Dating model 70
Large Letter Stamps: Not 100% sure what these mean, but I have a theory they were used to grade a body prior to recieving a finish. I have seen four A stamps on Natural finished bodies, and a trans-red with an A stamp. I have also seen a D, along with an A on a Sunburst body.This is just a theory, but if only A's were put on Natural finished guitars as an example, it could help determine if a guitar is refinished.
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.Rosewood fingerboards of 1970's Strats retain the "round-lam" style started in the 60's where a thin laminate is glued onto the curved Maple neck surface. Body Routings: In the 1970's profiles of the pickup routings became slightly wide and squared on the ends. Hardtail models also aquired a dollar sized impression just over 1/4" deep in the bridge pickup rout.Not sure of the function, it must have something to do with the machining process (a guide of some sort, perhaps).Most Natural and Sunburts finished guitars seem to be three-piece bodies, painted ones may be more.Necks are Maple, and are constructed from one complete piece if they have a Maple fingerboard.You spot a '79 in a local shop, or online, but how can you be certain it is a '79?
Some dealers simply go by the serial number, which you will discover can be far from accurate.
My intent with this site is to educate those who are on the hunt for that last affordable vintage Fender Stratocaster.
Have a read through and hopefully you will pickup a few things to better assert yourself in the late 70's Stratocasters buyer's market. M = Model or Manufacturer O = Operator N = Neck configuration W = Week Y = Year D = Day Neck Stamps: MMNN*WWYD Example: 0900*3893 - Found on the very end of the neck heel, if at all, in green or dark red ink.
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.
They are believed to just be some kind of quality check stamps.