Late 70's Strats have the serial number on the headstock below 'Fender'.
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.
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".
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.
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).
Most Natural and Sunburts finished guitars seem to be three-piece bodies, painted ones may be more.
Necks are Maple, and are constructed from one complete piece if they have a Maple fingerboard.
Be aware of another code found on these pots, 013446.