The trussrod was inserted through the back of the neck and the channel filled with the Walnut "skunk stripe".
This manufacturing process was used regardless of whether it was a Maple or Rosewood fingerboard.
ALOT of "1979" Strats with S9 serial numbers I've recently seen online appear to be from 1980, including the Strat I bought.
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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.
Pickup Codes: OOWWYY Example: 202378 - It is believed the first two digits are an operator designation for the person operating the pickup winder, this according to Abigail Ybarra herself.