Japanese fender serial dating
Test it out next time you are checking out a friends guitar collection share the knowledge!
Heres a brief rundown of how to do it, plus resources for more information. There are many exceptions, and of course many other brands out there, but now you can tell how old most Fenders or Gibsons are within seconds.
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. 2016, the metal plate was replaced with a waterslide decal. 2017, the serial numbers were laser-etched on the back of headstock.
Y = Year of manufacture C = Model code PPP = Production number Model Codes (C)1 = NVJ2 = EMPEROR3 = RIVIERA4 = SHERATON5 = CASINO6 = Limited Edition7 = EB-28 = ES-930J9 = EMPEROR-JExample: 34123 = 1993 / SHERATON / unit 123Example: 38123 = 1993 / ES-930J / unit 1231971 - 1987The 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 logo1980-1987 - Brown Label with splotched pattern Fender (Back to top of page) 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.
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All the Tribute Models have the build year and month coded in the serial number.