NGD (and help solve mystery)

ARRITDOR

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 11, 2012
86
Midwest
I know I have posted more questions than answers but that will change - just bear with me(!). I just purchased a used 1990? 1992? 1996? 1999? left-handed Fender Am Std for $500 shipped. It was advertised as a 1996, but when I plugged the S/N into the guitar dater project, it came back 1990. I took the neck off and it says 1992 on the heel (neck was made in the future?).

I have 30 days to return it if I want - it has a hole in the horn because some righty flipped it and played it Hendrix style. >(

It has a good gash on the bottom of the neck, just under the first fret. It has fretboard wear to the wood under the high E and B stings on the second fret. I also notice various small dings/dents down the back of the fretboard and in front of the headstock (how in the world they could have got there... not sure I want to know!). The color is a different shade along the top back edge down to almost the bottom, sort of a milky/cloud thing. Didn't see it until I looked at it in sunlight. I don't notice any of these things when playing it, I suspect it lowers the value overall though.

So it this a 1990, 1992 or something else?
Also, can someone please explain the TBX control, I feel the notch around half-turn. I'm not sure what change in tone I'm supposed to hear?

Under pickguard:
Pickgaurd1-under.JPG


Are 5 springs normal for this model?
TremSprings1-back.JPG


April 66, 1992?
Neck2-heel-date.JPG


Fret/fretboard wear:
Neck5-Wear-front.JPG


And the neck pocket:
Body1-NeckCavity.JPG



Thanks!
 

fenderkev

Most Honored Senior Member
Aug 18, 2009
7,364
Back In Blighty
What's the serial number? E2*****, E3*****? The TBX at the 5 detent is a normal 250k pot, as you turn it up to 10 it becomes 1meg. The pup assembly is pre '98 for a start!!
 

ARRITDOR

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 11, 2012
86
Midwest
What's the serial number? E2*****, E3*****? The TBX at the 5 detent is a normal 250k pot, as you turn it up to 10 it becomes 1meg. The pup assembly is pre '98 for a start!!

It's N9830xx. I believe it to be one of those that was given an "N9" date in 1990, but the heel says 1992, so I may not know what I'm talking about.
 

blackstrat

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 9, 2009
1,200
Greece
Probably just a classic case of Fender serial number/stamped date inconsistency - you are right about the N9 serial number, it's from 1990. Any markings on the body? From the pics provided it seems that all the parts are consistent with an early 90's strat, with the possible exception of the tremolo springs - these should be black (they look like chrome) plus the tremolo block does not also look completely right but that pic is not very clear (too much light), so I may be wrong.

TBX stands for Treble Bass eXpander so as you move from the detent position towards 10 you will notice a subtle increase in treble and volume (bass increase is not that apparent in my opinion).
 

fenderkev

Most Honored Senior Member
Aug 18, 2009
7,364
Back In Blighty
The electrics and Serial number suggest its 1990 and even with the April 1992 on the heel, it could well be that it was manufactured in '92 and got an old serial number. Fender usually use them up by the following year but anything is possible with Fender guitars.
 

ARRITDOR

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 11, 2012
86
Midwest
Any markings on the body? From the pics provided it seems that all the parts are consistent with an early 90's strat, with the possible exception of the tremolo springs - these should be black (they look like chrome) plus the tremolo block does not also look completely right but that pic is not very clear (too much light), so I may be wrong.

I'll have to get more/better pics - actually, I need a new camera (it's not me of course).
There are 5 black springs - the light just makes them look chrome - they are very black. Let me see if I can do a better pick of the block.

What do you guys think given what I paid for it - keep or take back?
 

blackstrat

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 9, 2009
1,200
Greece
I'd keep it too, it seems pretty much original and with honest/regular wear for a 20-year old guitar. Plus you also have to factor in that it's a left-handed model which are much harder to find and generally more expensive.
 

ARRITDOR

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 11, 2012
86
Midwest
Another clue - The neck pocket looks like it says Feb 1 1992. So if the neck says 1992 and the body says 1992, wouldn't it most likely be a 1992? I'm not sure I trust the S/N at all now - maybe it took longer for Fender to go through the old S/Ns since it's a lefty?

NeckPocket-top.JPG


Don't know what these mean:
Body4-route-top.JPG


Better pick of block:
TremSpingsBlock2.JPG
 

lendryesky

Strat-O-Master
Jul 18, 2010
974
Michigan
Re: the 5 springs... That's not uncommon as it's personal preference how many springs to clip on. Usually all 5 springs are used if the user doesn't want to use the trem and it's an easy way of blocking it.
 

jewfresus

Senior Stratmaster
May 16, 2011
1,046
Colorado
The TBX actually puts treble back in like a normal tone knob 0-5, the notch is almost a no-load(adds all of the treble in) and from there cuts bass. I love it myself.
 

ARRITDOR

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 11, 2012
86
Midwest

Interesting thread- thanks! Just goes to show that S/Ns are all over the place and supports my current theory:
Guitar was manufactured in 1992.
The "accidental N9" S/N placed on headstock.
Alder ban from 1990-94, so it sat in Fender warehouse/inventory for 4 years.
Original owner purchased as a "1996" model in 1996.

This would explain:
  • The 1992 date stamps on neck and body.
  • Why the wood is alder and why it was not sold during the supposed ban on alder.
  • Why is has the 1990/99 S/N.
  • And why it was purchased new in 1996.

Right or wrong, it's at least a conversation piece!

BTW, thanks for everyone's responses - they've all been helpful. Now I'm leaning toward keeping it. I'm taking it to a local tech today to get his opinion. My main problem with it now is that almost every fret has one or more dings/pits - it may need to be completely re-fretted but I'll see what he says.
 

jflintmac

Most Honored Senior Member
May 2, 2010
5,157
Canada
That fret wear looks pretty reasonable given it's age. Weather or not it is all original...
Who knows for sure. 90's guitars are not likely to be worth a fortune for a long, long time, if ever. But it is a lefty, and you got a good price on it. I would say it's a keeper for sure.
 

blackstrat

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 9, 2009
1,200
Greece
Better pick of block:
TremSpingsBlock2.JPG

It's the right block + springs after all, it can be clearly seen here!

I'll agree with jflintmac, the fretwear (and the fingerboard chipping) are very reasonable for the guitar's age and can be easily fixed without a refret. If your guitar tech finds no hidden structural or other problems then you should keep it. He might also be able to fix the dent on the neck by filling it with some sort of lacquer if bothers you too much.
 

colchar

Senior Stratmaster
Jul 27, 2010
1,912
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
I know I have posted more questions than answers but that will change - just bear with me(!). I just purchased a used 1990? 1992? 1996? 1999? left-handed Fender Am Std for $500 shipped. It was advertised as a 1996, but when I plugged the S/N into the guitar dater project, it came back 1990.


That website is notoriously unreliable and nobody should use it for anything - ever.

Email Fender and they will give you all the info they have on that serial number.
 

ARRITDOR

Strat-Talk Member
Jun 11, 2012
86
Midwest
That website is notoriously unreliable and nobody should use it for anything - ever.

Email Fender and they will give you all the info they have on that serial number.

If Fender S/Ns are all over the place, I don't see how they could keep an accurate database. It may be even worse for lefties.

I did take it to a tech and he said all it needed was a fret-level, not a re-fret, so that's a relief. Of course, he is 1-2 weeks out with work, so I'll live with it for awhile.

The good news is that the gouge at the bottom of the neck doesn't seem to bother me at all - can't feel it while I'm playing so it will just add to the character! I stopped in GuitarCenter on the way back and they had a used 1979 strat hanging on the wall with neck chips and gouges much worse than mine. Cost = $2000.
 

LeftyBlake

Most Honored Senior Member
Sep 25, 2009
7,265
The Evergreen State
That website is notoriously unreliable and nobody should use it for anything - ever.

Email Fender and they will give you all the info they have on that serial number.

It's not meant to give definitive answers, so take its info with a grain of salt. Fender serials follow a very distinct pattern, so that website actually does provide pretty accurate info. I know with Epiphones, it's a different story.
 


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