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Most guitars feature a label or etching on the headstock that displays its country of origin.
work differently than Fender USA guitar serial numbers.
For more on the MADE vs CRAFTED thing, see the Guide I authored titled "MADE In Japan - vs - CRAFTED In Japan Fender Guitar(s)" .
Continue Reading Websites such as Fender.com, Guitar Repair and offer lists and tables of Fender serial numbers and their corresponding manufacturing years.
Most dating charts begin in 1950, when Fender released its first line of guitars with a consistant serial number system.
The "JV" serialed MIJ (Made In Japan) Fenders have become, and will probably remain, the most collectable - The Holy Grails - of the Fender Japan instruments... The second serial number prefix used by Fender Japan was "SQ", which was followed by 5 digits. Next were the "A", "B", and "C" prefixes, each followed by 6 digits. The first letter (or letters) alone, is (are) all we need to determine the year of manufacture - in , and beyond the scope of this Guide. A great place to start in verifying this for yourself is... You'll notice on their "DATING JAPANESE MADE FENDER INSTRUMENTS" page, they start with the "MADE In Japan" serial numbers.
And the "SQ" alone, tells us the quitar was made in 1983 or 1984. "A", "B", and "C" prefix serial numbers were all made in 1985 or 1986. If you scroll down to the lower portion of the page, you'll see the "CRAFTED In Japan" numbers and prefixes.
For example: a "MADE" In Japan guitar having a serial number starting with the letter "A," would have been made in 1985 or 1986.