Dating a squier bass
You can buy a factory-fresh, fully warranted product from a dealer that stands behind your purchase with Fender product specialists and support. 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.Serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the years.They have been placed at the top of the neck plate, on the front of the headstock, on the back of the headstock, and on the back of the neck near where the neck bolts onto the body.For instance, many of the MIJ/CIJ Telecasters have the serial number on the bridge and they start with an "A".Yet if you take the neck off they can be 1994-1997!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.
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The new Fender did not acquire any physical assets of the old company, just the name "Fender".
Hence during 1985 to 1987, production of Fender guitars was only done in Japan, while USA Fender created a new factory in California. BUT note that the "E" and "N" series does sometimes appear on "made in Japan" models. In any case, if it says "made in Japan", then it is... Fender has recently (in the last 20 years) introduced LOTS of different serial numbers schemes, depending on the country the Fender was made (USA, Mexico, Japan, Korea, etc). Sorry, since I do not collect new Fenders, I don't really keep track of these things.
Regarding quailty, I have owned many of both these Japanese guitars and it is a fallacy that the than the Mexican made guitars and rival many of the USA models.
The JV and SQ guitars, as well as some of the E series, had USA parts (mostly pickups, switches, and potentiometers) that were shipped over to Japan to help speed up production while the new USA plant was being set up in Corona, California.Neck-dating can be useful in determining the was produced, rather than the complete instrument.