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Double stamped serial number plates were also produced (number on both front and back of the neck plate) in late 1957 to early 1959.Unfortunately, there is also some overlap in serial numbers between years — again due to the fact that neckplates were re-ordered various times from various manufacturers.The serial numbers do not reflect this change – Fender continued to make instruments using existing serial number schemes.The new Fender (FMIC) did not acquire any physical assets of the old company, just the name “Fender” and the rights to all products and trademarks .So, they ordered neckplates that were supposed to have numbers above 100,000.But the stamper misread the order and thought that the number “1” was an “L” and so instead of plates starting with 100,000 they started with L00,000. But it took a while to manufacture and number the plates.though most collectors will value all 1965 Fenders similarly to Pre-CBS (the sale was consummated in early February, 1965) 100000 to 110000 = late 1965 110000 to 200000 = 1966 180000 to 210000 = 1967 210000 to 250000 = 1968 250000 to 280000 = 1969 280000 to 300000 = 1970 300000 to 330000 = 1971 330000 to 370000 = 1972 370000 to 520000 = 1973 500000 to 580000 = 1974 580000 to 690000 = 1975 690000 to 750000 = 1976For many reasons, Fender decided to change the serial numbering system and it’s location in the mid-1970’s.You can imagine that it might have been cheaper to have the serial numbers added to the decals rather than have them machined.
Before the later 1970’s Fender never expected the guitars to be collectable or for serial numbers to be important.The bridge plate or neckplate were applied to a guitar with no thought to keeping any kind of number sequence.Fender serial numbers were assigned like this: As you can see from this over-simplified example, serial number assignment was fairly random. The only truly definitive way to date a pre-CBS fender is to look at all the dates on the instrument (body date, neck date, pot dates).At least not while he was at Fender Musical Instrument Corporation.Before 1977 Fender guitars hd a serial number on the bridgeplate or neckplate.