecaster, Buddy Guy Stratocaster (polka dot model), Robert Cray Stratocaster and Jimmie Vaughan Stratocaster use an MSN serial number prefix. Note: in October 2010, some artist models switched to the new MX10 numbering scheme.

   The Ritchie Blackmore Stratocaster and Duff McKagan P Bass use an MSZ serial number prefix.

   The Reggie Hamilton and Frank Bello Jazz basses used an MX serial number prefix before the 2010 change.

   California Series electric guitars and basses from 1997 and 1998 use an AMXN prefix and share U.S./Mexico origin.


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