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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.
They are detailed reference resources with a wealth of information for helping to either establish the vintage of your guitar or bass or for just learning more about Fender history in general.
These books are the same resources we refer to here at Fender, when trying to research answers to these same history and dating questions.
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 instruments.
Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.
instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.
The following chart details the Fender serial number schemes used from 1965 to 1976.