Vintage Stratocaster necks from 1954 to 1959 were made out of a single piece of maple, with no fingerboard attached.Three pickups gave the instrument unprecedented tonal range, as did a tremolo bar that bent the guitar’s strings when pressed.
There may not always be a date there, and if the date on the neck does not correspond to the date calculated based on the serial number, that may simply mean that a neck dated, say, 1961 was used to make a 1962 guitar.
But if the date and serial number do correspond, that should give a collector some serious peace of mind.
Strats from 1954-1965 have four screws in the plate, and the serial number is at the top.
Serial numbers and their corresponding years are as follows: 0 to 6,000 = 1950–1954; 0 to 10,000 = 1954–1956; 10,000s = 1955–1956; 10,000s to 20,000s = 1957; 20,000s to 30,000s = 1958; 30,000s to 40,000s = 1959; 40,000s to 50,000s = 1960; 50,000s to 70,000s = 1961; 60,000s to 90,000s = 1962; 90,000s to L10,000s = 1963; L10,000s to L20,000s = 1963; L20,000s to L50,000s = 1964; L50,000s to L90,000s = 1965 You can also date a vintage Fender Stratocaster (or any early Fender, for that matter) by unscrewing the neck from the body and looking to see if there is a penciled or stamped date on the end of the neck.
The tuners on a guitar’s head can also help identify a guitar’s age.
Strats from 1954 to 1957 have no markings on their tuners, but the ones used from 1957 to 1964 are stamped wi Finally, look for these differentiators from 1959.