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This new scheme uses the letters “US” as a prefix to designate an instrument made in the United States, followed by an eight-digit number.The first two digits of the number identify the year of manufacture, (, , etc.).Serial numbers with an “S” prefix denote the 1970s (signifying a CBS attempt to use serial numbers to identify production years); an “E” prefix was introduced in 1979 to denote the 1980s. Vintage Series instruments and “V”-prefix serial numbers. “N”-prefix serial numbers denoting the 1990s were introduced in 1990.As seen in the overlap of numbers and years, even these references to actual production dates are rather loose. The numbers and decals were produced far in advance, and some N9 decals (denoting 1999) were inadvertently affixed to some instruments in 1990.Instead, the instrument's country of origin appears on the decal on the back of the headstock, near the serial number.This new numbering scheme was short-lived and was replaced only a few months later by an improved scheme that identifies an instrument’s country of origin and year of manufacture in the body of the serial number.
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.
Once again, there is quite a bit of overlap in numbers and years.