While there have been periods of dramatic change, such as the transition periods between the Leo Fender years and the CBS years or the transition between the CBS years and the current ownership most models are generally feature-specific and do not change from year to year up to 2009.
Fender instruments built in the United States and Mexico changed not once but twice for 2010 and onward.
Where to find the serial number The serial numbers on the guitar are provided through the years on various places.
At the top of the neck plate, at the front or at the back of the head or on the cover plate of the vibrato.
Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses, although there were periods when this was not consistently done (1973 to 1981, for example) or simply omitted.Usually, the production date is stamped or written is on the heel of the neck.To read this it is necessary to unscrew the neck from the body.Neck-dating can be useful in determining the was produced, rather than the complete instrument.Given the modular nature of Fender production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, then stored for a period of time before being paired with a body to create a complete guitar, perhaps, for example, in the following year.At the Stratocasters from the early fifties the serial numbers were stamped on the back vibrato cover.On some Telecasters at the bridge between the pickup and the saddles. PAT, 2,573,254 2,968,204 3,143,028 2,976,704 2,573,254 for pickup and bridge combination.and these changes are often disclosed and of a non-malicious nature.Other things to look for include chasses placed in cabinets from a different year, “doctored” tube charts, non-original control plates (usually reproductions) on silverface amps, original transformer bell ends (they have correct date codes, of course) on non-original transformers, and non-original knobs (either repro or silverface knobs on blackface amps).unusual things can be found such as the empty “Pulse Adjust” hole on the rear of early ’60 brown amps, the “middle” volume control, use of tweed style grill cloth, strange non-documented transitional circuits, and changes in tolex color including the super-rare cream colored “brown” tolex that is found on some late ’60 amps.2010 onwards First off serial numbers began with 10 and were stamped Made in USA (or Made in Mexico) then it changed to have a US or MX prefix before the number.Some things are very obvious such as non-original or reconed speakers, non-original transformers, replaced pots, re-tweed, re-tolex, re-grill, etc.