Fender product dating
In about 1969, Gretsch began to use another version of the Orange and Grey label on F-Hole instruments.
This third iteration of the label had “Fred Gretsch Mfg. and serial No., and it said “That Great Gretsch Sound” at the bottom. The 5-digit numbers on these labels always begin with 1 or 2 and are sequential, do not follow the “date-coded” convention, and precise dates cannot be determined using the serial numbers.
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.
A 1957 tweed Vibrolux was reported with a tube chart printed with circuit “5E3” (tweed Deluxe) instead of the correct 5F11 (see photo).
The numbers for the months, October (10), November (11), and December (12), can also be interpreted as (10) January 1970, (11) January 1971 and (12) January 1972.
It helps narrow things down, but in most cases is an inexact science.The bridge plate or neckplate were applied to a guitar with no thought to keeping any kind of number sequence.Fender serial numbers were assigned like this: As you can see from this over-simplified example, serial number assignment was fairly random. The only truly definitive way to date a pre-CBS fender is to look at all the dates on the instrument (body date, neck date, pot dates).At least not while he was at Fender Musical Instrument Corporation.
Before 1977 Fender guitars hd a serial number on the bridgeplate or neckplate.In 1973, the 2nd iteration of the Baldwin era Gretsch label was introduced.