Dating your fender
The first of the three digits tells us the last digit of the year (unfortunately not decade specific) and the last two numbers tell us the week.
In the above example, the transformer was made in either 1966 or 1976, week 45.
Therefore, there are many considerations regarding dating your Telecaster but what follows is a comprehensive general guide and a table of dates and the features and specifications which identify that period in the lines history.
The first Fender solid body model, the Esquire, lasted (in name only) from April 1950 to October 1950 before it was replaced by the "Broadcaster", which lasted (in name only) from the October 1950 to January 1951.
Bridge saddles change from brass to small steel smooth saddles.
The Telecaster Thinline, much like Gibson's 335, has a solid center with hollow "wings" and a single "F" hole.
Now if it’s a blackface amp, it’s a safe bet that 6 means 1966. This code can be found on the power transformer, output transformer, choke, and reverb transformer.
They are all usually within a few months of each other.
A sure way to tell these two early guitars apart is that Broadcasters have truss rods, whereas all 1950 Esquires have no truss rod.Starting in the summer of 1951, Fender adopted the name "Telecaster" for this model, and started using new decals after all the old clipped decals were used.Note that whilst the above dates are accurate, be aware that Fender was a month or two ahead in making body parts so that the date of the decal style might be slightly out of step with the guitar it was applied to.The Rosewood Telecaster, introduced in 1969, had a neck and body made from solid rosewood.This guitar was reissued by Fender of Japan in the late 1980's and is a very close reproduction.
Search for dating your fender:
There are some exceptions and some overlap, but the general idea is this: Tweeds (early 50’s to very early 60s), Browns (1960 – 1962), Blondes (1962 – 1963), Blackface (1963 – 1967), and Silverface (1967 – 1981).