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GUITAR SERIAL NUMBER DATABASE / Got Serials? We got answers!

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1. YouTube channel 2. Our current used guitars 3. Short FAQ at bottom

Serial Numbers We Cover!

Click on manufacturers in the alphabetical list below. Find pot code info in this blog post.

 

Alembic (NEW 4/24!)

B.C. Rich (NEW 5/24!)

Breedlove (NEW 5/24!)

Danelectro/Silvertone

D’Angelico (COMING!)

Dean

Epiphone

Ernie Ball Music Man

ESP

Fender (Updated 4/24!)

G&L (Updated 4/24!)

Gibson

Godin (Updated 5/24!)

Gretsch

Guild

Hagstrom

Hamer

Hofner (COMING!)

Ibanez (Updated 5/24!)

Jackson/Charvel

Lakland (NEW 5/24!)

Kramer (Updated 3/24!)

Martin

Micro-Frets

Modulus (NEW 4/24!)

Ovation

Parker (New 5/24!)

Paul Reed Smith (PRS)

Peavey

Reverend

Rickenbacker

Sadowsky (NEW 5/24!)

Samick (NEW 5/24!)

Schecter

Sire (NEW 5/24!)

Spector (NEW 4/24!)

Steinberger

Takamine (NEW 5/24!)

Taylor (Updated 2/24!)

Tokai (COMING!)

Valco/National/Supro

Vox (NEW 5/24!)

Warwick (NEW 4/24!)

Washburn (Updtd 4/24)

Yamaha 

 

Alembic (Back to top of page)

The first two digits of the serial number are the year the instrument was completed. The code letter(s) tells you the model (see table below). The next group of numbers will be from two to five digits and is the sequential production number of the instrument. Thus 94H8692 is an Elan bass completed in 1994 and is the 8692nd instrument made.

Alembic serial numbers are sequential across all models starting with number "1" in 1972, so a serial number tells you where your bass falls amongst all basses they ever made. Any "A" or "B" after a serial is on the rare occasion of a duplicate serial number.

On newer Alembics you'll find the serial number stamped on the truss rod cover and in the electronics cavity. On Epic and Orion models stamped on the back of the peghead and in the electronics cavity. On older instruments stamped directly on the ebony fingerboard below the 24th fret, and on the oldest instruments stamped on the top of the peghead.

MODEL CODE LETTERS

MODEL CODE OFFERED IN
20th Anniversary AM 1989
Brown Bass BB 1998 -
Custom C 1971 -
Distillate D 1978 - 1990
Elan H 1985 - 1997
Electrum E 1978 - 1985
Epic W 1994 -
Essence K 1991 -
Europa U 1986 -
Excel X 1998 -
Further F 2002 -
Little Darling J or JL 2004 -
Mark King Deluxe MK 1989 -
Mark King Standard MJ 1990 -
Orion Bass OW 1996 -
Orion guitar O 1997 -
Persuader P or V or F 1983 - 1991
Rogue Q 1996 -
Series I blank 1971 -
Series II blank 1971 -
Skylark L 2002 -
Spectrum BG or M 1992 -
Spoiler S 1980 -
Spoiler-3/4 body R 1986 -
Stanley Clarke Deluxe SC 1986 -
Stanley Clarke Standard SJ 1990 -
Tribute T 2001 -
Alembic Export General AE 1972 - 1976 all Series
Alembic Export Canada AC 1972 - 1976 all Series

 

bc rich guitar image

B.C. Rich (Back to top of page)

USA Made

BC Rich definitely takes the cake for the most convoluted serial numbers through the years of any manufacturer I’ve seen. It’s almost like they just kept trying things and nothing seemed to stick. I have spent countless hours looking at old/used BC Rich guitars to research the info below, so you know this all comes from real world examples. Whether or not some of my theories are correct, well I did what I could with what’s out there. Be careful, because there is a lot of misinformation on these serials on the web, including some of what appears on the BC Rich website! I apologize for the number of different sections below, but since there were so many different serial schemes I did my best to break them into separate sections. Keep in mind often the serial schemes overlap each other.

Early USA (1972-74)
In 1968, Bernardo Chavez Rico was designing acoustic guitars in his shop in Los Angeles. He introduced his first electric guitar in 1972 and serial numbers were consecutive starting at 001, 002, etc. They ran this way until about number 350 or so. By 1974 the serial scheme changed to a 5-digit code (YYXXX), where the first two digits are the last two of the year followed by a sequential number, thus: 74088 = the 88th guitar made in 1974. These serials were impressed into the wood on back of headstock. Here are some real world examples:

1627 = ? (4-digit printed serial on Seagull II)
77371 = 1977
80011 = 1978
80158 = 1978
80561 = 1978

USA 1980s
The 5-digit serial system continued throughout the 70s, but by the late-70s production had grown to the point that the serials were no longer exactly correct for the year. By 1980, a guitar might have serial number 82250 for instance, indicating a 1982 guitar because they had run out of numbers for 1980 (with a 5-digit serial you only had room for 999 production units in the system). They were basically making too many guitars to say within the numbering system unless they added an extra digit.

This divergence between year and serial number progressed and in 1981 the numbers were about four years ahead of where they should be. This divergence remained until 1989 when Class Axe took over production of B.C. Rich. Here are some real-world examples from the 80s:

83876 = 1980
84325 = 1981
84416 = 1981
88514 = 1984
89794 = 1986

USA ‘B’ Serials (Late-80s/Early-90s)
BC Rich USA seemed to go quiet in the early 90s. The company had turned over production to Class Axe in 1989, at which time serial numbers changed to a “B” or “BC” + 4- or 5-digit format, or sometimes R + 5, or 6 digits. These serials did not contain the year of production. Class Axe made lots of imports, but it did make some USA instruments too. They will say “Made in USA” on the headstock with a trademark (“TM”) symbol next to the logo. USA models from this period should either start with a “B” prefix (see below) or some used a 5-digit serial engraved on the last fret, where the first two digits tell the year, similar to Custom Shop models (see below). Some examples of 1990s USA serials:

B2729 ST-III, Made in USA on headstock
B8717 (USA)
96167 = 1996 Eagle USA (engraved on last fret)
97229 = 1997 Eagle Supreme USA (engraved on last fret)

USA 2000s & 2010s
For some American made models, the serial number is engraved into the wood on the last fret. In single-digit years (2001, 2002, etc.), the second digit is the final digit of the production date, such as: 24123 = a 2004 guitar. The first digit only comes into play when you progress to double digit years (2010, 2011, etc.), where 11234 = a 2011 guitar:.

21398 = 2001 Warlock Supreme
26015 = 2006 Bich Supreme 10-string
27058 = 2007 Mockingbird Deluxe

USA 2020s
Finally, an easy one. Bolt-ons have serial on neck plate. Neck-thru on headstock. First four digits tell the year:

2021002 = 2021 Bich
2021508 = 2021 ST
2021593 = 2021 Gunslinger
2022018 = 2022 Warlock

USA Custom Shop
Most have five-digit serial impressed into wood of last fret. First two digits tell the year for most, but some use only the second digit to indicate last digit of year. See below:

95023 = 1995 Bich Custom Shop
99170 = 1999 Beast Custom Shop
20487 = 2000 Bich Supreme
26015 = 2006 Bich Supreme (follows different format—i.e., 6=2006)
27058 = 2007 Mockingbird Deluxe (follows different format—i.e., 7=2007)
28012 = 2008 Bich Custom Shop (follows different format—i.e., 8=2008)
SXL28 = 2009 Seagull Ltd Run
MXL14 = 2009 Mockingbird Dlx
211015 = 2011 (6 digits!) verified by COA, Grover Jackson Gunslinger, serial back of headstock
23007 = 2023 Bich Custom Shop
24005 = 2024 Mockingbird SL, Neal Moser Guitars (BC Rich builder) serial impressed on headstock w/ initials “NM”


Imports

Early Japan/Rico (~1981-83)
For a short time in the late-70s/early-80s BC Rich made some set neck and neck-thru Rico models that say “BC Rico” on the headstock. They are named after Bernardo C. Rico whose Los Angeles guitar shop was the beginning of BC Rich, and these were aimed at producing high-quality import versions of BC’s USA models. Electrics had an R + 4-digit serial printed on back of headstock with no indication of production date, while acoustics have the same kind of serial located inside the sound hole printed on the wood up near the neck block. Production of Rico models was halted due to a lawsuit by the Rico Reed company. And soon after, in 1983, the NJ (Nagoya, Japan—NOT New Jersey) series became the Japanese BC Rich brand (see below). Only about 200 total Rico guitars were produced. Below are some seen in the wild with some notes. Most owners guessed these to be made roughly 1981-1983:

R1240 = RW-2A acoustic
R1512 = Seagull II (set neck)
R1960 = Wave (neck-thru)
R2009 = Mockingbird (neck-thru)
R2013 =  Mockingbird (neck-thru)
R3058 = Eagle (bolt-on!) NJ Series on head, “Made in Japan” engraved on neck plate

Japan: NJ Series (1983 to ~1992)
From the mid-80s into early 90s, you will find Japanese-made BC Rich models (both bolt-on and neck-thru) with a sticker on the back of the headstock with usually an “R” prefix (sometimes “P”) + 6 digits, where the first two digits indicate last two of the year. Many say “Pat. Pend.” Many, but not all, say “NJ Series” on the front of the headstock:

R834839 = 1983 Mockingbird, NJ Series on head, “Made in Japan” engraved on neck plate
R844303 = 1984 Stealth, “Made in Japan” engraved on neck plate
R853484 = 1985 ST-III, NJ Series on head, “Made in Japan” engraved on neck plate
R859092 = 1985 Mockingbird, bolt-on
P860982 = 1986 Warlock
R881821 = 1988 Gunslinger
R881995 = 1988 Mockingbird, set neck
R910238 = 1991 serial written on back of head, MIJ Vintage series neck-thru
R920979 = 1992 Mockingbird

Import ‘B’ Serials (Late-80s/Early-90s)
BC Rich turned over production to Class Axe in 1989, at which time serial numbers changed to a “B” or “BC” + 4- or 5-digit format, or sometimes R + 5, or 6 digits. (Note, there seems to be some overlap of the end of the R serials above and this new system.) These serials did not contain the year of production. NJ Series (Japanese) models at this time may have a USA address on the neck plate, but that DOES NOT mean they are USA Made. This is a confusing period for BC serials! Below are serials seen on real guitars with some observations. Note that dates below are not verified, just possibilities:

B1382 1986? Japanese NJ Series, but says Los Angeles, Cali, USA on plate
B2528 1987-89 ST model, NJ Series on head, USA on plate
B3047 Bich NJ Series, Japan (had Japanese character in neck pocket)
B5514 (neck plate)
B6442 NJ Series, ST-III (engraved, neck plate)
BC14132 = 1989
BC16952 (plate) 89-93
BC19588 1989? Mockingbird bolt-on MIJ
BC19672 ST-III engraved neck plate, USA address, “NJ Series” truss cover
BC19729 ST Gunslinger, Japan, (USA on plate)
BC21336 = 1989 USA on plate but Japan made

1990/Early-90s
In 1990 you still see some “B/BC” serials, but you also start to see some 4-, 5-, 6- and 8-digit serials with no letter prefix on the neck plate. These non-prefix serials from this period and going forward sometimes indicate date using the first digit of the serial but there’s no verified system during this time.

BC23474 = 1990 Mockingbird, bolt-on
BC30480 = 1990 Eagle, bolt-on, Japan pot codes say 1990
BC42102 Japanese mockingbird 90s
9156 = 1987 ST, serial and “BC Rich TM” on neck plate, LA Series on head
22640 = Late-80s/early-90s Rave, neck plate
31560 = 1989 Virgin, “BC Rich TM” engraved neck plate, NJ Series on head

Mid- and Late-90s
Import serialization throughout the 90s was all over the place, as seen above. Pulling the neck and looking in the neck pocket, or perhaps looking at pot codes, may help determine production year during this period. Starting in 1997 there is one known import serial scheme outlined below (though this serial scheme is shown on the BC Rich website and all over the web, you RARELY see these in the wild, leading me to conclude that it was little used):

Imports 1997-2000 may have an “F” + 6 (or more)-digit serial, such that:

F7XXXXX = 1997
F8XXXXX = 1998
F9XXXXX = 1999
F0XXXXX  = 2000

Seen in the wild: F902153 on a 1999 bolt-on Mockingbird printed at base of neck near neck joint, but not many with these serials floating around.

2000
Another short-lived format, in 2000 BC Rich made some bolt-ons with a “BO” (bolt-on) prefix, followed by a 5-digit production number appearing on the back of the headstock, with no date information in the serial, but you see very few of them. I found just one example in my searching: B010911 printed on the back of the headstock of a Korean-made Warlock.

Imports 2001 and forward
According to info on the BC Rich website at the beginning of 2001, a new format was put in place in which the initial letter of a serial number was a month code, such that: A=Jan, C=Feb, E=March, F=Apr, G=May, H=June, J=July, K=August, L=Sept, M=Oct, N=Nov, and P=Dec. No explanation is given for the letters that are skipped. After the letter code are two digits that correspond to the factory (i.e., in Korea it is often “08” for World Korea). The next two digits are the final two digits of the production year, and any digits after this (usually 4) are production number.

The only problem with this supposed new format is you don’t see it in use much until 2008 (see below). A couple sections below pertain to the interim period of 2001 to ~2008 in Korea and China.


Korea 2000s
In early-2000s many Korean models have an 8-digit serial engraved on the neck plate, along with “BC Rich TM.” Some may have a letter prefix. For many it seems the first digit is the last of the year. Such as:

11111859 2001 Platinum Series Mockingbird (neck plate)
64100468 = 2007 Mockingbird (headstock!) serials often off by one year like this

Others use the first two digits to designate year:

0128907 = 2001 Mockingbird 360JE (Japan Ed, made in Korea, 7-digit serial!)
M0300810 = 2003 Mockingbird-850JE (Japan Ed., made in Korea!, date verified by catalog—also 7 digits!)

Other serials in this period also appear on the rear of headstock or base of neck with “SR#” before the serial and no letter prefix. First digit tells the year:

SR# 31300796 = 2003 Warlock Acrylic
SR# 51300405 = 2005 Bich NJ Classic Series (lines up with catalog)

Korea ~2008 to Present
From approximately 2008 and forward, Korean BC’s used a single letter month prefix (described above) followed by 8 digits that appears on the back of the headstock. This is the “new format” BC Rich claims was instituted in 2001. The third and fourth digits represent the last two digits of production year, such as: H08150376 for a 2015 guitar. There are some exceptions where the first two digits tell year, such as the first two examples below:

F01082060 = 2008 Warlock Dark Arts (appears in 2008 catalog, so 3rd and 4th digits are year)
E09010251 = 2009 Chuck Schuldiner Stealth (wasn’t introduced till 2009, so this is verified—first two digits!)
E10030244 = 2010 Draco Ghost Flame (think it’s a 2010 model so first two digits on this one!)
N08121361 = 2012 Mockingbird ST
M08130245 = 2013 Eagle
P08140065 = 2014/2015 Mockingbird Contour
E08140508 = 2014 Draco Ghost Flame
E08150456 = 2015 Mockingbird
L08190025 = 2019 Mockingbird Legacy
L08190020 = 2019 Mockingbird Legacy
N08190067 = 2019 Mockingbird Legacy
E08230182 = 2023 Stealth Legacy

China
Similar to Korean models, Chinese models have a letter prefix + 8-digit serial number where the third and fourth digits tell the production year. Most have “01” as first two digits, but there are many oddballs:

Serial on headstock for all these:
K01082086 = 2008 Kerry King Warlock
C01091269 = 2009 Kerry King
P01090735 = 2010 Kerry King Warlock
C01100112 = 2010 Bich
A01110139 = 2011 Mockingbird
M01120919 = 2012 Kerry King Warlock
G01121229 = 2012 Warlock neck-thru
F01130267 = 2013? Gunslinger

Odd:
L6110749 = ? Warlock, only 7 digits!
42221931 = 2004 (claimed), Kerry King Warlock, engraved on neck plate!, no letter prefix
F00150780 = 2000? Kerry King, serial on headstock, “BC Rich” on neck plate with blank rectangle where serial normally appears
J04080166 = ~2006-2008, all Speed V’s start with “letter + 0408”
F14100027 = 2014? ASM-1, serial on headstock, “BC Rich” on neck plate with blank rectangle where serial normally appears
BA01030414 = 2003 Body Art Collection, Fire Breather (verified: “Jan. 2003” on back of headstock)

Indonesia
Very few from Indonesia, but here are some examples:

S00073424 = 2000 (owner claimed) serial on neck plate
S02051148 = 2002 (owner claimed) serial on neck plate
S01100723 bronze
F16130338 = 2016 Kerry King Beast V
G16130029 = 2016? ASM-1
K16140473 = 2016 Mockingbird

India
Have only seen the Stranger Things “Eddies” model made in India (2000 Indian models made; 200 USA models made, USA models have no serial):

H22060772 = 2022 NJ Series Warlock (Stranger Things “Eddies”)

breedlove acoustic guitar

Breedlove (Back to top of page)

Early models will be signed by Steve Henderson. Later ones signed by Kim Breedlove (possibly Jayson Bowerman). Serial appears on sticker inside sound hole. Since year cannot be derived exactly from later serials, you may want to contact the company at info@tohguitars.com. All models below are made in Oregon, USA, unless otherwise indicated below. For some years, I have provided more than one serial number separated by a semi-colon.

1990s

Mid-90s models make dating easy with a two digit prefix which corresponds to the last two digits of the production year. It’s likely the following digits are a running sequential number. Some real-world examples:

1994 = 94-177
1995 = 95-036
1997 = 97-132
1997 = 97-230

For some reason during 1997, the format was changed to a 4-digit number where the last digit equals the final digit of the year, such as:

1997 = 6407
1998 = 2348
1999 = 3058

2000s

Starting around 2000, Breedlove seems to go strictly to a sequential serial number with no date. Real world serials are provided to help you narrow down where your serial might fall:

2002: 3771; 4093

2003: 5619; 6115

2004: 7172

2005: 8385

2006: 9579

2008: 8921; 10002; 11530

2009: 12803

2010s

The sequential serialization continues through the following years, and the best hope is to try to place it using some of the real-world numbers presented below:

2010 = 13586; 14283

2011 = 14467

2012 = 14854

2014 = 14755

2015 = 17112

2016 = 19584

2017 = 18890

2018 = 23486; 23734

2019 = 24780

2020s

2020 = 25245

2021 = 26673

2022 = 27400

2023 = 28297; 28616; 28757

2024 = 29561

Imports

Korean Made

Breedlove’s Korean guitars have an 8-digit serial number. Though I have no official verification on this, it seems like the first two digits indicate last two of the year, such as:

2004 = 04064689

2005 = 05110831

2006 = 06041203

2012 = 12038731

2015 = 15018112

Chinese Made

Chinese instruments have a “CC” prefix with 9 following digits where again it seems the first two are the last two digits of the year. Such as:

2013 = CC131205256

2018 = CC180414975

2023 = CC230101657

American Series

This limited series has a 7-digit serial number and appears to reveal the production date with the first two digits being the last two of the year. This is going by the dates claimed by sellers of used instruments:

2004 = 049010

2010 = 1020212

2011 = 1130513

2011 = 1180610

2012 = 1241209

2017 = 1790610

Pro Series/Roots Series/Oregon Series

These series are made in USA. If the used sellers of these guitars are to be believed, then these three series indicate the year with the final two digits of the 7-digit serial number, with some slight variation.

2007 = 0730807 (Pro Series)

2008 = 0200808 (Pro Series)

2009 = 0850209 (Pro Series)

2007 = 0801107 (Roots Series)

2008 = 0270209 (Roots Series)

2008 = 0470908 (Roots Series)

2008 = 0800309 (Roots Series)

2012 = 0361212 (Oregon Series)

2013 = 0471112 (Oregon Series)

 

danelectro guitar

Danelectro/Silvertone (Back to top of page)

You can find serial numbers on vintage Danelectro/Silvertone instruments all over the instrument, including back of headstock, neck heel, neck pocket, control cavity and other places. In doing research on this brand I found the definitive website for Danelectro/Silvertone info at www.danelectro.guru. The site is run by Doug Tulloch and he even sells a Danelectro Guitar Guide for you hardcore fans.

I will summarize some of the Silvertone serial number basics but for a real deep dive, I suggest going to Doug's serial number page at danelectro.guru/serial-numbers-dating.

Briefly, for a pre-1967 3-digit serial number the first two digits are the week, while the last digit tells the year, such that serial number 210 indicates a 1960 model made in the 21st week of the year. After 1967, it's reversed, so the the first digit represents the year. On 4-digit serials, you ignore the 3rd digit, while the fourth digit tells the year. So 1204 represents a 1964 guitar made in the 12th week of the year. 5-digit serials are the same, you just disregard the fifth digit.

Those are some of the basics. If you can't find the serial, you may also want to check the pot codes on a Danelectro/Silvertone to at least give you a rough approximation of the year of manufacture.

dean destroyer guitar
Dean (Back to top of page)

Every Dean guitar made in United States comes with a seven digit serial number that is printed on the back of the headstock (some 90s models may be stamped on the fretboard). First two numbers in the sequence are the last two digits of the production year. If you see a seven digit serial number on the back of a Dean guitar, you can be sure that it was produced in United States.

Dean's more affordable line made outside the US may require looking at features and hardware and some knowledge of the line. Though I can't verify the accuracy, it was posted in the Dean online forums that imports after 2008 follow a pattern with the initial letter or letters identifying the factory, such that: US = Un Sung Korea, Y = Yoojin China, E = World Korea.The following two digits indicate year, then two-digit month, then production number. An example given was the serial US12040364 (don't let the "US" make you think it's a USA model). Here the serial is decoded as:

US = Un Sung Korean factory

12 = 2012

04 = April

0364 = production number

 

epiphone casino hollow body f-hole guitar


Epiphone (Back to top of page)

Please note that below are vague signposts to perhaps get you in the ballpark of when your early Epiphone was made. From there, you’ll need to look at pics of other similar models and if possible, decipher pot codes to further narrow down the production year.

Acoustics 1932 to 1944
Look through the F hole inside the instrument for the number. Serials begin in 1932 with 5000 and end at 20142 during this period. Other investigation of the model will need to be used to pinpoint more exact year.

Electrics 1935 to 1944
Stamped on rear of the peg head, these serials can be three to five numbers and range from 001 in 1935 to 9999 in 1945.

Acoustics 1944 to 1950
Serials begin at 50,000 in 1944 and end at 59,999 in 1950.

Electrics 1944 to 1950
Gray area. May be impossible to pinpoint the year.

All guitars 1951 to 1956
Transition of all guitars to a five-digit scheme beginning with 60000 in 1951 and ending with 69637 in 1956.

All guitars 1961 to 1969
Sequence begins with serial 0100 in 1961 and by 1967, most were using a six-digit code, starting with the number zero and progressing to 999999 by 1968.

Modern Epiphone Serial Number Schemes

YYMMFFRRRRR

YY = year of manufacture
MM = month of manufacture
FF = factory ID
RRRRR = ranking number

Example: 08121520333 = 2008 / December / factory 15 / unit 20333

Note: Models from 2008 and onwards omit the factory ID letter prefix. Pre-1994 productions also frequently omit the factory letter codes and appeared as all digits, e.g. 3042779.

----------------------------------------------

FYYMMRRRR

F/FF = factory ID
Y/YY = year of manufacture
MM = month of manufacture
RRRR = ranking number

Example: 3021234 = Samick Korea / 1993 / February / unit 1234
Example: S3021234 = Samick Korea / 1993 / February / unit 1234
Example: S93021234 = Samick Korea / 1993 / February / unit 1234
Example: SI01021234 = Samick Indonesia / 2001 / February / unit 1234
Example: SI010212345 = Samick Indonesia / 2001 / February / unit 12345

Note: There may be no factory designator for some 1993 and earlier models. A single digit month of manufacture may occur for some 1997 and earlier models. The ranking number may consist of any number of digits.
----------------------------------------------


FYYMRRRR

F = factory ID
YY = year of manufacture
M = letter code to corresponding month (A=January, B=February, etc...)
RRRR = ranking number

Example: R01B0123 = Peerless Korea / 2001 / February / unit 0123.

----------------------------------------------


FYYSSSS

(Epiphone Elite/Elitist models)

F = factory ID
Y = single digit year of manufacture (2 = 2002, 3 = 2003, etc.)
YY = double digit year of manufacture (2010-Current)
SSSS = sequential ranking number

Example: F21234 = Fuji-gen Japan / 2002 / unit 1234
Example: T101234 = Terada Japan / 2010 / unit 1234
----------------------------------------------



F-Serial Numbers on Les Paul Standard '59/'60 Models and Tribute/Plus Models

The latest serial number system used by Epiphone has not yet been completely deciphered. The new "F" models are made in China. The system uses running model numbers rather than a dedicated code for year, month, and place of manufacture.

F300000 = late 2009 used on LP Std'59/Std'60/Tribute models
Continued around F310650~F311050 in spring 2012 on Tribute-Plus models
Continued around F305000 in 2011
Continued around F310000 in 2012
Continued around F317000 in 2013
Continued around F324000 in 2014
Continued around F330000 in 2015

---------------------------------

Epiphone Japan Serial Numbers

1998 - Current
The Yamano Gakki Epiphone Japan serial numbers from 1998 onwards are in a YMMPPP format.

Y = Year of manufacture
MM = Month of manufacture
PPP = Production number

The serial number letters used by the Terada and Fuji-Gen guitar factories are:
J = Terada
T = Terada,
F = Fuji-Gen
No Letter = Fuji-Gen
Example: J902123 = Terada / 1999 / February / unit 123
Example: T902123 = Terada / 1999 / February / unit 123
Example: F902123 = Fuji-Gen / 1999 / February / unit 123
Example: 902123 = Fuji-Gen / 1999 / February / unit 123


1987 - 1997
For Yamano Gakki Epiphone Japan semi acoustic models from 1987 to approximately 1997, the serial numbers are in a YCPPP format.
They were made by Terada and usually have an Orange Epiphone label.

Y = Year of manufacture
C = Model code
PPP = Production number


Model Codes (C)
1 = NVJ
2 = EMPEROR
3 = RIVIERA
4 = SHERATON
5 = CASINO
6 = Limited Edition
7 = EB-2
8 = ES-930J
9 = EMPEROR-J
Example: 34123 = 1993 / SHERATON / unit 123
Example: 38123 = 1993 / ES-930J / unit 123


1971 - 1987
The Aria Epiphone Japan models that were made by Matsumoku from the early 1970s and ending before 1987 do not have a reliable serial numbering system but can be approximately dated using their Epiphone label colors.

1971-1975 - Blue label - Early models say "Union Made"
1976-1979 - Tan or white "Lincolnwood" label with Norlin logo
1980-1987 - Brown Label with splotched pattern

 

Ernie Ball Music Man (Back to top of page)

Serial numbers from Ernie Ball Music Man instruments can be searched in their online database here:

https://www.music-man.com/serial-number-database

Many newer EB instruments (approximately 1998 forward) have the serial number imprinted into the metal of the neck plate. If not, look at the bridge. Early 90s instruments usually had the serial number imprinted on the bridge plate in front of the saddles, or on some nearer to the rear of the plate behind the saddles.

The EB database claims it only covers guitars and basses from the 90s onward. However, I did find it worked with some late '80s serials. (if your serial begins with a "B," try entering just the number portion. it may find it.) But older instruments from the 70s and early 80s will not be covered there. For those instruments, almost all should have a date stamped in the neck pocket and also on the neck heel. (Note, the two dates can differ, at which point you may want to check the CTS pots for a date code.)

For even earlier pre-Ernie Ball Music Man instruments check out: http://www.musicmanbass.global/

The website has a multitude of pages grouped by model and gives samples of early serials which may help you place yours. Music Man was acquired by Ernie Ball in 1984 and the site notes some early Ernie Ball instruments used Music Man bridges, which have serials that begin with a letter "B." It's a confusing crossover period because EB introduced their own serial system around 1986 with five digits starting with "25" (e.g., "25000"). They also introduced a series of "B" prefixed six-digit serials (e.g., "B027xxx"), which are not to be confused with the earlier Music Man "B" serials. Yikes!

Those early EB serials ("B027xxx") may possibly be found in the EB online database if you omit the initial "B." It seemed to find some from 1987 onwards, but it's hit and miss. As always, looking at the neck pocket should clear things up if you can't find a serial or if the serial proves confusing. You can also contact the guys at EB at musicman_customerservice@ernieball.com

Sterling/Sub

It seems early Sterling instruments may be covered in the EB database. If the serial is F+5 digits, most seem to work. I found one as late as 2013 that came up in the database. It's worth trying. Those that start with other letters, such as "B" and are follow by 6 digits are not going to show up in the database. None of the "Sub" instrument serials will work there.

If you can't find the date of your Sterling instrument you can try to email the company here: info@sterlingbymusicman.com. Some people in forums said they helped them. Also, the www.musicmanbass.global website gives some sample serials of Sterling as well as SUB 4 instruments.

 

 

ESP (Back to top of page)

Pre-Year 2000

7 or 8 digits stamped into back of headstock looking something like this: (D)DMMYNNN

DD = day of the month (01 to 31)

MM = month (01 to 12)

Y = last digit of the year

NNN = production number up to 999 (reset each year)

So the serial number "02112777" would indicate a guitar produced the 2nd day of November in 1982 OR 1992 and was the 777th guitar off the production line.

Like some other serial schemes, this one may require you to know something about the ESP guitars of the period because the "Y" digit could mean multiple years. For example, an "8" can indicate 1988 or 1998. Also note, some guitars may omit a leading zero. For example day "02" could be "2," and thus the serial would be only 7 digits long. Last, some older ESPs may have no stamped serial. You can check the neck, neck pocket, or even pickup cavity for a written serial.

2000 to 2015

8 digits stamped on back of headstock. Serial such as: PPYYWWDNN, where:

PP = factory designation

YY = last two digits of year

WW = week of year

D = day of the week (1 = Monday, etc)

NN = production number

For example, serial number "K0244299" would indicate a guitar made at the Kiso Factory in 2002 in the 44th week of the year on a Tuesday and being the 99th guitar off the line. Factory designations include:

K = ESP Kiso Factory (Japan) set neck/neck-thru

S = ESP Sado Factory (Japan) bolt-on only

T = ESP Takada Factory (Japan) ESP Custom Shop

SS = ESP Standard Factory -- Signature Series or Standard Series

TH = Technical House

N = Nagano Factory

2016 to present

8 digits stamped on back of headstock. Serial such as: BNNNNYYP, where:

B = Brand

NNNN = ?

YY = last two digits of year

P = factory

Some other things to note. Serial numbers found under a pickup may conform to an "MMYNN" scheme where MM = month, Y = last digit of year, and NN = production number. Bolt-on guitars may have a 5-digit code stamped on the neck plate but because of materials being used inconsistently at the ESP factories these numbers cannot be trusted. Check the neck and neck pocket for a date.




fender stratocaster plus electric guitar


Fender (Back to top of page)

If your Fender is newer (probably 90s or later), try going to Fender's Serial Number Lookup page. (Note: vintage instruments are not covered there.) If your serial is found, it will tell you the official model name, number, and date of production. (See our Fender Serial Number Lookup model abbreviation list to decode what Fender's abbreviations mean.) You may be able to click on the model number to obtain full product specs as well. If your serial is NOT found there, don't despair. Fender is far from able to find all its previous serial numbers, and it may just take some research. Start down below, and if you're still stumped, consider looking at pot codes to give you a general idea of production era. You can also contact Fender support for help. If you're looking for Squier serial numbers, a great place to start is the Squier Wiki page (www.squierwiki.com).

Fender is notorious for being a little tricky. This is partially due to their production methods, which often involved using parts throughout different models and years, so that tracing the year of one part may not accurately indicate the production year of the instrument. If you're not averse to removing the neck on a guitar, Fender often wrote a date on the heel of the neck, as well as a date in the neck pocket. This method can often clear up a situation where the serial number is inconclusive. So, somewhat chronologically:

USA Serials

1950 - 1954 (appears on bridge plate)

Esquires, Broadcasters, and Telecasters

0001 to 0999     1950 - 1952

000 to 5300       1952 - 1954

Precision Bass

100 - 400       1951 - 1952

0001 - 0999   1952 - 1954

1000 - 2000   1953 - 1955

1954

Stratocaster

0 - 6000

 

1954 - 1963 (on neck plate)

0001 to 7000           1954

7000 to 9000           1955

9000 to 17000         1956

17000 to 25000       1957

25000 to 34000       1958

34000 to 44000       1959

44000 to 59000       1960

59000 to 71000       1961

71000 to 93000       1962

93000 to 99999       1963


1963 - 1965
("L" Series, some late '62 models as well)

0L00001 to L20000 1963
L20000 to L59000 1964
L59000 to L99999 1965


1965 - 1976
("F" Series, CBS era, serial above Fender F on neck plate, overlap between years)
100000 to 110000 late 1965
110000 to 200000 1966
200000 to 210000 1967
210000 to 250000 1968
250000 to 280000 1969
280000 to 300000 1970
300000 to 340000 1971
340000 to 370000 1972
370000 to 520000 1973
500000 to 580000 1974
580000 to 690000 1975
690000 to 750000 1976

1976 - Present
In 1976 Fender moved the serial location to headstock (front or back). In general, an initial letter indicates the decade, with S = 70s, E = 80s, N = 90s, Z = 2000s. A number, usually 5 to 7 digits long, follows the letter and helps to further identify the year. There is known overlap between years, and looking at the date on the neck heel should be more accurate. Note: US Vintage series starting in 1982 onward begins with a "V". You must remove neck to accurately date those.

76 + 5 digits     1976
S6 + 5 digits     1976
S7 + 5 digits = 1977-1978
S8 + 5 digits = 1977-1978
S9 + 5 digits = 1978-1981
E0 + 5 digits = 1979-1981
E1 + 5 digits = 1980-1982
E2 + 5 digits = 1982-1983
E3 + 5 digits = 1982-1984
E4 + 5 digits = 1984-1985, 1987-1988
E8 + 5 digits = 1988-1989
E9 + 5 digits = 1989-1990

N9 + 5 digits =        1990
N0 + 5 digits =        1990-1991
N1 + 5 or 6 digits = 1991-1992
N2 + 5 or 6 digits = 1992-1993
N3 + 5 or 6 digits = 1993-1994
N4 + 5 or 6 digits = 1994-1995
N5 + 5 or 6 digits = 1995-1996
N6 + 5 or 6 digits = 1996-1997
N7 + 5 or 6 digits = 1997-1998
N8 + 5 or 6 digits = 1998-1999
N9 + 5 or 6 digits = 1999-2000

(Note: "Z" may be replaced by "DZ" for US Deluxe Series)
Z0 + 5 or 6 digits     2000 - 2001
Z1 + 5 or 6 digits     2001 - 2002
Z2 + 5 or 6 digits     2002 - 2003
Z3 + 5 or 6 digits     2003 - 2004
Z4 + 5 or 6 digits     2004 - 2005
Z5 + 5 or 6 digits     2005 - 2006
Z6 + 5 or 6 digits     2006 - 2007
Z7 + 5 or 6 digits     2007 - 2008
Z8 + 5 or 6 digits     2008 - 2009
Z9 + 5 or 6 digits     2009 - 2010

US10 + 6 digits ..... 2010
US11 + 6 digits ..... 2011
US12 + 6 digits ..... 2012
US13 + 6 digits ..... 2013
US14 + 6 digits ..... 2014
US15 + 6 digits ..... 2015
US16 + 6 digits ..... 2016

Japanese Serials

"Made in Japan" Serials
(usually appears on back of neck near neck joint)
JV + 5 digits ..... 1982 - 1984
SQ + 5 digits ..... 1983 - 1984
E + 6 digits ........ 1984 - 1987
A + 6 digits .........1985 - 1986
B + 6 digits .........1985 - 1986
C + 6 digits .........1985 - 1986
F + 6 digits ..........1986 - 1987
G + 6 digits .........1987 - 1988
H + 6 digits..........1988 - 1989
I + 6 digits............1989 - 1990
J + 6 digits 1989 - 1990
K + 6 digits 1990 - 1991
L + 6 digits 1991 - 1992
M + 6 digits 1992 - 1993
N + 6 Digits 1993 - 1994
O + 6 Digits 1994 - 1995
P + 6 digits 1995 - 1996
Q + 6 digits 1993 - 1994
S + 6 digits 1994 - 1995
T + 6 digits 1994 - 1995
U + 6 digits 1995 - 1996
N + 5 digits 1995 - 1996
V + 6 digits 1996 - 1997


"Crafted in Japan" Serials
(usually back of neck)
A + 6 digits 1997 - 1998
O + 6 digits 1997 - 2000
P + 6 digits 1999 - 2002
Q + 6 digits 2002 - 2004
R + 6 digits 2004 - 2005
S + 6 digits 2006 - 2008
T + 6 digits 2007 - 2008

2007 was another transitional year for Japanese-made Fender instruments, with the return to the “Made in Japan” country-of-origin identifier on the serial number decal. This was a running change, and both “Made in Japan” and “Crafted in Japan” decals appear on instruments from 2007 and 2008.

Made in Japan T + 6 digits 2007-2010
Made in Japan U + 6 digits 2010-2011

Note: A new Japanese vendor was enlisted in 2010 to help meet demand for the Geddy Lee and Marcus Miller Jazz Bass models. These two basses and the other instruments listed below that were supplied by this factory continued to use “Made in Japan T + 6 digits” designation through 2011:

Pawn Shop Fender ‘51
Pawn Shop Fender ‘72
Pawn Shop Mustang Special
‘70s Precision Bass
Jaguar Bass

In 2012, Fender transitioned the Japanese numbering scheme again with the new serial numbers starting with “JD” followed by an eight-digit number with “Made in Japan” decals.

If your serial number starts with “JD” followed by an eight-digit number, the first two digits designates the year of manufacture. (i.e., JD14003414 = 2014) However, there are some exceptions in this 2012 transition period. For instance, some of instruments with “U + 6 digits” are also built in 2012.

Mexican Serials

(on headstock)
MN0 + 5 or 6 digits 1990-1991
MN1 + 5 or 6 digits 1991-1992
MN2 + 5 or 6 digits 1992-1993
MN3 + 5 or 6 digits 1993-1994
MN4 + 5 or 6 digits 1994-1995
MN5 + 5 or 6 digits 1995-1996
MN6 + 5 or 6 digits 1996-1997
MN7 + 5 or 6 digits 1997-1998
MN8 + 5 or 6 digits 1998-1999
MN9 + 5 or 6 digits 1999-2000
MZ0 + 5 or 6 digits 2000-2001
MZ1 + 5 or 6 digits 2001-2002
MZ2 + 5 or 6 digits 2002-2003
MZ3 + 5 or 6 digits 2003-2004
MZ4 + 5 or 6 digits 2004-2005
MZ5 + 5 or 6 digits 2005-2006
MZ6 + 5 or 6 digits 2006-2007
MZ7 + 5 or 6 digits 2007-2008
MZ8 + 5 or 6 digits 2008-2009
MZ9 + 5 or 6 digits 2009-2010
"10" prefix followed by a space and eight digits Late 2009 through approximately March 2010
MX10 + 6 digits 2010
MX11 + 6 digits 2011
MX12 + 6 digits 2012
MX13 + 6 digits 2013
MX14 + 6 digits 2014
MX15 + 6 digits 2015-2016
MX16 + 6 digits 2016-2017
MX17 + 6 digits 2017-2018

NOTES: Mexican Fender Signature Series used other prefixes, such as "MSN"+ 5 digits in the 1990s and "MS" in the 2000s. Other signatures, such as Ritchie Blackmore and Duff McKagan used "MSZ," while still others retained the "MX" designation. Also California Series serials (1997-1998) use an "AMXN" prefix followed by 6 digits, and were jointly made by Fender USA/Mexico.

Korean Serials

Many Korean serial numbers have a letter prefix, which can designate manufacturing plant/decade (such as CN, where C=Cor-Tek/Cort, N=90s). Late-80s/early-90s Korean guitars may have an "E," followed by 6 or 7 digits. The first digit tells the year, such that "E921994" would indicate a 1989 model. Below are letter-prefix serials by production plant listed chronologically:

E1+6 digits in silver = made by Samick 1987-88

S9 = made by Samick in 1989

E0 = made by Sung-Eum in 1990

E1 (with black serial) = made by Sung-Eum in 1991

More Examples by plant:
"E" serials from Young Chang or Sung-Eum plants:
E1 + 6 Digits in Silver 1987 - 1988
E2 + 6 Digits in Silver 1988 - 1989
E0 + 6 Digits in Black 1989 - 1990
E1 + 6 Digits in Black 1991 - 1992
E2 + 6 Digits in Black 1992 - 1993
E3 + 6 Digits in Black 1993 - 1994

"S" serials from Samick plant:
S9 + 6 Digits 1989 - 1990
S0 + 6 Digits 1990 - 1991
S1 + 6 Digits 1991 - 1992
S2 + 6 Digits 1992 - 1993
S3 + 6 Digits 1993 - 1994

"CN" (Cort) and "VN" (Sungham) factory serials:
CN0 or VN0 + 5 Digits 1990 - 1991
CN1 or VN1 + 5 Digits 1991 - 1992
CN2 or VN2 + 5 Digits 1992 - 1993
CN3 or VN3 + 5 Digits 1993 - 1994
CN4 or VN4 + 5 Digits 1994 - 1995
CN5 or VN5 + 5 Digits 1995 - 1996
CN6 or VN6 + 5 Digits 1996 - 1997

"KC" 1997 and up Cort factory serial numbers:
KC97 + 6 Digits 1997 - 1998
KC97 + 7 Digits 1997 - 1998
KC97 + 8 Digits 1997 - 1998
KC98 + 6 Digits 1998 - 1999
KC99 + 6 Digits 1999 - 2000
KC00 + 6 Digits 2000 - 2001
KC01 + 6 Digits 2001 - 2002
KC02 + 6 Digits 2002 - 2003
KC03 + 6 Digits 2003 - 2004
KC04 + 6 Digits 2004 - 2005
KC05 + 6 Digits 2005 - 2006
KC06 + 6 Digits 2006 - 2007
KC07 + 6 Digits 2007 - 2008
KC08 + 6 Digits 2008 - 2009
KC09 + 6 Digits 2009 - 2010
KC10 + 6 Digits 2010 - 2011
KC11 + 6 Digits 2011 - 2012
KC12 + 6 Digits 2012 - 2013
KC13 + 6 Digits 2013 - 2014

During this period guitars without a letter prefix indicate year using the first two digits. Two such models are the Lite Ash Telecaster and the Showmaster. An example serial from one of those is “04032258,” in which “04” indicates a 2004 guitar. These often say “Made in Korea” near the serial.

Korean Squiers may say “Made in Korea” or “Crafted in Korea.” Squier models can have different letter prefixes, such as CN, VN, KC, KV, S, E, or M. For most of these, the first digit after the prefix denotes the year, but some models, possibly KC and KV prefix models, indicate year with the first TWO digits, such that “KC97…” would indicate a 1997 guitar. The Squier Wiki Serial Number Tracking page goes into great detail about Squier serial numbers worldwide.

Indonesian Serials

IC08 + 6 digits 2008-2009
IC09 + 6 digits 2008-2009
ICF09 + 6 digits 2009-2010
IC10 + 6 digits 2009-2010
ICF10 + 6 digits 2010-2011
ICF11 + 6 digits 2011-2012

Special cases

NUMBER / DESCRIPTION
C(XXXXXX) Collectors Series up to 1965
CA(XXXXX) Gold Strat 1981, 82 and 83
CB(XXXXX) Precision Bass Special and Gold Jazz Bass 1981-82
CC(XXXXX) Walnut Strat 1981-82-83
CD or CO(XXXXX) Precision Bass Special (Walnut) from 1982
CE(XXXXX) Precision Bass Special from 1981, Black and Gold Tele from 1981-82
CN, R or V US Custom Shop (may also include CZ)
D(XXXXXX) Jazz Bass 1981-82
DN(XXXXXX) American Deluxe Series, 1998-99
DZ+6 or 7 digits American Deluxe Series 2000 to present
EJ(XXXXX) Eric Johnson Signature Stratocasters
EE(XXXXXX) Some US made instruments from the mid to late '80s made for export to Europe had an EE prefix
FN(XXXXXX) US made guitars and basses made for export
G(XXXXXX) "THE STRAT" 1980-83
GO(XXXXX) Precision Bass Special (Walnut) from 1982, Gold Strat 1982-83
H,I or K(XXXXXXX) USA guitars for export stamped USA on heel, serial on headstock, 1989-90.
Highway One instruments have product code "59404" stamped in neck pocket
LE(XXXXXX) Blonde Jazzmasters and Jaguars with Gold hardware made in 1994. Promotional set with Blonde Deluxe Reverb Amp
NC(XXXXXX) Squier Strat Bullets (dating unclear)
SE(XXXXXX) Signature Series SE8(XXXXX)='88, SE9(XXXXX)='89
SN(XXXXXX) Signature Series SN0(XXXXX)='90, SN1(XXXXX)='91, SN2(XXXXX)='92, etc.
SZ(XXXXXX) Signature Series SZ0(XXXXX)='00, SZ1(XXXXX)='01, SZ2(XXXXX)='02, etc.
T(XXXXXX) Tribute Series (check neck heel)
TN7(XXXXX) Jimi Hendrix Tribute Stratocaster (1997-2001)
V+4,5,6 digits American Vintage Reissue Series AVRI (check neck heel for date)
XN(XXXXX) FRS and Telecaster '52 (XN prefix may not appear on instrument)
(XXX) OF 500 35TH Anniversary Strat from 1989-1990
(XXXX) STAMPED ON BRIDGE PLATE U.S. '52 Vintage Telecaster 1982-1988 (Check neck date for exact year)
(XXXXX) STAMPED ON BRIDGE PLATE U.S. '52 Vintage Telecaster 1988-present (Check neck date for exact year)

Fender Acoustics

Fender, by their own admission, has limited info on their acoustic serial numbers. What appears below is the only acoustic serial info currently available from Fender.

DG SERIES (FENDER ACOUSTIC GUITARS IMPORTED FROM CHINA, INDONESIA AND KOREA)

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

MATERIALS

DG3

1996 -1998

$319.99

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG5

1995 -1998

$175.99

Nato top, mahogany back and sides

DG10

1995 -1997

$289.99

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG15-BLK Black

1995 -1996

$359.00

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG15-NAT Natural

1997 -1997

$359.00

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG15-SB Sunburst

1995 -1996

$359.00

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG17-NAT

1996 -1998

$219.00

Spruce top, nato back and sides

DG17E-NAT

1996 -1998

$279.00

Spruce top, nato back and sides

DG18-BLK

1996 -1998

$279.00

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG18-NAT

1996 -1998

$279.00

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG18-SB

1996 -1998

$279.00

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG18 LH

1996 -1998

$279.00

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG18-12-NAT

1996 -1998

$269.00

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG18CE

1996 -1998

$249.00

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG19

1996 -1998

$319.00

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

DG19CE-NAT

1996 -1998

$429.00

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

DG19CE-SB

1996 -1998

$429.00

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

DG30-12

1996-1996

$519.00

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG30S

1996-1996

$519.00

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG30S LH

1996-1996

$549.00

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG30SCE-BLK

1996-1996

$779.00

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG30SCE-NAT

1996-1996

$779.00

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG30SCE-SB

1996-1996

$779.00

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG31-12

1996-1999

$529.99

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG31S

1996-1999

$549.99

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG31S LH

1996-1999

$559.99

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG31SCE-BLK

1996-1999

$799.99

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG31SCE-CSB

1996-1997

$799.99

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG31SCE-NAT

1996-1999

$799.99

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

DG40S

1996-1996

$589.00

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

DG40S-12

1996-1996

$639.00

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

DG40SCE-NAT

1996-1996

$949.00

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

DG95

1996-1996

?200.00

Spruce top, nato back and sides

 

SPRING HILL SERIES (HANDMADE FENDER ACOUSTIC GUITARS MADE IN SPRING HILL, TENN.

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

MATERIALS

LS-10

1994 to 1996

$1,775.00

Solid spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides

LS-20

1994 to 1996

$1,975.00

Solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides

LS-20 LH

1994 to 1996

$2,075.00

Solid spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides

LS-30

1994 to 1996

$2,075.00

Solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides

LS-40C

1994 to 1996

$1,975.00

Solid spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides

LS-50C

1994 to 1996

$2,175.00

Solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides

LS-60C

1994 to 1996

$2,275.00

Solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides

SB-15

1994 to 1996

$1,875.00

Solid spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides

SB-15SB

1994 to 1996

$1,925.00

Solid spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides

SB-25

1994 to 1996

$2,075.00

Solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides

SB-25SB

1994 to 1996

$2,125.00

solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides

SB-35

1994 to 1996

$2,175.00

Solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides

SB-45C

1994 to 1996

$2,075.00

Solid spruce top, solid mahogany back and sides

SB-55C

1994 to 1996

$2,275.00

Solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides

SB-65C

1994 to 1996

$2,375.00

Solid spruce top, solid maple back and sides

 

AG SERIES (ACOUSTIC GUITARS IMPORTED FROM KOREA)

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

MATERIALS

AG10

1994-1995

$239 to $269

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

AG15

1994-1995

$259 to $289

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

AG20

1994-1995

$281 to $299

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

AG21

1995-1995

$251 to $289

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

AG22

1995-1995

$251 to $289

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

AG23

1995-1995

$310 to $329

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

AG25

1994-1995

$337 to $355

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

 

SX/CX SERIES (ACOUSTIC GUITARS IMPORTED FROM KOREA)

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

MATERIALS

200SX

1995-1995

$210

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

600SX

1994-1995

$449

Spruce top, nato back and sides

800SX

1994-1995

$519

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

1000SX

1992-1995

$709

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

1100SX

1992-1995

$819

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

1105SXE

1992-1994

$989

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

1200SX

1992-1994

$964

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

1300SX

1992-1994

$1,173

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

1500SX

1992-1994

$964

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

1505SX

1992-1994

$1,015

Solid spruce top, sycamore back and sides

1600SXE

1993-1994

$1,066

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

150CX

1995-1995

$179

Spruce top, meranti back and sides

2100CX

1994-1995

$679

Solid cedar top, ovangkol back and sides

 

GEMINI SERIES (ACOUSTIC GUITARS IMPORTED FROM KOREA, DISTRIBUTED IN THE U.S. BY MIDCO)

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

MATERIALS

Gemini I (Classical)

1984-1988

$140 to $165

Spruce top, nato back and sides

Gemini II

1984-1987

$165 to $189

Spruce top, nato back and sides

Gemini IIE (Electric)

1987-1990

$240 to $260

Spruce top, nato back and sides

Gemini III (Black)

1987-1988

$199 to $209

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Gemini IV (White)

1987-1990

$220 to $240

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

 

CALIFORNIA SERIES (ACOUSTIC GUITARS IMPORTED FROM JAPAN FROM ABOUT 1982 TO 1985, THEN IMPORTED FROM KOREA FROM ABOUT 1985 TO 1992)

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

MATERIALS

Avalon (Folk)

1985-1992

$315 to $370

Spruce top, nato back and sides

Balboa

1983-1987

$535 to $650

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Capistrano

1983-1987

$450 to $525

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

Catalina

1983-1992

$295 to $370

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Concord

1987-1992

$185 to $320

Spruce top, nato back and sides

Del Mar

1983-1989

$335 to $340

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

El Rio

1983-1987

$595 to $520

Solid spruce top, sycamore back and sides

La Brea (Black)

1987-1992

$345 to $495

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

La Brea (Maple)

1992-1995

$535 to $510

Spruce top, flame maple back and sides

La Brea (Natural)

1990-1992

$435 to $495

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

La Brea (Sunburst)

1990-1992

$435 to $495

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Laguna

1986-1988

$395 to $475

Spruce top, redwood back and sides

Malibu

1983-1992

$325 to $410

Sycamore top, back and sides

Montara (Black)

1990-1992

$575 to $695

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Montara (Maple)

1992-1995

$675 to $780

Spruce top, flame maple back and sides

Montara (Natural)

1990-1992

$575 to $695

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Montara (Sunburst)

1990-1992

$575 to $695

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Montclair

1987-1988

$415 to $435

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Newporter

1983-1992

$235 to $330

Mahogany top, back and sides

Redondo

1983-1990

$250 to $340

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

San Luis Rey

1990-1995

$385 to $444

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

San Marino

1990-1992

$325 to $370

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

San Miguel

1990-1992

$310 to $355

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Santa Maria XII

1988-1992

$310 to $375

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Santa Rosa

1989-1990

$739

Basswood? Semi-solid body electric/acoustic

 

STANDARD SERIES (ACOUSTIC GUITARS IMPORTED FROM ASIA, DISTRIBUTED IN THE U.S. BY MIDICO)

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

MATERIALS

F200

1982-1988

$245

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F210

1982-1988

$265

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F210S

1988-1990

$325

Solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F210LH

1982-1988

$265

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F220SB

1982-1988

$275

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F230

1982-1988

$325

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F230CE

1988-1990

$425

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F240A

1982-1988

$330

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F250

1982-1988

$380

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F260S

1987-1987

$510

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F265C

1987-1987

$425

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F270SCE

1987-1987

$630

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F310-12

1985-1988

$265

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F330-12

1982-1987

$375

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F360S-12

1987-1987

$535

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

FC100

1982-1988

$225

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

FC110

1982-1988

$225

Spruce top, ovangkol back and sides

FC120

1982-1988

$295

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

FC130S

1987-1987

$395

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

 

"F" SERIES (ACOUSTIC GUITARS IMPORTED FROM ASIA)

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

MATERIALS

F1000

1969-1973

$33

Laminated hardwoods

F1010

1969-1973

$40

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F1030

1969-1973

$60

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F1040 (Classical)

1969-1973

$110

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F1050

1969-1973

$100

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F1060

1969-1973

$120

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F1070-12

1969-1973

$197

Laminated hardwoods

F115

1977-1987

$835

Solid spruce, top jacaranda back and sides

F15 (Concert)

1973-1981

$170

Spruce top, nato back and sides

F25 (Auditorium)

1972-1981

$200

Spruce top, nato back and sides

F3

1981-1981

$150

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F35

1972-1981

$215

Spruce top, obankole back and sides

F45

1972-1974

$150

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F5

1980-1981

$175

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F5-12

1980-1981

$195

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

F50

1980-1980

$355

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F55-12

1972-1980

$270

Spruce top, bubinga back and sides

F65

1972-1981

$270

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F75

1974-1980

$320

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F80-12

1977-1981

$365

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F85

1974-1980

$415

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

F95

1974-1980

$520

Solid spruce top, solid rosewood back and sides

FC10 (Classical)

1972-1981

$150

Spruce top, mahogany or chitora back and sides

FC10 ¾ (Classical)

1972-1981

$140

Spruce top, nato back and sides

FC20 (Classical)

1972-1981

$185

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

FC30 (Classical)

1972-1981

$240

Cedar top, rosewood back and sides

FC40 (Classical)

1972-1981

$260

Cedar top, rosewood back and sides

FJ70 (Jumbo)

1980-1981

$360

Solid spruce top, rosewood back and sides

 

EARLY U.S.-MADE FENDER ACOUSTIC GUITARS

These early U.S.-made acoustics had laminated construction, bolt-on necks, through-body tension rods and Stratocaster® "styled" headstocks.

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

MATERIALS

Concert

1963 - 1970

$255 to $310

Spruce top; mahogany, rosewood, vermilion, or zebrawood back and sides

Folk

1963 - 1964

$?

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Kingman

1965 - 1971

$280 to $394

Spruce top, rosewood or vermilion back and sides

Malibu

1965 - 1971

$170 to $240

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Newporter

1965 - 1971

$130 to $194

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Palomino

1968 - 1971

$210 to $299

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Redondo

1969 - 1971

$160 to $220

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Shenandoa XII

1965 - 1971

$300 to $440

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Villager XII

1965 - 1969

$200 to $289

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

Wildwood

1966 - 1971

$365 to $385

Spruce top, dyed figured beechwood back and sides

 

TARREGA ACOUSTIC GUITARS

These early acoustics were made in Sweden and imported and distributed by Fender from the mid- to late 1960s. They used laminated construction.

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

MATERIALS

FT108 (Flat-top)

? to 1968

$135

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

FT110 (Concert)

? to 1968

$116

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

FT111 (Concert)

? to 1968

$129

Spruce top, maple back and sides

FT112 (Grand Concert)

? to 1968

$169

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

FT113 (Grand Concert)

? to 1968

$210

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

FT114 (Grand Concert)

? to 1968

$221

Spruce top, maple back and sides

FT115 (Grand Concert)

? to 1968

$257

Spruce top, mahogany back and sides

FT116 (Grand Concert)

? to 1968

$362

Spruce top, rosewood back and sides

 

REGAL ACOUSTIC GUITARS

These early acoustics were distributed by Fender from the mid- to late 1960s. They used laminate construction. There is very little detailed information on them.

MODEL

YEARS

MSRP

Description

R-200

? to 1969

$30.00

Student model flat-top Spanish guitar

R-205

? to 1969

$39.50

Student concert grand flat-top

R-210

? to 1969

$72.50

Standard-size flat-top Spanish guitar

R-215

? to 1969

$72.50

Tenor guitar

R-218

? to 1969

$52.50

Folk, concert grand

R-220

? to 1969

$84.50

Regal classic guitar

R-230

? to 1969

$87.50

Auditorium-size flat-top Spanish guitar

R-235

? to 1969

$94.50

Jumbo flat-top Spanish guitar

R-240

? to 1969

$49.50

Student auditorium-size archtop guitar

R-250

? to 1969

$99.50

Auditorium grand archtop guitar

R-251

? to 1969

$105.50

Auditorium grand archtop guitar

R-260

? to 1969

$124.50

Cutaway auditorium grand archtop guitar

R-261

? to 1969

$129.50

Cutaway auditorium grand archtop guitar

R-265 (3/4 size)

? to 1969

$95.50

3/4-size student electric

R-270

? to 1969

$149.50

Electric single-cutaway archtop, thin body

R-272

? to 1969

$189.50

Electric single-cutaway archtop, thin body

R-273

? to 1969

$229.50

Electric double-cutaway archtop, thin body

R-275 Baritone Ukulele

? to 1969

$54.50

Baritone ukulele

g&L sc-1 guitar



G&L (Back to top of page)

G&L serials can be challenging. Perhaps the best way to date your G&L is to take the neck off. Many instruments have two dates--one on the body in the neck pocket and one on the neck heel. The one on the neck is supposedly a good ballpark of the guitar's manufacture date, but many necks were dated when produced and then stockpiled for later use. Similarly, bodies may have been stamped prior to final finishing process and then sat for a while. Some instruments got only neck dates.

You can also try to get a rough estimate of the year using its serial number. The problem here is that G&L serial numbering at the factory was not exact. The guitarsbyleo.com enthusiast website states bridges or neck plates containing serial numbers were often in a bin and picked randomly for a newly created guitar. While pulling the neck may be the most reliable method to date your G&L, you can read on to find out how G&L serials progressed through the years.

From 1980 to 1996, G&L serials used the format "GXXXXXX" for guitars and “BXXXXXX” for basses (Broadcaster models are an exception with a "BC" + 5-digit serial number, i.e., "BC01075" was seen on a 1986 Broadcaster). Bass and guitar sequential serialization was kept separate. The table below identifies the starting production number each year for basses and guitars from 1980 to 1992. Note: early guitars and basses, 1980-82/83 may have serials stamped into the bridge plate. All other G&L instruments up to 1997 had serial numbers stamped into the neck plate.

1980 - 1992

First recorded serial numbers for guitars and bass by year:

 YEAR GUITAR BASS
1980 G000530 B000518
1981  G003122 B001917
1982 G009886 B008525
1983  G011654 B010382
1984  G013273 B014266
1985  G014690 B016108
1986  G017325 B017691
1987 G020241 B018063
1988  G023725 B019627
1989  G024983 B020106
1990  G026344 B021788
1991  G027163 B023013
1992  G029962 B024288


1993 to 1996

Unfortunately, sequential serial info such as above is not available for 1993 through 1996. Your best bet is to consult the G&L registry here:
https://www.guitarsbyleo.com/AUTOREG/interact2.php3?registry_id=1

It has info on more than twenty-seven-thousand real world instruments submitted by owners and includes serial number, model, neck date, body date, color and other information. Using a little detective work will help narrow down instruments from this era. You can search a serial number range, or you can search a single year of serials.

For instance, if your serial number is “G041XXX.” You can conclude looking at the table above that your guitar was likely built sometime after 1992. If you search all instruments for 1994 you'll see owners submitted serials roughly ranging G036XXX to G042XXX. So this seems a likely year for your G041XXX instrument. Keep in mind search results in the database are sequential and alphabetical by serial numbers, so bass serial numbers, which begin with “B,” will all appear first. A few pages in, you’ll start to see serials that begin with “G” for the guitars.

Of course you can also remove your neck and check the neck and body dates, as detailed above. Also, checking pot codes may help to solidify other dating information. See our pot code blog post here: https://www.stillkickinmusic.com/blogs/still-kickin-blog/pot-codes-can-help-date-your-guitar

1997-2010

With the advent of 4-bolt neck guitars and 6-bolt basses, G&L had a significant change in serialization. In late-1997, G&L began using the serial format “CLXXXXX,” (CL=Clarence Leo). About one year later the format changed to “CLFXXXXX” (CLF=Clarence Leo Fender). Exceptions to this change include the George Fullerton Signature model which continued to use a "GF" serial prefix even after the 4-bolt change, and the SB-2 bass which continued with a 3-bolt neck and its "B" prefix.

Since we don't have sequential serial number information for these years, again, using the serial number registry or removing the neck to check dates are the two options available to narrow down the date of your instrument.

2011-present

Starting in February 2011 G&L went to sequential serial numbers appearing on a metal plate on the back of the headstock (this began with serial number CLF061000). Instruments also came with a sheet detailing specs and production date. In 2016 the metal plate was replaced by a waterslide decal. Finally, in February 2017 serial numbers began to be laser etched on the back of the headstock and the production date is contained in the serial. The format is “CLFYYMMXXX,” where YY=last 2 digits of year, and MM=two digit month.

Custom Shop

G&L Custom Shop opened in January 2018. All instruments have the serial number format of "CSYYMMXXX.” YY=last two digits of year, MM=two-digit month. The laser-etched serial number will be located on the back of the headstock. Above the serial number is a laser-etched image of the G&L Custom Shop logo. Note: The Custom Shop 40th Anniversary instruments will have this serial numbering format: CS2020XXX.

Tribute Serial Number Formats

The G&L Tribute models have a different serial numbering scheme in which the build year and month are coded in the serial number:

YYMXXXX or YMMXXXX (e.g., 0123456 - Made In Japan Tribute Models only)
YYMMXXXX (e.g., 01234567 - Made In Korea Tribute Models only)
YYMMXXXXX (e.g., 012345678 - Made In Indonesia Tribute Models only)
LYYMMXXXX (e.g., L01234567 - Made In China Tribute Models only)

The G&L made in China Placentia Series have a serial numbering scheme that incorporates a 4-digit build year followed by a 4-digit sequence number, like "YYYYXXXX." So a sample serial such as 20210009 would indicate the 9th instrument made in 2021.

The guitarsbyleo.com website has a G&L registry where you can see what other G&L owners have recorded about specific models they own. (http://www.guitarsbyleo.com/AUTOREG/interact2.php3?registry_id=1)

gibson moderne lying down
Gibson (Back to top of page)

NOTE: Detailed info appears below on early Gibsons, but to save you time, the paragraph in bold below covers most Gibsons dated 1977 to present:

In 1977, Gibson began a steady and (mostly) reliable numbering scheme, in which, the first and fifth digits of the serial indicate the last two digits of the production year. For example, 92229222, means production year 1999. In 2014, Gibson changed it so the FIRST TWO digits of the serial number indicate the last two digits of the year. However, I see them going back and forth between the two schemes now.

Early Gibson models can be identified by either a Factory Order Number (FON) or a serial number. The FONs appear below followed by serial numbers.

1902 to 1945 FON Overview

Year FON Batch # Range
1902 - 1916 1 to 3650
1917 - 1923 11000 to 12000
1924 - 1925 11000A to 11250A (suffix included)
1925 - 1931 8000 to 9999
1931 - 1933 1 to 890
1934 1 to 1500
1935 1A to 1520A
1936 1B to 1100B
1937 1C to 1400C
1938 1D to 1000D
1939 1E to 980E
1940 - 1945 1 to 7900 (some with letter, some without)


NOTE: From 1935 to 1942 the FON may include a one- or two-letter suffix.


Gibson Serial Numbers
Acoustic and electric archtops 1902-1961

Year / Last Serial Number (of that year)
1903 -- 1150
1904 -- 1850
1905 -- 2550
1906 -- 3350
1907 -- 4250
1908 -- 5450
1909 -- 6950
1910 -- 8750
1911 -- 10850
1912 -- 13350
1913 -- 16100
1914 -- 20150
1915 -- 25150
1916 -- 32000
1917 -- 39500
1918 -- 47900
1919 -- 53800
1920 -- 62200
1921 -- 69300
1922 -- 71400
1923 -- 74900
1924 -- 80300
1925 -- 82700
1926 -- 83600
1927 -- 85400
1928 -- 87300
1929 -- 89750
1930 -- 90200
1931 -- 90450
1932 -- 90700
1933 -- 91400
1934 -- 92300
1935 -- 92800
1936 -- 94100
1937 -- 95200
1938 -- 95750
1939 -- 96050
1940 -- 96600
1941 -- 97400
1942 -- 97700
1943 -- 97850
1944 -- 98250
1945 -  98650
1946 -- 99300
1947 -- 999999


1947 - 1961
After number 999999 in 1947, Gibson started over with an "A" prefix.

Year / Last Numbers
1947 -- A 1305
1948 -- A 2665
1949 -- A 4410
1950 -- A 6596
1951 -- A 9420
1952 -- A 12460
1953 -- A 17435
1954 -- A 18665
1955 -- A 21910
1956 -- A 24755
1957 -- A 26820
1958 -- A 28880
1959 -- A 32285
1960 -- A 34645

1952 - 1961 Gibson solid body electrics 
This period had the serial stamped on the back of the headstock. The first number designates the production year (5 = 1955, etc).

1961 - 1975
First we present a simplified table that may get you in the ballpark. After that, a much more complex table from that may take you further. Note, this is one of the most convoluted Gibson periods, and your serial may indicate more than one possible year. At that point, observing your model's features and comparing to other examples will be helpful. (Note: Read the detailed table carefully. You will find that some years appear several times with various serial number ranges.)

1961-75 (basic)
100-9999 1961 - 1963
100000-199999 1963 - 1967
200000-290000 1964 - 1965
300000-599999 1965 - 1969
600000-999999 1966 - 1969
000001-099999 1967


1961-75 (detailed)
Year / Approx Serial Range
1961 100-42440
1962 42441-61180
1963 61450-64220
1964 64240-70500
1962 71180-96600
1963 96601-99999
1967 000001-008010
1967 010000-042900
1967 044000-044100
1967 050000-054400
1967 055000-063999
1967 064000-066010
1967 0670000-070910
1967 090000-099999
1963, 1967 100000-106099
1963 106100-108900
1963, 1967 1090000-109999
1963 110000-111549
1963, 1967 111550-115799
1963 115800-118299
1963, 1967 118300-120999
1963 121000-139999
1963, 1967 140000-140100
1963 140101-144304
1964 144305-144380
1963 144381-145000
1963 147009-149864
1964 149865-149891
1963 149892-152989
1964 152990-174222
1964, 1965 174223-176643
1964 176644-199999
1964 200000-250335
1965 250336-291000
1965 301755-302100
1965 302754-305983
1965, 1967 306000-306100
1965, 1967 307000-307985
1965, 1967 309848-310999
1965 311000-320149
1967 320150-320699
1965 320700-321100
1965 322000-326600
1965 328000-328500
1965 328700-329179
1965, 1967 329180-330199
1965, 1967-68 330200-332240
1965 332241-327090
1965 348000-348092
1966 348093-349100
1965 349121-368638
1966 368640-369890
1967 370000-370999
1966 380000-385309
1967 390000-390998
1965-68 400001-400999
1966 401000-407985
1966 408000-408690
1966 408800-409250
1966 420000-426090
1966 427000-429180
1966 430005-438530
1966 438800-438925
1965-66,68-69 500000-500999
1965 501010-501600
1968 501601-501702
1965, 1968 501703-502706
1968 503010-503110
1965, 1968 503405-520955
1968 520956-530056
1966, 1968-69 530061-530850
1968-69 530851-530993
1969 530994-539999
1966, 1969 540000-540795
1969 540796-545009
1966 550000-556910
1969 558012-567400
1966 570099-570755
1969 580000-580999
1966-69 600000-600999
1969 601000-601090
1969 605901-606090
1966-67 700000-700799
1968-69 750000-750999
1966-69 800000-800999
1966, 1969 801000-812838
1969 812900-814999
1969 817000-819999
1966, 1969 820000-820087
1966 820088-823830
1969 824000-824999
1966, 1969 828002-847488
1966 847499-858999
1967 859001-880089
1967 893401-895038
1968 895039-896999
1967 897000-898999
1968 899000-899999
1968 900000-902250
1968 903000-920899
1968 940000-941009
1968 942001-943000
1968 945000-945450
1968 947415-956000
1968 959000-960909
1968 970000-972864

1970 - 1975
This period remains confusing and serial numbers from the 60s and 70s may repeat. However, two design changes make it fairly easy to pinpoint a post-1970 Gibson. After 1969 you'll see a "volute" on the back of the neck where it meets the headstock. It's basically a little bump of extra wood to help prevent headstocks from snapping off the neck. Second, starting in 1970, "Made in USA" is stamped on the back of the headstock below the serial. General serial ranges from this period are:

Number / Year
000000S 1973
100000S 1970-1975
200000S 1973-1975
300000S 1974-1975
400000S 1974-1975
500000S 1974-1975
600000S 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975
700000S 1970, 1971, 1972
800000S 1973, 1974, 1975
900000S 1970, 1971, 1972


1975-1977
Number / Year
99XXXXXX 1975
00XXXXXX 1976
06XXXXXX 1977

1977 - 2013
Finally, in 1977, Gibson began a steady and reliable numbering scheme, which many are familiar with. Basically the first and fifth digits of the serial will indicate the year. For example, 92229222, means production year 1999. The Gibson website explains the new system in more detail, thus:

The pattern is as follows:
YDDDYRRR
YY is the production year
DDD is the day of the year
RRR is the factory ranking/plant designation number

NOTE - Gibson USA goes to a 9 digit serial number in early July 2005

2014 - Present
The pattern is as follows:
YYRRRRRRR
YY is the model year
RRRRRRR is the number in product for the model year (starts at 0000001)

guild x702 solid body bass

Godin (Back to top of page)

Robert Godin has been making great bang-for-buck guitars in Canada since 1987. Note, there is some misinformation on Godin serials online so be careful. Through comparison of used instruments, I managed to put together some basic parameters of the serial history.

According to info I’ve seen, Godin's serial number schemes also pertain to its spin-off brands: Seagull, Norman, Simon & Patrick, Art & Luther and LaPatrie—but I can’t confirm this myself. Please note: some Godin guitars I’ve seen had dates written on the neck heel, so you can always check there. Also, if you can’t decode your serial, supposedly Godin will give you the date if you contact them (info@godinguitars.com).

1987 to 1991
Early Godin serials will be a 4-digit sequential serial number. Unfortunately, there seems to be no guidelines to help date a guitar by these sequential numbers. In general, these 4-digit serials should indicate a 1987 to 1991-ish instrument. You’ll find the serial imprinted into the wood on the back of the headstock. I present some sample serials below with claimed dates by owners that at least give some idea of what these numbers might indicate:

2083 = 1989

4998 = 1990

7891 = 1991

8615 = 1991

9530 = 1991

1992-1993
Around 1992-93 Godin moved to 5-digit serial numbers. Again, nobody seems to know exactly how these sequential numbers break down by year. But this is a short period, so a 5-digit serial impressed into the back of the headstock narrows it down to likely 1992-1993 production. Again, I present some unverified serials seen in the wild to give you at least a range of serials you’ll see during this period:

11362 = 1992

13158 = 1992

14154 = 1992

16819 = ?

23345 = 1993

24088 = 1993

24768 = 1993

27519 = 1993

1994-1995
This was a transitional period, at least in terms of serial numbers. You may find guitars with no visible serial number. I also saw a neck plate sticker with the number: 94-443042. This likely 1994 instrument presaged the coming period that saw many instruments with a 2-digit prefix to indicate the year followed by a dash and six more digits. Anytime you see a number like that, the first two digits likely tell the year.

By 1995, it seems Godin had either given up on serialization or had gone to writing a date on the neck heel, as I saw two guitars with dates written there in the European format: day/month/year, such as 24/12/95 to indicate a December 24, 1995, production date. As shown below, you will also find some 1995 instruments with an 8-digit serial that looks like this: 95-055008.

1995 to early-2020s
This period saw the introduction of 8-digit Godin serial numbers, which continued into the early-2020s. In 1995-96 many still retained the dash after the first two digits, but after that the dash was discarded. In 1995-96, they appear most often on a sticker on the back plate or electronics cover. After that Godin moved back to imprinting them on the rear of the headstock (or doing both).

Please see note at bottom about Godin’s production year cycle to more accurately date this period. (In fact, some of my assumed dates below may be off by a year due to this odd quirk.) Below is a list of serials seen in the wild with some observations:

95-093076 = 1995 (plate sticker)

95-314056 = 1995 (plate sticker)

9647450 = 1996 (no dash—RARE 7-digit serial!)

96-144058 = 1996 (dash, plate sticker)

96343415 = 1996 (no dash, headstock)

96383700 = 1996 (no dash, sticker electronics cover)

98354260 = 1998 (headstock)

99303367 = 1999 (headstock)

00433389 = 2000 (headstock)

04314416 = 2004 (headstock)

13124152 = 2013 (headstock)

20332190 = 2020 (headstock)

212851217 = 2021 (headstock and sticker)

22152236 = 2022

2021-2022
Around 2021/2022 you may encounter a 12-digit serial, which tells you absolutely nothing about the date. One source says the first six digits are the model SKU; the 7th digit indicates whether it’s a factory second, 0=no, 9=yes; and last 5 digits are a sequential production number.

Hollow bodies from this period may have no serial on the headstock. I’ve yet to see if there is anything on a sticker inside the sound hole. 12-digit serials look like this: 050222000034, and again, should be from 2021-22.

2023-Present
Thankfully, Godin seems to have reverted to the normal 8-digit format (YYXXXXXX), easily telling us the production date on some of its newest electric instruments--such as 24308409 imprinted on the back of the headstock of a 2024 model. Many of the newer acoustics unfortunately seem to be sticking with the useless 12-digit serial located inside the sound hole.

Godin’s Production Year Quirk
This note pertains to later 8-digit serial numbers (after about 1996). Now stay with me—we’re in the weeds here. First off, Godin’s production year does not follow the calendar year. Instead it runs from August the previous year to July of the production year under discussion. For example, its 2006 production year runs August 1, 2005, to July 31, 2006!

Take the serial number “06073168” as an example. The initial “06” indicates the guitar was made in Godin’s 2006 production year—which runs between 2005 and 2006! So to accurately date the instrument you have to look at the third and fourth digits of the serial number, which indicate the WEEK in the production year the guitar was produced.

In this case it would be “07” which denotes the 7th week of Godin’s 2006 production year. If you count forward 7 weeks from August 1, 2005, it tells you the instrument was produced sometime in mid-September 2005. So that initial “06” in the serial number can be misleading. Watch out! Finally, the serial number's next digit (“3”) indicates it was made on a Wednesday, and the final three digits that it was the 168th guitar made that week—whew!

Some other pieces of info:
-- Some serials may contain an "AA" or "AAA" and likely represents a grade of wood.

-- An "F" at the beginning of some serial numbers signifies the guitar is B-stock.

-- Norman models built between 1980 and 1988 have a serial with a B prefix.

Gretsch (Back to top of page)

1939 - 1965

001 to 999 Pre-war
10xx to 20xx Approximately 1945-1947
20xx-30xx Approximately 1948-1949
30xx to 40xx Approximately 1950
40xx to 50xx Approximately 1951
50xx to 70xx Approximately 1952
70xx to 90xx 1953
90xx to 130xx 1954
130xx to 180xx 1955
180xx to 210xx 1956
210xx to 260xx 1957 Note: 1000 serial numbers from 1957 were misplaced and later turned up, with original '57-style labels, in 1965.
260xx to 300xx 1958
300xx to 340xx 1959
340xx to 390xx 1960
390xx to 450xx 1961
451xx to 530xx 1962
530xx to 630xx 1963
630xx to 770xx 1964
770xx to 840xx 1965

Note: the misplaced 1957 serial numbers, as well as some odd four-digit serial numbers, show up in 1965-1966, during the transition to the date-coded system in mid-'66.

Notes on early era: 1939 - 1945 serials will be written in pencil inside guitar body. May be faded or illegible. 1945 - 1954 serials may be handwritten in pencil until 1949 with a transition to labels. Dates are approximations, perhaps +/- one year. In 1957 one thousand serial no. labels were lost and re-used in 1965. This known anomaly can be solved by observing attributes of the given year.

1966 - 1972

Gretsch began date-coding serial numbers in August 1966. Date-coded serial numbers are typically found stamped on the back or top of the headstock, and "Made in USA" is stamped next to the number starting in June 1967.

The first digit or first 2 digits = month (1-12).
The next digit = last digit of the year (1966 to 1972: 6,7,8,9,0,1,2).
The remaining digits = most likely a production number.

Example 1: 27136 should be February (2), 1967 (7) and the 136th instrument made that month.
Example 2: 118145 would indicate a guitar made in November (11) of 1968 (8) that was the 145th made that month.

1972 - 1981

Same as the 1966-72 era, except now has a hyphen or space between month and year. For example, 3-8094 would be March (3), 1978 (8) and the 94th guitar made that month.

1982 - 2002 (modern pre-Fender era)

Serial numbers have six numbers, with a three digit suffix:

The first two digits are the year of manufacture.
The next digit is the month (1-12).
The next three digits are the model number, without the 6 at the beginning.
The final numbers are the sequential order of the model made during the lifespan of the model (not that year).
Example: A serial number of 998120-345 tells us this guitar was made in 1999 during the month of August (8) and is a G6120 model (120), the 345th to be produced during the Revival Era.

Pre-Fender Korean (Electromatic/Synchromatic/Historic)

Starting in 1999, Gretsch began producing budget-level Electromatic, Synchromatic and Historic Series guitars in Korea. Unfortunately, these guitars followed no clear numbering system and appeared on a sticker on the back of the headstock and were often lost. Some believe that the first digit may denote the year, but this pertains only to pre-Fender Korean-made guitars. The Fender-era 51xx guitars follow the normal Fender numbering scheme.

2002 - Present (Fender era)

Contemporary Gretsch serial numbers have a two letter prefix indicating the location of manufacture, followed by a two-digit year, a two-digit month and a four-digit production number relating to that specific factory for the given year.

Example: A serial number of JT04021010 tells us the guitar was made at the Japan Terada factory (JT) in 2004 (04) during the month of February (02) as the 1,010th Gretsch guitar made at the factory that year.

The two-letter factory code prefixes include:

CS: US, Custom Shop
CY: China, Yako
KP: Korea, Peerless
KS: Korea, Samick/SPG
JD: Japan, Dyna Gakki
JF: Japan, Fuji-Gen Gakki
JT: Japan, Terada
IS: Indonesia, Samick


guild x702 solid body bass

Guild (Back to top of page)

The Guild company has an amazing amount of serial number info, mostly because for many years of production they used a different serial scheme for each of their different models. Below we outline a simple way to narrow down the date range of an acoustic Guild. If you need to go further and more exactly pinpoint the year, go to the following page on the Guild website and scroll through the pages of data: http://guildguitars.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/history_of_your_guild.pdf.


The easy way to narrow down the period your Guild acoustic was produced is by the label, which is located inside the soundhole and should have both the model and serial number. From 1953 to 1959 Guild used a label that showed a white guitar body on a black background. From 1959 to 1960, the label is known as the "ghost label" due to its image of a ghost-like character wearing a bowtie and playing a guitar. From 1961 to 1972, the "Oval G-Shield" label is oval, tan colored and says "Guarantee" in large letters. Likewise, from 1972 to 2001, the label is oval shaped, but has "Guild" printed in large script lettering at the top. It may also say "Guarantee" up till 1974, but the large "Guild" clearly separates it from the Oval G-Shield label.

hagstrom 9 guitar

 

Hagstrom (Back to top of page)

Early years: Sweden

Hagstrom opened in 1925 in Sweden producing accordions. In 1958 the company began making guitars, and in 1961 basses.

Hagstrom serial numbers are often six digits with the first three numbers indicating the production run and the last three the number in that run. (Serial number are located on back of the headstock, neck plate, or jack plate.) The production run can narrow down the year produced but only if you have the Hagstrom "Blue Book" that is hard to find and printed in Swedish. Later Hagstrom instruments added the prefix "53" to their serial numbers, but the final six digits still have the same information.

As an example, serial number 618130, would indicate production run 618 and the 130th instrument produced in that run. If the serial was 53-618130, it would still indicate the same information. There is a gentleman ("TD") on the Guitars Canada forum who has the Hagstrom book and as of 2024 was still answering posters' questions about their vintage Hagstroms' dates of manufacture. Here is a link to the ongoing discussion thread: https://www.guitarscanada.com/threads/hagstrom-serial-number.13206/page-33

You'll need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click to the last page of posts to see the most current. You'll also need to sign up for a free account if you want to post on the forum to ask this guru about your Hagstrom.

These guys (http://www.hagstrom-vintage-guitars.se/) say if you email them at hagstrom-vintage-guitars.se, and include a picture of your instrument and its serial number they will provide you with the production year. Below is a partial production run list as it appears on Wikipedia:

hagstrom serial numbers

hagstrom serial numbers

hagstrom serial numbers

hagstrom serial numbers

Rebirth: 2004-to present
Hagstrom ended Swedish production in 1983 and attempted to move to production out of Asia, but quality suffered and they decided to call it quits. The name remained out of circulation until 2004 or 2005, when they re-opened. Note that serials from this period are not as established and info below is just what I've observed by looking at a lot of used models.

Early-2000s serials begin with an "M" with 8 digits following it. The first two digits following indicate the year. For example, "M04121044" would indicate a 2004 year of production. I saw that serial appear on a neck plate. However, most serials from this period appear on the back of the headstock.

All seem to follow the pattern M+8-digits. Starting in 2011, serials start with a "G" but still have the same system, such that "G11110462" is a 2011 guitar and "G22050244" indicates a 2022 production date. Some exceptions include a 2012 model I found that began "IK12XXXXXX." I have also seen a model made in Indonesia whose serial was "19XXXXXXX," I assume a 2019 model, but can't be sure.

Hamer (Back to top of page)

USA Made
The Hamerfanclub.com website is a great resource that includes info on all the models ever produced. Early USA Hamer guitars (starting in 1974) employed a 4-digit serial number impressed into the wood on the rear of the headstock. The 4-digit numbers ran from 0000 to the early 0700s and were reserved for early Standard models, basses and other custom instruments.

Starting in 1977 with the "Sunburst" models, Hamer used a different system using five or six digits for "production" instruments. These serial numbers were stamped in black ink (yellow ink was used for dark/black finishes) on the back of the headstock. There was a space between the first and second digits until some point in 1984. The first digit indicates the last digit of the year it was built, with the final numbers indicating sequentially the order of production. For example, serial number: 7 0002 was the second guitar built in 1977. Serial 0 1470 is a 1980 built guitar and the 1470th built. By 1988, serial numbers were again being impressed into the wood of the headstock.

Serial numbering sequence by decade (approximate):
1970s: 7 0001 - 9 1450
1980s: 0 1451 - 9 24192
1990s: 0 24193 - 9 50155
2000-2014: 0 50156 - 4 56449

Looking at the table above you'll note that in every decade the initial digit is going to repeat (i.e., an 8 could mean 1978, 1988, 1998 or 2008). This might seem problematic until you realize Hamer kept the production numbers following the initial digit sequential throughout the entire period. So if there are only four digits following the 8, it is certainly a 1978 (by 1988 production would certainly have hit five-digit numbers). If the digits following the 8 are higher than 51,000 then it must be a 2008, and so on. 

Notes: Every USA Hamer left the factory with a serial number. If it lacks one, it was likely either refinished or stolen and altered. Most all serials used numbers, except for Johnny Ramone's white Sunburst, which had characters in place of numbers, and possibly a few other artist series guitars such as Rick Nielsen's Beatles guitar, and the first "sunburst" prototypes. The above information applies to USA made Hamers only. Later, Korean, Indonesian and Chinese serial numbers are different and a bit mysterious (see below). Big thanks to the Hamerfanclub forum administrator "cmatthes" for help with this information.

Imports

Note: The models listed below are not exhaustive for each period, just samples. There is crossover between periods with some guitars having elements of two periods. All periods share model names being copies of USA-made Hamers. Serial numbers are not much help (with perhaps the exception of most recent Indonesian models at bottom). Your best bet is to narrow down the period by characteristics listed below. Perhaps try to cross-check with pot codes as well. Good luck!

Slammer Series (Korea)

Korean Slammer Series guitars began manufacture in the early 90s and went until approximately 1997-98. These guitars say “Hammer Slammer Series” on the headstock and their 6- or 7-digit serial numbers appear printed on the back of the headstock along with “Made in Korea.” Serial numbers do not appear to indicate production year. Some sample serials seen in the wild:

309542, 423640, 2551001, 6011692, 7071005, 8083800

Import Series (China/Korea)

Around 1997 Hamer transitioned from the Korean Slammer Series into what has been called the “Import Series.” These say only “Hamer” on the headstock, which appears similar to USA-made Hamers, but does not say “USA.” (These can easily be confused with later Indonesian models but the serials on those will look different—see below). These were made in China and Korea. Some of these were continuations of previous Slammer models. The 7-digit serial should appear printed on rear of headstock. However, some had a sticker on back of headstock. If you ever see a guitar that says “Hamer” on the headstock and says “Made in Korea” on the back with no serial, it is probably due to the sticker falling off. This series may have run as late as 2005 (unconfirmed). Sample serials in the wild:

1701186 (Stellar 1), 1702638 (Echotone), 9802283 (Stellar 1, sticker back of headstock), 9806571 (Diablo), 1702559 (Duotone)

Models: Sunburst Arch Top Flame Top (SATF), Rick Nielsen Signature (RNS), Echotone (ECO), Stellar 1 (ST1), Californian (CAL), Diablo (DAB), Centaura, and Cruise 4 (CRS) and Cruise 5 (CRV) basses

XT Series (China/Indonesia)

XT Series guitars are hard to pin down. Around 2005 the Import Series was renamed the XT series, and this iteration of the XT Series appears to differentiate from later XTs by having “XT Series” printed on the headstock (later models have “XT Series” on the truss rod cover—USUALLY, THERE IS CROSSOVER). Most serial numbers are 7 digits printed on back of headstock and will say “Made in China” or “Made in Indonesia” below the serial. There are examples with a 9-digit number on a sticker as well. Samples in the wild:

1550512 (Vector), 3857208, 5880056, 8901517 (indonesia), 311419554 (sticker)

Models: Vector (Flying V), Standard (explorer), Sunburst, Scarab, Monaco, Special, Velocity Bass, Californian 5

 

Slammer by Hamer Series (China, possibly Indonesia/Korea)

These guitars seem mostly to have been produced in China, though you do see a few Korean crossover models and possibly even Indonesian models. In any case, the headstock will say “Slammer by Hammer.” Serial number will often be a sticker on the neck plate, and possibly have a sticker saying where it was made at the base of the neck. These are generally thought to be the lowest quality Hamer imports. This budget series may have run from approximately 2005 to 2009. Serials are generally 7 digits. Examples seen in the wild:

1151145, 1700031, 1905510

Models: Pacer, Centaura, Special/Special Bass, T5M-SB (sunburst Tele), WG1, XP Standard (XP-1 Explorer), Impact Bass, Blitz Bass, Chaparral Bass

 

Newer XT Series (Indonesia)

Like the Import Series detailed above, the newer Indonesian-made XT models say only “Hamer” on the headstock. Some say “XT Series” on the truss rod cover. Rear of headstock should say “Indonesia” or “Made in Indonesia.” Most serials begin with “IW,” though there are a few models you’ll see that begin with “P.”  It is possible this period is better at indicating year by the serial number. The first two digits following the letters often seem to indicate year. Seen in the wild:

P11040850 (2011?)

IW12070188 (2012?)

IW18020545 (2018?)

Models: Monaco Special, SATF, STDF (Standard Flame Top), The Special Jr

 

Ibanez (Back to top of page)

The Ibanez Wiki page (https://ibanez.fandom.com/wiki/Ibanez_serial_numbers) is a great place to explore models and other info. They also have a good serial number page, though what you see below was put together from hours of searching through online pictures and ads of used guitars, so I can attest that these numbers are concrete in the real world and not copied from some other online source out there. I feel confident that this is currently the most complete and accurate description of Ibanez serials on the web.

Japanese Serial Numbers

1975-1986

Early Ibanez guitars used a letter prefix + 6-digit format: MYYXXXX, where:

M = production month (A=January, B=February…to L=December)
YY = last two digits of the production year.
XXXX = sequential production number (see detailed explanation at bottom of this entry)

An example from the period: H781347 = 1978

On neck-thru models the serial appears impressed on the back of the headstock, while bolt-on models have the serial on the neck plate. Most Ibanez models with this serial number format were made by FujiGen Gakki. Exceptions are the Ibanez Blazer models which were made by Dyna Gakki and the Axstar by Ibanez models AX40, AX45, AX48, AXB50, AXB60, AXB65, AX70, AX75 which were made by Chushin Gakki. The Ibanez Axstar AXB1000 model was made by FujiGen Gakki.

1987-1996

Serial numbers from this period appeared engraved on the neck plate for bolt-ons until sometime around 1990 when Ibanez moved them all to back of the headstock. Most guitars from this period start with "F" for FujiGen plant and have six digits following. The first digit denotes the final digit of the production year. Last five numbers may indicate the sequential production count in that year. You may see some serials from 1996, especially the J. Customs, which had this 6-digit format but with no letter prefix.


F = FujiGen
H = Terada
I = Ida Gakki (Iida)
YXXXXX format
Y = year (2=1992)
XXXXX = production number

Example: F724979 = 1987

1994-1998

During this period there are some guitars with H + 6-digit serials (HYYXXXX) where the first two digits indicate last two digits of production year. H may indicate production by the Terada factory.

1997 and after (CE logo designation)

This period saw the introduction of F + 7-digit serial numbers, with the first TWO digits now denoting final two digits of production year. Serials are on back of the headstock.

F = FujiGen
YYXXXXX format
YY = year (98=1998)
XXXXX = production number

Pat Methany PM100/PM200

From 1996 into the early-2000s the Pat Methany PM100 had its own serial number format of F + 5 digits, where the first two digits indicate year of manufacture on the back of headstock, such that F97014 means a 1997 PM100. They were sometimes off by one digit, like the serial F96569 for a 1997 model. This is a verified format from looking at guitars and comparing their serials to their certificates of authenticity, which contained an exact date of manufacture.

By 2004, these models reverted to the prevailing modern format of F + 7-digit serial, where the first two digits correspond to the final two of the manufacture date. Such as F0832329 for a 2008 PM100. The PM200 replaced the PM100 sometime after 2010 and used the F + 7-digit serial also.

Joe Satriani (JS Series)

Early JS series models were built in Japan starting around 1990 and have a J + 6-digit serial engraved on the neck plate and cannot tell you the production date. The 6-digit number is a sequential production number. Around 1995 (some ’94s) Japanese JS models started using the prevailing F + 6-digit and later F + 7-digit serials on the headstock. Serials on Indonesian and Korean-built Satriani models often follow the formats on other guitars from those regions (see below).

Steve Vai (JEM/UV)

Early Steve Vai models, perhaps 1991-96, differed from other serials in this period in that they kept the serial on the neck plate. In addition, they kept to a 2-digit year designation, such that a 916255 Vai serial indicates a 1991 model. There are some Vai JEM models in 1993-94 that then move to an F + 6-digit serial on the back of the headstock, where the first digit tells the year, such as F339020 for a 1993 model.

Later you see the F + 7-digit serials on Vai guitars, such as F9719389 for a 1997 model. JEM guitars that have a back plate, such as the early “Floral” models, may have an accurate F + 7-digit serial on the headstock and a number engraved on the neck plate that is a sequential production number. Steve Vai Euphoria Chinese acoustic/electrics have a long “CDYYXXXXXXX” serial where the first two digits after the letter prefix are the final digits of the production year.

Joe Pass & Lee Ritenour

Between 1982 and 1986 both these signature models used a serial number format different from other production models at the time. Both models employed a single letter prefix followed by 6 digits. The Lee Ritenour used and “L” prefix, while the Joe Pass used a “J” prefix. The tricky part is you derive the year from the FIRST and LAST digits of the serial, such that J801955 is a 1985 Joe Pass. The serial “L800444” would indicate a 1984 Lee Ritenour model.

Sometime in mid-1986 the Joe Pass model began to conform to the serial format of the time, namely the single letter prefix + 6-digit serial where the first digit indicates last digit of the model year, such as H700344 on a 1987 Joe Pass model until the model ceased production in 1990. The Ritenour L10 model was discontinued in 1986.

Sugi Serial Numbers (2005-Present)

Sugi makes high end guitars for Ibanez. Serial format is one letter (A-L) for the month followed by five digits. First two digits denote production year (05=2005), third digit is for the model, and final two digits are production number. For example: J13307 is a guitar produced in October of 2013. Its model is denoted by "3," and production number is 07. Serial is usually hand written on back of headstock in gold or silver ink.

Korean Serial Numbers

1980s

In the 80s (sometimes into early 90s), Korean serials often appear stamped into the neck plate with a 7-digit serial with no letter prefix, in which the first two digits correspond to the last two digits of the production year, such as:

8907744 = 1989
9007570 = 1990
1929832 = 1991

1990s

Korean serials in the 90s usually appear on back of headstock and start with one or two letters to indicate the manufacturer. Manufacturer codes include: C = Cor-Tek (Cort), S = Samick(1990–1995), S/SQ = Saehan(Sunghan), P = Peerless (Iida), Y = Yoojin, A = Sae-In.

Manufacturer code is followed by 6 to 10 digits, which indicate year, month, and production number. The number of digits increases as time goes on. Early 90s 6-digit serials use the first digit following the manufacturer code to represent the last digit of the year (CYMMXXX) such as:

C311791 = 1993
C402612 = 1994

From the mid- to late-90s it moves to C + 7 digits: CYMMXXXX, where Y=last digit of year, MM=month, and XXXX=production number. For example:

C5062479 = June 2005, production number 2479

C9030676 = March 1999, production 0676

2000s

Approximately 2000 and beyond, an 8-digit serial is implemented, where now the first TWO digits represent the last two digits of production year (CYYMMXXXX). Examples:

C01054001 = 2001

CP04057015 = 2004

CP06018892 = 2006

Later 2000s increase to 9 digits:

KR050500178 = 2005
I100804354 = 2010

Hollow- & Semi-Hollow

Most hollow bodies have the serial inside the body cavity on a sticker. Those have yet to be deciphered. However, in the early- to mid-90s Samick made some hollow bodies for Ibanez that have the serial number on the back of the headstock and follow Samick's format of S + 7 digits, where the first digit after the "S" denotes the final digit of the production year.

S4072545 = 1994
S5016866 = 1995

W Serials

A more rare and confusing format you may see on Korean guitars are the "W" serials perhaps in the early-2000s, which have six digits and denote the final digit of the production year as the SECOND digit after the W.

W = World

MYXXXX format
M=month (1=January to 9=September, X=October and Z=December)
Y=year (3=2003)
XXXX = production number

Indonesian Ibanez Serial Numbers

Indonesia production began in 1997. Most Indonesian Ibanez serials follow an I + 6-, 7-, 8-, or 9-digit format in which the first two digits indicate final digits of year, then two digits for month (01=January to 12-December) and a production number. Other initial letters such as F, J, and K may also appear. These denote factory, such as I=Cor-Tek (Cort); K=Kwo Hsaio, J=Sejung. The majority of Indonesian serials you’ll see will be letter prefix + 9 digits, since those have been used from 2001 to present. Others formats have been used much less frequently. Examples from real guitars:

I090836 = August 2008 (6-digit)
I060519596 = May 2006 (9-digit) model: RG350DX
PW19020027 = Feb. 2019 (8-digit) hollow body
I190300419 = March 2019 (9-digit) model: RGAR42MFMT

Note: There are some exceptions to the two-digit year with letter prefix that you see on most Indonesian guitars, shown below.

Cort production 1997-2000. Format (IYMMXXXX), where I=Cort, Y = last digit of production year, MM = month (01-12), and XXXX = consecutive production number for the month. Example:

I8073914 = July 2008 model: GAX70

Premium factory may say “Premium Ibanez” on front of headstock. They used an odd serial format for only two years, consisting of 5 digits for consecutive production number for the year, plus a single letter either A=2010 or B=2011. For instance:

06502BL seen on a 2011 RG920QMZ

The premium models starting in November 2011 went to this format: MXXXXY, where M=month (A=Jan. to L=Dec, from 2012 forward—useless on any 2010/2011 models that have this format; XXXX = production number for the month; and Y = year (B=2011, C=2012, D=2013, E=2104, 5=2014).

One more odd Indonesian serial format has a “PR” prefix and 9 digits following (PRYYMMXXXXX), where PR=unknown manufacturer, YY=last two digits of year (04=2004), MM=month (01 Jan-12 Dec), and XXXXX=consecutive production number for the year. These serials ran approximately 2004 to 2007.

Chinese Serial Numbers

Chinese production began in 1999. Note that early serials sometimes appear on a sticker on the back of headstock and these tend to fall off. Some models will have a letter prefix + 8-digit serial (YYMMXXXX), where YY = last two digits of year and MM = month (01=Jan to 12=Dec), and XXXX=production number. Others will have the same setup but 9 digits (YYMMXXXXX). Another fairly common scheme is “4L” (and later “5N”) + 9 digits.

S02050470 = 2002 Talman TM71 (sticker inside hollow body) (8-digits)
CP05081439 = 2005, printed on headstock (8-digits)
J071050106 = 2007, sticker on headstock (9-digits)
S08051409 = 2008, sticker inside hollow body (8-digits)
J100652412 = 2010, sticker on headstock (9-digits)
J111150208 = 2011 (9-digits)
S13080907 = 2013, printed on headstock (8-digits)
4L160500502 = 2016, printed on headstock (9-digits)
GS171201246 = 2017, printed (9-digits)
4L190600034 = 2019, printed (9-digits)
I201127316 = 2020, printed (9-digits)
5N201001067 = 2020, printed (9-digits)
5N231000014 = 2023, printed (9-digits)
4L240200202 = 2024, printed (9-digits)

 

Acoustic

1970s acoustics mostly don't seem to have serial numbers. You find the model number only on a sticker inside the sound hole. By 1981 you start to see serial numbers appear on some of those stickers and by the mid-80s on all of them. For instance, on a 1984 acoustic: 84050132D. This 8-digit plus one letter format continues into the late 80s.

By the 90s you start to see Ibanez acoustics made in Korea, many with 8-digit serials that still indicate the last two digits of the year in the first two digits but may dispense with the letter at the end.

By mid- to late-90s, these Korean serials may have the letter moved to the front of the serial and some may indicate year using only the first digit, such that "E61011987" indicates a 1996 model. And also on Chinese-made models such as "S00061363" seen on a 2000 model.

In 2000s you may see an Indonesian serial like this: 4101CT 0912 00005, which may indicate 2009 manufacture. You may also see Chinese made acoustics use the letter + 8-digit serial format with first two digits to indicate year like in the 90s: SQ07054062 = 2007. Chinese made acoustics may also have a letter + 9-digit serial. These most likely indicate year with the first two digits, especially on the Chinese made "Galvado Ibanez" line.

By late 2010s Chinese acoustics seem pretty often to adhere to the letter + 9-digit format, though there is a format that is very long, such as this: 14-01K190260948. I've seen several owners claim that the two digits after the letter in such a serial indicate date, making that one a 2019, but I have no idea if this is true. This is also seen on many Indonesian acoustics, such that 5B01PW170600723 is a claimed 2017 guitar, but again it cannot be verified.

Basically as time goes on, especially in the 2000s, there are several serial number formats. You will see them all over the place and will just have to try to fit the number you see into one of the various Ibanez acoustic formats mentioned above. You may also have to do research to find out if your model was being made in that time period to verify.

Odd Ibanez Serial Numbers

Starfield

The Starfield brand was manufactured by Hoshino Gakki who owns the Ibanez name. Some were built in the Ibanez Custom Shop in USA using Japanese parts, while others were made in Japan. US versions can say “Starfield America” or just “Starfield” on front of headstock and “Made in U.S.A.” on back of headstock. Serial number in the 90s may have letter prefix + 6 digits, where the first digit tells the year, such as F214987 = 1992. Headstock shape on most resembles the Ibanez Talman line and many players attest to the quality of these guitars.

The Starfield name was also used on some early 70s Japanese guitars that may say only “Starfield” on front of headstock. Serial number seen on a 1970s model was E764006 (likely a 1976) engraved on the neck plate. Drexel Starfield was a name used on a line released outside the US market. You would most likely see it on a Japanese-made acoustic that looks like an Ovation knock off. An example serial seen on one in the sound hole: C941213, on a supposed 1994 model.

Custom Shop

Early 1988-'89 540 Series Ibanez USA Custom Shop guitars have a 6-digit serial engraved on the neck plate, which tells the last two digits of the year with the first two digits of the serial (for instance “882279” seen on a 1988 540R model). The neck plate has a Bensalem, PA, USA address. Some of these early neck plate serial custom shops say “USA Custom” on the headstock, others don’t.

Later the “USA Custom” line, starting in 1989-90 have an F + 6-digit serial on back of headstock that reveals the production date in the normal fashion (for instance F919482 = 1989). Front of headstock will say “USA Custom.” The neck plate may still have a USA address (at some point it changed to a California address), but the place where the serial normally appears on the neck plate is just a blank rectangle.

Other custom shop instruments were the American Master series guitars and basses, which had neck-thru construction and can be seen in the 1991-92 Ibanez catalog. These said "USA Custom" on the headstock. The basses had ”Made in USA” and a serial number impressed into the wood on the back of the headstock with format “MB” + 5-digits, such as MB91010 = 1991. For guitars you may want to check in the tremolo or electronics cavity for a serial. A striking graphic design series was also produced in this time period. These have “Made in USA” stamped into the back of the headstock along with a 5-digit serial with the first two digits telling the year, such as 92180 = 1992 and 93003 = 93, etc. The Exotic Wood series from this time used the same 5-digit scheme as the graphic series, though I have seen some with F + 6-digit serials.

A final foray at the time into USA-made instruments was the USRG line, made in conjunction with Dave Bunker’s company, PBC, which featured a “tension-free neck” design. These are easy to spot with the brass collar that wraps around the neck behind the nut. Some serial numbers appear on a sticker in this format: US0794008, where the third and fourth digits indicate the year, in this case a 1994. Others have a long serial impressed into the back of the headstock in very small characters, and look like: USA0706 0033. It’s possible the “6” stands for 1996 here, as I saw that on two models, but this has not been verified.

The modern Ibanez USA Custom Shop, called the “LA Custom Shop,” caters mostly to endorsed artists and is run by master luthier Tak Hosono. They did recently do a run for the public to celebrate Hoshino’s 50th anniversary. Their guitars have a serial format of “LA” + 4 digits, with LA standing for Los Angeles, where the Custom Shop is located. The 4-digit number does not seem to indicate year and may be a sequential production number of some kind.

H&S

You may see “H&S” appear (possibly in neck pocket or neck heel) on some late-80s/early-90s high-end Ibanez guitars, or you may hear a model referred to as coming from the H&S period. This refers to “H&S Guitars," a now-defunct offshoot of Ibanez. Though it was separate from the LA and Bensalem custom shops, it is related to them. In the late 80s, Hoshino opened H&S, an early version of its USA custom shop in Bensalem, PA. The H&S shop produced very high quality semi-custom guitars initially using Japanese parts, with the Pro Custom 540 guitars released in 1988. “Pro Custom” evolved into a “USA Custom” lineup. These explicitly say “USA Custom” on the front of the headstock.

By 1990, H&S moved to North Hollywood, CA, where they split into two shops: H&S which would create custom guitars for the public, and the USA Custom Shop, which would focus exclusively on Ibanez endorser guitars. The two shops were located 10 blocks apart. Once in California H&S moved to USA-sourced parts and made neck-thru models, reviving the “American Master Series” for a short time. I’ve seen some of these guitars with no serial. The neck-thru basses like one MAB4 model I saw have serial numbers such as “MB91010” on a 1991. The serials are impressed into the wood on rear of headstock near the tip and are hard to see. By 1992, with the rise of Grunge and its preference for old, beat up guitars, coupled with a slowdown in Ibanez US production, H&S was unable to turn a profit and had to close.


Finding Your Month of Production

If you want to try to further narrow down when your Japanese Ibanez was produced some sources say that from 1987 to 1996, during the F + 6-digit serial period, Ibanez produced approximately 3600 guitars per month. So the last 5 digits of your serial are supposed to roughly indicate in which month it was produced. Ibanez production year starts in November, so you calculate this by supposing your guitar was produced in November if the last 5 digits are between 00000 and 03600. December if between 03601 and 06000, all the way to October if between 39601 and 43200. Take this idea with a huge chunk of salt. Most people are very halfhearted in the belief of this theory and really how or why would Ibanez make the exact same number of guitars each month?

However, if you like this number fun, you can do a similar same thing for the period of 1997 to 2004 during the F + 7-digit serial scheme. During this time it is theorized that Ibanez Japan was making 5000 instruments per month, so again the last 5 digits in the serial are supposed to roughly reveal production month. For instance, if the final 5 numbers are 00000-05000 = November, 05001-10000 = December….all the way to 55001-60000 = October. Oh, the serial number fun…again take with multiple large grains of salt and then assume it’s wrong anyway. Have fun!


Jackson/Charvel (Back to top of page)

Charvel USA Made
(check out usacharvels.com for lots of good info too) About 750 San Dimas Charvels were built without serial numbers from '79 until 11/9/81. For the San Dimas Charvels, #1001 began the numbered series in late 81'. 1982 began with #1096, '83 with #1725, '84 with #2939, '85 with #4262, and '86 with #5304. Warning: Someone sold the leftover, excess numbered neckplates on the black market, so if you find a guitar with a San Dimas neckplate numbered 5492 or higher, it was not made by Charvel/Jackson!

To help you identify your Jackson / Charvel, use the following information: If you have a San Dimas California or Ontario California neckplate and, or have a "MADE IN USA" logo on the headstock, you have a USA MADE guitar. If you have a Ft.Worth Texas neckplate, or you have a neckplate that simply says Jackson / Charvel, you do NOT have a USA MADE guitar.

Charvel Imports 1986-1991
Year of manufacture, Charvel Model 1 - 4
A quick and dirty way of determining the year of manufacture for the bolt-on Model Series 1 - 4, is to look at the combination of trademark symbols used on both the headstock and the neckplate. Furthermore, the presence or absense of a neckplate gasket will also help you find the year. The serial on these guitars can't be used directly to find the year. Study the following table to determine the year.

Charvel Model 1 - 4
MODEL
1 - 4 / NECKPLATE GASKET / NECKPLATE SYMBOL / HEADSTOCK SYMBOL / SERIAL START (APPROXIMATE)
1986    No   TM   TM   222000
1987   Yes   TM   ®   250000
1988   Yes   ®   ®   275100

Charvel Model 5 and 6
The Charvel Model 5 and 6 have a neck-through design and unlike the Model 1 - 4, their serial number directly reveal the build year. The serial syntax is CXXXXXX. For example, C800210 is built in the year of 1988. C701212 would be 1987. When the Charvel Model 5 and 6 were introduced in 1986, the serial number was found on the back of the headstock under the clear coat, in the form of a plastic decal. Later on, around mid 1987, the factory abandoned the decal on the headstock and began stamping the serial number into the last, blind fret of the fingerboard.

Charvel Pro Mod
These are made in Mexico though they may say San Dimas on the neck plate. Serial may appear on back of headstock or neck plate, and from what I've seen if it starts "MCXX," the first two digits indicate last two of year. So, MC19xxxxx would be a 2019.

Charvel Basses
The year of the Model series bass guitars (1B, 2B, 3B, 4B) can be determined using the same method as for the guitars described above. The only neck-thru version of the basses were the Model 3B.

Jackson

ALL Jackson neck-thru guitars had a serial # on the fretboard's last fret. Most of these will be 4 digit #'s. Some will have letters also before the # like RR for Randy Rhoads, or PCS for players choice series, and all archtops will start with JA and then the 4 digits. You might see one letter like J or U and then the 4 digits also. All San Dimas Jackson and Charvel bolt-on guitars will have a 4 digit serial # on the neckplate. Ontario bolt-on Jacksons will have 4 or 6 digit serial #'. All Jackson's that have the Professional logo on the headstock are Japanese made! 

Below is some info found on the Jackson enthusiast website jcfonline.com. Thanks to user Mudlark for contributing this information:

Japan 6 Digits Neck Thru Stamped On Fret Board
J0xxxxx- J5xxxxx 1990-1995 Date coded Professional headstock logo
00xxxx- 11xxxx 2000-2011 Date coded No Professional Logo

Japan 6 Digits Bolt On/Neck Plate
90xxxx-95xxxx 1990-1995 Date Coded
0xxxxx-8xxxxx 1990-1998 Date Coded
Both formats were used at varying times on various Professional models

Japan 6 digits Headstock Stickers
J0xxxxx-J1xxxxx- Mid '90s models such as some Kellys that had no neck plate.
Not date coded. If the neck pocket contains no stamps, you'll need to check the mid-'90s catalogues and get an idea of which years the model was released. Narrowing the exact year may not be possible without neck pocket stamps.

7 Digits Japan Bolt On/Neck Plate
93xxxxx-94xxxxx 1994-1995 Date Coded
Used usually on the '94 Concept models

96xxxxx, 97xxxxx, 98xxxxx Professional Headstock Logo
This format was date coded, but it wasn't used often. If you have a Professional logo with these numbers, check the '96-'98 catalogues to find your model. If it isn't there, you probably have the sequential serial format and possibly a 2000's model.

96xxxxx, 97xxxxx, 98xxxxx Jackson Logo Only
These numbers started circa '96-8 at 9600000, hit 9700000 circa 2003, 9800000 circa 2007 and ended in late 2011 around 985xxxx. This is the most common format seen.

7 Digit Neck Thru Stamped On Fret Board
11xxxxx-12xxxxx 2011-2012 Date Coded
Seen on early Indian SLX models. These models had Made in India stickers to my knowledge. They moved to Indonesia in 2012 and had no India sticker, nor stamped board serial, but instead a headstock stickered serial.
There's a bit of mystery during the change from India to Indonesia. If anyone has a fret board stamped 2012 serial and an Indonesian sticker, let us know.

7 Digit Korean/Japanese Performers
0xxxxxx-1xxxxxx Korea '95-'97ish. Not date coded, and the move to Japan year is still uncertain. By '98 they were Japanese with a 96xxxxx serial.
96xxxxx- Japan '97-'98 to 2000.

7/8 Digits Headstock Sticker 6xxxxxx
6xxxxxx-65xxxxxx Probably not date coded, though they were used mid '90s on Taiwanese made Jacksons. I can't narrow it down beyond '94-'97.

7/8+ Digits Bolt On India
98xxxxxx-11xxxxxx 1998-2011 Date Coded Used on most JS series and some early X Series models.
There was a time in the mid-2000's where the whole year was shown: Ex; 2006xxxx
Later in the 2000's they added the NHJ09xxxxx prefix up until Indian production stopped 2011-12.

2012-2017 Headstock Stickers and Neck Plate
Cxx12xxxxx-Cxx17xxxxx 2012-2017 Date Coded China
Ixx12xxxxx-Ixx17xxxxx 2012-2017 Date Coded Indonesia
Mxx12xxxxx-Mxx17xxxxx 2012-2017 Date Coded Mexico

96xxxxx, 97xxxxx and 98xxxxx serials oftentimes don't indicate '96, '97 and '98.

Kramer (Back to top of page)

Much of the information online is centered on whether the Kramer in question was made in the USA. One thing to keep in mind is neck plates that say “Neptune, NJ,” do not always indicate a USA Kramer. After late-85, Kramers were being made by ESP in Japan. ESP made an “American Series” in Japan that was assembled in the USA. 

Most American Kramer guitars follow a serial number scheme with a letter prefix followed by four or five digits. These can help to narrow down the year of the instrument. Note that there is overlap between some prefix date ranges. Below are the basics of the letter-prefix serials. 

A Series:

A0001 to A9999 = 1980-1981

B Series:

B0001 to B9999 = early-81 to early-83

C Series:

C0001 to C9999 = early-83 to mid-84

D Series:

D0001 to D9999 = mid-84 to mid-86

E Series:

E0001 to E13XXX = 1985, mid-86 to mid-87

F Series:

F0001 to F13XXX = late-87 to late-89

G Series:

G0001 to GXXXX = late-89 to 1990

 H Series:

There were some H series models, perhaps USA-made Pacers with HXXXX serial numbers. Year unclear.

NOTES

A Series
For A series, neck plates are flat chrome plate with Kramer logo with “Made in USA and serial number stamped on plate. Some A and B plates ended up on overseas guitars. Often they have two letters with a space between them, such as “A A1234.”

B Series
Some B plates that are cast metal may have ended up on overseas models and out of correct time period, possibly what would normally be the F plate timeframe. Many Kline Graphic Barettas have been seen with B plates. Some of these cast B plates may have also ended up on American made models.

C Series
These have either chrome or black plates, and both are flat stamped. Some do not have “Made in USA” and some have “Kramer” stamped, instead of outline cut as on earlier models.

D Series
These have either chrome or black plates, and both are flat stamped. Some do not have “Made in USA” and some have “Kramer” stamped, instead of outline cut as on earlier models.

E thru G Series
These got die cast plates in chrome that say “Neptune, NJ” with the banana Kramer logo

Kramer did use non-letter prefix serials on some models. You can check the vintagekramer.com website to see a list of some of those models. Music Yo made some reissue Kramers in USA. These may have six digits with no letter prefix. Japanese made Kramers often have 5 digits with no letter prefix. Korean Kramers may have a letter to indicate factory, such as S/SE/SO for Samick Korea, or SI for China. 

Korean Kramer Ferrington acoustic models have two letters and four digits stamped into the neckplate (i.e, FA XXXX, FB XXXX, etc). Second letter denotes the year:

FA = late-85 to late-86

FB = 1987 to 1988

FC = 1989 to 1990

MODELS
Kramer USA / American Series Models
Aluminum neck models are all made in USA. They include: Kramer 250, 335 (hollowbody), 350, 450, 650, DMZ Series, XK Series, Duke Series, Gene Simmons axe guitar and bass, and Challenger.

The following wood neck models were made in USA models, or after 1986 were “American Series” models made in Japan and assembled in USA: Baretta I, II, and III, Stagemaster, Classic, Condor, Liberty, Pacer, Pacer Custom I & II, Pioneer Bass, Forum I & II Basses, Proaxe, Triax, Enterprize, Invader, Vanguard, Voyager, Sustainer, Telecaster 

Kramer USA and American – signature models
Floyd Rose Model, Elliot Easton Model, NightSwan (Vivian Campbell Model), Sambora (aka "Jersey Star") (Richie Sambora Model), Ripley (Steve Ripley Model), Gorky Park model, Paul Dean model, Lzzy Hale Voyager model

Kramer Import Models
Japan: Focus Series, Forum Series (bass), JK, LK and MK Series, Glide, Grace

Korea (Neptune Era): Kramer Aerostar (ZX), Ferrington, Gorky Park Model, KS-400, KS400, Metallist, Regent, Savant, Showster, Starfighter, Striker Series, Hundred Series (eg, 410, 610, etc.), XL series

Kramer by Gibson/MusicYo USA-made models (~2003-2010)
Kramer 1985 Baretta Reissue, Kramer 1984 and 1984 Custom Reissue, Kramer Jersey Star, Kramer Pacer Imperial Reissue

Kramer by Gibson Import Models (2019-Present)
Kramer Baretta Special, Kramer Baretta, Kramer '83 Baretta Reissue, Kramer Focus, Kramer Jersey Star, Kramer Nightswan, Kramer Pacer, Kramer SM-1/SM-1H

Kramer by Gibson '98–'08 – Korean Made Models (1998–2005)
also known as "The Yo Era Guitars"**
Kramer Pacer (2xx), Kramer Striker (fr/s 4xx), Kramer Baretta Neck-Thru, Kramer Baretta bolt on, Kramer Vanguard (fr/s 4xx), Kramer Assault (2xx), Kramer Imperial

Lakland (Back to top of page)

Bass manufacturer Lakland (pronounced “LAKE-land” believe it or not) began its US production in 1994 in Chicago, Illinois. The company introduced its Korean- and Indonesian-made Skyline series in 2001.

Skyline Series

On the Skyline series, an 8- or 9-digit serial number is printed on the top edge of the headstock near the low E or B string tuning key. The first two digits in the serial number indicate the final two digits of the year of manufacture. For example: 230312372 = a 2023 instrument.

US Instruments

Lakland’s US serial numbers appear in the same place but are engraved into the wood. The serial number represents its sequential number in the model line and does not tell the date of manufacture. If your bass was made prior to 2010 you can check the tables below, which show the sequential serial numbering by year for some models. If you have a newer US model, your best bet is to contact the company at sales@lakland.com.

Sequential Serial Numbers by Year up to 2009


MODELS: 4-94, 4-63, 4-76, 4-07
1-104 1995
105-142 1996
143-246 1997
247-312 1998
313-418 1999
419-479 2000
480-580 2001
581-627 2002
628-663 2003
664-683 2004
684-766 2005
767-795 2006
796-816 2007
817-892 2008
893- 2009

MODELS: 55-94, 55-63, 55-76, 55-07
5001-5068 1996
5069-5232 1997
5233-5559 1998
5560-5905 1999
5906-6089 2000
6090-6381 2001
6382-6553 2002
6554-6683 2003
6684-6802 2004
6803-6915 2005
6916-6996 2006
6997-7080 2007
7081-7160 2008
7160- 2009

MODEL: DARRYL JONES
DJ01-DJ09 2006
DJ10-DJ19 2007
DJ20-DJ29 2008
DJ30- 2009

MODEL: JOE OSBORN 4 STRING
JO 1-JO52 1998
JO53-JO115 1999
JO116-JO164 2000
JO165-JO212 2001
JO213-JO263 2002
JO264-JO313 2003
JO314-JO335 2004
JO336-JO384 2005
JO385-JO439 2006
JO440-JO505 2007
JO506-JO560 2008
JO561- 2009

MODEL: JOE OSBORN 5 STRING
5JO01-5JO07 2001
5JO08-5JO30 2002
5JO31-5JO53 2003
5JO54-5JO76 2004
5JO77-5JO93 2005
5JO94-5JO115 2006
5JO116-5JO128 2007
5JO129-5JO140 2008
5JO141- 2009

MODEL: DECADE
D01-D06 2004
D07-D09 2005
D10-D25 2006
D26-D44 2007
D45-D68 2008
D69- 2009

MODEL: DECADE 5 STRING
5D01-5D02 2008
5D03- 2009

MODEL: BOB GLAUB 4 STRING
BG01-BG94 2001
BG95-BG115 2002
BG116-BG139 2003
BG140-BG165 2004
BG166-BG240 2005
BG241-BG288 2006
BG289-BG332 2007
BG333-BG410 2008
BG411- 2009

MODEL: BOB GLAUB 5 STRING
5BG01- 2009

MODEL: HOLLOWBODY
HB01-HB11 2000
HB12-HB43 2001
HB44-HB67 2002
HB68 2003
HB69-HB72 2004
HB73-HB84 2005
HB85-HB89 2006
HB90-HB91 2007
HB92-HB95 2008
HB96- 2009

MODELS: JERRY SCHEFF 4 & 5 STRING
JS01-JS13 2001
JS14-JS15 2002
JS16 2005
JS17-JS18 2008
JS19- 2009

Martin (Back to top of page)

One of the few manufacturers who kept a sequential series of numbers through nearly their entire lifetime, as far back as 1898, dating a Martin is simply a matter of finding where your serial falls in the sequence below. Serials are usually found inside the body near the neck joint. Look through the sound hole toward the head of the guitar. (You may need to use a flashlight.)

Serial Numbers

Year

8001 – 8349

1898

8350 – 8716

1899

8717 – 9128

1900

9129 – 9310

1901

9311 – 9528

1902

9529 – 9810

1903

9811 – 9988

1904

9989 – 10120

1905

10121 – 10329

1906

10330 – 10727

1907

10728 – 10883

1908

10884 – 11018

1909

11019 – 11203

1910

11204 – 11413

1911

11414 – 11565

1912

11566 – 11821

1913

11822 – 12047

1914

12048 – 12209

1915

12210 – 12390

1916

12391 – 12988

1917

12989 – 13450

1918

13451 – 14512

1919

14513 – 15484

1920

15485 – 16758

1921

16759 – 17839

1922

17840 – 19891

1923

19892 – 22008

1924

22009 – 24116

1925

24117 – 28689

1926

28690 – 34435

1927

34436 – 37568

1928

37569 – 40843

1929

40844 – 45317

1930

45318 – 49589

1931

49590 – 52590

1932

52591 – 55084

1933

55085 – 58679

1934

58680 – 61947

1935

61948 – 65176

1936

65177 – 68865

1937

68866 – 71866

1938

71867 – 74061

1939

74062 – 76734

1940

76735 – 80013

1941

80014 – 83107

1942

83108 – 86724

1943

86725 – 90149

1944

90150 – 93623

1945

93624 – 98158

1946

98159 – 103468

1947

103469 – 108269

1948

108270 – 112961

1949

112962 – 117961

1950

117962 – 122799

1951

122800 – 128436

1952

128437 – 134501

1953

134502 – 141345

1954

141346 – 147328

1955

147329 – 153225

1956

153226 – 159061

1957

159062 – 165576

1958

165577 – 171047

1959

171048 – 175689

1960

175690 – 181297

1961

181298 – 187384

1962

187385 – 193327

1963

193328 – 199626

1964

199627 – 207030

1965

207031 – 217215

1966

217216 – 230095

1967

230096 – 241925

1968

241926 – 256003

1969

256004 – 271633

1970

271634 – 294270

1971

294271 – 313302

1972

313303 – 333873

1973

333873 – 353387

1974

353388 – 371828

1975

371829 – 388800

1976

388801 – 399625

1977

4399626 – 407800

1978

407801 – 419900

1979

419901 – 430300

1980

430301 – 436474

1981

436475 – 439627

1982

439628 – 446101

1983

446102 – 4533000

1984

453301 – 460575

1985

460576 – 468175

1986

468176 – 476216

1987

476217 – 483952

1988

483953 – 493279

1989

493280 – 503309

1990

503310 – 512487

1991

512488 – 522655

1992

522656 – 535223

1993

535224 – 551696

1994

551697 – 570434

1995

570435 – 592930

1996

592931 – 624799

1997

624800 – 668796

1998

668797 – 724077

1999

724078 – 780500

2000

780501 – 845644

2001

845645 – 916759

2002

916760 – 978706

2003

978707 – 1042558

2004

1042559 – 1115862

2005

1115863 – 1197799

2006

1197800 – 1268091

2007

1268092 – 1337042

2008

1337043 – 1406715

2009

1406716 – 1473461

2010

1473462 – 1555767

2011

1555768 – 1656742

2012

1656743 – 1755536

2013

1755537 – 1857399

2014

1857400 – 1972129

2015

1972130 – 2076795

2016

2076796 – 2161732

2017

2161733 – 2258889

2018

2258890 – 2366880

2019

2366881 – 293493

2020

293494 – 2576415

2021

2576416 – 2711440

2022

2711441 – 2829083

2023

2829084 – …….

2024



SOLIDBODY ELECTRICS

The E18, EM-18 and EB-18 bass model from the '70s do not conform to the table above. See below:

Serial Numbers

Year

1000 – 1099

1978

1100 – 2831

1979

2832 – 3645

1980

 

LITTLE MARTIN (LX) GUITARS

Serial Numbers

Year

last number 41279

2005

41280 – 54016

2006

540167- 69850

2007

69851 – 85266

2008

85267 – 98332

2009

98333 – 115197

2010

115198 – 129934

2011

129935 – 145612

2012

145613 – 172822

2013

172823 – 205052

2014

205053 – 236580

2015

236581 – 263886

2016

263887 – 284726

2017

284727 – 319828

2018

319829 – 344677

2019

344678 – 361282

2020

 

MARTIN BACKPACKER GUITARS

Serial Numbers

Year

last number 178146

1992-2006

178147 – 188539

2007

188540 – 195761

2008

195762 – 203818

2009

203819 – 211612

2010

211613 – 220586

2011

220587 – 229812

2012

229813 – 239535

2013

239536 – 249963

2014

249964 – 260267

2015

260268 – 267880

2016

267881 – 274525

2017

274526 – 280524

2018

280525 – 288018

2019

288019 – 293493

2020

 

SIGMA & MANDOLINS

Numbers 900001 to 902908 were used for a short run of Sigma-made Martin models from 1981 to1982 so do not appear on Martin models. Martin Mandolins from before 1991 use a different sequence than guitars (see Martin website).

 

 

micro-frets guitars

 

Micro-Frets (Back to top of page)

If you own a Micro-Frets guitar or bass, first of all, congratulations. These are very rare instruments these days. They were produced between 1967 and 1974 by a small company in the United States that was started by Ralph Jones in Frederick, Maryland.

In 1967 Micro-Frets introduced four models, the Orbiter, Huntington, Plainsman, and Covington. These models are now known as the "Style 1" series. Most but not all, Micro-Frets guitars and basses are semi-hollow creations built with two-piece bodies clipped together. The company came out with innovative designs for a stable tremolo bridge called the Calibrato; the Micro-Nut, which allows you to intonate each string both at the bridge and the nut; and the first FM wireless transmitter for guitar.

Overall, Micro-Frets produced in the neighborhood of 3,000 total instruments. You will find a four-digit serial number on the neck plate, but it may not be able to help date the instrument. Your best bet is comparing it to other similar models and looking to see if those owners have a solid date they were made, or perhaps checking pot codes.

A modern version of the Micro-Frets company has resurfaced and they are making a few select models. Their website has a registry (https://microfretsguitars.com/micro-frets-guitar-registry), which has some serials of different models, but no corresponding dates. They also have a photo gallery (https://microfretsguitars.com/photo-gallery). While neither will help you with specific dates, these resources may help in researching attributes of your specific model.

Other models produced by Micro-Frets include the Thundermaster Bass, Voyager, Golden Melody, Calibra I and II, Wanderer, Spacetone, Husky Bass, Swinger, Golden Comet, Rendezvous Bass, Stage II bass and guitar, Signature bass and guitar. There is a very detailed article (https://www.vintageguitar.com/31810/the-micro-frets-saga) on the history of Micro-Frets on the Vintage Guitar Magazine website that is worth reading.

 

 

Modulus (Back to top of page)

Modulus was founded in 1978. Some early instruments have only a patent number on the headstock. However, at some point, Modulus began using a 6-digit serial number that appears on the back of the headstock. First two digits indicate year of production. The following digits indicate the sequential production number of the instrument for that year. So the serial “941377” indicates the 1377th bass made in 1994. The production sequence reset at the beginning of each year. Here are some additional Modulus serial examples:

890690 = 1989

080281 = 2008

100022 = 2010

In 2013, the company folded. Production was re-started in 2015 under new ownership, and due to a much lower production of instruments, they went to a 5-digit serial, but the two-digit year scheme stays in place. In addition, the production sequence number will not reset each year. According to the Modulus website, this will be the case all the way up to instrument XX999. After instrument XX999, another digit will be added to the serial number for basses 1000 and beyond. Examples of these newer serial numbers:

17096 = 2017

22253 = 2022 

 

ovation magnum bass

 

Ovation (Back to top of page)

THREE DIGIT SERIES
Number Range / YEAR MADE / Comment

006-319 1966 Three digits in red ink
320-999 1967 (Feb-Nov) New Hartford; three digits in red ink
1000- 1967 (Nov)-1968 (July) Four digits in black ink, no letter prefix
10000- 1970 (Feb)-1972 (May) Five digits, no letter prefix
A+3 Digits 1968 (July-Nov)
B+3 Digits 1968 (Nov)-1969 (Feb)
B+5 Digits 1974-1979 Magnum solid body basses
C+3 Digits 1969 (Feb-Sept)
D+3 Digits 1969 (Sept)-1970 (Feb)
E+4 Digits 1973 (Jan)-1975 (Feb) Solidbodies
E+5 Digits 1975 (Feb)-1980 Solidbodies
E+6 Digits 1980 (late)-1981 Some UK IIs (does not reflect production)
F,G prefix 1968 (July)-1970 (Feb)
H,I,J,L prefix 1970-1973 Electric Storm Series


FOUR DIGIT SERIES
(First digit is always 1)
Second digit is type of guitar:
1 Acoustic roundbacks (also semi-hollowbody electrics)
2 Solidbody and semi-hollowbody electrics
3 Ultra acoustics
4 Solidbody
5 Acoustic electric cutaway Adamas and II/Elite/Ultra electric
6 Acoustic electric roundbacks
7 Deep
8 Shallow

Third digit denotes bowl depth on acoustic and acoustic electrics:
1 Standard bowl, 5 13/16" deep
2 Artist bowl, 5 1/8" deep
3 Elite/Matrix electric deep bowl
4 Matrix shallow bowl
5 Custom Balladeer, Legend, Legend 12, Custom Legend 12, Anniversary
6 Cutaway electric, deep bowl
7 Cutaway electric, shallow bowl
8 Adamas, 6 1/16" deep

Fourth digit denotes mode, for the first eight acoustic models:
1 Balladeer
2 Deluxe Baladeer
3 Classic
4 Josh White
5 12-String
6 Contemporary Folk Classic
7 Glen Campbell Artist Balladeer
8 Glen Campbell 12-String

SIX DIGIT SERIES
1971-Present (Except Adamas)

Number range YEAR MADE
000001-007000 1972 (May-Dec)
020001-039000 1974
039001-067000 1975
067001-086000 1976
086001-103000 1977 (Jan-Sept)
103001-126000 1977 (Sept)-1978 (Apr)
126001-157000 1978 (Apr-Dec)
157001-203000 1979
211011-214933 1980
214934-263633 1981
263634-291456 1982
291457-302669 1983
302670-303319 1984 Elites Only
315001-339187 1984 Balladeers Only
303320-356000 1985-1986
357000-367999 1987
368000-382106 1988
382107-392900 1989
403760-420400 1990
421000-430680 1990
400001-403676 1991
430681-446000 1991
402700-406000 1992
446001-457810 1992
457811-470769 1993
470770-484400 1994
484401-501470 1995
501471-518689 1996
518690-528368 1997
528369-536826 1998
536827-545890 1999
545891-555979 2000
555980-564478 2001
564479-571883 2002
571884-579654 2003
579655-592919 2004
592920-601450 2005
601451-609566 2006
609567-618494 2007
618495-620263 2008
620264-621209 2009
621210-621981 2010
621982-622147 2011
622148-622419 2012
622420-622539 2013

ADAMAS SERIES
Series starts with 0077 in September 1977

Number range YEAR MADE
0077-0099 1977
0100-0608 1978
0609-1058 1979
1059-1670 1980
1671-2668 1981
2669-3242 1982
3243-3859 1983
3860-4109 1984
4110-4251 1985
4252-4283 1986
4284-4427 1987
4428-4696 1988
4697-4974 1989
4975-5541 1990
5542-6278 1991
6279-7088 1992
7089-8159 1993
8160-9778 1994
9779-11213 1995
11214-12448 1996
12449-13020 1997
13021-14623 1998
14624-16136 1999
16137-17393 2000
17394-18961 2001
18962-20040 2002
20041-20802 2003
20803-21085 2004
21086-21514 2005
21515-22211 2006
22212-22522 2007
22523-22878 2008
22879-23155 2009
23156-23402 2010
23403-23591 2011
23592-23763 2012
23764-23845 2013

There is an extensive Ovation serial database on the OvationTribute.com website here: http://www.ovationtribute.com/O_Decoder/O-Decoder%20rev8.htm

Parker Guitars (Back to top of page)

Started by Ken Parker and Larry Fishman in 1993, Parker Guitars was housed under the Korg brand where Parker oversaw production of his original models: the Fly, NiteFly and Fly Bass until 2003. In 2003 a modified “refined” Fly was introduced and the company was bought by U.S. Music Corp, which saw the exit of Parker and Fishman. US, Korean, and Indonesian models continued to be made under the Parker name until 2015. Note, all models discussed below are USA made except for the P and Maxxfly import series at the bottom.

Early Fly (pre-2003)

Early Flys will have a 6-digit serial that appears on the bottom edge of the headstock with format: DDDXXY.

DDD = day of the year

XX = number in that day’s production (perhaps)

Y = final digit of the year

These numbers may be followed by one or several letters to indicate woods used with neck wood listed first (see wood codes below). After the wood designation was a space and then “USA.” Some sample serials:

057098BSS USA = 1998 guitar made on the 57th day of the year with basswood neck and Sitka Spruce body

038076BMH USA = 1996 guitar made on 76th day of the year with basswood neck and mahogany body

2003 – 2006

Both 6- & 7-digit numbers were reportedly used. Serial format is similar to above (DDDXXY), with the year being designated with the final two digits of the year on some guitars (DDDXXYY). (Please also see the note at bottom about some unexplained mid-2000s 7-digit USA serials that appear to put year designation first, such as: YYXXXXX.) Researching instrument control layout to determine if you have a "Refined Fly" may help during this period, as the Refined Fly can only be a  2003 or later instrument. Below appear a 6- and 7-digit serial from this period:

0170105BP USA = 2005 guitar made on the 17th day of the year, basswood neck and popular body

335013BP = 2003 guitar made on the 335th day of the year

NiteFly (1996-2005)

The bolt-on NiteFly series uses a different system using either a 5- or 6-digit serial number. The first one or two digits show the month, the third is the last number in the year, and the last three digits show the number in that months production. (Please note that sequential production numbers discussed throughout this entry are only a hypothesis. All online references are hazy at best about daily, weekly or some other system. In essence, nobody seems to know for sure.)

Here’s a 6-digit NiteFly serial number example:
Serial Number 117123
11=(Month) November
7=(Year) 1997
123=(Number of guitar that month) 123

Here’s a 5-digit NiteFly serial:

58128USA = May 1998 guitar

Post-2006

After 2006, Fly and NiteFly serials changed to a P + 7-digit serial: PYYMMXXX. The first two digits are the year, the next two are the month, and the final three digits are some kind of sequential numbering.

P0804291 = April 2008

P 1212032 BA USA = December 2012

P1412004 = December 2014

The following abbreviations for wood used on the guitar in question (included at the end of serial numbers before 2006, usually placed on back of the headstock after 2006) should help w/ identification of the model. Neck wood is always listed first.

B = Basswood
BA = ?
R = Redwood
P = Poplar
C = Cedar
K = Koa
MH = Mahogany
MA = Maple
SP = Sitka Spruce
SS = Sitka Spruce (the code was changed)
BN = Butternut
MM = Mahogany neck and body (Mojo)

The Fly Bass

The first Parker Fly basses (FB-4/5, Mojo) produced in Wilmington in 2002 used a 7-digit serial number, of the scheme MMYYSSS, where MM = month, YY = year and SSS = production number that month.

In July 2003 production was moved to Vernon Hills, IL, and a 6-digit serial number scheme was adopted where the first three digits are an internal code (092) and the last three digits are the sequence number in production. "USA" follows the number sequence. These instruments were made by Washburn.

Here’s a 2003 Fly Bass serial number:
Serial Number 092075
092 = internal code
075 = number in the production sequence (75)

Note: Parker basses with a “PB” prefix are part of the P Series import line. See below.

P Series Serials

Not to be confused with the P serial USA models above, this import line was made in Korea and later Indonesia. They should say “Made in Korea” or “Made in Indonesia,” while P + 7-digit USA models will say “USA.”

Early Korean P serials follow a P + 7-digit format: PMMYYXXXX. For example: P1001231 is an October 2001 Korean made guitar with the final four digits indicating some kind of sequential production number.

After 2004 P Series (or sometimes PM: PM10, PM20, etc) guitars and basses dropped the “P” prefix and went to an 8-digit serial like: YYMMXXXX, such that “06020042” denotes a February 2006 guitar that was the 42nd made in some type of running sequential number, whether that was daily, weekly or something else is unknown. (Basses were known as the PB line.)

Indonesian Maxxfly models were introduced in 2010 and have been seen with 7-digit and 9-digit serial numbers. The 9-digit serials are printed on back of headstock, while the 7-digit ones are stamped into the wood. They may follow a similar scheme where the year and month come first, like YYMMXXXXX or YYMMXXX. However, this is mostly speculation.

Ken Parker left Parker Guitars in 2003 when the company was sold to U.S. Music Corp. The Fly and Nitefly models that Parker invented continued to be sold by Parker Guitars until it closed US operations in 2015. One of the best websites to find Parker info, including serial number info and catalogs is www.flyclone.com

Rogue 7-Digit USA Serials

NOTE: There seem to be some mid-2000s Parker bolt-ons with 7-digit serial numbers such as:

“0407355 USA” (Parker Mojo)

“0506159 USA” (NiteFly M)

Owners claimed these as 2004 and 2005, respectively, which would imply a serial format: YYXXXXX. So they don’t fit neatly into any of the Parker serial schemes mentioned above. The closest USA format is the post-2006 P + 7-digit serials, but the ones in question here have no “P” in them.

Paul Reed Smith (PRS) (Back to top of page)

To date a PRS guitar, look at the one- or two-digit prefix, which indicates the final one or two digits of the production year. This prefix may appear to the left of the actual serial all by itself. So "08" indicates 2008. "09" is 2009, etc. The only complication occurs with years that have the same final digit. Thus, "0" prefix can indicate 1990 or 2000. A "5" can indicate 1985, 1995 or 2005. You can narrow it down by the numbers that come after the prefix, which are sequential production numbers. Lower numbers indicate earlier years. This first table lays out graphically the PRS prefix scheme described and is followed by tables for production numbers of various models.


PRS Prefix indicators
0 = 1990 or 2000
1 = 1991 or 2001
2 = 1992 or 2002
3 = 1993 or 2003
4 = 1994 or 2004
5 = 1985, 1995, or 2005
6 = 1986, 1996, or 2006
7 = 1987, 1997, or 2007
8 = 1988, 1998, or 2008
9 = 1989, 1999, or 2009
10 = 2010
11 = 2011
12 = 2012
13 = 2013
14 = 2014
15 = 2015
16 = 2016
17 = 2017
18 = 2018


Set Neck Models (back of headstock)
After the year prefix:

Serial Number / Year
0001 - 0400 1985
0401 - 1700 1986
1701 - 3500 1987
3501 - 5400 1988
5401 - 7600 1989
7601 - 10100 1990
10101 - 12600 1991
12601 - 15000 1992
15001 - 17900 1993
17901 - 20900 1994
20901 - 24600 1995
24601 - 29500 1996
29501 - 34600 1997
34601 - 39100 1998
39101 - 44499 1999
44500 - 52199 2000
52200 - 62199 2001
62200 - 72353 2002
72354 - 82254 2003
82255 - 92555 2004
92556 - 103103 2005
103104 - 114940 2006
114941 - 132401 2007
132402 - 146419 2008
146420 - 159132 2009
159133 - 170591 2010
170592 - 183862 2011
183863 - 196410 2012
196411 - 206059 2013
206060 - 215491 2014
215492 - 224954 2015
224955 - 236147 2016
236148 - 2017


S2 Models (back of headstock)
After the year prefix:

Serial Numbers  /  Year

S2000001 - S2003820  /  2013

S2003821 - S2010529  /  2014

S2010530 - S2017390  /  2015

S2017391 - S2023214  /  2016

S2023215 - S2027902  /  2017

S2027903 - S2036779  /  2018

S2036780 - S2043719  /  2019

S2043719 - S2049421  /  2020

S2049422 - S2059387  /  2021

S2059388 -                   /  2022




CE Models (2016 and Later) (neck plate)
Prefix Number / Year
16 2016
17 2017

CE Models (1988 - 2008) (neck plate)
Serial Number / Year
7 0001 – 0270 1988
7 0271 – 1830 1989
7 1831 – 3200 1990
7 3201 – 4540 1991
7 4541 – 7090 1992
7 7091 – 8820 1993
7 8821 – 10700 1994
7 10701 – 13000 1995
7 13001 – 14680 1996
7 14681 – 17130 1997
7 17131 – 19580 1998 (prefix may be CE)
CE 19581 – 20749 1999
CE 20750 – 21599 2000
CE 21600 – 23199 2001
CE 23200 – 25389 2002
CE 25390 – 26399 2003
CE 26400 – 27900 2004
CE 27901 – 29377 2005
CE 29378 - 31800 2006
CE 31801 - 32783 2007
CE 32784 - 33881 2008

EG Models (neck plate)
Serial Number / Year
5 or EG 0001 – 0920 1990
5 or EG 0921 – 1290 1991
5 or EG 1291 – 2070 1992
5 or EG 2071 – 2870 1993
5 or EG 2871 – 3190 1994
5 or EG 3191 - 3300 1995

Swamp Ash Special Models (neck plate)
Serial Number / Year
8 00001 – 00410 1997
8 or SA 00411 – 00760 1998
SA 00761 – 00969 1999
SA 00970 – 01179 2000
SA 01180 – 01399 2001
SA 01400 – 01899 2002
SA 01900 – 02099 2003
SA 02100 – 02287 2004
SA 02288 – 02700 2005
SA 02701 – 02800 2006
SA 02801 – 03055 2007
SA 03056 – 03256 2008
SA 003257 – 03312 2009

Bolt-On Bass (neck plate)
After the year prefix:

Serial Number / Year
4 0001 – 0030 1989
4 0031 – 0140 1990
4 0141 – 0200 1991

Set-Neck Bass (back of headstock)
After the year prefix:

Serial Number / Year
9 0001 – 0230 1986/87
9 0231 – 0350 1988
9 0351 – 0680 1989
9 0681 – 0730 1990
9 0731 – 0800 1991

Electric Bass (back of headstock)
After the year prefix:

Serial Number / Year
EB 00007 – 00072 2000
EB 00073 – 00199 2001
EB 00200 – 00422 2002
EB 00423 – 00501 2003
EB 00502 – 00650 2004

SE Models (back of headstock)
Prefix Letter / Year
A 2000
B 2001
C 2002
D 2003
E 2004
F 2005
G 2006
H 2007
I 2008
J 2009
K 2010
L 2011
M 2012
N 2013
O 2014
P 2015
Q 2016
R 2017
S 2018
T 2019
U 2020


Acoustic Serial Numbers
The serial number of an acoustic is located on the label inside the sound hole of the guitar. All acoustic serial numbers begin with the letter "A" and are followed by the two digit year prefix.

Prefix Letter

Year

A09

2009

A10

2010

A11

2011

A12

2012

A13

2013

A14

2014

A15

2015

A16

2016

A17

2017

A18

2018

A19

2019

A20

2020

peavey t-60 bass natural finish

Peavey (Back to top of page)

Serial numbers below correlate to shipping dates of US models only. 1978 to 1995. Imports designated by EX, EXP, or BXP are not serialized by year. As of 2021, Peavey has their own serial number lookup page and it seems to work pretty well (https://secure.peavey.com/serial-lookup/).  See below for Peavey model list and Wolfgang info. If all else fails, you can reach Peavey tech support at 877-732-8391.


• 8Mxxxxxx ............................................1978
• 0000xxxx t/m 0030xxxx ........................1978
• 0031xxxx t/m 0047xxxx ........................1979
• 0048xxxx t/m 0065xxxx ........................1980
• 0066xxxx t/m 0099xxxx ........................1981
• 0100xxxx t/m 0129xxxx ........................1982
• 0130xxxx t/m 0169xxxx ........................1983
• 0170xxxx t/m 0199xxxx ........................1984
• 0200xxxx t/m 0239xxxx ........................1985
• 0240xxxx t/m 0259xxxx ........................1986
• 0260xxxx t/m 0339xxxx ........................1987
• 0340xxxx t/m 0359xxxx ........................1988
• 0360xxxx t/m 0419xxxx ........................1989
• 04249338 t/m 0439xxxx ........................1990
• 0440xxxx t/m 0519xxxx ........................1991
• 0520xxxx t/m 0599xxxx ........................1992
• 0600xxxx t/m 0639xxxx ........................1993
• 0640xxxx t/m 0769xxxx ........................1994
• 0770xxxx >>...................................1995

Peavey Wolfgang

USA made Wolfgang guitars will have the serial number stamped in the wood on the back of the headstock. Korean models have the serial number printed in black. You cannot determine the date by the serial number and they are not covered in the Peavey online lookup. Here is further info from Wikipedia:

USA-built Peavey Wolfgangs typically had serial numbers that started with "91" followed by six more digits. Late-run USA Wolfgangs had serial numbers that started with "50" or "51". A very few prototype models had serial numbers that started with "1". Though Peavey Wolfgang owners have often sought to find a corroboration in the serial numbers of their guitars and the year in which each was built (similar to the system Gibson uses), there was no such information contained in the serial numbers. There was also no code specific to Custom Shop models.

Peavey Wolfgang serial numbers were stamped on the back of the headstock between the tuners. Eddie Van Halen's signature and the headstock patent number were both branded just below the serial number. Early Wolfgang models (1996–1998) contained the term "Pat. Pend." in place of the patent number. Korean model EXP Wolfgang Specials had serial numbers printed in black on the back of the headstock.

Model List

Again from Wikipedia, here is a long list of Peavey models through the years. Some have date info:

Guitars

Axcelerator Series
Axcelerator (made in USA 1994-1998)
Axcelerator AX (made in USA 1995-1998)
Axcelerator F (made isdn USA 1994)
Cropper Classic (made in USA)
Destiny Series
Destiny (made in USA 1989-1994)
Destiny Custom (made in USA 1989-1994)
Detonator Series
Detonator (made in USA)
Detonator AX (made in USA 1995-1998)
Detonator JX (made in USA)
EVH Wolfgang Series (1996–2004)
EVH Wolfgang
EVH Wolfgang Special
Falcon Series
Falcon (made in USA 1986-1988)
Falcon Active (made in USA 1988-1989)
Falcon Classic (made in USA 1988-1990)
Falcon Custom (Kahler tremolo - made in USA 1986-1988)
Falcon Custom (Power Bend II tremolo - made in USA 1989-1991)
Falcon Standard (made in USA 1989-1991)
Firenza Series

Leakesville Firenza in Mahogany burst

Impact Firenza (see Impact Series)
Firenza (made in Leakesville MS, USA 1998-2002)
Firenza AX (made in Leakesville MS, USA 1998-2002)
Firenza JX (made in Leakesville MS, USA 1998-2002)
G-90 (made in USA)
Generation Series
Generation Custom (made in USA 1989-1994)
Generation Custom ACM (made in USA)
Generation Custom EX
Generation EX (made in China)
Generation EXP
Generation EXP ACM (made in Korea)
Generation EXP Custom ACM
Generation S-1 (made in USA 1988-1994)
Generation S-2 (made in USA 1990-1994)
Generation S-3 (made in USA 1991-1994)
Generation Standard (made in USA 1989-1994)
Generation Triple/Single EX (made in China)
Generation Vintage EX (made in China)
Hartley Peavey Signature Series
Hartley Peavey Signature EX
Hartley Peavey Signature EXP (made in Korea)
Hartley Peavey Signature Select
Hartley Peavey Signature USA Custom (made in USA)
Hartley Peavey Special Series
Hartley Peavey Special CT USA (made in USA)
Hartley Peavey Special EX
Hartley Peavey Special USA (made in USA)
Horizon Series
Horizon (made in USA 1983-1986)
Horizon II (made in USA 1983-1986)
Horizon II Custom (made in USA 1984-1985)
Hydra Series
Hydra (made in USA)
Jeff Cook Signature Model(made in USA)
Impact Series
Impact 1 (made in USA 1985-1987) totally different model 90's
Impact 1 Unity (made in USA 1987-1989)
Impact 2 (made in USA 1985-1987) totally different model 90's
Impact Firenza (made in USA)
Impact Firenza AX (made in USA)
Impact Milano (made in USA)
Impact Torino I (made in USA)
Impact Torino II (made in USA)
Jack Daniel's Series
Jack Daniel's EX
Jack Daniel's EXP
Jack Daniel's USA (made in USA)
Jazz Fusion Series
JF-1 EXP (made in China)EX on guitar
JF-2 EXP (made in China)
Limited Series
Limited HB (made in Leakesville MS, USA)
Limited ST (made in Leakesville MS, USA)
Limited VT (made in Leakesville MS, USA)
Limited STD (made in Leaksville MS,USA)
Mantis Series
Mantis (made in USA 1984-1986)
Mantis LT (made in USA)
Milestone Series
Milestone (made in USA 1983-1986)
Milestone 12-string (made in USA 1983-1986)
Mystic (made in USA 1983-1986)
Nitro Series
Nitro I (made in USA 1986-1989)
Nitro I Active (made in USA 1988-1990)
Nitro I Custom (made in USA 1987-1989)
Nitro II (made in USA 1987-1989)
Nitro III (made in USA 1987-1989)
Nitro III Custom (made in USA 1987-1989)
Nitro Limited (made in USA 1987-1990)
Nitro C-2 (made in USA 1990-1992)
Nitro C-3 (made in USA 1990-1992)
Odyssey Series
Odyssey (made in USA 1990-1994)
Odyssey 25th Anniversary (made in USA 1990-1994) 250 total
Odyssey Custom (made in USA 1990-1994)
Omniac JD USA (made in USA 2006-2009)
Patriot Series
Patriot (made in USA 1983-1986)
Patriot Plus (made in USA 1983-1986)
Predator Series
Predator (Kahler Flyer tremolo made in USA 1985-1988)
Predator (Power Bend tremolo made in USA)
Predator AX (made in USA 1995-1996)
Predator Plus (rosewood fingerboard version made in Korea and Vietnam)
Predator Plus (maple fingerboard version made in Vietnam only)
Predator Plus EXP (made in Korea and Indonesia)
Predator Plus HB (made in Korea)
PXD Series
PXD Tomb
PXD Tragic
PXD Twenty-Three
PXD Vicious
Raptor Series
Raptor I
Raptor II
Raptor III
Raptor Plus (made in Korea and China)
Raptor Plus EXP (made in Korea)
Raptor Plus TK (made in Korea)
Raptor Special
Razer (made in USA 1983-1986)
Reactor Series
Reactor (made in USA)
Reactor AX (made in USA 1995-1999)
Rockingham
Rotor Series
Rotor EX
Rotor EXP (bolt neck - made in Korea)
Rotor EXP (set neck - made in Korea)
Rotor EXP (locking tremolo - made in Indonesia)
Rotor EXP Limited (set neck - made in Korea)
Rotor Special (single pickup)
SC Series
SC-1
SC-2
SC-3
T-Series
T-15 (made in USA 1982-1983)
T-25 (made in USA 1982-1983)
T-25 Special (made in USA 1982-1983)
T-26 (made in USA 1982-1983)
T-27 (made in USA 1982-1983)
T-27 Limited (made in USA 1982-1983)
T-30 (made in USA 1981-1983)
T-60 (made in USA 1978-1986)
Tracer Series
Tracer (Power Bend tremolo) (made in USA 1988-1994)
Tracer (Floyd Rose tremolo) (made in USA 1991-1994)
Tracer Custom (made in USA 1989-1990)
Tracer Custom '89 (made in USA 1989-1991)
Tracer Deluxe (made in USA 1988-1990)
Tracer Deluxe '89 (made in USA 1989-1991)
Tracer LT (made in USA 1991-1994)
Tracer II (made in USA 1989-1990)
Tracer II '89 (made in USA 1989-1991)
V-Type Series
V-Type NTB ST
V-Type NTB TR
V-Type EXP
Vortex Series
Vortex 1 (made in USA 1985-1986)
Vortex 2 (made in USA 1985-1986)
Vortex EX
Vandenberg (made in USA)

Bass guitars
A Peavey Millennium BXP

Axcelerator Series (made in USA)
4 String
5 String
6 String
BXP Series (made in Vietnam)
Cirrus Series (made in USA)
4 String
5 String
6 String
Dyna-Bass Series (made in USA)
4 String
5 String
Foundation Series (made in USA)
Foundation 4 String
Foundation 5 String
Foundation 2000
Fury Series (made in Korea/USA)
4 String (discontinued)
5 String (discontinued)
6 String (discontinued)
Grind Series (made in Vietnam/China)
4 String
5 String
6 String
Jack Daniel's USA
Milestone Series (made in Korea)
4 String
5 String
Millennium & Millennium Plus USA
4 String JJ
5 String JJ
4 String J/MM
5 String J/MM
Millennium International Series (made in Korea or Indonesia)
4 String Passive (pictured)
4 String Active
5 String Passive
5 String Active
Patriot (made in USA - discontinued)
T-Series (made in USA)
T-20 (discontinued)
T-40 (1978)(discontinued)
T-45 (discontinued)
Unity Series
Zodiac Series
Zodiac BXP (discontinued)
Zodiac DE Scorpio (discontinued)

Acoustic guitars

Briarwood DR Series
Briarwood CL-1
Briarwood DR-1
Briarwood DR-112
Briarwood DR-2ER
Briarwood DR-3ER CDS
Briarwood DR-3ERS
Briarwood DR-4CA EQ
Briarwood DR-4CA WR EQ
Briarwood DR-5CA EQ QT
Briarwood FL-1
Ecoustic Series
Ecoustic (made in USA)
Ecoustic ATS (made in USA)
Jack Daniel's Series
Jack Daniel's JD-AG1
Jack Daniel's JD-AG2
Jack Daniel's JD-AG3


Reverend
(Back to top of page)

Reverend is the brand made famous by owner Joe Naylor. Early models up till 2006 were made in the USA and since then they have been made in South Korea. If the front of the headstock of your Reverend says "Made in USA," "Eastpointe, MI, USA" or "Reverend USA," it is a made in USA Reverend. Korean models on back of headstock sometimes say "Designed & Setup by Reverend Guitars, USA. Proudly Crafted by Mirr Music Limited Korea." BUT not all Korean models say this. You need to look at the serial number and determine if it was produced before or after 2006.

All Reverends should have a serial number on the back of the headstock along with the initials of the person who set up and inspected the guitar or bass. The first inspector was Naylor himself so if your instrument has the initials "JFN" you probably have an early Reverend and it may be worth a bit more.

Other initials you'll see are SDS (Scott Schaffer) and ZSG (Zack Green). The initials and serials usually appear in a black sharpie or silver pen. These can get rubbed off, which can make dating one very hard.

One website you may want to check out is revfan.com. It's not kept updated but still has some relevant info, especially about how many units were produced of certain guitars, and can give you an idea of how rare (or not) your Reverend might be. The table below should tell you the year of your Reverend. The last USA Reverend was serial number 04942 and was produced in May 2006. Anything newer than that will be Korean made.


YEAR    SERIAL NUMBERS
1997      00001 – 00186
1998      00187 – 00572
1999      00573 – 01167
2000      01168 – 02011
2001      02012 – 02858
2002      02859 – 03171
2003      03172 – 03551
2004      03552 – 04061
2005      04062 – 04575
2006      04576 – 05472
2007      05473 – 08524
2008      08525 – 10327
2009      10328 – 11029
2010      11030 – 12454
2011      12455 – 13958
2012      13959 – 15484
2013      15485 – 17375
2014      17376 – 19712
2015      19713 – 22728
2016      22729 – 27395
2017      27396 – 30521
2018      30522 – 34779
2019      34780 – 39326
2020      39327 – 43766
2021      43767 – 49558
2022      49559 – 52943
2023      52944 –

Rickenbacker (Back to top of page)

1954 - 1960
First digits are model. First letter is type of instrument. Number right after the letter is last digit of year. Last three digits are production number. For example, 4C7768 = 400 Series Combo from 1957. Serial number in this era will appear on the jackplate or on the bridge. There are some deviations, such as no number before the letter, however, first number after the letter still indicates the year.

1960 - 1986
The year is the first letter, the month is the second letter (see below). Located on jackplate. So if "SG" appear near the output jack, S = 1979, and G = July.

The 26 letters of the alphabet indicate the year thus:

Letter / Year
A 1961
B 1962
C 1963
D 1964
E 1965
F 1966
G 1967
H 1968
I 1969
J 1970 (or 1960)
K 1971
L 1972
M 1973
N 1974
O 1975
P 1976
Q 1977
R 1978
S 1979
T 1980
U 1981
V 1982
W 1983
X 1984
Y 1985
Z 1986

Here are the letters (A-L) used to indicate the month:

Letter / Month
A January
B February
C March
D April
E May
F June
G July
H August
I September
J October
K November
L December


1987 - 1996
Similar to the previous scheme. Also appears on jackplate. This time one letter and one digit appear above the jack (or jacks on stereo output models). The letter indicates the month (as above) and the digit indicates the year (shown below). The four digits that appear below the jack indicate sequential production number. 

Number / Year
0 1987
1 1988
2 1989
3 1990
4 1991
5 1992
6 1993
7 1994
8 1995
9 1996

1997-1998
This interim period re-used the digit 0 for 1997 and 1 for 1998. The letters to indicate months moved to M through Y (and skipped letter O to avoid confusing it with zero). Thus, M=January, N=February, P=March....Y=December.


1998 - Present
Easiest of all, this two-digit scheme uses the last two digits of the year to show the year of production. (10 = 2010, 11 = 2011, etc). The two digits appear above the jack, while digits below the jack indicate production number. So, for example, 99 above jack indicates year 1999, and 17004 below is its production  number. The number 20 above = 2020, etc. 

 

Sadowsky(Back to top of page)

Roger Sadowsky began making basses in New York City around 1979 in Brooklyn. At some point around 2011 Sadowsky moved to Long Island.

USA  (Late-80s to Present)

Sadowsky’s serial numbering has been a stable sequential format throughout its history. Serial numbers can be found on the back of the headstock near the tip. USA instruments will say “Sadowsky Guitars NYC” on front of headstock. At some point after 2016 to it was changed to “Sadowsky NYC.”

NYC Serial Numbers  
Year Range Serial Range
Pre '87 101-234
1987 235-307
1988 308-461
1989 462-664
1990 665-885
1991 886-1084
1992-3 1085-1797
1994 1798-1975
1995 1976-2198
1996 2199-2528
1997 2529-2747
1998 2748-3034
1999 3035-3260
2000 3261-3499
2001 3500-3708
2002 3709-3860
2003 3861-4030
2004 4031-4254
2005 4255-4481
2006 4482-4679
2007 4680-4958
2008 4959-5238
2009 5239-5483
2010 5484-5729
2011 5730-6011
2012 6012-6279
2013 6280-6666
2014 6667-6976
2015 6978-7292
2016 7293-7569
2017 7570-7677

 

Though the Sadowsky website ends its USA serial table at 2017, USA production continues. I’ve seen a 2018 USA bass with serial number 8009, and a 2019 bass with serial 8546. If you have further questions, you can contact Sadowsky at jr@sadowsky.com.

Japan (2004 to Present)

In 2004, Sadowsky debuted its made in Japan MetroLine…um, line. These basses say “Sadowsky Guitars” on the front of the headstock. Later models (after 2015?) may say “Sadowsky MetroLine.” Serialization follows a separate sequential series from the USA line and all serials have an initial “M” prefix.

MetroLine (Japan) Serial Numbers  
Year Range Serial Range
2004 M100-M440
2005 M400-M1050
2006 M1010-M1670
2007 M1600-M2100
2008 M2100-M2970
2009 M2900-M3970
2010 M3971-M4830
2011 M4831-M5510
2012 M5510-M6360
2013 M6360-M7220
2014 M7220-M7943
2015 M7944-M8786
2016 M8787-M9551
2017 M9517 – M10142
2018 M10137 to M10489
2019 M10490 to M10887
2020 M10888 to M10982

 

Again, though the Sadowsky website serialization info does not go beyond 2020, the line appears to continue further, as I saw a 2022 MetroLine with serial M11189.

Germany (2020 to Present)

Sadowsky’s newer German MetroLine basses seem to pick up where the Japanese line left off with “Sadowsky MetroLine” appearing on the front of headstock. Serial numbers look like this:

SML L 000572-20 (2020?)

SML L 001136-21 (2021?)

SML K 003426-23 (2023?)

“Metroline Made in Germany” appears below the serial on rear of headstock. Can’t say what the initial four letters indicate, but the following 6-digit number likely is its sequential place in the line, with the final two digits after the dash being the last two numbers in the production year. This is all speculation, as Sadowsky has not posted serial information for this line.

China (2020 to Present)

Sadowsky’s Chinese MetroExpress line perhaps began around 2020. They say “MetroExpress” only on front of the  headstock along with a Roger Sadowsky logo near the tip. The serial number with “Made in China” below it appear on back of headstock. Serial numbers with guesses at dates below:

SME E 000776 20 (2020?)

SME D 003449-21 (2021?)

SME C 001154-23  (2023?)

Sadowsky Tokyo

In the wild I have come across a Sadowsky M4J bass, a Jazz-style bass with serial number 62214 that says “Sadowsky Guitars TOKYO” on the front of headstock. Chat room lore says these were made prior to the MetroLine (2002-2004) for Japan only, supposedly NYC quality for the Japanese market.

 

Samick sg guitar image

Samick (Back to top of page)

This storied Korean (and Indonesian) guitar manufacturer has made its own namesake guitars, but perhaps is best known in the States for making guitars for the likes of Hondo, Gretsch, Guild, D’Angelico, Valley Arts, and probably many more. If you have a guitar whose serial begins with: S, KS, SI, SPG, US, R, R9, 1ES, or perhaps an acoustic with 7- or 8-digit numeric-only serial, it’s possible it was made by Samick in Korea, or post-2006, Indonesia (SI=Samick Indonesia).

I will sketch out some of the basics here, but suffice to say, for extreme detail on Samick, you should visit the Samick Fandom wiki (https://samick.fandom.com/wiki/Serial_Numbers). The folks there have put some serious effort into covering many serial number schemes from Samick. But briefly:

Hondo: 1984-89

Samick made guitars for Hondo with a 7-digit format:
YMMPPPP, where:
Y=year, MM = month, PPPP=production number

For example: 8030768 would be the 768th guitar built in March of 1988

During this period, in 1985, the format: 120PPPP or 110PPPP appeared for unknown reasons but is often found on the Mastercaster Series, often as a sticker, which unfortunately tends to come off over the years.

If you have a pre-1984 Hondo, or it has lost its serial number you can check the date ink-stamped on the side of its original box pickup switch in format YY/MM/DD.

Samick Branded Electrics

1980s

Samick made a line of guitars exclusively for the Japanese market throughout the 80s and possibly into the early-90s. Most of these early Samicks don’t have a serial number. They have a Samick script logo on the headstock. Check pot codes possibly. NOTE: A great way to help you date an early Samick guitar is to check out the “Logo Styles” page on the Samick Fandom website. It gives the dates for the many different styles of logos used by Samick through the years: https://samick.fandom.com/wiki/Logo_Styles. In addition, the “Headstock Styles” page is also quite helpful: https://samick.fandom.com/wiki/Headstock_Styles

Set Necks: 1990s

The used guitar market shows very few, if any, examples of Samick branded set neck models between 1990 and 1993, but starting around 1994, an S + 7-digit serial starts being used for set neck guitars and hollow bodies. Bolt-on models had a different format (see below). Early on Samick used one digit following the “S” to indicate the final digit of the production year. Possibly the next two digits indicate the month and final three a production number, like this: SYMMPPP. Some real world examples:

S4116395 = 1994
S5058836 = 1995
S6046682 = 1996

Semi-hollow guitars around this time use a two-digit-year serial format, either 6-digit: YYXXXX or 7-digit: YYXXXXX, such as 9208331 seen on a 1992 semi-hollow guitar.

Around May 1997 the year designation changed to the final two digits of the production year on set necks, making it an S+8-digit serial, thus: SYYMMPPPP. Note, in the final example, after 2000 some time it became an S+9-digit serial (SYYMMPPPPP), presumably to accommodate larger production numbers. More real-world examples:

S97094048 = 1997
S98094632 = 1998
S030610971 = 2003

Bolt-Ons: 80s and 90s

Late-80s Samicks mostly don’t seem to have serial numbers. In the late 80s, perhaps after 1987 and into the 90s, bolt-on models had the serial engraved on the neck plate with no letter prefix (many are “Valley Arts Guitars” models). Since they seem to use the earlier YMMPPPP 7-digit scheme, it can be difficult to know if an initial “5” means 1985 or 1995, for instance. However, you can determine pre-1990 plates because they are chrome and have a script logo, while after May 1990 the plate should say Made in Korea and have a non-script Samick logo. Here are some 90s numeric-only serials found on neck plates:

1101545 = 1991
2100551 = 1992
3100068 = 1993
4081122 = 1994

Indonesia (2006-Present)

In 2006, Korean production ended and was moved to Indonesia. New models now have an “SI” prefix for Samick Indonesia. The Korean factory was bought by a group of Samick workers and produces guitars under the name SPG for Gretsch, Guild ,and D’Angelico, among others.

SPG uses the KS prefix (Korea, SPG) on Gretsch with format: KSYYMMPPPP.

KS17060333 is the 333rd guitar made in June of 2017.

On Guild guitars, the format is KSGYYPPPPP. Current D’Angelico instruments use a “US” prefix with this same format. Before 2013, they used KS prefix and earlier models used the S prefix (some used R or R9)

Greg Bennett Designed

Bennett Designed set-neck guitars have an S (or SI)+9-digit serial: such as, S030610971. It usually appears on back of headstock though I’ve seen it on a sticker in a pickup cavity also. Anyone’s guess if perhaps the first two digits indicate the year. Most bolt-on Greg Bennetts have no serial number though I have seen a couple with a serial on the neck plate.

 

 

Schecter (Back to top of page)

For Diamond Series instruments, it's simple: The first two numerical digits of the serial number (found on the back of the headstock) will tell you what year the instrument was made. For example, for serial number 0236758, the "02" indicates that the guitar was made in 2002; for serial number W10052743, the "10" indicates that the guitar was made in 2010.

Schecter began as a parts manufacturer and eventually began making their own complete guitars, so from the late 70s to around 1998, when the Diamond Series was introduced there are a lot of guitars that don't follow the first two digits rule. For those you can try contacting Schecter from this page: http://www.schecterguitars.com/about

 

Sire (Back to top of page)

Sire was supposedly formed in the late 90s by a group of friends in Korea. The company is known for making lower cost instruments with great value for the price. They make a ton of guitars endorsed by Larry Carlton and basses endorsed by Marcus Miller. Sire’s serial number format is “2N” + 8 digits, and the two digits immediately following the “N” are the final two digits of the year. For example:

2N22XXXXXX = 2022 instrument

The serial number always appears on the back of the headstock for electric guitars and basses. “Made in Indonesia” is on all the ones I’ve seen. I haven’t been able to find many in the wild older than 2020. I did see one early Marcus Miller bass with serial number 183111161. Since it is 8 digits, my guess is the first two digits still tell the year, but I have no way to verify that. Perhaps “2N” was added at year 2000.

Spector (Back to top of page)

Spector USA early (1978-1991)

Prior to 1978, USA instruments had a serial number that was a combination of the batch date and serial number. For example #73877 would have been bass #7 in the batch completed March 8, 1977. This can most commonly be found etched into the side of the bridge.

Starting in 1978 USA instruments had a sequential serial number stamped into the back of the headstock. The final Brooklyn workshop serial number was #1187 in 1986.

Spector/Kramer era


During the Spector/Kramer era, 1986 to 1991, the sequential serial numbers continued, ending with #2721. It is worth noting that during this era the USA basses received their serial number at the start of production. The serial numbers were not in order with their chronological completion dates.


USA (1992-present)

Handwritten on back of headstock, it will look something like this (parentheticals added):
 
Stuart Spector
NS-4 (model number) #1276 (production number)
Woodstock, NY
1/11/99 (production date)

Korea 1986-present

Back of headstock may say, “Designed in New York, Crafted in Korea,” or alternately “Precision Crafted in Korea Under License from Stuart Spector Designs LTD.” Serials follow a WYYXXXX format where YY indicates final two digits of production year. For instance:

W140655 = 2014
W210808 = 2021
W231584 = 2023

Other Korean serials are 5 to 8 digits long with no letters. In these, the first two digits may indicate year, though this is unconfirmed, such that, “98030450,” may be a 1998 Korean serial.

Here is additional import info from the Spector website:
Europe
Our Czech serial number info is as follows :
1993 thru 2000: serial numbers do not indicate year of production. Use our Czech Archived Import Model Sheet (see below) & use the bass specs to determine the years of production.
Note: some early SSD Czech models may not have a serial number.

2001 is when our Czech model serial numbers started to indicate the year of production. On the back of the headstock you will find “NB” with digits following.

2001 – 2010
If there are four digits after the NB, you would add (1) to the first digit to determine the year.
Examples:
NB 0212 = 2001
NB 2517 = 2003
NB 9914 = 2010

2011-2012
Starting in 2011 there will be five digits after the NB and the rule is to add (1) to the second digit from the left.
Examples:
NB 10219 = 2011
NB 11543 = 2012

However this system does not apply to more “modern” NB serial numbers….they appear to be as follows:
NB 12xxx = 2013 thru 2014.
NB 13xxx = 2015 thru 2016.
NB 14xxx = 2017.
NB 15xxx = started late 2018.

For Spector imports, you can go to the Spector website archived import model sheets to narrow down the year of your instrument, here:
www.spectorbass.com/resources/. There you will find links to pages with model date ranges for Czech, Korean, Chinese and Indonesian Spectors.

 

 

Steinberger (Back to top of page)

Early New York & Nashville
Steinberger serials are not well known. In general, original New York made (Brooklyn or Newburgh) L-Series instruments have up to a 4-digit serial. Later Nashville made instruments added a "T" as a prefix. Headless neck-thru guitar serial numbers are found at the base of the body right next to the bridge cutout. An example 1987 serial for a GL4-T is "5766."

Bolt-on models often have the serial stamped on the underside of the neck near the neck pocket. They start "STEINBERGER USA..." Newburgh models start with "N" while Nashville start with "TN." Newer 2000s MusicYo models may begin with "20000" or "N000."

Going by some online info the Brooklyn period lasted roughly 1981 to mid-1983. Newburgh from 1983 to mid-1992. Nashville from 92 until mid-1998. MusicYo from mid-98 to 2008. These dates are rough and serials do not break cleanly between periods.

Samples seen in the wild:

5766 (1987 neck-thru GL4-T guitar)

STEINBERGER USA N4476 (1987 GL4T)

STEINBERGER USA N13393 (1991 bolt-on GR4 guitar)

STEINBERGER USA N8458 (early-90s bolt-on GM4T guitar)

9431 (1997 GL7TA neck-thru guitar w/ Trans Trem tremolo)

STEINBERGER USA N000206 (2000s bolt-on GM7-12A 12-string)


Later Asia
On modern Asia-made Steinberger Spirit models serials often appear on the lower edge of the guitar body under the black folding leg rest or (perhaps on Korean models) on the rear electronics cover. Many serials seem to indicate year with the first two digits. Seen out in the wild:

02111013 (may indicate a 2002 Spirit GT Pro)

U07080408 (likely 2007 ST-2FPA "Transcale" guitar)

0907210681 (likely 2009 ZT3)

1010210632 (likely 2010 Synapse SS-2F)

1407211112 (likely 2014 ZT3)

21092352696 (may be a 2021 Spirit GT Pro)


Resources
Currently the best Steinberger source is headless-europe.eu. Their serial database is built from real owner information. It is incomplete but has a lot of serials and can help narrow down a search. The database is downloadable and is at this link:

http://www.headless-europe.eu/Files/List_confirmed.htm

They also have a graphic Steinberger production timeline:

http://www.headless-europe.eu/Files/Steinberger_serial_poster.pdf

The less updated steinbergerworld.com website still has some interesting info. Links:

Serial number basics (http://steinbergerworld.com/serialdb.htm)

Bolt-on serials (http://steinbergerworld.com/serial-bolt.html)

L-Series serials (target="_blank">http://steinbergerworld.com/serial-L.html)

Steinberger naming conventions (http://steinbergerworld.com/naming.htm)

Gibson has Steinberger's original serial logs and their customer support should be able to help with questions (800-444-2766 or service@gibson.com).

 

 

Takamine (Back to top of page)

Export Instruments (1962-2012)

Japanese-built Takamine guitars (known as the Pro Series) which were made for overseas markets such as the USA between 1962 and mid/late 2012 have an 8-digit serial number typically found at the neck block inside the instrument.


The first two digits designate the year of manufacture, followed by two digits denoting the month. The remaining four digits denote the instrument’s sequential number of manufacture among all the instruments made during that month. For example:


07100091 = The 91st guitar made in October 2007
09050112 = The 112th guitar made during May 2009

Japanese Market Instruments (and later export instruments)

Takamine guitars produced for the Japanese market also use an 8-digit serial, but the scheme is different (and requires a little math). NOTE: In mid/late 2012, US-distributed Japanese-built guitars switched to this same system.


In this system, the first two digits represent the instrument’s production year as a calculation of the number of years since the company’s inception in 1962. So the serial number 51010999 denotes a 2013 instrument by calculating, 1962 + 51 (first 2 digits) = 2013. The second two digits are the month (01). The last four are the sequential number among all guitars made that month.

G Series

This lower end Chinese line has no date information contained in the serial number that we know of. Note: I have seen at least one G Series (EGS-430SC) that was made in Taiwan. The model number appears on a sticker inside the sound hole. The serial may be 8 digits and/or may have letters, and is still located at the base of the neck inside the sound hole on most. Here are some samples seen in the wild:

TC20124581
TC21103376
TC22110413

It's tempting to assume the serial numbers above use the first two digits after "TC" to indicate year, since they are newish instruments, and that would make those above born in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Indeed one retailer was selling a store demo tagged as a 2023 with a serial beginning "TC22...", which makes it close.

However, this is simply guesswork. The fact that 99% of sellers of used G Series instruments seem to have no idea when they were made only goes to show that there is no stable or known way to date them from the serial number. The serial search engine noted below does find some of these serials if you put in the numbers only. For instance, inputting "22110413" (the last serial above omitting "TC"), netted this result:

"G Series: This guitar was the number 13 produced the day of manufacture.
The Guitar was manufactured on Friday, November 4, 2022."

However, the website says G Series serials have not been consistent and to consider their date a "best guess."

If you contact Takamine, they may be able to tell you the year of your G Series guitar. Currently the contact info on the Takamine website is for their North American distributor, ESP Guitar Company: 800-423-8388 or email tom@espguitars.com. The Takamine serial search engine mentioned above is located here: https://www.guitarsdater.com/Dater/Takamine

 

Taylor (Back to top of page)

SERIAL NUMBERS / YEAR
[didn't use serial numbers!] 1974
10109 to 10146 1975
20147 to 20315 1976
30316 to [–]450 1977
451 to 900 1978
901 to 1300 1979
1301 to 1400 1980
1401 to 1670 1981
1671 to 1951 1982
1952 to 2445 1983
2446 to 3206 1984
3207 to 3888 1985
3889 to 4778 1986
4779 to 5981 1987
5982 to 7831 1988
7832 to 10070 1989
10071 to 12497 1990
12498 to 15249 1991
15250 to 17953 1992
930104001 to 931221124 1993
940104001 to 941220130 1994
950103001 to 951219136 1995
960102001 to 961219140 1996
970106001 to 971219144 1997
980105101 to 981218144 1998
990104101 to 991220148 1999
20000103101 to 20001221160 2000

10-Digit Serial Numbers

The current 10-digit serial numbering format that started in November of 2009 identifies where the guitar was built, the start date, and the assigned number of the guitar on that day's production schedule. For example, the serial number for the first guitar built in the El Cajon (USA) factory on July 6, 2014 is 1107064001. See the explanation below:

1107064001 First digit indicates where it was made. (1 = El Cajon, California, USA; 2 = Tecate, Baja California, Mexico)

1107064001 2nd & 7th digits indicate the two-digit year - '14 (2014)

1107064001 3rd & 4th digits indicate the two-digit month - 07 (July)

1107064001 5th & 6th digits indicate the day - 06 (the 6th)

1107064001 Last three numbers indicate the guitar's position in that day's production sequence.

9-Digit Serial Numbers

From 1993 until the end of 1999, each Taylor guitar featured a nine-digit serial number that pinpoints when work began on that guitar, along with its series and production position. See the explanation for serial number 980311301 below:

980311301 First two digits indicate the year - 98 (1998)

980311301 3rd & 4th digits indicate the two-digit month - 03 (March)

980311301 5th & 6th digit indicate the day - 11 (the 11th)

980311301 7th digit is a series code number - 0 for 300 or 400 Series, 1 for 500 through Presentation Series, 2 for 200 Series, 3 for a Baby, 4 for a Big Baby, 5 for a T5, 7 for Nylon Series, 8 for 100 Series, and 9 for SolidBody Series. This example is number 3, a Baby.

980311301 Last two digits indicate the guitar's position in that day's production sequence.

11-Digit Serial Numbers

January 2000 - October 2009, the serial number expanded from 9 to 11 digits to accommodate the four-digit year designation. Other than the first four digits noting the year, it's decoded the same as the 9-digit serial numbers. See the explanation for serial number 20070311301 below:

20070311301 First four digits indicate the year - 2007

20070311301 5th & 6th digits indicate the two-digit month - 03 (March)

20070311301 7th & 8th digits indicate the day - 11 (the 11th)

20070311301 9th digit is a series code number - 0 for 300 or 400 Series, 1 for 500 thru Presentation Series, 2 for 200 Series, 3 for a Baby, 4 for a Big Baby, 5 for T5, 7 for Nylon Series, 8 for 100 Series, and 9 for SolidBody Series. This example is number 3, a Baby.

20070311301 Last two digits indicate the guitar's position in that day's production sequence.

supro guitar national valco

 

Valco / National / Supro (Back to top of page)

Modern Supros made in Indonesia start with an "IW" with the following two digits denoting the year, such as "IW170800214" meaning made in 2017. Chinese made may be similar with "CM16100795," indicating a 2016 model made in China.

From 1940 to approximately 1968, National/Valco (Supro, etc.) serial numbers were on a small oblong metal plate (brass or aluminum). This plate was tacked to the back of the headstock. The following serial numbers apply to all Valco-made National instruments, including lapsteels, resonators, and guitars. These plates were also put on amplifiers. All Valco-made instruments were numbered this way till 1964. Valco also made instruments for Sears (Silvertone), Montgomery Wards (Airline), Gretsch, Oahu and others. These are numbered with the same metal tag system.

The number ranges shown are approximate and overlap.

1940 ---------------- G-100 to G-199
1940-41 ------------ 200G to 4450G
1942, 1943-47 ------ 4451G and up
1947 ---------------- V100 - V7500
1948 ---------------- V7500 - V15000
1949 ---------------- V15000 - V25000
1950 ---------------- V25000 - V35000
1951 ---------------- V35000 - V38000 / (X100 - X7000)
1952 ---------------- X7000 - X17000
1953 ---------------- X17000 - X30000
1954 ---------------- X30000 - X43000
1955 ---------------- X43000 - X57000
1956 ---------------- X57000 - X71000
1957 ---------------- X71000 - X85000
1958 ---------------- X85000 - X99000 / T100 - T5000
1959 ---------------- T5000 - T25000
1960 ---------------- T25000 - T50000
1961 ---------------- T50000 - T75000
1962 ---------------- T75000 - T90000 / G100 - G5000
1963 ---------------- T90000 - T99000 / G5000 - G15000
1964 ---------------- G15000 - G40000


1964 - early 68 ----- sticker w/"1" prefix
early to mid 1968 --- sticker w/"2" prefix (+5- or 6-digit number)

From 1965 on we see some (not all) Supros with a sticker on the back of the headstock instead of the metal plate.

 

Vox (Back to top of page)

Vintage

Vox guitars were produced in both the UK and Italy in the 60s. Some models were produced concurrently in both countries, making dating very difficult. Also, there seems to be no date information related to the serial numbers from either UK or Italian instruments.

UK-made Vox guitars have sequential 5-digit serial numbers that are stamped on the back of the headstock, and then later on the neck plate. One example I saw was a 1966 (owner claimed) Vox Mando Guitar had a serial stamped on its neck plate of 71537. Underneath the neck plate printed on the guitar it said “Made in England.”

Another UK example was a 1964 (owner claimed) Vox Super Ace with Strat style body that had serial number 64589 stamped into the wood on the back of the headstock. (Have to assume the initial “64” was just a coincidence on a 1964 guitar.) It also had a sticker under the serial saying “Made in England.”

Italian-made Vox guitars had 6-digit serials stamped onto the neck plate. Italian production supposedly began in late 1964. One Italian example I saw was a 1966-67 (owner claimed) Mark IV model, which has the teardrop shaped body. It had a metal plate on the back of the headstock that read “VOX Made in Italy.” The serial number stamped on the neck plate was 6 digits: 360520.

Another Italian example was a 1966 (owner claimed) Vox Tempest 12 string, which has a body resembling a Stratocaster. This one had “Made in Italy by Vox” printed on the back of the headstock in black letters. The 6-digit serial stamped on the neck plate was 256261.

Please note, this is all guitar forum hearsay, as there is very little, if any, official Vox serial data available. Further non-verified data says you can tell an Italian model because they will have a multi-piece laminate neck. If the pickguard has multiple layers, all the same thickness, it might be Italian, and if the truss rod adjustment is at the neck heel, this also might indicate Italian production.

One such example was a supposed 1964-66 Vox Bulldog (Mosrite style) with serial 237180 stamped on the neck plate, “Made in Italy by Vox” on back of headstock, which had the truss rod adjustment at neck heel and 3-ply pickguard with each ply the same thickness. It also had the multi-piece neck, as evidenced by two parallel lines that ran the entire length on back of the neck, indicating it was made with three pieces of wood. Vox UK production ended by late-1967, while Italian production continued until 1969.

 

Modern

The Vox name is being used on newer guitars being produced all over Asia. Korean models were seen with S + 7-digit serials. Indonesian with R + 7-digit serials, such as R1000429, and Japanese models with F + 7-digits, like F0800155. All such models could likely be indicating production year with the first two digits following the letter, such that an “R10XXXXX” serial would be 2010. It made sense for the known model production dates for that Indonesian instrument, but there is currently no confirmation for this hypothesis.

Vox/Saito

These Japanese-made guitars are a collaboration between Vox and Japanese manufacturer Saito. They have an 8-digit serial, such as 22000106 on the back of the headstock with no known way to date them.

Vox/Giulietta

These are Indonesian made archtop hollow body guitars. Most seem to have been produced in the early 2020s. They have 6-digit serials, usually beginning with three or four zeros, such as 000033 or 000700, with no explanation for dating them. The serial appears on a sticker on back of headstock. The website www.voxshowroom.com says these guitars started production in 2018. It is a great site to find model-specific information on both vintage and modern Vox guitars.

Vox Starstream

Around 1967-68, Vox introduced the Starstream, which featured a teardrop-shaped body and onboard battery-powered modeling effects like fuzz, delay, treble boost, and wah-wah. In 2016, Vox re-used the name in a line of guitars called the Starstream Type 1. These also had onboard modeling with some able to emulate up to 27 different instruments, according to the VoxShowroom website.

Most say “Manufactured in Philippines. Assembled in Japan.” Some are alternately manufactured in Vietnam. They have 6-digit serial numbers, again with leading zeros, such as 000054 and 070517, most likely with no correspondence to production date. All this info appears on a sticker on back of headstock.

Vox Teardrop

One of most iconic Vox guitars is the Teardrop. It appeared around 1964 in the third Phantom series and was called the Vox Phantom Mark III, but most people just call it the Teardrop. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones famously played one. There was a Mark IV bass model as well. These are not to be confused with the Vox Mark VI Phantom, which is another iconic shaped Vox guitar.

In 1999-2000, Vox did a brief re-issue of around 700 instruments, including USA-made Teardrop guitars (some with a Bigsby), Mark VI Phantom, and Mini XII (Mando guitar). These say “VOX USA” on front of the headstock. Some have a sticker on the back of headstock that says “Vox Custom Shop.” Some may also have a Vox logo with a 6-digit serial underneath, with no apparent date info.

Vox also made lots of Chinese Teardrop models. I found one that had an 8-digit serial impressed into the back of the headstock: 97073527, which the owner claimed was a 1998. Some mini-Mark III Chinese models have a 6-digit serial on a sticker on rear of headstock. There are also Indonesian made Teardrops with R + 7-digit serials.

Phantom Guitar Works

The Teardrop guitars can also get confused with copies made by Phantom Guitar Works since 1992. They are still making them today, along with reproductions of the Mark VI Phantom, and the Mando guitars. These are made in the USA with serial numbers like: J203421USA and may indicate a 2020 production date. The serial on these is very easy to miss, as it is imprinted into the wood at the highest fret near the body. These guitars all say “Phantom” only on the front of the headstock so you know right away they are not a Vox.

 

 

 

Warwick (Back to top of page)

The Warwick website says instruments made between 1982 and 1988 should have a serial number that appears on the top of the headstock (this means top edge). Between 1989 and 2007, serial is engraved on the back of the headstock between the machine heads. In 2007, they started laser engraving the serial on back of headstock below the tuners.

The serial indicates production month with the initial letter (skipping letter “I”) such that A = January, B = February, C = March, D=April, E=May, F=June, G=July, H=August, J=September, K=October, L=November and M=December.

Production year is indicated by the final two digits, such that:

C 149893 09 = March 2009

German-made Warwick instruments often say “Made in Germany” on rear of headstock. Engraved Warwick serial numbers from 1989 to 2007 can sometimes be very hard to see due to wood color. Acoustic basses may have the serial in the sound hole.

Chinese instruments say “Made in China” on back of headstock and have serials engraved between the tuners (printed on painted headstocks). They follow a similar serial scheme to German-made instruments with the addition of an initial “RB” (RockBass) that appears before the month designation and a dash before the year. For example, “RB G 562527-21” is a July 2021 serial number. NOTE: Chinese-made serials may not give an accurate final two digits, such that a final “15” might actually be a 2017 instrument. In those cases, the serial number lookup below may help. Also, some Chinese instruments appear to have no visible serial number.

The Warwick website has a serial number lookup (www.warwick.de/en/Warwick--Support--Serial-Number.html), which can give a detailed description of the instrument. It works on German and Chinese made instruments but only works for instruments made after 2000. You can also email Warwick at serialnumber@warwick.de.They ask that you provide the model name, serial number and JPEG photos of front, back, electronics compartment and serial number, and they will help determine year of your instrument.

Washburn(Back to top of page)

Washburn has used many serial number formats over the years, ranging from 4-7 characters long. The year of manufacture can usually be deduced from the first few numerical characters in the serial number. Most often either the first 2 digits, or the first digit, are typically used to identify the year of manufacture.

For example, 8901827 indicates the instrument was made in 1989, 1988, or 1998. The Washburn catalog page (https://www.washburn.com/product-manuals/) may help you further pinpoint the year.

Washburn's website claims there are 4-digit serials out there, though I've yet to see one in the wild. Even Japanese made 70s models seem to mostly have 5- or 6-digit serials imprinted into the back of the headstock. For instance:

78634 on a 1977 Wing Series
798588 on a 1978 Falcon

Early Electrics (Wing Series, 1978-84)
The Wing-series serial numbers are engraved into the back of the headstock. In all cases the first two digits of the serial is the production year, with the following digits possibly representing the production number. For example:

802584 for a 1980 Falcon
833537 for a 1983 Falcon

The A-models usually have 5 digits or 5 digits followed by a letter E. The B- and C- models usually have 6 digits. Most Ravens and Scavengers and some of the T-Birds have two letters followed by 6 digits, the first is either a C or G and the second is probably a production month indicator. Early Ravens and Scavengers have (or had) a 5-digit + E serial, printed on a sticker on the back of the headstock. Oddities do occur, like an '82 T-Bird with 7 digits instead of 6 and a B-model Falcon with only 5.

After the end of the Japanese Wing Series-era in 1984, Washburn re-introduced the Wing guitars 3 more times. The first re-issue version of the Washburn Wing Series guitars was introduced in the late 1980's to early 1990's, and production years and serials are unknown.

The second and most common re-issue version guitars were introduced around 1992. These Wings are mainly Korean (Samick). Serial nrs. start with "S", followed by 7 or 8 digits, some neck-through's have no serial. The third re-issue version is a new Eagle, introduced in 2008 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Washburn Guitars. These guitars were made in Indonesia. For extensive Wing Series info go to www.g3h.be website.


1980s Asian Imports
Post-1984 Washburn electrics were made in Japan and Korea. Serial numbering is inconsistent but IN GENERAL, you will see many mid-80s Japanese-made models with "Washburn" and a 6-digit serial engraved on the back of the headstock. Usually the first two digits indicate year, such as:

842187 = 1984 Tele style
832372 = 1983 Force 2

Later models may use a 7-digit serial that starts with "60," "61," "70," or "71." The following digit may indicate. year. Such that:

6050292 would be a 1985 model

Then you may encounter oddball serials on the neck plate, such as "CC8201866," which could indicate 1982...or not.

Some Japanese or Korean neck plates may say Washburn with a USA address.

Other oddities occur such as many G10V/G20V models can have a six-digit number on back of headstock that does not seem to help identify date, such as "000175." But other G10/20 models may have a "K" serial like K852502 that may indicate a 1985 or 1988 production date and may indicate Korean production. Other of these models may stick to the previous 6-digit serial type described above. Obviously we're now in the weeds clutching at straws and most likely such a model was produced during a transitional period and perhaps in more than one country. A lot of research may be required to really nail down some guitars from this period.


Acoustics
Note: This section is a work in progress. More to come.

Washburn acoustics often have serial appear on sticker inside sound hole. First two digits may indicate year. Below are some serials seen on real instruments:

FC04031393 2004 made in China
Z211200924 2021 made in China
SK020630650 2002 made in ?

8840458 1988 (D-10)
04091901 2004 (NV-100 ) Made in Korea
CC190505821 2019 Made in China

Some Korean and Japanese acoustics can have the model number and serial number engraved into the wood at base of neck. These will be hard to see and you'll need to look inside guitar. As above, the two digits tell year.

.

yamaha sc300t vintage guitar
Yamaha(Back to top of page)


Acoustic/Classical
Saving one of the best for last, Yamaha probably has the most confusing serial system you'll find. I will state some of the basics here and then give links to sites with more detail. To start with, especially for acoustics (not always for electrics), the Yamaha system uses two letters to designate year and month of manufacture.

The first letter tells the year, starting: H=1, I=2, J=3, etc., and goes all the way to Q=0. Here it is visually:

H = 1 (1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, etc.)

I = 2 (1962, 1972, 1982, etc.)

J = 3

K = 4

L = 5

M = 6

N = 7

O = 8

P = 9

Q = 0 (1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, etc)

The second letter tells the month. Here H=January alphabetically to Z=December (for some reason omitting Q through W), like this:

H = January

I = February

J = March

K = April

L = May

M = June

N = July

O = August

P = September

X = October

Y = November

Z = December

Now before you say, that's not too bad. One caveat to this system is Yamaha recycles its numbers every 10 years, so let's use an example serial: MM15044. The first M=6--BUT that 6 can indicate your guitar was made in 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006, or 2016. So you need to have some idea of your guitar's era for it to help much.

Continuing with this example, the second M would stand for June. The first two digits, 15, are the day of the month, and the final three digits, 044, are the number off the production line for that day.

Electrics/Bass
Now, for electrics, archtops and basses, from 1966-1984 (SG, SX and BB series), you can throw all that out the window. They follow a sequential numbering system outlined in the table below:

Year / Serial Number Sequence
1966 0398-3951
1967 3952-7433
1968 7434-10844
1969 10645-12331
1970 12332-13492
1971 13493-15121
1972 15122-18058
1973 18059-23745
1974 23746-36150
1975 36151-38104
1976 38105-39943 (SG-175, SX-125)
1001-1390 (SG1000)
1001-1126 (SG2000)
1977 001391-002365 (SG1000)
001251-002610 (SG2000)
001001-001270 (BB1200)
001271-001320 (BB2000)
1978 002366-003110 (SG1000)
002611-003760 (SG2000)
001321-002965 (BB1200)
002001-002380 (BB2000)
1979 003111-004445 (SG1000)
003761-005088 (SG2000)
002966-004000 (BB1200)
002381-002920 (BB2000)
1980 (through July) 004446-005329 (SG1000)
005081-005375 (SG2000)
1980 (through December) 013001-024215
1981 025410-059618
1982 059620-096639
1983 096640-126845
1984 (through July) 126846-146196

Electrics and basses after 1984
The system becomes increasingly complex. Most have letters and numbers and the letters often designate month/year, but not always the same way. Below are more signposts for Yamaha serial identification. Again, these use Yamaha's letter/number scheme outlined above where: H=1, I=2,...all the way to Q=0, and months start at H=January all the way to Z=December.

Made in Japan, 1984-1986:
Letter-letter-letter-letter-###. Four letters and a number, like so: LJQH013.
The first letter is the year; 1985. The second letter is the month; March. The third and fourth letters are the date; QH=01. The three numbers at the end are the unit number.

Made in Japan, 1984-1996:
Letter-letter-####. Two letters, four numbers, like so: MI0031.
The first letter is the year; 1986. The second letter is the month; February. The four numbers are the unit number; 31.

Made in Japan, 1986-1989:
#-letter-#####. 5I04013.
The first number is an internal code. The letter is the month; February (see chart). The next two numbers are the date; 4th. The last three numbers are the unit number; 13. There is no indication of year in this configuration–just "sometime between '86 and '89.

Made in Japan, 1995-1999:
######. Six numbers, like so: 610101.
The first number is the year; 1996. The next two numbers are the month; 10=October. The final three numbers are the unit number; 101.

Made in Japan, 1994-1997:
#-letter-letter-###. Like so: 7FM123.
The first number is the year; 1997. The letter (2nd position) is an internal code. The next letter (3rd position) is the month; in this case M=June (see chart.) The final three numbers are the unit number.

Made in Japan, 1997-:
#-letter-letter-####, like so: 8FJ0013.
The first number is the year; 1998. The letter (2nd position) is an internal code. the letter (3rd position) is the month; March (see chart.) The final four numbers are the unit number; 13.

Made in Japan, 1988:
Letter-letter-letter-letter-###, like so: SMQI123.
The first letter is an internal code. The second letter is the month; June. The third and fourth letters are the date; QI=02. So, June 2nd, 1988. The three numbers are the unit number; 123.

Made in Japan, 1989-2002:
Letter-letter-letter-letter-###, like so: SKJL321.
The first letter is an internal code (both I and S were used). The second letter is the month; K=April. The third letter is an internal code for Japan. The fourth letter is the year; L=1995. The three numbers at the end are the unit number.

Made in Japan, 2002-:
Letter-letter-letter-###-letter, like so: QJM111E.
The first and second letters are the year; QJ=03. The third letter is the month; M=June. The three numbers are the unit number; 111. The final letter is an internal code (could be E, F, I, or S.)

Made in Taiwan, 1984-2002:
Letter-letter-#####, like so: PH07123.
The first letter is the year; P=1999. The second letter is the month; H=January. The first two numbers (07 in this example) are the day; 7th. The final three numbers are the unit number; 123.

Made in Taiwan, 2002-:
Letter-letter-letter-######, like so: QJM120013.
The first two letters are the year; QJ=03. The third letter is the month; M=June. The two numbers that follow are the day; 12th. The final four numbers are the unit number; 0013 (13).

Made in Korea and Made in China, 2003-:
Letter-letter-letter-####-letter, like so: QKJ0011Y.
The first two letters are the year; QK=04 (see chart.) The third letter is the month; J=March. The four numbers that follow are the unit number; (00)11. The last number is an internal code (could be D, R, U, or Y.)

----------------------------------

Above are really only some vague signposts to begin to help you with a Yamaha serial. Most sources, including Yamaha, say there are other serials not covered here and some Yamahas that follow no system. Some places you can visit to try to decipher your Yamaha serial are:

The Guitar Dater Project website:
http://guitardaterproject.org/yamaha.aspx

SixStringAcoustic.com:
https://sixstringacoustic.com/yamaha-guitar-serial-numbers-what-can-they-tell-you

MyCoolGuitars.com:
http://mycoolguitars.com/mij/yamaha-guitars/yamaha-guitar-serial-numbers-dating-your-guitar/

Yamaha.com (goes to the source, but a bit confusing):
Acoustic/classical: http://faq.yamaha.com/us/en/article/musical-instruments/guitars-basses/ac-guitars/796/4094

Electrics/archtop/bass
https://www.yamaha.com/yamahaguitars/ElectricandBassGuitarSerialNumberSystems.pdf 

FAQ (Back to top of page)

Q: Who are you and where did you get this serial number information?

A: I own a used guitar website called StillKickinMusic.com. I found myself always scouring the Web to find production years for my guitars. I thought I would save some time by compiling a database of the many manufacturers in one document. I thought I might as well share the info with everyone on the web.

Q: Why should I trust your serial number info?

A: Well no reason really. I don't claim to be a serial number guru, and I encourage you to cross-check with other sources. I hope my database will save you time by providing the largest collection of serials in one place on the web. When I write an entry for this database, I study several online sources to see the info that’s out there and then I spend a few hours looking through pictures of real guitars online. It is surprising how often I find misinformation about serial numbers being spread all over the web. Seems like one person will write something and everyone just copies them without actually confirming. If there are mistakes in my database, they are MY mistakes not someone else’s because I copied their content!

Q: Can you tell me the date of my guitar or can I request other manufacturers?

A: I have helped people in the past but I've found most times the info was out there with some quick Google searching, so please do your own research. I'll help if I can, but odds are your searching will uncover the same stuff I'd find. Feel free to ask me to cover different brands in the comments section or make suggestions if you see inaccuracies. Thanks.


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6 comments

  • I have peavy guitar I am trying to sell. I know it’s old but don’t know how old or what it’s worth. Belonged to my brother who has passed away Number stamped on back 01206282. Have any idea?

    • kenneth winland