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).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.
This manufacturing process was used regardless of whether it was a Maple or Rosewood fingerboard.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.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.