Below are original Telecaster and Stratocaster scratchplates. We used the details for some of our models. Notice the subtle differences throughout the years, the number of screw holes and positions.
In 1959 the Telecaster increased the number of screw holes from 5 to 8 and the positions changed slightly over the years too.
In 1959 the Stratocaster increased the number of screw holes from 8 to 11.
Before 1959 all the scratchplates had square edges or a sand paper round. During 1959 they introduced 45 degree edges and the truss rod adjuster rout on multi-layer material leaving only single layer material with square edges and no truss rod rout. The exception being in 1959 – 1960 some Telecaster scratchplates were made in 2mm material with a .5mm radius machined on the edge. This was because Fender farmed some work out to another company, they also had the adjuster rout.
Original 1950’s scratchplates were made from bakerlite and PVC, early Fender guards varied considerably due to hand finishing. All Fender scratchplates were stamped out on a large press and then finished on a custom made router. During 1959 multilayer material was introduced, cellulose nitrate was also introduced for multilayer guards in 1959.
Fender guards originally had a separate aluminium shielding plate that was just held in place by the screws, not stuck on like the modern day ones. They started sticking shielding on in 1968.