Fender neck plate dating advice

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I want to remove my Strat neck to see the date that it was built. I'm worried about Loosen all the screws on the neck plate a quarter turn. See if your For someone who's never removed a guitar neck is that advice relevant?. Hi everybody, I have a great doubt how to date this neck of my '69 telly. Taking any tips to translate this code? ciccios Even the neck stamp should be between the , ,+ just like the neck plate serial nember?. Vintage reissue instruments have the date on the butt end of the neck as was used .. 3 bolt neck plates: starting in early , the Stratocaster, Telecaster Thinline, .. In either case, all original Tele switch tips have some stampings on their.

Fingerboard Dots Black dots: Till the end of Fender used "clay" dots as position markers. This material has an off-white opaque color. In very late all models changed to pearl dot position markers.

Side markers remained "clay" until spring when these too changed to pearl. Inthe spacing of the two fingerboard dots at fret twelve changed the spacing became closer together. Neck Back Shapes profilesall guitar and bass models. Fender neck shapes have changed through the years too. Fender neck shapes all models have a standard large and chunky "D" profile big "baseball bat" style neck.

Fender necks change to a large and chunky "soft V" profile. This "strong V" neck profile becomes famous, and musicians like Eric Clapton prefer its shape. Some Fender necks produced have a "small strong V", where the neck isn't so big feeling, but still has a very strong "V" shape mostly seen on Musicmasters and Duosonics, and the occassional Strat. It's back to a conventional "D" neck profile, but not nearly as thick and large as and prior neck profiles.

This neck style is used on most reissue Fenders regardless of the year being copied. With the release of rosewood fingerboards on all models in mid, the "D" neck profiles pretty much stay the same throughout the s with only minor variance from year to year for example, necks seem to be a bit chunkier than to necks. From March toFender marked their necks with an "official" neck width letter at the butt of the neck in front of the date code. All other sizes were available by special order only.

Shims were used between a Fender neck and body to adjust the "neck set" of the instrument the "neck set" is the angle of the neck in relationship to the body; if the neck set is too shallow, it needs a shim so the playing action can be lowered with the bridge to a comforable level. If the neck set is too sharp, the strings can not be raised enough with the bridge to stop string buzz.

Fender adjusted the neck set at the factory with a shim. Some Fenders use them, so don't. Click here for a picture of the shim used during the s and s. Neck Bolt Numbers 3 or 4.

In the Telecaster Deluxe from introduction also used the 3 bolt neck plate. In the 4 bolt neck plate came back to the Anniversary strat. By all Stratocaster models were again 4 bolt.

And byall Fender models converted back to the 4 bolt neck plate. Peghead String Guides or "String Tree". String guides were used on most models to give the treble strings greater string tension across the nut. Changed to a "butterfly" string guide. Click here to see the difference between reissue and original Fender "butterfly" string trees. Only pre-October Esquires have no truss rod. Adjusts at the "butt" of the neck by the pickups. Click here to see the difference between vintage and repro Fender truss rod nuts.

Telecaster and Precision Bass keep traditional truss rod system. Fender starts using different truss rod systems, depending on the model. The body routes on a 's Fender Stratocaster. Note the added "shoulder" near the body's edge to accomodate an attachment screw. Also notice the squared off corner pickup routes. Earlier 's Strat bodies have rounded corner pickup routes. The body routes on a Stratocaster. Note the rounded pickup route corners, compared to the 's pickup routes seen above.

The body routes on Telecasters. In the 's the "notch" was removed from the bass side of the neck pocket. Initially, when the Fender Stratocaster was introduced init had a single layer white pickguard attached with 8 screws. In midFender switches to a multiple layer pickguard with 11 mounting screws. One of the additional screws required a change to the interior body route on the Stratocaster. Now a added "shoulder" was left in the electronic route to accomodate one of the extra pickguard screws.

Starting in the late 's, Fender also changed the shape of the pickup routes on the Strat. Now the corners were more square, instead of being round. The Telecaster body also changed in the 's. The "notch" that existed on the bass side of the neck pocket was removed.

See the picture above. Fender used "single line" Kluson tuners, that had "Kluson Deluxe" stamped in a single vertical row like and later Klusons ; these are easily identified as "early" Klusons and not and later Klusons because "PAT APPLD" is also stamped below the vertical "Deluxe" marking. These are also different because they lack the side worm shaft hole for the tuner shaft there is only a side "entrance" hole.

Fender used "no line" Kluson tuners exclusively, and were unmarked had no brand name stamped in the tuner back. Also still no side worm shaft hole for the tuner shaft.

There is now a side tuner shaft worm gear hole. Still "no line" style casing had no brand name stamped in the tuner back. Fender used Kluson tuners exclusively on all models. The only variable was the tuner tip. DuoSonics, MusicMasters, Mustangs and other low-end models had white plastic tips, all other models had metal tips. Fender used Kluson tuners, but now the "Kluson Deluxe" was stamped into two vertical lines "Kluson" in one line, "Deluxe" in the other. Note some models such as the Jazzmaster and Jaquar the use of Kluson tuners ended in mid see below.

Fall to late 's: Fender had tuners made for them with a big "F" stamped in the back cover. Tuner buttons were chrome plated plastic. Click here to see the different Fender tuners used from to the s. Click here to see a comparison of vintage versus reissue Kluson tuners. Click here to see a comparison of vintage versus reissue Kluson tuner bushings. Tone Capacitors to Seemingly for this year only, most Stratocasters have a green square "chicklet" style tone cap this may include other models too.

Old style pre Stratocaster bridge. Note the nickel plated saddles with "Fender Pat. Reissue saddles look exactly the same but are stamped "Fender Fender". Also since the pickguard is removed on this Strat, we can see the "nail hole" just above the pickguard screw hole. If this nail hole does not have paint in it as seen herethe finish is probably original. Old style Telecaster bridges. The bridge at the top is a mid and prior style Tele bridge with brass saddles, and the serial number stamped into the bridge plate reissue vintage Tele bridge plates with serial numbers have a "dot" pressed below the third number in the serial number, so not to be confused with original Tele bridge plates.

The picture at the bottom is a mid to style Tele bridge with "smooth" saddles, and no serial number on the bridge plate. In Fender then switched to "threaded" saddles on the tele bridge not shown. The Stratocaster used the same bridge saddle from toa piece of steal stamped into shape. In the Strat bridge changes to a less expesive saddle made of cast metal.

Reissue vintage Strat bridge saddles are also stamped metal. Click here for a picture. Recent "bogus" Strat saddles are now available in which many individuals pass-off as originals.

Strat Tremolo Blocks Pickups and Pickup Springs to March Pickup wire is usually a real rich cooper color.

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Pickups are dipped in hot wax to eliminate microphonics, and this wax is evident on the entire pickup. March to late 's: Gray bottom pickups would be the rule, but black bottom pickups were used from old stock as late as Starting in the early 's, the top edges of the magnets were no longer rounded. Most gray bottom pickup assemblies have at least one pickup with a hand written date.

By the late 's this changed to an inked stamped date code, much like the date code used on the butt of the neck. Most gray bottom pickups have a deep burgundy colored pickup wire.

Wax treament is no longer used in favor of a lacquer dip treatment, which is much harder to see. Pickup screw springs are now actually real cone-shaped springs instead of rubber surgical tubing. Click here for a picture of gray bottom pickups s. Click here for a picture of a November 4, gray bottom pickup date stamp. Potentiometers Fender used mostly Stackpole brand pots in the 's, and CTS brand pots in the 's. These pots are date coded, and can help verify the authenticity and year of an instrument.

The manufacturer code for CTS is or for Stackpoleso this number should be stamped on the pot somewhere. In the 's, YWW date format was used. For example, "" would be a CTS pot made in the 4th week of A code of "" would be a CTS pot made in the 44th week of The Telecaster, Esquire, Precision Bass, etc, because of their metal knob configuration, used "smooth solid shaft" pots.

Guitars with plastic knobs Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, etc. The split shaft pot could be adjusted for variable tension against the inside of its plastic knob, and the knurling stopped the plastic knob from slipping. The Telecaster or Precision bass type metal knobs with the small set screw which was tightened against the pot's solid shaft to hold the knob was better with a solid shaft pot. These small "tallboy" plastic bakelit knobs were implemented on the Strat with solid shaft pots perhaps Fender didn't have any split shaft pots in stock at the time, as the Strat was the first Fender guitar with plastic knobs.

Because of this, many late 's Fenders have pots dated from More info on pots can be found at in the Feature section, by clicking here. The jack cup on Telecasters changed through the years. Pre jack cups were milled, and have sharper edges and "teeth" to hold it in the body. Later jack cups are pressed steel and have smoother edges and smooth sides. Wiring to Usually the color is black for ground and white for "hot". Starting in sometimes yellow is used instead of white.

Jazzmasters and Jaquars also used other colors like red and blue. PVC plastic shielded wire is used. Black for ground, white for "hot". An original Stratocaster wiring harness and pickguard. Notice the small metal shielding plate around the pots, and the white single layer pickguard. At the top edge is a early 's three-layer celluliod "mint green" pickguard with it's full-size aluminum shielding plate.

First generation CRL switches from to had two patent numbers. Second generation CRL switch used from to about have three patent numbers. Otherwise the two and three patent number switches look identical. Shown below is a three patent number switch and brown center wheel. On the first single pickup Esquires Fender used a different flat looking 3-way switch. Early style CRL 3-way switch with two patent numbers Switch made of metal and a fiberous brown bakelite type material holding the switch contact that has flat side cuts.

This style of switch started with the double pickup Esquire. CRL 3-way switch with three patent numbers and the bakelite with flat side cuts. Teles and Strats still use the CRL 3-way switch, but the fiberous brown bakelite material that holds the switch contacts is replaced with a less fiberous brown bakelite lighter in color that is cut round like a half moon, instead of having flat sides.

The center wheel is still brown bakelite. Teles and Strats still use the CRL 3-way switch with the less fiberous brown bakelite round cut half moon center. But now the center wheel is white plastic instead of brown bakelite. May or may not have a Diamond logo seen both ways. CRL switches still look basically the same as the previous version, but only one patent number.

Definately a Diamond logo during this period. Fender strats use a CRL 5-way switch on many models, which looks the same as the CRL 3-way switch but with two added notches in the switch lever metal. Fender bought of these in total, and just used them on special Teles and some Strats.

Probably less than a handful were shipped to dealers when the supply of 4, CRL switches had run out by mid The quote from Al Petty is, "if you have one of those switches in your Fender, you probably have an employee guitar or it was a guitar for someone special. Bechtoldt for much of the CRL switch information. A virgin Stratocaster pickup assembly with no broken solder joints, "black bottom" pickups, "cloth" wire, flat box-shaped paper tone cap, rubber pickup springs, flat edge 3-way switch, CTS pots, and an aluminum pickguard shield all attached to a "green" pickguard.

Pickguard Material Black pickguards: This material consisted of a fiberous bakelite, and was about.

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The fiberous material was added to the bakelite to add strength bakelite is too brittle and would crack at that thickness without it. Finally the black pickguards were clear-coated with clear nitrocellulose lacquer top side only to give them depth and shine.

White pickguards single layer: Fender used a single layer white pickguard material made from ABS or vinyl about. This relatively new material for the time was cheap, easy to work with, and somewhat flexible.

Note bakelite was never used for white Fender pickguards on any model though many people refer to white pickguards as such; but it's not bakelite. In this case the single layer thickness increased to.

To some degree the effect is not only caused by age and sun, but the "felting" of the black layer below the white layer. This material was used till January when Fender switched to vinyl or ABS for their multilayer pickguards Celluloid was dangerous and very flamable, and shrunk with time causing cracks.

Sometimes these pickguards are called "nitrate 'guards" because nitric acid is one of the key ingredients used to make celluloid. The and later white pickguards do yellow a bit with age. But even aged white 'guards look much different than the older "green" 'guards. In the late s, white Stratocaster pickguards change slightly not sure about other models. Notice the redish material the factory used to angle the neck.

This is typical of and Strats. Click here for a picture of the ink stamp on this aluminum pickguard shield used during the s. From and later, sticky aluminum foil was attached to the bottom of the pickguard, just around the pots and switch.

In the 's, this metal shield was much thicker. Note reissue Strats also use these shields. Click here for a comparison of pickguard material used from toand a reissue pickguard. The two pickup covers on the outside are ABS plastic. The three covers on the insides are "bakelite" actually polystyrene, but collectors refer to it incorrectly as "bakelite".

Note how the "bakelite" covers are whiter, and the edges have rounded. When new, the "bakelite" cover edges were as shape as the ABS covers. But with time, the edges round only on the polystyrene covers.

They can even wear to show the black pickup itsef underneath. The top row of knobs are ABS, the bottom row are "bakelite" polystyrene. Notice again how the edges of the "bakelite" knobs wear especially on the volume knoband the ABS edges don't.

Also the "bakelite" knobs are whiter. The original Daka-Ware switch tips used on Broadcasters and Telecasters from to the s. The switch tip on the right is a "top hat" style switch with a patent number though round switch tips can also have these markings. Other Plastic Parts pickup covers, knobs.

From to earlythese parts were made from white urea formaldehyde, commonly and incorrectly known as "bakelite" bakelite is actually a trade name for phenol formaldehyde, and is most commonly black or molted brown; for consistency, I will refer to these white pickup covers as "bakelite", though in fact they are not.

These covers were very brittle and very white. Note early Strat knobs have a different and taller shape than late and later knobs. These guitars were replicas of the early and s era guitars. True to form the reissue guitars have their identification numbers stamped in the neck plate.

The serial numbers on the outside of the body are not the only way to date a Fender guitar however. Fender also dated the neck when it was manufactured. After the neck was finished, a Fender employee would either stamp or handwrite the date on the end of the guitar neck on its heel. This marking is only visible when the neck is removed from the body because it is covered in the neck pocket. Almost all Fender guitars have a dated neck. Some Fender guitar bodies and pickups also have dates written on them.

Few Fender guitars have dates written on the bodies under the pickups, in the routed out cavities, and near the wiring harnesses. Fender only decided to write dates on the bodies for a few years here and there.

They never really did that consistently. What does the date on the neck mean? Many people think that the date on the heel of their Fender neck is the production date of the guitar. It all has to do with how Fender produced guitars. Leo Fender was a genius with minimizing the costs of production.

How to Date your Fender (By Serial Number) in 60 seconds |

Unlike Gibson, Leo found did everything the cheapest and fastest way possible. He made a bolt-on neck, so the neck and the body could be manufactured at the same time.

He wired the pickguard with pickups, so all the wiring could be finished before the body was even dry from finishing. The number and date on the neck is simply the date that the neck was finished—not the date that the guitar was completed.

Necks could sit for days, weeks, or even months at a time before being matched with a body. After the entire guitar was assembled, the identification number was stamped in place.