Dating a fender precision bass
This information is courtesy Fender.com, republished here for your convenience. instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.
Hit the jump to see just how old that guitar or bass really is. Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses, although there were periods when this was not consistently done (1973 to 1981, for example) or simply omitted.
Serial numbers were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate on early ’50s Stratocaster® guitars, and on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles on some Telecaster® guitars.
Consequently, some 1990 guitars bear 1999 “N9” serial numbers. American Deluxe Series instruments use the same dating convention, but with the addition of a “D” in front of the “Z”, i.e., DZ1, DZ2, etc.