Dating telecaster pickups

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In the late 1970s and early 1980s Fender was facing competition from lower priced Japanese made guitars.

Hit the jump to see just how old that guitar or bass really is. Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses, although there were periods when this was not consistently done (1973 to 1981, for example) or simply omitted.

The chart below details Fender serial number schemes used from 1965 to 1976.

The charts below detail the most common Fender serial number schemes from 1976 to the present.

In the early 1980s, Japanese labor and production costs were much lower than in America and to compete with the Japanese made guitars, Fender moved the lower priced Fender guitar production from America to Japan.

Fender was also losing sales in Japan to Japanese guitar brands such as Tōkai, Greco and Fernandes and the establishment of Fender Japan would benefit Fender sales in Japan, as well as overseas.

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