Finally, the first one or two digits of the code tells you which model you are holding; 22 being a Stratocaster.
There are some exceptions as you can see in this information provided by Mike Gagliano.
The model numbers change yet again (for example, “09”=Stratocaster). April 1973-1980: Fender dropped the old style date stamp after March 1973 and continued with the new 8-digit code.
Below is a list of date formats and how they were marked on the neck-butts: 1950-1954: Hand-written below the truss rod adjustment at the butt end of the neck.
Date format is usually M-D-YY and often features the woodworker’s initials as well.
It is important to remember that Fender serial numbers are NOT conclusively chronological. Back in the day, Fender made their serial number plates in big batches and the assembler simply grabbed a decal or more from the crate and slapped it on the guitar. To get as close as possible to determining the age of your Fender, make sure to check all dates on both body, neck and pots.
The locations of the serial numbers and dates change from model to model and in some cases they have simply been omitted.
Determining the date can also be important from a collector’s perspective, since the pre-1966 vintage Fender guitars are generally considered the most valuable.