Starting in 1988 neck dates began to be stamped in black ink with 3 letter abbreviations for the month.
From 1988 through the 1990's, neckdates could either be written in pencil or stamped in black ink, with black ink being more common.
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.
Dating a Fender Guitar by it’s Serial Number can be a little tricky.
In most cases you can only get a ball park range for your production date.
It was also not uncommon for some necks to leave the factory without a neckdate, this appears to be a bit more common among guitars from the late 1980's.
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.History Fender, under the ownership of CBS, acquired the Squier brand name in 1965 when it bought a USA based string making firm, but it lay dormant for many years .Before the Fender Squier series were introduced in 1982, Fender were making lower priced guitars such as the Fender Lead series at their Fullerton California plant.From 1982-1988 all neck dates were written in pencil underneath the nitro finish.The hand written penciled dates used only numbers, the months were not spelled out.