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1978 Fender J Bass Serial Number Confusion

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by -MattMacLennan, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. Hi TB,

    I recently bought a 1978 Fender Jazz bass and I've run into some trouble with the serial number.

    To begin, the bass is presumably all original, the owner claims to be the original owner. I have fairly consistent contact with the seller whom I trust and have no issues believing what they've told me regarding the instrument.

    I ran the serial number found on the headstock of the bass into the Fender product registration/serial number identifier and it didn't have any information on it, stating it didn't exist. I looked up Fender serial number guides and learned that '78s should be 7 characters and start with an S. It starts with S but is a total of 8 characters. So, that's confusing. I assumed it was just a misprint by a machine or even a switch to 8 character serial numbers late in '78 that didn't carry forward? Who knows, probably a minor thing.

    However, I found out the pickguard also has the sticker on it with the serial number printed on it. One of the characters in the serial number found on the pickguard is different from that of the headstock. Instead of a 0 its a 1. Still 8 characters starting with S.

    Why 8 characters? Why 2 slightly different serial numbers?

    To me, it's clearly a Fender and it is identical to other '78s that I've found online, so I'm still confident in that. However it does seem strange that a Fender instrument would not only be misprinted with an 8 digit serial number that the manufacturer hasn't made note of in their serial number registry, but that it would also contradict itself by having a different serial number on the same instrument.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated!

    Attached Files:

  2. I'm no expert ... but I recall seeing this exact same issue in a thread previously where the serial under the pickguard (or was it elsewhere?) was identical except for a 0 vs 1 --- sorry can't remember where I saw it but it was somewhere here on TB forums.
  3. Last edited: Feb 26, 2018

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