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Alder was easier to finish while ash needed grain filler and sanding blocks for contour sanding.; ash was still used on translucent blonde instruments.The new Fender did not acquire any physical assets of the old company, just the name "Fender".Hence during 1985 to 1987, production of Fender guitars was only done in Japan, while USA Fender created a new factory in California. BUT note that the "E" and "N" series does sometimes appear on "made in Japan" models. In any case, if it says "made in Japan", then it is... Fender has recently (in the last 20 years) introduced LOTS of different serial numbers schemes, depending on the country the Fender was made (USA, Mexico, Japan, Korea, etc). Sorry, since I do not collect new Fenders, I don't really keep track of these things.
Some Stratocasters have a fixed bridge in place of the vibrato assembly; these are colloquially called "hard-tails".
A unique single-ply, 8-screw hole white pickguard (changed to an 11-screw hole 3-ply in late 1959) held all electronic components except the recessed jack plate—facilitating easy assembly.