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The model went through a series of changes through the years.Here's a few little tips to remember to help aid in dating those late 1970s and 1980s Stratocasters: Fender's three-way selector switch was updated to the Stratocaster's 5-way in 1977.The best option for getting a close production date is to remove the neck from the body.On the heel of the neck should be a penciled or stamped date with a month and year that it was assembled in.While the Tele was a solid and reliable workhorse, the Strat was a sleek and sexy, futuristic-looking instrument, with offset horns for better balance and enhanced playability, Fender’s “Comfort Contour Body” that was shaped to better conform with the player’s anatomy, and a newly-designed whammy/vibrato system that offered a compelling alternative to the more massive Bigsby rigs that were gaining popularity at the time.Although it was initially designed with a great deal of input from country and swing guitarists, such was its versatility that the Strat soon caught on with rockers like Buddy Holly and English instrumental band The Shadows, as well as blues, surf, and jazz players of all stripes.

Production continued at the new Corona, Ca factory the very last months of 1985 and continue to the present day.

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While some were sold as a "Plus" they were sort of a hybrid have Fender's new Noiseless pickups, yet retaining the locking tuners, roller nut and American bridge.

These went on to be the American Deluxe Strat Series. (Why you are at it, check out my wild and crazy Custom Strat Plus guitars!

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Today, however, Fender markets an unprecedented variety of Stratocasters, ranging from the pint-sized Squier Mini Strat, with 22.75” scale neck and hardtail bridge, to pre-modded axes equipped with dual-coil humbucker pickups and Floyd Rose tremolo systems.