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All this is public information, avaiable on the web.
I encourage you to take initiative and verify this (and ALL) information independently, for yourself.
so, 1988); a Fender USA guitar serial starting "N4" would "theoretically" mean 1994 (N = in the Nineties, 4 = the 4th year... Additionally, Fender USA sometimes adds letters to the serial number to make special designations.
so, 1994); a Fender USA guitar serial starting "Z3" would "theoretically" mean 2003 (Z = 2000, 3 = in the 3rd year... For example, the US Fender serial number DZ575xxxx, would designate a Deluxe (the "D") guitar made in 2005.
When CBS sold Fender to its current owners in 1984 there was a transitional period from 1984 to 1987 with limited Fender USA production resulting in mostly Fender Japan and leftover stock being sold.
There are also Fender Contemporary Telecaster models with HSS or HH pickup configurations and switches for selecting pickup options.
But in the past, as we have already seen, the USA system has served only as a good starting point when dating a Fender USA instrument.
I have found the Fender Japan serial numbering system considerably more reliable (although, not perfect) for dating instruments... It was decided that the first serial numbers issued by Fender Japan would begin with the letters "JV." The JV was followed by 5 digits which have nothing to do with dating the guitar.
For example: a "MADE" In Japan guitar having a serial number starting with the letter "A," would have been made in 1985 or 1986.
while the "The next serial number prefix used by Fender Japan - as shown on the Fender web site (and other web sites as well) - was "E". The "E" alone tells us the guitar was made between 19...
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.
The System III tremolo system was designed by John Page, Dan Smith, Charlie Gressett and John Carruthers. Sometimes parts of the tremolo system are lost and one common modification is to make the bridge function as a hardtail by locking the bridge into a non movable position and installing a string tree for the first and second strings so that the strings don't slip out of the nut slots.
The pickups used in the Contemporary models were manufactured by Fujigen.