So, you can't afford that '54 Strat, or that '64, or even that '74 for that matter.Your last chance to own a vintage Fender Stratocaster is with the guitars of the late 1970's.
Some dealers simply go by the serial number, which you will discover can be far from accurate.The first digit is supposed to reflect the year of manufacture, but there are major overlaps in this regard, and . An important thing to look for are the matching serial number stickers in the neck pocket and on the pickguard.S7 5 digits = 1977-1978 S8 5 digits = 1977-1978 - I have seen a 1982 Strat with an S8 decal S9 5 digits = 1978-1982 E0 5 digits = 1979-1982 E1 5 digits = 1980-1982 Be especially careful with '79 Strats.In this case it stands for the 3rd week of 1980 and was a Thursday.Ignore all the "FRR" stamps you'll find on the neck base and in the neck pocket.Some might go by the pot codes, but those could have been stock a year or more old by the time they were put into the newly finished guitar.
Or perhaps the guitar was even assembled by various parts picked up over the years and is being passed off as "All original".
First four digits are paired up, 09 is the model number for the Stratocaster, and 00 is the neck configuration, in his case a fretted Maple neck with a Rosewood fingerboard. 38 is the week, 9 stands for the year, 1979, and 3 is the day of the week, which is Wednesday.
The '*' represents a middle digit that is either an 'X', a '-' or something that resembles a '1/2' or '1/4' fraction.
The trussrod was inserted through the back of the neck and the channel filled with the Walnut "skunk stripe".
This manufacturing process was used regardless of whether it was a Maple or Rosewood fingerboard.
In 1979 a notch was added for a ground wire lug in the control cavity and output jack cavity and a black shielding paint was sprayed into the cavities right over the lugs and wires that were soldered to them.