Dating japanese fender telecaster
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation entered the picture in the 1950s, when the V. Squier Company began supplying Southern California inventor and businessman Leo Fender with strings for his unusual new electric guitars. Before the Fender Squier line of guitars was introduced in 1982, Fender was making lower priced guitars such as the Fender Lead series at its Fullerton, California plant.
Until the introduction of the Fender Squier series, Fender had never produced lower priced guitars based on its main Stratocaster and Telecaster models and had always used different model designs for its lower priced guitars.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s Fender was facing competition from lower priced Japanese made guitars.
The higher priced Fender guitars were made in the United States and could not compete with the lower prices of Japanese made Fender copies.
There is a chart on the fender website to estimate the era your fender is from, but I can't find a way to lookup the age of my squier. The Japanese MIJ Squiers were made by Fuji Gen up to 1997 and the Japanese CIJ Squiers were made by Tokai and Dyna from 1997.
There were also some KV (Korean Saehan(Sunghan)) serial numbers followed by 2-digit year.
Squier guitars have been manufactured in Japan, Korea, Mexico, India, Indonesia, China, and the United States. As his business grew, Squier moved the company to 429 Lake Ave. Up to 1900, the best violin strings were made in Europe.
Jerome Bonaparte Squier, a young English immigrant who arrived in Battle Creek, Michigan, in the latter part of the 19th century, was a farmer and shoemaker who had learned the fine European art of violin making. Victor Squier started making his own hand-wound violin strings, and the business grew so quickly that he and his employees improvised a dramatic production increase by converting a treadle sewing machine into a string winder capable of producing 1,000 uniformly high-quality strings per day.
Six-digit serial numbers with no preceding letters, with the first number being the year. CY appears on most models produced in China, and is by far the most common form.
Squier II's could not possibly have been assembled before 1987/88, as these represent the transition to Indian and then Korean production, and all the ramifications of such (the serial numbers can be off by years for these particular axes, and neck dates may also be misleading). This form is associated with Made in China Affinitys (with the standard body thickness of 45mm/1.75). These forms are apparently associated with the change to Crafted in China, so post-1996 models only would have this form of serial number. YN is associated with 'made in china' rather than 'crafted in china' and 1996 was the year they swapped to 'crafted in china' and mostly CY prefixes.