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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.
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.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.Late 70's Strats have the serial number on the headstock below 'Fender'.
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.