Japanese Serial Numbers on Peghead Decal Note the lack of S, E, N series.
Serial numbers may be useful in determining the year of production of a guitar.
Neck dating protocol went through many changes throughout the years.
From 1982-1988 all neck dates were written in pencil underneath the nitro finish.
Mid–1997 the CIJ logo was the only one used on Fender guitars coming out of Japan (with exception the Squire series).
All AVRI strat necks were finished in a thin nitrocellulose finish.
When the Corona plant was started up, only the Vintage Reissue Stratocaster models were first produced (between late 1985 through 1986).
The other indicator on Fender copies is the Tokai logo on the headstock.The serial numbers do not reflect this change - Fender continued to make instruments using existing serial number schemes.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.The Japanese-made Fenders do have some slight serial number differences (typically a "J" serial number prefix). I believe this was a mistake on Fender's part using the same prefix for both U. Below are some examples of letter prefixes used in recent serial number schemes.