Here are some early ash stratocasters.http://home.provide.net/~cfh/54strat.html
Exceptions to the below data: the Rosewood Telecaster, the Walnut strat, Thinline Telecasters, etc.
* October 1950 to mid 1956: All models used Ash as the body wood. Most ash bodies are two or even three pieces, but sometimes a one-piece body was used.
* Mid 1956 to current: All models used Alder as the body wood. The ONLY exception to this is if the model had a "blond" finish. In that case, the body would was ALWAYS Ash. For example, since the stock finish on a Telecaster is "blond" (a translucent white color), all blond Telecasters are made of Ash. If a post-1956 Stratocaster was ordered in blond, it too would be Ash. To summarize, if the Fender instrument is later than mid-1956, and was originally not blond in color, the body wood should be Alder! Most alder bodies are 2 to 4 pieces. Alder trees do not grow "big", so multiple pieces were used for Fender guitar bodies. The number of pieces has little effect on sound or value.
* 1963-1964: a few models made with Mahogany bodies.
* 1990-current: Most Japanese Fenders (and some US made models) use a Basswood body.
* 1992-current: Some Mexican made models use Poplar bodies.
Although there are exceptions to the above data obviously.... I am going for more of the vintage specs anyways.
hey Nevin thanks for the info, i was leaning towards the ash myself but the alder is a bit cheaper and it wont be a translucent finish so I am now thinking I will go with the alder body and use the extra cash for some Tonepros/Kluson tuners.