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There is a new issue every year that reflects current trends.
I can go to the local trophy shop and get a neck plate engraved.
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Collectors value instruments based on a number of factors.
As always, there is typically some number prefix overlap and carryover from year to year. They are detailed reference resources with a wealth of information on determining the production years of various instruments and on Fender history in general. Vintage Series, check neck date for specific year E3 5 digits E4 5 digits V 4, 5 or 6 digits U.
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.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.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.
It really isn't a 1963 or 1959 or 1988 or 2004 until you get in appraised by someone who knows what to look for.
A 1964 instrument can be worth 25% more than an instrument from 1966.