Fender Serial Number Lookup – Find When & Where Your Guitar Was Made

Want to know how to date your Fender guitar by serial number? Then you’re in the right place.

Just enter the number below, hit the ‘Decode’ button and our lookup tool will tell you the year your guitar is from, which country it was manufactured in, and even the plant it came from.

You can add any model of Fender guitar: Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jaguar, Mustang, Jazzmaster, you name it! (scroll down below if you need help finding the serial number).

Decode

Where to Find the Serial Number on Your Fender Guitar?

The location of the serial number has annoyingly changed from model to model over the years. So where do you find it?

Locations include:

  • At the top of the neck plate
  • On the front or at the back of the headstock
  • On the cover plate of the vibrato (on Stratocasters)
  • On the back of the vibrato cover plate (on early ’50s Stratocasters)
  • At the end of the heel of the neck
  • Between the pick-up and the saddles (some Telecasters)

Some General Rules

The naming convention is a bit haphazard, but here are some general rules that should ring true 99% of the time (but beware, there are plenty of exceptions)

  • The prefix ‘L’ at the beginning of a serial number indicates a guitar from the early ’60s
  • The prefix ‘S’ at the beginning of a serial number stands for the decade of the seventies
  • The prefix ‘E’ stands for the decade of the eighties
  • The U.S. Vintage Series (launched in 1982) uses ‘V’ as a prefix for the serial number
  • The prefix ‘N’ at the beginning of a serial number stands for the nineties
  • The prefix ‘Z’ stands for guitars made in the noughties (2000 – 2010)

Note that made in Mexico Fender guitars (MIM) and made in Japan guitars (MIJ) have their own unique serial number system.

Pre-1976 Model? Check the Heel Too

Before 1976, frustratingly they often randomly assigned serial numbers. If you want to double-check the year of production year, it’s often a good idea to look at the heel of the neck (which entails removing the neck). Sometimes the potentiometers are worth checking too.

That’s all for now. We’ll keep adding more info as and when we find it.

Good luck!

Ged Richardson

Ged is editor-in-chief and founder of Zing Instruments. He's a multi-instrumentalist and loves researching, writing, and geeking out about music. He's also got an unhealthy obsession with vintage VW Campervans.

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