Dating a Mexican body? | Fender Stratocaster Guitar Forum
The Fender serial number decoder currently supports all documented MIA, MIJ, MIM, MIK and MII formats with the exception of Custom Shop, Relic and Reissue . Typically, the "Squier Series" Stratocaster is a Fender guitar, roughly on a par with the current Mexican Standard. However, if it was on a true. Made in Mexico Fender Serials. Fender opened a factory in Ensenada, Mexico in the late '80s and instruments.
Whilst not as heavy as some other guitar brands, the prices would be a cut to high for many. With this in mind, Fender introduced the Squier range of guitars back in The brand was Fender's budget solution, giving them the ability to use their classic guitar designs at affordable, entry level prices.
Whilst the Squier brand utilised these classic and sort after Fender models, they were able to build them for a lot cheaper to make their budget range a huge success. The guitars were built with cheaper woods, cheaper components and cheaper labour in the far east. The earliest Squiers are much sort after as their quality was very high, but as the brand developed and new factories opened in different regions, costs came down more along with the quality of the instruments.
It's wrong to think of the Squier brand as inferior, as a well built one in the right hands can sound as good and play as well as a fully fledged Fender model. Unfortunately though, the Squier brand does come with a slight stigma, due to its budgetary origins. As good as Squier guitars can be, most musicians will use them until they are able to afford a proper Fender. Most guitarists would rather see the plain Fender logo on their guitar than the 'Squier by Fender' that Squiers display.
The Fender "Squier Series" Stratocasters Whilst there can be no mistaking the Fender and Squier brands, around a new kind of Fender came out that would blur the boundary between the two brands, causing confusion and skulduggery for years to come. The period at Fender was marked by a number of changes in production, with new Asian factories coming online, and one of their production being hampered by a fire at their Mexican factory.
There was also lots of production changes and movements for the Squier brand. As part of their drive to expand the budget side of the business, presumably to increase sales turnover, Fender brought out the Made In Mexico Fender "Squier Series".
However, if it was on a true par, then the guitar could not have been sold as a budget model. The prices were generally mid-way between the standard Squier Stratocasters and the standard Fender Stratocasters. The cost savings came in the both the way the guitar was manufactured, where it was manufactured and the components used. These guitars utilised cheaper electronics from the far eastern factories alongside pick ups made in Mexico. The cost savings from the use of these cheaper components meant that from tothe "Squier Series" came into the market place as a slightly cheaper Fender standard.
These "Squier Series" guitars carry a couple of prominent features that easily allows them to be recognised, provided those features haven't been tampered with. Distinguishing Features All these guitars have a Fender logo and branding on the headstock that is solid black see the picture above and on the ball of the headstock, where on a standard model it would say "Original Contour Body", it instead says "Squier Series" picture below.
Other Fender guitars of the time featured the gold and black logo. It's not known if all the "Squier Series" guitars feature the logo on the ball of the headstock, but the solid black logo along with the other features should be a strong pointer.
Another feature to look out for is the plastic pick guard, as there is another noticeable difference that will help identification.
Unlike the standard 3 ply pick guards on the standard Fender Strat models, the "Squier Series" has a single ply one. Presumably this was another cost cutting exercise to bring the price of the guitars down.
As well as these physical differences, further identification will be helped by the serial number, which would begin with one of the following: I'll also mention what I found to be the case on my guitar and a number of others I've seen dissected on the forums.
That's the Squier stamp in the neck pocket of the guitar. I haven't confirmed that this is true of all "Squier Series" guitars, but it is in the examples that I have seen. As most buyers are unlikely to remove the neck, this feature, if it turns out to be correct, is not such an important one.
If it is a "Squier Series" the body will be a standard Fender body whatever the stamp is. Squier Series logo detail. Squier stamp in the neck pocket - yet to confirm if this is typical of "Squier Series" bodies. As the Squier label carries its own baggage due to its budget nature, it's widely thought that many of the people who owned these "Squier Series" Fenders took steps to hide the name, despite the fact they owned proper Fender guitars.
Also notice the squared off corner pickup routes. Earlier 's Strat bodies have rounded corner pickup routes.
The body routes on a Stratocaster. Note the rounded pickup route corners, compared to the 's pickup routes seen above. The body routes on Telecasters. In the 's the "notch" was removed from the bass side of the neck pocket. Initially, when the Fender Stratocaster was introduced init had a single layer white pickguard attached with 8 screws.
In midFender switches to a multiple layer pickguard with 11 mounting screws. One of the additional screws required a change to the interior body route on the Stratocaster. Now a added "shoulder" was left in the electronic route to accomodate one of the extra pickguard screws. Starting in the late 's, Fender also changed the shape of the pickup routes on the Strat. Now the corners were more square, instead of being round. The Telecaster body also changed in the 's. The "notch" that existed on the bass side of the neck pocket was removed.
See the picture above. Fender used "single line" Kluson tuners, that had "Kluson Deluxe" stamped in a single vertical row like and later Klusons ; these are easily identified as "early" Klusons and not and later Klusons because "PAT APPLD" is also stamped below the vertical "Deluxe" marking. These are also different because they lack the side worm shaft hole for the tuner shaft there is only a side "entrance" hole.
Fender used "no line" Kluson tuners exclusively, and were unmarked had no brand name stamped in the tuner back. Also still no side worm shaft hole for the tuner shaft. There is now a side tuner shaft worm gear hole. Still "no line" style casing had no brand name stamped in the tuner back.
Fender used Kluson tuners exclusively on all models. The only variable was the tuner tip. DuoSonics, MusicMasters, Mustangs and other low-end models had white plastic tips, all other models had metal tips. Fender used Kluson tuners, but now the "Kluson Deluxe" was stamped into two vertical lines "Kluson" in one line, "Deluxe" in the other.
Note some models such as the Jazzmaster and Jaquar the use of Kluson tuners ended in mid see below. Fall to late 's: Fender had tuners made for them with a big "F" stamped in the back cover. Tuner buttons were chrome plated plastic. Click here to see the different Fender tuners used from to the s. Click here to see a comparison of vintage versus reissue Kluson tuners. Click here to see a comparison of vintage versus reissue Kluson tuner bushings.
Tone Capacitors to Seemingly for this year only, most Stratocasters have a green square "chicklet" style tone cap this may include other models too. Old style pre Stratocaster bridge. Note the nickel plated saddles with "Fender Pat. Reissue saddles look exactly the same but are stamped "Fender Fender". Also since the pickguard is removed on this Strat, we can see the "nail hole" just above the pickguard screw hole. If this nail hole does not have paint in it as seen herethe finish is probably original.
Old style Telecaster bridges. The bridge at the top is a mid and prior style Tele bridge with brass saddles, and the serial number stamped into the bridge plate reissue vintage Tele bridge plates with serial numbers have a "dot" pressed below the third number in the serial number, so not to be confused with original Tele bridge plates.
The picture at the bottom is a mid to style Tele bridge with "smooth" saddles, and no serial number on the bridge plate. In Fender then switched to "threaded" saddles on the tele bridge not shown. The Stratocaster used the same bridge saddle from toa piece of steal stamped into shape. In the Strat bridge changes to a less expesive saddle made of cast metal.
Reissue vintage Strat bridge saddles are also stamped metal. Click here for a picture. Recent "bogus" Strat saddles are now available in which many individuals pass-off as originals. Strat Tremolo Blocks Pickups and Pickup Springs to March Pickup wire is usually a real rich cooper color. Pickups are dipped in hot wax to eliminate microphonics, and this wax is evident on the entire pickup.
March to late 's: Gray bottom pickups would be the rule, but black bottom pickups were used from old stock as late as Starting in the early 's, the top edges of the magnets were no longer rounded. Most gray bottom pickup assemblies have at least one pickup with a hand written date. By the late 's this changed to an inked stamped date code, much like the date code used on the butt of the neck.
Most gray bottom pickups have a deep burgundy colored pickup wire. Wax treament is no longer used in favor of a lacquer dip treatment, which is much harder to see. Pickup screw springs are now actually real cone-shaped springs instead of rubber surgical tubing. Click here for a picture of gray bottom pickups s. Click here for a picture of a November 4, gray bottom pickup date stamp. Potentiometers Fender used mostly Stackpole brand pots in the 's, and CTS brand pots in the 's.
These pots are date coded, and can help verify the authenticity and year of an instrument. The manufacturer code for CTS is or for Stackpoleso this number should be stamped on the pot somewhere. In the 's, YWW date format was used. For example, "" would be a CTS pot made in the 4th week of A code of "" would be a CTS pot made in the 44th week of The Telecaster, Esquire, Precision Bass, etc, because of their metal knob configuration, used "smooth solid shaft" pots.
Guitars with plastic knobs Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, etc. The split shaft pot could be adjusted for variable tension against the inside of its plastic knob, and the knurling stopped the plastic knob from slipping.
The Telecaster or Precision bass type metal knobs with the small set screw which was tightened against the pot's solid shaft to hold the knob was better with a solid shaft pot. These small "tallboy" plastic bakelit knobs were implemented on the Strat with solid shaft pots perhaps Fender didn't have any split shaft pots in stock at the time, as the Strat was the first Fender guitar with plastic knobs.
Because of this, many late 's Fenders have pots dated from More info on pots can be found at in the Feature section, by clicking here. The jack cup on Telecasters changed through the years. Pre jack cups were milled, and have sharper edges and "teeth" to hold it in the body.
Later jack cups are pressed steel and have smoother edges and smooth sides. Wiring to Usually the color is black for ground and white for "hot". Starting in sometimes yellow is used instead of white. Jazzmasters and Jaquars also used other colors like red and blue.
PVC plastic shielded wire is used.
Fender Seriennummern - Fender Seriennummern USA Japan Mexico
Black for ground, white for "hot". An original Stratocaster wiring harness and pickguard. Notice the small metal shielding plate around the pots, and the white single layer pickguard.
At the top edge is a early 's three-layer celluliod "mint green" pickguard with it's full-size aluminum shielding plate. First generation CRL switches from to had two patent numbers.
Second generation CRL switch used from to about have three patent numbers. Otherwise the two and three patent number switches look identical. Shown below is a three patent number switch and brown center wheel. On the first single pickup Esquires Fender used a different flat looking 3-way switch. Early style CRL 3-way switch with two patent numbers Switch made of metal and a fiberous brown bakelite type material holding the switch contact that has flat side cuts.
This style of switch started with the double pickup Esquire. CRL 3-way switch with three patent numbers and the bakelite with flat side cuts.
Teles and Strats still use the CRL 3-way switch, but the fiberous brown bakelite material that holds the switch contacts is replaced with a less fiberous brown bakelite lighter in color that is cut round like a half moon, instead of having flat sides. The center wheel is still brown bakelite. Teles and Strats still use the CRL 3-way switch with the less fiberous brown bakelite round cut half moon center. But now the center wheel is white plastic instead of brown bakelite.
May or may not have a Diamond logo seen both ways. CRL switches still look basically the same as the previous version, but only one patent number. Definately a Diamond logo during this period. Fender strats use a CRL 5-way switch on many models, which looks the same as the CRL 3-way switch but with two added notches in the switch lever metal.
Fender bought of these in total, and just used them on special Teles and some Strats. Probably less than a handful were shipped to dealers when the supply of 4, CRL switches had run out by mid The quote from Al Petty is, "if you have one of those switches in your Fender, you probably have an employee guitar or it was a guitar for someone special.
Bechtoldt for much of the CRL switch information. A virgin Stratocaster pickup assembly with no broken solder joints, "black bottom" pickups, "cloth" wire, flat box-shaped paper tone cap, rubber pickup springs, flat edge 3-way switch, CTS pots, and an aluminum pickguard shield all attached to a "green" pickguard.
Pickguard Material Black pickguards: This material consisted of a fiberous bakelite, and was about. The fiberous material was added to the bakelite to add strength bakelite is too brittle and would crack at that thickness without it.
Finally the black pickguards were clear-coated with clear nitrocellulose lacquer top side only to give them depth and shine. White pickguards single layer: Fender used a single layer white pickguard material made from ABS or vinyl about. This relatively new material for the time was cheap, easy to work with, and somewhat flexible.
Note bakelite was never used for white Fender pickguards on any model though many people refer to white pickguards as such; but it's not bakelite. In this case the single layer thickness increased to.
To some degree the effect is not only caused by age and sun, but the "felting" of the black layer below the white layer. This material was used till January when Fender switched to vinyl or ABS for their multilayer pickguards Celluloid was dangerous and very flamable, and shrunk with time causing cracks.
Sometimes these pickguards are called "nitrate 'guards" because nitric acid is one of the key ingredients used to make celluloid. The and later white pickguards do yellow a bit with age.
But even aged white 'guards look much different than the older "green" 'guards. In the late s, white Stratocaster pickguards change slightly not sure about other models.
Identifying a Mexican Strat based on serial number question
Notice the redish material the factory used to angle the neck. This is typical of and Strats. Click here for a picture of the ink stamp on this aluminum pickguard shield used during the s. From and later, sticky aluminum foil was attached to the bottom of the pickguard, just around the pots and switch. In the 's, this metal shield was much thicker. Note reissue Strats also use these shields. Click here for a comparison of pickguard material used from toand a reissue pickguard.
The two pickup covers on the outside are ABS plastic. The three covers on the insides are "bakelite" actually polystyrene, but collectors refer to it incorrectly as "bakelite". Note how the "bakelite" covers are whiter, and the edges have rounded. When new, the "bakelite" cover edges were as shape as the ABS covers. But with time, the edges round only on the polystyrene covers. They can even wear to show the black pickup itsef underneath. The top row of knobs are ABS, the bottom row are "bakelite" polystyrene.
Notice again how the edges of the "bakelite" knobs wear especially on the volume knoband the ABS edges don't. Also the "bakelite" knobs are whiter.
The original Daka-Ware switch tips used on Broadcasters and Telecasters from to the s. The switch tip on the right is a "top hat" style switch with a patent number though round switch tips can also have these markings. Other Plastic Parts pickup covers, knobs. From to earlythese parts were made from white urea formaldehyde, commonly and incorrectly known as "bakelite" bakelite is actually a trade name for phenol formaldehyde, and is most commonly black or molted brown; for consistency, I will refer to these white pickup covers as "bakelite", though in fact they are not.
These covers were very brittle and very white. Note early Strat knobs have a different and taller shape than late and later knobs. Since "bakelite" cracked and wore very easily, Fender switched to white ABS parts in early These ABS parts yellowed with age unlike the earlier "bakelite" parts.
Click here for a comparison of vintage versus s and later Strat knobs. But the switch tip for Telecasters was bakelite plastic. These black tips are still available today, with very minor differences. In about this changed to the "top hat" style of selector switch tip.
In either case, all original Tele switch tips have some stampings on their bottom side. All tips about and later say "PAT. Reissue "top hat" tele switch tips have no marks on the bottom.
Click here to see the difference.
- The Fender "Squier Series" Stratocaster—Not a Typical Squier!
- Please update your browser to use Reverb
- Dating a Mexican body?
Click here for a comparison of old and new pbass plastic pickup covers. Click here for a picture of the knob style used on Jazzmasters starting in Exceptions to the below data: October to mid All models used Ash as the body wood. Most ash bodies are two or even three pieces, but sometimes a one-piece body was used. Mid to current: All models used Alder as the body wood. The ONLY exception to this is if the model had a "blond" finish. For example, since the stock finish on a Telecaster is "blond" a translucent white colorall blond Telecasters are made of Ash.
If a post Stratocaster was ordered in blond, it too would be Ash. To summarize, if the Fender instrument is later than mid, and was originally not blond in color, the body wood should be Alder! Most alder bodies are 2 to 4 pieces. Alder trees do not grow "big", so multiple pieces were used for Fender guitar bodies. The number of pieces has little effect on sound or value. Some Mexican made models use Poplar bodies. Starting in mid, Fender sprayed the yellow part of the sunburst.
Mexican Fender Serial Numbers
This allowed Fender to be less picky with their choice of Alder, because the sunburst is less transparent. Prior toFender stained the yellow of the sunburst into the wood, instead of spraying it. This saved a spray step when shooting a sunburst finish. There is a lot more info on Fender finishes here.
Fender used nitrocellulose lacquer for all finishes. Film thickness was very thin, especially in the 's. From the beginning, Fender would hammer nails into the face of the guitar body before painting, under the pickguard areas.
Then the body was painted on a "lazy susan". First the face of the guitar was painted. Then the body was flipped over onto the nails which suspended the freshed painted body faceand the back and sides of the body were painted. The nails were then used to suspend the body while the paint fully dried.