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Neck dating can be useful in finding the approximate age of your guitar.
Since the neck is only a component of the guitar, it could have been produced a number of years before the actual instrument was assembled, hence the date on the neck is not necessarily the production date of the whole guitar.
1954-1959: Same as above, only the format is M-YY, leaving out the day. March 1962 to 1965: Dark blue or red ink stamps below the truss rod adjustment at the neck butt. The “XX” does not refer to the day; it is a code for the neck type (e.g. The “W” stands for neck width: “A” is the narrower, “B” is normal width, and “C” wider and “D”, though rarely seen, is the widest.
First half of 1959: No markings for a period after a customer complained about an obscenity written on the neck butt. 1966: the model number (the number stamped on the neck before the month) change (for example, “13”=Stratocaster).
1980: Little glued labels with MM-DD-YY date stamps appear in the neck pocket, pickup cavity and/or back of the neck.
The neck stamps on Fenders from 1969 to 1971 can be most logically translated by reading from right to left.
Starting with the letter B, this is the same neck width code Fender has been using since 1962.
1972: A new eight-digit neck stamp was introduced colored either green or red. From 1972 to around March 1973, this new system was used simultaneously with the previous “XX MMM-YY W”.
Again, either stamp can occur on instruments from this era.
Again, a neck was stamped with either the new or the old date stamp, but not both.
The model numbers change yet again (for example, “09”=Stratocaster). April 1973-1980: Fender dropped the old style date stamp after March 1973 and continued with the new 8-digit code.