There's A Brief History of the Stratocaster Part I and Part II that follows the evolution of the most popular Fender guitar of all.
Some browsing around the Fender section of the Price Guide can definitely help you find which model you have.
We also have some other blog posts related to Fender that can hopefully be of some help.
Features like bolt-on necks and pickups wired into the pickguard all helped the Fender factory churn out guitar after guitar, day after day.
This also means that various parts used on a particular guitar may have come from different points in time, so no single number can absolutely define when the instrument was built.
So you need to figure out the year of production for your Fender guitar or bass. Fenders rank as the most frequently bought and sold instruments on Reverb, and finding a precise date of manufacture can be key to determining the value and specifics of an instrument.
The most important thing to keep in mind when dating a Fender is the highly modular nature of the designs.
Instead, the best approach to dating a Fender is to combine indicators from the design of the instrument, the dates found on the neck and body, along with the serial number.
Perhaps the best place to start when dating your Fender is to get an approximate idea of the era based on the instrument's design and components.
Like Henry Ford, part of Leo Fender's genius was in optimizing the company's production efficiency.