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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.As you can see by the overlaps of numbers and years, the reference to the actual production date is rather loose. The numbers and decals are produced far in advance, and apparently, some N9 decals, (which were supposed to be used in 1999), were affixed to some instruments in 1990.As a result, you will see some 1990 guitars bearing N9 serial numbers. Fender has recently (in the last 20 years) introduced LOTS of different serial numbers schemes, depending on the country the Fender was made (USA, Mexico, Japan, Korea, etc). The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the more, well known Fender serial number schemes.
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.So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, it cannot be a definitive reference.