Fender dating serial

20 Sep

Serial numbers are also helpful in determining an instrument’s production year.

For years, serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments, such as the top of the neck plate, the front or back of the headstock and the back of the neck near the junction with the body.

Jerome Bonaparte Squier, a young English immigrant who arrived in Battle Creek, Michigan, in the latter part of the 19th century, was a farmer and shoemaker who had learned the fine European art of violin making. Victor Squier started making his own hand-wound violin strings, and the business grew so quickly that he and his employees improvised a dramatic production increase by converting a treadle sewing machine into a string winder capable of producing 1,000 uniformly high-quality strings per day.

He moved to Boston in 1881, where he built and repaired violins with his son, Victor Carroll Squier. Squier violin strings, banjo strings and guitar strings became well known nationwide and were especially popular among students because of their reasonable price. Squier Company in early 1965, shortly before Fender itself was acquired by CBS in May of the same year.

It is stamped into the chrome chassis with a white letter “C” (for Champ) and the serial number, also in white.

As you can see from the photo below, the serial number of my amp is C 09556.

Serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the years.

fender dating serial-35

Therefore, while helpful in determining a of production dates, a neck date is obviously not a precisely definitive reference.

Looking at the chart below we can see that there was a pretty consistent numbering scheme for the vintage tweed Fender Champs.

Champion 800 (green tweed)* 01 to 1000 – 1948-49 Champion 600 5B1 (two tone) 01 to 1300 – 1948-49 1300 to 1700 – 1950 1700 to 5000 – 1951-52 5000 to 5500 – 1953 Champ 5C1, 5D1 (tweed) 5500 to 6600 – 1953 6600 to 8000 – 1954 8000 to 9999 – 1955 Champ 5E1, 5F1 (tweed) C00001 to C00800 – 1955 C00800 to C03100 – 1956 C03100 to C06000 – 1957 C06000 to C08800 – 1958 C08800 to C12500 – 1959 C12500 to C15500 – 1960 C15500 to C16800 – 1961 C17000 to C19000 – 1962 C19000 to C21000 – 1963 C21000 to C23000 – 1964 So we can see that a serial number of C 09556 is pretty close to the lower end for serial numbers for 1959 5F1 tweed Fender Champs.

So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, cannot be a definitive reference.

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..