The Fender serial number decoder currently supports all documented MIA, MIJ, MIM, MIK and MII formats with the exception of Custom Shop, Relic and Reissue instruments.Please note that fender serial numbers tend to overlap by at least a year, and thereby the date of your guitar can only be approximated.The new Fender did not acquire any physical assets of the old company, just the name "Fender".
They were stamped on the back vibrato cover plate (early '50s Strats), and on the bridge plate between the pickup and the saddles on some Telecasters.
But due to the modular nature of Fender's production methods, and the fact that most serial numbers schemes are not sequential and usually overlap from between 2 to 4 years, (from the early days of Fender, through to the mid 1980s), dating by the serial number is not an exact science.
The only way to try to narrow the date range of your specific instrument would be to remove the neck and check the butt end of the heel of the neck for a production date, which may be stamped or written there.
(If you are not comfortable performing this operation, please use an experienced professional guitar tech in your area or bring it to Superior Music).
The "E", stood for the decade of the 1980s and was, as shown below, introduced in 1979. "V" prefix serial numbered instruments, is to remove the neck and check the butt end of the heel of the neck for a production date, which may be stamped or written there.
As you can see by the overlaps of numbers and years, the reference to the actual production date is rather loose. The numbers and decals are produced far in advance, and apparently, some N9 decals, (which were supposed to be used in 1999), were affixed to some instruments in 1990.
Serial numbers have been used in various locations on Fender instruments through the years.
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.
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.