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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.
ALOT of "1979" Strats with S9 serial numbers I've recently seen online appear to be from 1980, including the Strat I bought.
Body and Neck: All bodies are Ash, and usually a heavy piece.
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.
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.
Or perhaps the guitar was even assembled by various parts picked up over the years and is being passed off as "All original".
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.
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.
The first three digits refer to the manufacturer, CTS.