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.April 1973 to 1980: After March 1973, Fender dropped the old style date stamp and continued to use the new style, 8-digit code. 1976 to present: All non-vintage reissue instruments have the serial number printed on the decal on the face of the peghead.The approximate production year can be determined from this (more about serial numbers will follow).
Models from this period could have either code system.Finally, the first one or two digits of the code tells you which model you are holding; 22 being a Stratocaster.There are some exceptions as you can see in this information provided by Mike Gagliano.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.It is important to remember that Fender serial numbers are NOT conclusively chronological. Back in the day, Fender made their serial number plates in big batches and the assembler simply grabbed a decal or more from the crate and slapped it on the guitar. To get as close as possible to determining the age of your Fender, make sure to check all dates on both body, neck and pots.