Given the modular nature of Fender's production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, placed in the manufacturing warehouse and remained in stock for a period of time, and then subsequently paired with a body to create a complete guitar in the following year.
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.
Serial numbers are also helpful in determining the year of production of a given instrument.Serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the years.They have been placed at the top of the neck plate, on the front of the headstock, on the back of the headstock, and on the back of the neck near where the neck bolts onto the body. I’ve been on Return of Kings for quite a while, reading and enjoying my fair share of wisdom, sardonic humor, and women bashing. The Fender serial number decoder currently supports all documented MIA, MIJ, MIM, MIK and MII formats with the exception of Custom Shop, Relic and Reissue instruments.
Please note that fender serial numbers tend to overlap by at least a year, and thereby the date of your guitar can only be approximated.
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.
MADE FENDER STRINGED INSTRUMENT For the majority of Fender's U. instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.
While this neck dating is useful in roughly determining the age of a guitar, it is certainly not definitive.
The neck date simply refers to the date that the individual component was produced.