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12-Jul-2017 23:56

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.

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.

The first three digits refer to the manufacturer, CTS.

The last four are broken up into pairs, where the first two, 78, stand for 1978 and the last two stand for the week, which is the 18th.

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.

The number will have an 'S' prefix (possibly an 'E', read below) followed by a six digit number.The third pair of digits are definately known to refer to the year.In this example the pickups were wound by operator #20 in the 23rd week of 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.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.