The American Deluxe Series instruments use the same dating convention but with the addition of a "D" in front of the "Z", i.e. Once again, and as always, there is typically some overlap and carryover of number prefixes from year to year.

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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.

There were periods of time when this was not consistently done, (between 19), and there are certainly other examples of short periods of time, and individual pieces, where the dating was simply omitted.

Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.

The following chart details the Fender serial number schemes used from 1950 to 1964.

You will notice that there is quite a bit of overlap of numbers and years.

So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, it cannot be a definitive reference.

Unlike the auto industry which has specific model years for their products, most specifications for a given Fender instrument model, change little if any, through the lifetime of the model.

The following chart details the Fender serial number schemes used from 1965 to 1976.