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After a short period of overlap with the old system, the post-76 numbers will start with a letter that indicates the decade, followed by a number that indicates the year of that decade.The decade letter codes break down like this: S = 1970s, E = 1980s, N = 1990s, Z = 2000s.These are generally referred to as F series due the large Fender branded F on the neckplates of the era.This period also saw a switch from the orginal four-bolt neckplate of the '60s to a three-bolt neckplate in just one example of cost-saving costs introduced under CBS.Like the body and neck dates, using serial numbers to date a Fender is not a sure bet.At many points in Fender's history, serial number usage overlapped again owing to the modular manner of production.At this time, the location of the serial number also shifted from the bridge to the neckplate (the metal plate located on back of where the neck meets the body).Here's how the serial numbers break down from 1954 to the beginning of 1963, though there are some areas of inconsistency in this era: At the very end of 1962 and into 1963, Fender changed to a system where serial numbers began with an "L." According to some accounts, the L was supposed to just be a 1 to mark the cross over into the 100,000 range from the previous scheme, but an L was used by mistake.
Who knows how long it was waiting in the Fender factory before finding its way into a Tele?
We also have some other blog posts related to Fender that can hopefully be of some help.
There's A Brief History of the Stratocaster Part I and Part II that follows the evolution of the most popular Fender guitar of all.
Instead, the best approach to dating a Fender is to combine indicators from the design of the instrument, the dates found on the neck and body, along with the serial number.
Once you have the information you need, if you're interested in selling your Fender, you can use Reverb to get it in front of the largest audience of musicians in the world by clicking on this link.