Dating telecaster serial
Model codes (first pair of digits): 01 = Precision Bass 02 = Jazz Bass 04 = Mustang Bass 08 = Telecaster Deluxe 09 = Stratocaster 13 = Telecaster, Telecaster Custom, Telecaster Thinline 49 = Musicmaster, Mustang, Bronco Neck Codes Used from 1972 to 1980.
A Stratocaster neck stamped with 22396109B in green ink on the heel end of the neck can be deciphered in the following way: From 1972 to 1980 Fender used a dating and identification system similar to the 1969 to 1971 system. The first 6 digits are paired codes for instrument type, fretboard type, and week.As you look at these serial numbers, please note that the same “letter-prefix” on the serial numbers are used for two different sets of dates. AND now Japan as started making the MADE IN JAPAN guitars again and using old serial numbers.The first being the “Made in Japan” date and the second is the “Crafted in Japan” date. In another 5 years there is going to be sooo much confusion, it will not ne funny!From 1950 to 1954 the penciled date is just below the truss rod adjustment screw and follows a Month/Day/Year format.From 1954 to 1962 the date is in the same location same location but was basically shortened to a Month/Year format.Mid–1997 the CIJ logo was the only one used on Fender guitars coming out of Japan (with exception the Squire series). I really don’t know, but the MIJ logo Fenders were for the USA market.
USA Fender wanted to stop the import of these guitars to the USA due to firing up their Mexican plant and due to the “too good” quality Japan was creating which competed with the USA models.
The last two digits year and day of the week, are read individually.
Vintage Reissue neck dates are usually penciled in on the end of the butt end of the neck.
The PRE-2015 system doesn't apply to early ESP's, some of which had no serial number tracking system at all and used random numbers. It all began a few years ago with the EU and a thing called the Ro HS (Regulation of Hazardous Materials) and Gotoh in Japan basically changed their production to ensure they didn’t lose the European market, and that being manufacturers who shipped to Europe, which is most everyone.
They changed pretty much everything for the “export” market, and export to most makers means anything but US. They have a way of producing black again now so expect it to all go back to the way most of us prefer over time.
Unfortunally ESP didn't keep good records of old serial numbers.