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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.They are believed to just be some kind of quality check stamps.Pot Codes: MMMYYWW Example: 1377818 - In 1977 found on the side of the pots, moved to the bottom (and unfortunately sometimes covered with solder) in 1978.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.
If a solid paint color was applied to the body it was applied right over the shielding paint which may make it hard to see. Finish: Polyester (Aliphatic Urethane Coating), or "poly" as it's most commonly knows as in the guitar industry, was applied as a sealer/basecoat.Neck Configuration Codes: 00 = Rosewood fingerboard 01 = Rosewood fingerboard 02 = Maple fingerboard 03 = Maple fingerboard Neck & Body Stamps: WWYD Example: 0304 - Basically the same as the date portion of the nine digit neck stamp although in black ink.They seem to be found on the bottom of the neck heel, as well as in the neck pocket of the body, or even just stamped on the front under the pickguard on Natural finished guitars.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).