What does it mean when you’re considering buying a Fender guitar with a description that mentions the instrument’s neck profile?Before delving into the details, it’s important to understand that neck profile doesn’t affect the sound of the guitar itself; it affects the way you play it.The following charts detail the most common Fender serial number schemes used from 1976 to the present.Please note the introduction of the "S" prefix serial numbers.They have been placed at the top of the neck plate, on the front of the headstock, on the back of the headstock, and on the back of the neck near where the neck bolts onto the body.They were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate (early '50s Strats), and on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles on some Telecasters. Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses. instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.
Given the modular nature of Fender's production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, placed in the manufacturing warehouse and remained in stock for a period of time, and then subsequently paired with a body to create a complete guitar in the following year.
(If you are not comfortable performing this operation, please use an experienced professional guitar tech in your area).
The serial numbers do not immediately reflect the change, as CBS continued to make instruments using existing, tooling, parts, and serial number schemes.
The term “neck profile” refers to the shape of the back of a guitar neck in cross section and is often used interchangeably with the term “back shape.” It’s also referred to simply as “neck shape,” although there are other important neck measurements with which “neck profile” shouldn’t be confused (i.e., neck width, neck depth and fingerboard radius).
Fine, but what does all this technical talk mean to the average guitar player who just wants to know what time it is rather than how to build a clock?
While there have been periods where dramatic changes have occurred, for example: the transition periods between Leo's Fender and the CBS years, as well as the transition between CBS' Fender and the current ownership, generally speaking, most models are feature specific and do not change from year to year..