So, obviously a neck date, while being helpful in providing a date range of production, cannot be a definitive reference.
Please note the introduction of the "S" prefix serial numbers.
The "S", stood for decade of the 1970s, and began CBS' attempt to use serial numbers to identify the year of production for the piece.
As a result, you will see some 1990 guitars bearing N9 serial numbers Year 2000 introduced the "Z" prefix serial numbers on US made guitars, which stood for the 0 of the new millennium.
A Z0 prefix dates to 2000, a Z1 prefix dates to 2001 etcetera.
The American Deluxe Series use the same dating code but add a "D" in front of the "Z", i.e. The following serial numbers are somewhat outside the more, well known Fender serial number schemes.
If you have what you consider to be a somewhat "odd" serial number, please check the following chart to see if you find your serial number configuration here.I also remember the headstock serial numbers on the original "Contemporary" line (the ones with the black headstocks), the "Contemporary Standard" line, and a few other miscellaneous MIJ models.That looks like one of the Contemporary Series of Strats built in Japan.This chart contains If you are unable to place the approximate year of manufacture of your instrument using the above charts, there are a few great books available, which have invaluable information on the history of Fender instruments.If you have serious interest in learning about the history of Fender instruments, or if you just want to try to establish the year of production of your own axe, we would highly recommend that you pick up one or more of the following books.There were periods of time when this was not consistently done, (between 19), and there are certainly other examples of short periods of time, and individual pieces, where the dating was simply omitted.