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

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Manufacturer Links!

Use links below to see serial number info. If you need pot code info, see this blog postYou can also search this page using the Search box below. 
Danelectro/Silvertone Dean Epiphone
Ernie Ball Music Man ESP Fender
G&L Gibson Godin
Gretsch Guild Hagstrom
Hamer Ibanez Jackson/Charvel
Kramer Martin Micro-Frets
Ovation Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Peavey
Reverend Rickenbacker Schecter
Steinberger Taylor Valco/National/Supro
Washburn Yamaha

 

Type search term above. You must click on "Search" to start search. Then hit return to find additional instances.
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 manufature
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 by Music Man instruments are not covered in the online database. I did read in an online forum that the company keeps a record of their instruments. One person was able to get his serial dated by emailing: info@sterlingbymusicman.com. Worth a try! 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)

First, start by going to Fender's Serial Number Lookup page. 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 info on your guitar.) 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.

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. Pot codes may also point you to a general date range, but don't expect them to always be accurate. So to get right into it:

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


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.

Made in Mexico 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.

Made in Korea Serials (may or may not have letter prefix. may/may not be Squier)
6, 7 or 8 Digits only 1988 - 1996

"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

Made in Indonesia 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
For Fender acoustics, please see this page on the Fender website:


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.
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)
V+4,5,6 digits Vintage Series (check neck heel)
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)



g&L sc-1 guitar



G&L (Back to top of page)

It seems there is no sure-fire way to get the year on a G&L. Below are random tidbits that may help you date yours.

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 020106
1990 G026344 B021788
1991 G027163 B023013
1992 G029962 B024288

GF and BC prefixes were used for the George Fullerton Signature Model and the Broadcaster, respectively. In 1997, the prefix CL (Clarence Leo) began use, and a couple years later it was changed to CLF.
------------------------------

Perhaps the best way to date your G&L is to take the neck off. You should find two stamped dates--one in the neck pocket and one of the butt of the neck. The one on the neck is supposedly a good ballpark of the guitar's manufacture date, but due to the nature of G&L assembly it is not necessarily an exact science.

Starting in early 2011 all G&L serials should be in sequence with the serial located on a metal plate on the back of the headstock. In Sept. 2016, the metal plate was replaced with a waterslide decal. Then in Feb. 2017, the serial numbers were laser-etched on the back of headstock. The serial number format is now: "CLFYYMMnnn", where YY=last two digits of year, MM=two digit month.

The G&L Tribute models have a different serial numbering scheme. All the Tribute Models have the build year and month coded in the serial number.

Tribute serial number formats are:

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 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. Though serial number info is scarce on the web, I found info on two websites: jedistar.com and sixstringacoustic.com. Serial info here also pertains to Godin's spin-off brands: Seagull, Norman, Simon & Patrick, Art & Luther and LaPatrie.

There are three distinct periods in Godin's serial numbering:

Pre-1993: The serial will be six or seven digits. Six-digit serials will not help you date the guitar and you must contact Godin for help (info@godinguitars.com). It appears that a seven-digit serial MAY indicate it was built in the 90s and the FIRST digit should indicate the year. (Info provided from a quoted Godin company email does not give any more info on how this digit indicates year, and it seems more research is needed.)

1993 to 2007: It should be an 8-digit serial. First two digits indicate production year. Third and fourth are production week. Fifth digit denotes day (1=Monday, 2=Tuesday, etc), and last three digits are the weekly production rank. (If you don't want your brain to hurt, I suggest stopping right here, otherwise read the following paragraph for more detail.)

Now stay with me--this is confusing. To more exactly figure your Godin's production date, you should know Godin's production year runs from August 1 to July of the following year. So as an example, a serial number such as 06053168 starts with "06"--a 2006 guitar, right? Well, not so quick. To completely decode this serial you must look at the next two digits--"05"--this denotes the fifth week of Godin's 2006 production year--WHICH BEGINS ON AUGUST 1, 2005 (why Godin?)!

So this actually indicates the guitar was made five weeks after August 1, 2005--pointing to a September 2005 production date! (If you don't want to ring Robert Godin's neck right now you are a saint.) Moving on, the serial number's next digit indicates it was made on a Wednesday, and the final three digits that it was the 168th guitar made that week.

Post-2007: Godin switched to a 12-digit serial number in late 2007, and those serial numbers give no information on production date. The first six digits are the SKU number for the guitar's model. The seventh digit indicates if it is a factory second ("0" means not factory second, while "9" is a second). The last five digits are the production number of that model since the switch to the 12-digit serial format.

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

-- If there is an "F" in the serial number, it signifies the guitar is B-stock.

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

-- Pre-1993 serials should be stamped on the sound hole label (acoustics), while post-1993 serials should be engraved behind the headstock.

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)

Not a lot is known about Hagstrom serial numbers. From different sources I've read that they are often six digits with the first three numbers indicating the production run and the last three the number in that run. The production run can narrow down the year produced but only if you have the mythical Hagstrom book that apparently Hagstrom does not allow to be reproduced. Later Hagstrom instruments added the prefix "53" to their serial numbers, but the final six digits still have the same information. So serial number: 933130, indicates production run 933 and the 130th instrument produced in that run. If the serial was 53-933130, it would still indicate the same information. There is a gentleman on the Canadian Guitar Forum who seems to have the Hagstrom book and as of 2022 was still answering posters questions about their vintage Hagstroms date of manufacture. Here is a link the the ongoing discussion thread: https://www.guitarscanada.com/index.php?threads/hagstrom-serial-number.13206/page-4. 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. All this serial number information pertains to Hagstroms built in Sweden between 1958 and the early 80s. Re-issues after that time will be different and we've seen no info on their serials.


Hamer (Back to top of page)
The Hamerfanclub website is a great resource that includes info on all the models ever produced. Early 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 are probably worthless for dating an instrument. Big thanks to the Hamerfanclub forum administrator "cmatthes" for help with this information.


Ibanez (Back to top of page)
(non Acoustic)

Japanese Ibanez Serial Numbers

1997 and after (CE logo designation)

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


1987-1997

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


1975-1986

MYYXXXX format
M = Month (A = January to L = December)
YY = year (82=1982)
XXXX = production number
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.[4]


Korean Ibanez Serial Numbers

The serials below should start with one or two letters to indicate the manufacturer, then follow with one of the several possible number schemes below having somewhere between 6 and 10 digits.

C = Cor-Tek (Cort), S = Samick(1990–1995), S/SQ = Saehan(Sunghan), P = Peerless (Iida), Y = Yoojin, A = Sae-In.

YYMMXXXX format
YY = year (03=2003)
MM = month (01=January...12=December)
XXXX = production number

E = Sung-Eum

YMMXXXX format
Y = year (9=1999)
MM = month (01=January...12=December)
XXXX = production number

W = World

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


Indonesian Ibanez Serial Numbers

I = Cor-Tek (Cort) Indonesia, K = KWO

YYMMXXXXX format
YY = year (03=2003)
MM = month (01=January...12=December)
XXXXX = production number


Chinese Ibanez Serial Numbers

Z = Yeou Chern, J=Sejung

YYMMXXXXX format
YY = year (03=2003)
MM = month (01=January...12=December)
XXXXX = production number


Odd Ibanez Serial Numbers

2940000 Acoustic
2 = Cor-Tek (Cort) Taejan
YYXXXX format
YY = year (94=1994)
XXXX = production number
Ibanez Ghostrider model numbers GR=Cor-Tek (Cort), MGR=Samick


Older Acoustic

YYMM (Kato)
YY = year (82=1982)
MM = month (01=January...12=December)

Silver Cadet model

Z = Woo-sin



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)
Kramer guitar owners seem to be some of the more dedicated fans out there. Much of the research online is centered around whether the Kramer in question was made in the USA, mostly because those are of much higher quality and worth some real money. And one thing to keep in mind is neck plates that say Neptune, NJ, do not always indicate a USA Kramer. When it comes to dating a Kramer, there is little in the way of good information. However, we suggest you check this Vintage Kramer resource (http://www.vintagekramer.com/serials.htm). It's the best resource we've seen. They also have a serial number registry. Good luck.



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.)

Year / Last Serial Number
1898 8348
1899 8716
1900 9128
1901 9310
1902 9528
1903 9810
1904 9988
1905 10120
1906 10329
1907 10727
1908 10883
1909 11018
1910 11203
1911 11413
1912 11565
1913 11821
1914 12047
1915 12209
1916 12390
1917 12988
1918 13450
1919 14512
1920 15848
1921 16758
1922 17839
1923 19891
1924 22008
1925 24116
1926 28689
1927 34435
1928 37568
1929 40843
1930 45317
1931 49589
1932 52590
1933 55084
1934 58679
1935 61947
1936 65176
1937 68865
1938 71866
1939 74061
1940 76734
1941 80013
1942 83107
1943 86724
1944 90149
1945 93623
1946 98158
1947 103468
1948 108269
1949 112961
1950 117961
1951 122799
1952 128436
1953 134501
1954 141345
1955 147328
1956 153225
1957 159061
1958 165576
1959 171047
1960 175689
1961 181297
1962 187384
1963 193327
1964 199626
1965 207030
1966 217215
1967 230095
1968 241925
1969 256003
1970 271633
1971 294270
1972 313302
1973 333873
1974 353387
1975 371828
1976 388800
1977 399625
1978 407800
1979 419900
1980 430300
1981 436474
1982 439627
1983 446101
1984 453300
1985 460575
1986 468175
1987 476216
1988 483952
1989 493279
1990 503309
1991 512487
1992 522655
1993 535223
1994 551696
1995 570434
1996 592930
1997 624799
1998 668796
1999 724077
2000 780500
2001 845644
2002 916759
2003 978706
2004 1042558
2005 1115862
2006 1197799
2007 1268091
2008 1337042
2009 1406715
2010 1473461
2011 1555767
2012 1656742
2013 1755536
2014 1857399
2015 1972129
2016 2076795

Notes: Solidbody electrics like the E18 model from the '70s do not conform to the above. 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, which has some serials of different models, but no corresponding dates. They also have a 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 on the history of Micro-Frets on the Vintage Guitar Magazine website that is worth reading.

 

 

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

See this page on the OvationTribute.com website for an extensive Ovation database.

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 be 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 correlate to shipping dates of US models only. 1978 to 1995. Imports designated by EX, EXP, or BXP are not serialized by year. For more recent US serial numbers, please contact Peavey Customer Service.
• 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

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. Reverend's website has a serial number database where you can type in your serial to get info (support.reverendguitars.com/serial_archive). 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 –


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. 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 last scheme. Also appears on jackplate. Also a two-character code, but this time the first letter indicates the month (same scheme as above) and the second character is a digit that indicates the year, thus:

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

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).


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


Steinberger (Back to top of page)
Sorry, not much info out there. The now defunct steinbergerworld website used to suggest contacting Gibson with questions (800-444-2766 or service@gibson.com). Some other resources: a serial number database that may help you date your Steinberger: http://www.headless-europe.eu/Files/List_confirmed.htm. And a graphic illustration that gives a serial number production timeline: http://www.headless-europe.eu/Files/Steinberger_serial_poster.pdf.


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.

 


Washburn (Back to top of page)
Washburn has used many serial number formats over the years, ranging from 4-12 characters long. The year of manufacture can be deduced from the first few numerical characters in the serial number.

Either the first 2 digits, or the first digit, are typically used to identify the year of manufacture.

For example, 8901827 indicate the instrument was made in 1989, 1988, or 1998. The Washburn catalog page may help you further pinpoint the year.

Instruments with serial numbers that have 5 or more characters are from the late 1980's-2000's

Instruments with serial numbers that have 5 characters or less are typically from the 1980's.

Instruments with serial numbers that have 4 characters are from the 1970's and early 1980's.

For instruments produced after 2010, usually the first 4 digits can indicate the year of manufacture.

There is no serial number information or tracking capability for pre-1978 models.

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.)

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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. In fact, I still use the Guitar Dater Project website myself for quick look-ups, but they only cover certain brands. My list goes into more detail and covers more. But it's really just a compilation of the data you'll find on many separate sites around the Internet. In some cases I've merged info from 3 or 4 different sources to try and give a more complete picture. But my database may include inaccuracies. My hope is it will save you some time by providing one place you can go for most serial lookups.

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