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Hi, I have some pickups that came from my brother's early 70s Strat.
8 DEC 65 B for a Duo-Sonic II with a 1 5/8 inch neck width).
The new code consisted of 6, 7 or 8 digits and was usually stamped in green ink.
instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.
There were periods of time when this was not consistently done, (between 19), and there are certainly other examples of short periods of time, and individual pieces, where the dating was simply omitted.
While there have been periods where dramatic changes have occurred, for example: the transition periods between Leo's Fender and the CBS years, as well as the transition between CBS' Fender and the current ownership, generally speaking, most models are feature specific and do not change from year to year..
Given the modular nature of Fender's production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, placed in the manufacturing warehouse and remained in stock for a period of time, and then subsequently paired with a body to create a complete guitar in the following year.
So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, it cannot be a definitive reference.
Serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the years.
So, you can't afford that '54 Strat, or that '64, or even that '74 for that matter.