During the first 14 years of Stratocaster production, the serial numbers were only numerals; from 1963 on, the numerals were preceded by a combination of one or two letters. For Strats dating from 1963 on, the prefixes mean: S=Seventies E=Eighties V=Vintage Series N=Nineties Z=New millennium DZ=American Deluxe Series Look at the numbers in the serial number. Fender gives the date ranges as follows: Serial numbers corresponding to 1-6,000 mean the guitar was created during the first five production years of Fender Stratocasters: 1950 through 1954. If you have a Fender Jag-Stang use the Serial Lookup Tool in the Registry: Fender Jag-Stang Serial Number Lookup Tool For other Japan made Fender guitars see this page: Japanese Serial Number Dates and this japan page For those american made Fenders guitars see this page: American Serial Number Dates Mexican made guitars generally follow the following rules: ex MN812323 – the first 3 characters are whats important [M] = made in Mexico [N] = 90’s (Z means zero for 2000, etc…)  = year 8 = Mexico 1998 more examples…[MZ1XXXXX] = 2001, [MN4XXXXX] = 1994 Also see this page for Mexican serials For any fender, if you want the exact year you will need to check the date stamped on the butt end of the neck. Nontraditional Fender Series: AMXN 6 digits corresponds to 1997-1998 and includes Fender's short-lived California Series of instruments. For Japanese made guitars, according to Fender: JV 5 digits corresponds to 1982-1984. I own quite a few guitars (9 I think), but on inparticular is a favourite of mine: An old Korean Squier Strat that I picked up around 1992.
I'm a 37 year old bedroom plank spanker (ooer misses etc) from the UK. These have the specifications of Standard Stratocasters and the time frame is difficult to establish. CN 6 digits or VN 6 digits corresponds to Korean-made Fender and Squier instruments and the time frame is difficult to establish. FN 6 digits corresponds to American made instruments that were exported all over the world. He is pursuing a bachelor's degree in general studies with an emphasis in journalism, sociology and business administration from Texas State University. The production date will be stamped or written in this area. He has been on staff with "The University Star" as an editor and writer and is regularly published on the Austin music blog Red River Noise.Exceptions: Pro-Tone Series (solid ash bodies) had serial numbers with either a) no preceding letters and 7 digits, with the first number being the year, or b) starting with KC for Korean Cort, followed by 2-digit year. Stagemaster Deluxe (neck-thru maple necks with basswood wings), and the Double Fat Tele Deluxe (all solid mahogany with set necks), with serial numbers starting with KC for Korean Cort, followed by 2-digit year. There were also some KV (Korean Saehan(Sunghan)) serial numbers followed by 2-digit year. Comes with Dimarzio pickups and coil tap on the back pickup (lift the back tone control knob). The KC and KV forms are apparently associated with the change to Crafted in Korea. NC 6 digits corresponds to Squier Strat Bullets and the time frame is difficult to establish. DN 6 digits corresponds to Fender's American Deluxe Series dating to 1998-1999.