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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, although there were periods when this was not consistently done (1973 to 1981, for example) or simply omitted.
instrument production history, production dates have been applied to various components.
If you'd like to learn more about Gretsch serial numbers, we highly recommend Ed Ball's "Gretsch 6120: The History of a Legendary Guitar." Ball is one of the key researchers who have determined the actual dates, years and features Gretsch serial numbers correspond to.
Gretsch began date-coding serial numbers in August 1966.
The most serious problem, though, lies with the sellers who use the great reputation of the very best JV Squiers, to sell inferior Squiers made in the latter phase of the '80s, for totally unjustified prices.
This article, along with its companion piece on the '80s Korean models, sets out to provide an impartial and realistic look at the sometimes great, and sometimes not so great, 1980s Squier Strat.
I’m not going to be including late ‘80s Korean Squiers in this piece.
I've now added a full study of the first Korean Squiers, which you find in The Truth About... But suffice it to say that the ‘80s Korean Squiers were inherently and consistently inferior to their Japanese predecessors, and they had what I’d describe as ‘double-take’ retail prices.
Most online guides (and quite a few print guides) are based on Jay Scott's groundbreaking book "Gretsch: the guitars of the Fred Gretsch Company," which is a fine book, but is nearly two decades old.
The early '80s 'JV Series' Squier Strats were undeniably amazing value for money, representing as they did the premium Fender Japan product in Europe, at a budget price.
But not all JV Strats were created equal, and in my experience their appeal fluctuated quite markedly.
Neck-dating can be useful in determining the was produced, rather than the complete instrument.
Given the modular nature of Fender production techniques, an individual neck may have been produced in a given year, then stored for a period of time before being paired with a body to create a complete guitar, perhaps, for example, in the following year.