Once these guitars started effecting sales of US made guitars, US guitar manufacturers decided to put a stop to the infringement and to join in the process all at the same time.A CBS-Owned Fender selected a Japanese guitar manufacturer to make official “Fenders” — but made at a less expensive price — in Japan.Serial numbers are basically chronological, but there is some overlap in some years.Before the later 1970’s Fender never expected the guitars to be collectable or for serial numbers to be important.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.At least not while he was at Fender Musical Instrument Corporation.Before 1977 Fender guitars hd a serial number on the bridgeplate or neckplate.
The Japanese-made Fenders do have some slight serial number differences (typically a “J” serial number prefix).
This time, probably in a corporate branding effort, a large Fender script “F” was added to the neckplate below the serial number.
F Series guitars are generally considered CBS Fenders…
Dating a Fender guitar with the serial number is a hit or miss propisition.
It helps narrow things down, but in most cases is an inexact science.
Double stamped serial number plates were also produced (number on both front and back of the neck plate) in late 1957 to early 1959.