Some might go by the pot codes, but those could have been stock a year or more old by the time they were put into the newly finished guitar.Or perhaps the guitar was even assembled by various parts picked up over the years and is being passed off as "All original".
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.
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.
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.
They are believed to just be some kind of quality check stamps.
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.