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.Please note that fender serial numbers tend to overlap by at least a year, and thereby the date of your guitar can only be approximated.The Japanese-made Fenders do have some slight serial number differences (typically a "J" serial number prefix). I believe this was a mistake on Fender's part using the same prefix for both U. Below are some examples of letter prefixes used in recent serial number schemes.Japanese Serial Numbers on Peghead Decal Note the lack of S, E, N series. The new Fender did not acquire any physical assets of the old company, just the name "Fender".Hence during 1985 to 1987, production of Fender guitars was only done in Japan, while USA Fender created a new factory in California. BUT note that the "E" and "N" series does sometimes appear on "made in Japan" models. In any case, if it says "made in Japan", then it is... Fender has recently (in the last 20 years) introduced LOTS of different serial numbers schemes, depending on the country the Fender was made (USA, Mexico, Japan, Korea, etc). Sorry, since I do not collect new Fenders, I don't really keep track of these things.
It was a nice playing Strat though and had that "Straty" tone. A new trem, tuners, pickups and pots/switch will make a Squier just as good as any other strat. The country in which this machine is located does not really make a difference. The factory where a guitar is made has everything to do with whether or not you are playing a quality instrument. And certain factories are buying poor grades of wood to save money, while others aren't.They revamped the whole line in the late 90's and started using Alder again and made some other improvements. Even if you get a good piece of wood on a Chinese guitar, the fretwork will not match that of a Japanese guitar.Also the truss rod is different and the time spent leveling the board (and doing everything else) is dramatically different.Korean Squiers CN/VN: C = Cor-Tek (Cort), V = Saehan(Sunghan), S was already taken by Samick so Saehan(Sunghan) used V instead (Saehan(Sunghan) made the Vester guitars), N = Nineties (1990s), the first number following the serial number prefix is the year.For example * "CN5" = made by Cor-Tek (Cort) in 1995. KC/KV: KC (Korean Cor-Tek (Cort)) and KV (Korean Saehan(Sunghan)), the serial number prefix is followed by a 2 number year.Mexican Squiers MN: M = Mexico, N = Nineties (1990s), the first number following the serial number prefix is the year.For example * "MN8" indicates that it was made at Ensenada, Mexico in 1998. Some of them have a serial number with a E = Eighties (1980s) prefix, and some of them have a serial number with a N = Nineties (1990s) prefix.In March 1985, CBS sold Fender to a group of private investors.The serial numbers do not reflect this change - Fender continued to make instruments using existing serial number schemes.For the most part, if you see someone talking about a Fender, it’s worth more than 00, it’s custom, or it has someone’s fingerprints on it that make it worth more than its weight in gold.And I must admit that I am also guilty of such a crime; almost all of my reviews are guitars that cost more than a thousand, but there’s no better time to rectify my mistakes.