Given the modular nature of Fender's production techniques, a neck may have been produced in one year, placed in a 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, cannot be a definitive reference.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.I thought for this piece it would be worth exploring the reality of the Squier Stratocaster of the 1980s – just as a guide for anyone who’s been subjected to conflicting pitches from vendors who might be, shall we say, a little over-enthusiastic to sell their merchandise.I've now added a full study of the first Korean Squiers, which you find in The Truth About... But suffice it to say that the ‘80s Korean Squiers were inherently and consistently inferior to their Japanese predecessors, and they had what I’d describe as ‘double-take’ retail prices.Much cheaper than the last of the Japanese Squiers, making a downgrade in quality inevitable.This means that the the serial numbers starting in 1994 ran consecutively on both the MIJ and the CIJ models while the MIJ logo was being phased out.
I’m not going to be including late ‘80s Korean Squiers in this piece.
If you were looking for info on the Fender-branded '62 Reissue Strats exported from Japan from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s (the Fuji Gen Gakki Fender MIJs), please follow this link.
and both were being made at the same time from 1994 till 1997.
Production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.
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.