I won’t get into the pros and cons of 1970s Fenders here, but instead, I hope to shed some new light on those weirdo neck codes.
In 1969, CBS-Fender began to implement a new type of neck stamp in place of the usual date stamp consisting of model code, month, year, neck width (e.g.
Serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the years.
I promise the tables will still be there after you finish reading.
Okay, I know you’re all just dying to skip ahead to the serial number tables but try to contain your excitement and read through the article first.
There were periods of time when this was not consistently done, (between 19), and there are certainly other examples of short periods of time, and individual pieces, where the dating was simply omitted.
While there have been periods where dramatic changes have occurred, for example: the transition periods between Leo's Fender and the CBS years, as well as the transition between CBS' Fender and the current ownership, generally speaking, most models are feature specific and do not change from year to year..
Oddlings – Yet another printing error has surfaced, this time from the FEI (pre-CBS) days.
Besides, no article in the Dating Fender Amps by Serial Number series would be complete without some interesting information, n’est ce pas?
A 1957 tweed Vibrolux was reported with a tube chart printed with circuit “5E3” (tweed Deluxe) instead of the correct 5F11 (see photo).
Clearly Fender wasn’t afraid to use incorrect parts when they were in a bind. The 5G12 Concert is the earliest version from very late 1959 and early 1960 so the existence of a tweed example, while extremely rare, is certainly plausible since Fender was making lots of tweed amps during the same time period.
An example of this type of neck code found on a Precision Bass is 529129B.
CBS-Fender used this neck code system concurrently with the standard Month-Year date stamp that had been in use since 1962.
While this neck dating is useful in roughly determining the age of a guitar, it is certainly not definitive.