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The lower priced Fender guitars were made in America and could not compete with the lower prices of Japanese made Fender copies.In the early 1980s, Japanese labor and production costs were much lower than in America and to compete with the Japanese made guitars, Fender moved the lower priced Fender guitar production from America to Japan.Fender were also losing sales in Japan to Japanese guitar brands such as Tōkai, Greco and Fernandes, and the establishment of Fender Japan would benefit Fender sales in Japan as well as overseas.Fender began negotiations with several Japanese musical instrument distributors and reached an agreement with Yamano Gakki and Kanda Shokai to establish Fender Japan.
Before the Fender Squier series were introduced in 1982, Fender were making lower priced guitars such as the Fender Lead series at their Fullerton California plant.
Production dates have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses.
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.
So, if you buy one of these model years and the solder is virgin factory and you notice the word "MEXICO" on a pot, not to worry, this is a rare but kosher CTS pot.
After '74, the Mexico assembly of electronics ended.