Fender Serial Number Decoder

Discovering your guitar’s history can be a very rewarding thing to do. Authority Guitar has collated a mountain of data to give you the history by using your Fender Serial Number.

Your guitar’s journey from the factory into your hands may be a mystery, but it’s always a good way to dig into the earlier life of your instrument. 

It’s also essential to have the correct information if you’re considering buying or selling a guitar. Researching a guitar’s serial number can also stop you from being the victim of fraud.

It’s simple enough with our Fender Serial Number Checker. Type your serial numbers into the decoder below and you’ll get all the information Fender has on the instrument.

If you end up with an error message, please scroll down and find your guitar’s credentials manually using our helpful number grids. 

I have recently reviewed the Best Fender Acoustic choices for all skill levels if you’re interested.

*We’ve tirelessly searched the internet for every record, the information gathered is the most accurate we could find. Some documentation crosses over and some has been lost over the years causing gaps in our data.

Where Do You Find Your Guitar Serial Number?

Over the years Fender have changed the location of the Serial Number. Check the picture below to find the most common places.

Need Accessories?

There are many accessories and extras guitarists need from time to time. Some out of necessity, or maybe we just fancy something fresh and new to play with. Here are all your guitar essentials. 

Fender Serial Number Decoder

Authority Guitar Top Tip: If you find your serial number doesn’t yield any results, press ‘crtl & f’ and enter the beginning of your serial number. This page will then be highlighted in all the results starting with the numbers/letters youve entered. Scroll down to our ‘Manual Checklist’ and you’ll almost certainly find a serial number very close to your own. Giving you a general idea of when your guitar was manufactured.

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Fender Guitar History

Did you know Fender started off life in Fullerton California 1938 repairing radios, phonographs, home audio amps, and music instrument amplifiers?

In the early 40s, Leo Fender went into business with Clayton Orr Kaufman and started to design electric instruments. Using their own designs they modify amplifiers.

By 1945 production had started with Hawaiian lap steel guitars and amplifiers sold in sets.

Leo soon realized manufacturing was far more profitable than repairing electronics. Leos partner Kaufman didn’t agree and left the partnership in 1946. What a mistake that turned out to be!

During the late 40s, Fender began to produce guitars. Starting with the Broadcaster but it was short-lived due to the number of faults with bending in certain temperatures.

Telecaster Serial Numbers

In 1950 the Telecaster was born and started mass production. Due to its bolted neck, this allowed the instrument to be finished separately. The final assembly was extremely simple and Fender would hire unskilled workers to carry this out at very cheap rates.

1954 was the year when the most famous guitar of all time hit the shops. The Fender Stratocaster!

1959 was the beginning of the Jazzmaster guitar. Fender promoted the Jazzmaster as a successor to the Stratocaster with its innovative electronics, vibrato system, and off-set neck. As we now know, this never happened.

The Jazzmaster was an instant success due to the growing surf music scene and the emergence of The Beach Boys.

1960 was the year of the monster bass design, the Fender Jazz Bass was introduced to the world.

1965 Leo Fender sells the company to CBS for $13 million. CBS had the financial power to amass Fender parts and assemble them making the company even bigger.

This was at a cost though. The quality of the Fender guitar dipped due to CBS cutting corners with cost and a lower quality of craftsmanship.

1965/66 there were small cosmetic changes, the most notable being the larger type headstock on some guitars.

The bold black Fender headstock logo and brushed aluminum faceplate were introduced in 1968 as standard features for guitar bass and amplifier.

August 18th, 1969 was a huge day for the Fender Stratocaster. Jimi Hendrix destroyed Woodstock with guitar playing from another universe. Putting the Stratocaster at the top of everybody’s wanted list for many years to come.

Fender Serial Number

1971/72 saw more cosmetic changes with the usual four-bolt neck was redesigned into a three-bolt and a second-string tee for the two center strings. Also notably a 5-way pick-up selector switch.

1975 Leo Fender was named president of Musicman. 1976 the popular Stingray appeared. StringRay 1 and StingRay bass. Both guitars fitted with a two-way pickup, bolt-on neck, and a single humbucker.

In 1987 the Custom Shop was born. The initial master builders were John Page and Michael Stevens. Since then the team has expanded and produced some of the most sought-after guitars made.

The Fender Custom Shop produces special order guitars. Creating limited edition high-end quality instruments. If you love the road-worn relic look, these guys assemble some real mouth-watering pieces.

In 1988, Eric Clapton and Yngwie Malmsteen help Fender to design the first two Signature Model Stratocasters.

Photo by Mr. Littlehand

1991 Fender moves its corporate headquarters from Corona, CA to Scottsdale, AZ.

February 1994 the Ensenada Mexico manufacturing plant was burnt to the ground, leaving the production to move to Corona, CA for a temporary solution.

Today, Fender has its headquarters in Los Angeles and manufacturing facilities are in Corona, CA and Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico


Fender Serial Numbers-Manual Checklist

Here is a summary of the serial number, model, and year. To gain the best results use our decoder.

*Authority Guitar Top Tip: Press ‘ctrl & F’ then add the beginning of your serial number/guitar model in the search bar to find your details quicker on our extensive list below.

To reveal an accurate date of the serial numbers below, add your details to our Fender decoder.


Serial Numbers from 0001-5300 were various guitar models manufactured from Fullerton, USA. During this early period Esquires, Broadcasters, Telecasters, Precision Basses, and Stratocasters were produced.

During this time period, there are a lot of overlaps. Use our decoder to find out which instrument fits your serial number.


Serial Numbers 10000-50000 were from the mid-50s-60s but we lack instrument details and overlapping makes this period difficult. We know the year the guitar was made and manufactured in Fullerton, USA.

5 & 6 Digit serial numbers beginning with L & F (L12345) were also from this period before and after the CBS era. Use decoder to determine.


Serial Numbers 50000-300000 & L10000-L90000 are Fullerton, USA guitars between 1961-70. Use decoder for exact year.

C+6 digits. Collector Series. Up to 1965


Serial Numbers 300000-700000 were instruments between 1971 & 1976. There are no model details just that this period was in Fullerton, USA.

S6, S7, S8, S9, E0 with 5 digits after (S612345) are serial numbers from the mid to late 70s. The digits purely stand for a production number.

S6=S=Seventies1976. E0=0=Eighties 1980s

The decoder will give you a closer production date

G+6 digits. 1980-83. Stratocaster. See decoder for details.


The same applies with E1, E2, E3, E4, E8, E9, N9, N0 with 5 digits after (E112345) from the Fullerton, USA factory. This period of guitars were the U.S Vintage Series. The date of the guitar should be on the back of the neck.

N9=Nineties1990. N0=Nineties=1990-91

‘V‘ Serial numbers with 4,5,& 6 digits following (V1234) are U.S Vintage Series excluded ’52 Telecasters from Fullerton, USA.

NC+6 digits is a Squier Strat Bullet (see Squier serials)

I+7 digits 1989-90. Limited number made. Use Decoder for full info

Use our Decoder for:

CA+5+ digit 1981-1983. CB+5+ digit 1981-1982.

CA+5 digit 1981-1983. CB+5 digit 1981-1982. CC+5 digit 1981-1983. CD+5 digit 1982. C0+5 digit 1982. G0+5+ digit 1982-1982-1983. D+6 digit 1981-1982. SE+6 digit 1980s. .

Serial Number 000-500 Anniversary Stratocaster. See decoder for date.

Guitar serials that begin with JV +(5 digits), SQ +(5 digits), E +(6 digits), A +(6 digits), B +(6 digits), C +(6 digits), F +(6 digits), G +(6 digits), H +(6 digits), I +(6 digits), J & K with +(6 digits) are guitars ‘Made In Japan’ 1982-1991. For closer date details use decoder.

MN0+ 5&6 digits are 1990 models of unknown from Ensenada, Mexico

Serial Numbers with 5 or 6 digits only are from the 1988-96 period and produced from the Cor-Tek factory in Korea. These serial formats will no doubt overlap with others.

Serial Numbers with CN0 +5 digits up to CN6 +5 digits are Squire guitars 1988-96. Please use the Squire decoder.

Serial Numbers with VN0 +5 digits up to VN6 +5 digits are Squire guitars 1988-96. Please use the Squire decoder.


Once again N1, N2, N3, N4, N5, N6, N7, N8, N9 serial numbers with 5&6 digits after a Guitars made in Corona, USA. If the serial number has an additional D infront of the N=DN1, then the guitar is a US Deluxe Series Model.

AMXN+6 digits is the California Series electric guitars and basses, ’97 en ’98 (Made in USA and Mexico)

DN+6 digits is the American Deluxe series instruments, ’98 en ’99

LE+6 digits 1994, part of a promotional package. Use Decoder to find full details.

CN+6 digits. Use Decoder

VN+6 digits. Use Decoder

SN+6 digit 1990s. Use Decoder

Guitar serials that begin with L+6 digits, M+6 digits, N+5&6 digits, O+6 digits use decoder, P+6 digits, Q+6 digits, R+6 digits, S+6 digits, T+6 digits, U+6 digits, V+6 digits & A+6 digits are ‘Made in Japan’ with the exception of A=Crafted In Japan and x1 O=Crafted in Japan.

The following serial codes are Mexican Signature built Fenders, made between 1991-2000: MN0 +5&6 digits, MN1 +5&6 digits, MN2 +5&6 digits, MN3 +5&6 digits, MN4 +5&6 digits, MN5 +5&6 digits, MN6 +5&6 digits, MN7+5&6 digits, MN8 +5&6 digits, MN9 +5&6 digits, MZ0 +5&6 digits= (Ensenada, Mexico, not signature)

Serial Numbers with KC97 +6&7 digits up to KC14 +6&7 digits are Squire guitars 1997-98. Please use the Squire decoder.

The following serial codes are Signature Mexican MSN0 +5 digits up to MSN9 +5 digits. See decoder for full details.


Z0, Z1, Z2, Z3, Z4, Z5, Z6, Z7, Z8, Z9 with 5&6 digits after are dated between 2000-2010, made in Corona, USA. If the serial number has an additional D in front of the Z=DZ1, then the guitar is a US Deluxe Series Model.

Serial Numbers 1000000-1099999 are guitars from the Early 2010 period.

2000+ American Deluxe Series, Corona USA

US+7 digits is late 2010-11

DZ+6 digits. The 1st Digit is the year (DZ912345=American Deluxe, 2009, Corona USA)

DZ+7 digits. The 1st Digit is the year (DZ9123456=American Deluxe, 2009, Corona USA)

XN+5 digits. FRS and Telecaster ’52, 2005

SZ+6 digits 2000s. See Decoder for instructions.

T+6 digits Tribute Series. Check heel of the neck for date.

Guitar Serial numbers that start with the following P+6 digits, Q+6 digits, R+6 digits, S+6 digits, T+6 digits are ‘Crafted In Japan’. Use decoder for dates.

Serial Letters MZ1 right up to MZ9are all Mexican made guitars produced from the Ensenada factory dating from MZ1 5&6 digits 2001 to MZ9 5&6 digits 2009.

MS0 +5&6 digits up to MS9 5+6 digits are Mexican made signature model 2000-2010. See decoder for dates.


MX10 +5&6 digits (2010) up to MX20 +5&6 digits 2020 are guitars produced from Ensenada, Mexico.

About Lee

Lee has been playing guitar for over 25 years. In the 1990's he made a few TV appearances in London and supported a few big bands at festivals. He's recently sung on radio and worked as a full-time guitarist/singer. Lee is the founder of Authority Guitar, a site where he wants readers to enjoy every aspect of learning the guitar.

2 thoughts on “Fender Serial Number Decoder”

  1. I believe you have a typ.
    Actually, Fender did not sell to CBS in 1956. It was in 1965.

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