Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.
They have been placed at the top of the neck plate, on the front of the headstock, on the back of the headstock, and on the back of the neck near where the neck bolts onto the body.
They were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate (early '50s Strats), and on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles on some Telecasters.
The following charts detail the most common Fender serial number schemes used from 1976 to the present.
Please note the introduction of the "S" prefix serial numbers.
The neck date simply refers to the date that the individual component was produced.