Dating vintage fender bass guitar
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).
Below is a list of date formats and how they were marked on the neck-butts: 1950-1954: Hand-written below the truss rod adjustment at the butt end of the neck.
Date format is usually M-D-YY and often features the woodworker’s initials as well.
1969: A new type of neck stamp of six, seven or eight digits was used on some models. Example: “529129B” (more info on reading there in the “nack stamps” section below.) This new green stamp was used simultaneously with the earlier “XX MMM-YY W” format.
Models from this period could have either code system.
On some Telecaster guitars the serial number is found on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles.The next number is the production year, in this case 9 = 1969.The next one or two digits are for the month, here 10 = October.From the production of the first solidbody Fender guitars and until 1976, Fender tagged a production date at the butt of the detachable neck of their guitars.Only about half the guitars still carry any intelligible information here.