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Serials/Dates of Manufacture

Dating your Japanese made Fender by its serial is an inexact science but the following table will give you a reasonable idea of its date of manufacture. NOTE large scale official export to the UK/USA/Europe stopped around 98/99 with the 'B' serial. 

*Note: From mid -1997 serials are prefaced by 'Crafted in Japan'. Prior to that exported guitars bore the phrase 'Made in Japan'. There is no intrinsic quality difference in the guitars themselves as far as I can tell from the many I have owned. Beware of Ebay vendors telling you the 'Made in...' is better then 'Crafted in....', or vice versa. It is the specification that counts, not the label.

Serial Number

Approx  Date of Manufacture

"Made in Japan" followed by:

JV + 5 digits 1982 - 1984
SQ +    " 1983 - 1984
E + 6 digits 1984 - 1989
A +     " 1985 - 1986
B +     " 1985 - 1986
C +     " 1985 - 1986
F +     " 1986 - 1987
G +     " 1987  - 1988
H +     " 1988 - 1989
 I +     " 1989 - 1990
J +     " 1989 - 1990
K +     " 1990 - 1991
L +     " 1991 - 1992
M +     " 1992 - 1993
N +     " 1993 - 1994
O +     " 1993 - 1994
P +     " 1993 - 1994
Q +     " 1993 - 1994
S +     " 1994 - 1995
T +     " 1994 - 1995
U +     " 1995 - 1996
V +     " 1996 - 1997
'Crafted in Japan' followed by:
A +     "        * 1997 - 1998
B +     "        * 1998 - 1999
O + 6 digits 1997 - 2000
P +     " 1999 - 2002
Q +     " 2002 - 2004
R +     " 2005 - 
 

Are you looking to buy a used Fender Japan guitar? Confused by what you see on Ebay and elsewhere?
 Read my 'buying tips' before commiting yourself. 

..and after doing that go to for the best selection of used non-export Fender Japan 
instruments you will find this side of Tokyo