Dating fender stratocaster
If you have serious interest in learning about the history of Fender instruments, or if you just want to try to establish the year of production of your own axe, we would highly recommend that you pick up one or more of the following books.
They are detailed reference resources with a wealth of information for helping to either establish the vintage of your guitar or bass or for just learning more about Fender history in general.
The "S", stood for decade of the 1970s, and began CBS' attempt to use serial numbers to identify the year of production for the piece.
The "E", stood for the decade of the 1980s and was, as shown below, introduced in 1979. "V" prefix serial numbered instruments, is to remove the neck and check the butt end of the heel of the neck for a production date, which may be stamped or written there.
The neck date simply refers to the date that the neck was produced.
A Z0 prefix dates to 2000, a Z1 prefix dates to 2001 etcetera.
The American Deluxe Series use the same dating code but add a "D" in front of the "Z", i.e. The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the more, well known Fender serial number schemes.
In light of the model’s life span of over a decade, expect spec variations. Next time you see a “Strat Plus” on e Bay with string trees, you’ll know it’s time to look elsewhere (it’s probably an American Standard with after-market Lace Sensors).
Notes: Notice anything strange about the front of the headstock? The Stratocaster Plus Series, by Jeff Reich* The Strat Plus Series was introduced by Fender in 1987 and was the highest-end production model next to Fender’s Custom Shop guitars.