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Fender P (what year?)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ZuluFunk, Feb 26, 2003.


  1. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Pennsylvania
    Does anyone know a quick way to verify the manufacture date of a Fender bass using the serial number?

    There's an old P-bass I saw and I'm trying to find out the year.
     
  2. Paul A

    Paul A

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hertfordshire U.K!
    Yep,
    Get the serial number and go to:

    www.mrgearhead.com

    then: FAQ's and select the "Axe Dater"
     
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    John - This is down and dirty because all it really does is indicate when the neckplate was made, (assuming it's not a fake) but it's decent start;

    > 0001 to 999999 = It could be as late as mid-63; a number from 100-2000 is seriously old (like 50's)

    > If the serial # begins with an "L", it could be from late `62 to late `65 (Note: Now we're getting into the CBS years)

    > 100000 to 750000 = towards the end of `65 to mid- `76

    > Serial # on the headstock decal = approximately mid-76 or later. An "S", "N" or "E" prefix can date it more exactly and can indicate Japanese manufacture

    A couple of other aspects;

    - Is the "n" and the "d" of "Fender" on the decal connected and the "d" to the "er" or is there a gap? Connected indicates sometime in 1966 or later

    - The patent numbers on the decal can tell you something too. 3 different series of numbers indicates `63-`65; 4 would indicate `66-`68 (and just one or none indicates seriously "vintage")

    - The serial number on the neck is another indicator. Their dating system changed a few times for this series of numbers, and even used different systems at the same time, so it gets really confusing.
    For simplicity's sake, all I can say is that if this number is stamped in red or dark blue ink, that's a good reason to get excited - it inidcates early to mid-60's. If it's penciled in, you can go nuts.

    In short, these are the quickest ways I know of but are hardly 100% foolproof. Some places sell old neck plates for $125+ and neck plates certainly aren't hard to fake.