The following chart details the Fender serial number schemes used from 1965 to 1976.
You will notice that there is quite a bit of overlap of both numbers and years.
So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, it cannot be a definitive reference.
Unlike the auto industry which has specific model years for their products, most specifications for a given Fender instrument model, change little if any, through the lifetime of the model.
This chart contains With the year 2000 came the introduction of the "Z" prefix serial numbers on US made instruments, which stood for the 0 of the new millennium.This chart contains If you are unable to place the approximate year of manufacture of your instrument using the above charts, there are a few great books available, which have invaluable information on the history of Fender instruments.If you have serious interest in learning about the history of Fender instruments, or if you just want to try to establish the year of production of your own axe, we would highly recommend that you pick up one or more of the following books.The only way to try to narrow the date range of your specific instrument would be to remove the neck and check the butt end of the heel of the neck for a production date, which may be stamped or written there.(If you are not comfortable performing this operation, please use an experienced professional guitar tech in your area).The "S", stood for decade of the 1970s, and began CBS' attempt to use serial numbers to identify the year of production for the piece. "V" prefix serial numbered instruments, is to remove the neck, and check the butt end of the heel of the neck for a production date, which may be stamped or written there.The "E", stood for the decade of the 1980s and was, as shown below, introduced in 1979. Vintage Series instruments and the use of the "V" prefix serial numbers. In March of 1985, the CBS Corporation sold Fender to a group of private investors.As you can see by the overlaps of numbers and years, the reference to the actual production date is rather loose. The serial numbers do not reflect the change, as Fender continued to make instruments using existing tooling, parts, and serial number schemes.With 1990 came the introduction of the "N" prefix serial numbers, which stood for the 1990s.The American Deluxe Series instruments use the same dating convention but with the addition of a "D" in front of the "Z", i.e. Once again, and as always, there is typically some overlap and carryover of number prefixes from year to year.The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the more, well known Fender serial number schemes.