The lower priced Fender guitars were made in America and could not compete with the lower prices of Japanese made Fender copies.In the early 1980s, Japanese labor and production costs were much lower than in America and to compete with the Japanese made guitars, Fender moved the lower priced Fender guitar production from America to Japan.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.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s Fender was facing competition from lower priced Japanese made guitars.
They have been placed at the top of the neck plate, on the front of the headstock, on the back of the headstock, and on the back of the neck near where the neck bolts onto the body.
Most notably, production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.
Neck dating is useful in determining the age of a guitar, but is not definite.
The neck date simply refers to the date that the neck was produced.