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As you can see by the overlaps of numbers and years, the reference to the actual production date is rather loose. The numbers and decals are produced far in advance, and apparently, some N9 decals, (which were supposed to be used in 1999), were affixed to some instruments in 1990.As a result, you will see some 1990 guitars bearing N9 serial numbers. Fender has recently (in the last 20 years) introduced LOTS of different serial numbers schemes, depending on the country the Fender was made (USA, Mexico, Japan, Korea, etc). The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the more, well known Fender serial number schemes.
Serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the years.
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 following charts detail the most common Fender serial number schemes used from 1976 to the present.
Please note the introduction of the "S" prefix serial numbers.