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Confused about my Mustang's serial number


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A few days ago I purchased my first Mustang, a 65 reissue model in Olympic white with the red tort pickguard, made in Japan etc... The store I bought it from assured me the guitar was new and never used before, and they claimed they had not had it for very long before I bought it from them. Just by looking at the guitar, this all seems to be true, it does look in brand new condition and it is fully functional and plays great, I have played it for several hours a day since I took it home and have had no problems whatsoever with it. It didn't even need a set up or a truss rod adjustment when I made a radical string gauge change from the stock strings.

What I don't understand is the serial number. I wanted to date the guitar so I researched serial numbers from Fender Japan. My Mustang's serial number indicates it was made in circa 1994, which I found shocking, and I can't believe it. It begins with T and is followed by a 6 digit number beginning with 0, if this helps. Does this really mean my guitar is roughly 18 years old? Or is Fender Japan mistaken about their serial numbers?

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A few days ago I purchased my first Mustang, a 65 reissue model in Olympic white with the red tort pickguard, made in Japan etc... The store I bought it from assured me the guitar was new and never used before, and they claimed they had not had it for very long before I bought it from them. Just by looking at the guitar, this all seems to be true, it does look in brand new condition and it is fully functional and plays great, I have played it for several hours a day since I took it home and have had no problems whatsoever with it. It didn't even need a set up or a truss rod adjustment when I made a radical string gauge change from the stock strings.

What I don't understand is the serial number. I wanted to date the guitar so I researched serial numbers from Fender Japan. My Mustang's serial number indicates it was made in circa 1994, which I found shocking, and I can't believe it. It begins with T and is followed by a 6 digit number beginning with 0, if this helps. Does this really mean my guitar is roughly 18 years old? Or is Fender Japan mistaken about their serial numbers?

Japan has recirculated serial number letters. It makes it really hard to date a MIJ CIJ guitar anymore.

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This one is a MIJ 1994 serial number. If they are recycling them, this actually makes sense, I couldn't believe the guitar was old. I guess this means you can't date the current models. Thank you for letting me know this, I was worried for a while.

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This one is a MIJ 1994 serial number. If they are recycling them, this actually makes sense, I couldn't believe the guitar was old. I guess this means you can't date the current models. Thank you for letting me know this, I was worried for a while.

No problem. They switched back recently to using Made In Japan again instead of Crafted in Japan. That throws off dating as well unfortunately.

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Well in that case, now I'm curious, when exactly did they switch back to Made in Japan from Crafted in Japan? Maybe that would help me with dating it.

Here is what I found.

According to a Fender representative it was in the Fender Japan contract that if there was a change of manufacturer from FujiGen Gakki to another guitar factory then the logo would be changed from MIJ ("Made in Japan") to CIJ ("Crafted in Japan"). The first CIJ Fenders start around 1992 but most of the Japanese Fenders up till 1996/1997 are MIJ Fenders. In 1991/1992 FujiGen Gakki were expanding their factory operations by establishing FujiGen Hirooka Inc to be able to take on additional set neck (Gibson like necks) contracts (such as the Orville by Gibson contract) and so Dyna Gakki (one of Kanda Shokai's main guitar makers) took over some of the making of the Japanese Fender models which resulted in a CIJ logo being used on some Japanese Fenders instead of an MIJ logo. CIJ is mostly used on Fenders from 1996/1997 until recently due to Tōkai and Dyna Gakki taking over the Fender Japan manufacturing contract from FujiGen Gakki in 1996/1997. The Fender Squiers were also brought into line to be in sync with the Japanese Fenders at around the same time (1996/1997) with 'Crafted' rather than 'Made' being used. "Made in Japan" is used on some current Fender Japan models (2007) instead of "Crafted in Japan".

Source Page

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Ok so it looks like most recent Mustangs are MIJ. The one I bought looks plenty new to me, I'm assuming it was made within the last year or two, but it looks like I can't be certain.

Hard to know without the Fender tag that they have when they are new.

It used to be setup like this, but as you saw in that link, that 2007 had a T serial number, so it is getting more confusing....

Fender Japan Guitar Serial

Numbers

YEAR OF

MANUFACTURE

JV + 5 DIGITS

1982-1984

SQ + 5 DIGITS (Squier models)

1983-1984

(MIJ) E + 6 DIGITS

1984-1987

(MIJ) A + 6 DIGITS

1985-1986

(MIJ) B + 6 DIGITS

1985-1986

(MIJ) C + 6 DIGITS

1985-1986

(MIJ) F + 6 DIGITS

1986-1987

(MIJ) G + 6 DIGITS

1987-1988

(MIJ) H + 6 DIGITS

1988-1989

(MIJ) I + 6 DIGITS

1989-1990

(MIJ) J + 6 DIGITS

1989-1990

(MIJ) J + 6 DIGITS

1989-1990

(MIJ) K + 6 DIGITS

1990-1991

(MIJ) L + 6 DIGITS

1991-1992

(MIJ) M + 6 DIGITS

1992-1993

(MIJ) N + 6 DIGITS

1993-1994

(MIJ) O + 6 DIGITS

1993-1994

(MIJ) P + 6 DIGITS

1993-1994

(MIJ) Q + 6 DIGITS

1993-1994

(MIJ) S + 6 DIGITS

1994-1995

(MIJ) T + 6 DIGITS

1994-1995

(MIJ) U + 6 DIGITS

1995-1996

(MIJ) V + 6 DIGITS

1996-1997

(CIJ) A + 6 DIGITS

1997-1998

(CIJ) B + 6 DIGITS

1998-1999

(CIJ) O + 5 DIGITS

1997-2000

(CIJ) P + 5 DIGITS

1999-2002

(CIJ) Q + 5 DIGITS

2002-2004

(CIJ) R + 5 DIGITS

2004-2005

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Yes, that was the Fender Japan serial guide I saw too, that a (MIJ) T + 6 digits = 1994-1995. I guess they started recirculating the letters in 2006 or so but I haven't seen the updated guide yet for the newer models being produced since 2005/2006.

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Yes, that was the Fender Japan serial guide I saw too, that a (MIJ) T + 6 digits = 1994-1995. I guess they started recirculating the letters in 2006 or so but I haven't seen the updated guide yet for the newer models being produced since 2005/2006.

Yeah that one pictured was a T serial number and the owner said it was a 07. LOL

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  • 1 month later...

I have a similar story where I bought a 65R Japanese Mustang from a shop basically brand new (still with the plastic on the pickgaurd and pickups) with the seiral number on the back of the neck saying its from 1995-96....I know sometimes with guitars they could be at a depo for so many years and shops get these guitars in from these depo's....they basiclly are new guitars, just they been locked up for years.....I had the same sort of things with a Gibson SG I got...brand new in a shop only to be 5 years old and A Epiphone DR12 I bought from an online store, brand new only to be 10-11 years old.

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sure some of the japanese serial numbers have been recycled, but the 65 vintage reissue model has only been around for a few years, maybe 3 years? so there is no way that it was made in the mid 90's.

also reissue mustangs made in the early to mid 90's are hard to come by now anyway. the earliest reissue mustang ive got is a 1996 bought during 1999.

You have to remember that during the early to mid 90's with no internet it was practically impossible to get any made in japan fenders without actually going to japan. Ive never actually seen a reissue mustang made in 1993 in person, although we know that some exist based on kurts.

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Here's some info:

There's a good thread on the TDPRI (http://www.tdpri.com...ij-old-new.html) about Fender Japan's return to "Made In Japan." (Photo evidence suggests that newer MIJ guitars have a bolder font.)

Fender Japan stamped guitars "Made In Japan" from 1982-1997 and started again in 2007. They stamped guitars "Crafted In Japan" from 1995-2008.

From the Fender Japan website (http://www.fenderjap...jp/support.html) (used Google to translate the Japanese):

Serial Number Approximate year of manufacture

Made in Japan JV + 5 truss の figures 1982-1984

Made in Japan SQ + 5 truss の figures 1983-1984

Made in Japan E + 6 truss の figures 1984-1987

Made in Japan A + 6 truss の figures 1985-1986

Made in Japan B + 6 truss の figures 1985-1986

Made in Japan C + 6 truss の figures 1985-1986

Made in Japan F + 6 truss の figures 1986-1987

Made in Japan G + 6 truss の figures 1987-1988

Made in Japan H + 6 truss の figures 1988-1989

Made in Japan I + 6 truss の figures 1989-1990

Made in Japan J + 6 truss の figures 1989-1990

Made in Japan K + 6 truss の figures 1990-1991

Made in Japan L + 6 truss の figures 1991-1992

Made in Japan M + 6 truss の figures 1992-1993

Made in Japan N + 6 truss の figures 1993-1994

Made in Japan O + 6 truss の figures 1993-1994

Made in Japan P + 6 truss の figures 1993-1994

Made in Japan Q + 6 truss の figures 1993-1994

Made in Japan S + 6 truss の figures 1994-1995

Made in Japan T + 6 truss の figures 1994-1995

Made in Japan U + 6 truss の figures 1995-1996

Made in Japan V + 6 truss の figures 1996-1997

Crafted in Japan A + 6 truss の figures 1997-1998

Crafted in Japan N + 5 truss の figures 1995-1996

Crafted in Japan O0 + 5 truss の figures 1997-2000

Crafted in Japan P0 + 5 truss の figures 1999-2002

Crafted in Japan Q0 + 5 truss の figures 2002-2004

Crafted in Japan R0 + 5 truss の figures 2004-2006

Crafted in Japan S0 + 5 truss の figures 2006-2008

Crafted in Japan T0 + 5 truss の figures 2007-2008

Made in Japan T0 + 5 truss の figures 2007-2010

Made in Japan U0 + 5 truss の figures 2010-

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  • 4 weeks later...

Mine is a 69 reissue that has a T serial number and made in japan, and i got that back around 08-09, but i know it's a 94-95 because they haven't made those in awhile. In my case it was just sitting around in a warehouse or shop since then. I know the 65 reissues have been around for awhile as well, so it could simply be a situation of it sitting in a warehouse for years and with the demand for them, places started ordering them.

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I experienced the same confusion with a guitar listed on CraigsList. The seller and the prior owner both thought they had a pristine mid-1990's Mustang on their hands. Turns out it was a really nice 65RI from 2-3 years ago.

I asked a similar question and other forums, and someone posted this graphic that sums up the situation visually. In 2007 Fender switched from "CIJ" to "MIJ". And they also began recycling serial numbers starting with "T".

9f67608d.jpg

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Ah, that graph was very helpful. If MIJ T Mustangs are the current ones, my guitar must be close to new after all, I should have concluded this in the first place but the Fender Japan website I looked at didn't display any current cycled serial numbers for models made since 2006 or so. My Mustang basically does look and feel new, the one hint that it could have been old was the paint job, I always loved the pictures of the olympic white Mustangs, they were so bright looking but now that I have one the color actually looks more vintage white to me, almost as if it was in fact aged slightly, but I'm sure that means nothing.

Someone said 65 reissue Mustangs have only been available for maybe three years, I never knew that. What were people buying before that, 69 reissues?

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