This is a photo of the serial number. I tried using the Fender serial guide and its of little use. You can see it's a little mangled. It looks like a letter with 6 digits. I know I might be able to find out more if I remove the neck and look at the butt end. Do all have info there or just some.
But to double check, i contacted the guy at Fender. Cause i had different tuners on mine and i knew by the serial it should be a Jap Strat, but the tuners were nicer. He assured me the OC plant was closed the year they did the '67 reissues in Japan and i guess some of the parts are different.
OC Strats usually have FENDER on that back plate. I thought. Maybe that's changed.
I took the neck off mine. Still a Jap Strat. Mine had a stamp. Um...i think mainly what that will help with is whether or not it's a replaced body. Mine really does say Made in Japan on the headstock, but i just wanted to make sure it all went together. ;)
That's the main problem. I can't read the first letter and the last number. I do no it's American made. I just would like to know what year. I know it's too many digits to be an early model. I suspect it's made in the 90s.
Establishing the model year of Fender guitars can be such a pain in the ass sometimes. From the looks of this one I'd say it's between 1989 and 1994. Most likely it's 1992. Since you say it's US made I'm betting that first character in the serial # would be an "N"... but you're gonna have to rip her apart to know for sure.
There should be a date on the butt end of the neck. Also check to see if there are dates on the body (usually inside a pickup cavity) and on the pots. Good luck. Let us know what you find.
PS - My 1976 Strat has dual string trees like yours. When using the tremelo bar, I find it stays in tune much better if I bypass the string tree for the D & G strings (just run the strings over rather than under the tree). I also installed carbon saddles which helped immensely with tuning stability.
By the fact that the first number after the missing letter is a 2, then I would say it is either a 1982 or a 1992 US Strat. (See the decodes below).
Judging by the lettering style on the machine head and the hardware, I would almost bet on it being 1982. This would mean that the missing letter was an "E". Does that fit? I can see that the left edge is a straight line, but that could still be either an E or an N.
Most of the pictures on Google Images tend to look more like an '82 than a '92 strat based on hardware used and the lettering style. The hardware is 1970's style, although it could have been a reissue.
Serial Number on Peghead Decal. U.S. made Fenders, starting in mid-1976 has the serial number on the peghead. Note the following number could be off as much as two years. Generally speaking, a "S" prefix equals the 1970's, "E" prefix equals the 1980's, and "N" prefix equals the 1990's. Note "E" and "N" prefix models are sometimes also Japanese-made (see below).
One of the two string guides has been removed in this guitar and the remaining one looks like it has been replaced. I hate the second string guide too. It makes the G string stick. (I think there might be a song in that!)
From the pictures you have shown, it looks like the same lettering, serial placement and hardware.
So, is it a Fullerton or not a Fullerton era Strat? This is so fun. Do Fullerton's have the serial numbers on the neck stocks?
This one would have matched my Firebird...and gotten me just as many dates...V000500 '57 Reissue Fullerton, red bottomed pickup Strat. Fiesta Red. Although, i prefer blue...i like this shade. Woops...I mean V000291. Even better. oh...1982 '57 reissue. that '82 in the front, the 291, Color & red pups = $
Your guitar looks to have the smaller headstock. Combined with the placement of the string trees (I.e. directly over the F in Fender), it looks to be a Dan Smith Strat. Ref: http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=562686
for your sake I hope it's the 92 80's fenders are generally seen as the worst American made guitars ever. the Japanese manufactures were producing guitars better hell a 80's peavey T-60 is held in higher esteem than 80's fenders a lot of people like the T-60.