There were periods of time when this was not consistently done, (between 19), and there are certainly other examples of short periods of time, and individual pieces, where the dating was simply omitted. Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.so, 1988); a Fender USA guitar serial starting "N4" would "theoretically" mean 1994 (N = in the Nineties, 4 = the 4th year... The "theoretically" appears in the previous paragraph a number of times for these reasons: the serial numbering system for USA Fenders has been more accurate in recent years, and that the Fender Japan serial numbering system has had a few quirks of its own... Additionally, Fender USA sometimes adds letters to the serial number to make special designations.
The Japanese are, as many of you know, masters at copying—as these guitars testify.
MADE FENDER STRINGED INSTRUMENT For the majority of Fender's U. instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.
While this neck dating is useful in roughly determining the age of a guitar, it is certainly not definitive.
Mid–1997 the CIJ logo was the only one used on Fender guitars coming out of Japan (with exception the Squire series). I really don’t know, but the MIJ logo Fenders were for the USA market.
USA Fender wanted to stop the import of these guitars to the USA due to firing up their Mexican plant and due to the “too good” quality Japan was creating which competed with the USA models.