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They just grabbed whatever part or component was ready and put together the instrument to fill an order as fast as possible.
The general rule of thumb is that a bass is as old as it's newest part, or at least it's latest dated part.
So how do you properly determine the year of production?
Pickups were only date stamped from 1964 to about 1979 but can be really useful in helping pin down the year.
Back in the 1950's and 60's no one at Fender at any clue that one day these instruments would be highly sought after collector's items or coveted vintage tone machines and that people would be so concerned about when any particular bass was made.
Potentiometer codes are pretty reliable for dating, usually indicating the year and week it was made.
One exception is that most Fender pots from 1966 to 1969 are dated to 1966.
Some 1959 Precision Basses have no neck date stamp at all and several Basses from 1969 to 1980 have neck stamp codes that are difficult to decipher and sometimes impossible to read.
Body stamp dates were used by Fender from the early 1950's to the mid 1960's and then stopped until the 1980's where they started again sporadically to this day, sometimes you see them and sometimes you don't.
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There are some years in particular that can get real tricky.
Ever since Fender started making basses in 1951 they dated certain parts and components to give a general idea of when the instrument was produced.The problem is that a neck might be made and dated and then sits in the factory for awhile until it's finally bolted to a body that is dated months later Then there are pickup and potentiometer date codes, serial numbers and even bridge stamps and pickguard codes in some cases.