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Did you know that you can use Epiphone serial numbers to discover the age of your guitar? If you have a vintage Epiphone or Gibson guitar, you could be sitting on a gold mine. Many older models have a rich history, and better than that, they could be worth a lot of money. Epiphone started as a family business in as a luxury banjo manufacturer. As they already owned Gibson, this merge brought the two powerful brand names under one umbrella. In , a second purchase occurred. During each of these transitions, there were also changes made to how the instruments were labeled, which is part of the reason why the serial number identification process is so confusing. Image via: Pixabay.
How To Use Epiphone Serial Numbers To Date Your Guitar
Wondering how old your Gibson or Epiphone guitar is? This serial number guide will help you to figure it all out. This guide, republished courtesy of Gibson. This should be an 8 digit number that can be dated by the 1st and 2nd digits as follows:. Prior to when the Kalamazoo, MI factory was closed, the numbers indicated Kalamazoo production.
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NOTE: Pre productions also frequently omitted factory letter codes and appeared as all numbers. NOTE: The factories identified by these codes are based on patterns which forum members have observed. The numbers appear as the 5th and sixth digits in the serial number. They were made by Terada and usually have an Orange Epiphone label. The Aria Epiphone Japan models that were made by Matsumoku from the early s and ending before do not have a reliable serial numbering system but can be approximately dated using their Epiphone label colours.
The early Japanese blue labels were left over from production at the Kalamazoo factory and were used on Japanese-made instruments until supplies ran out approximately These labels say “Union Made” in the lower left corner and are sometimes hand-stamped with “Made in Japan” at the bottom. Some of the interim blue lables had neither the “Union Made” nor “Made in Japan” markings on them.
When supplies ran out, these labels were replaced with a new batch that were printed “Made in Japan” in the lower right corner. Pre “Union Made” labels are distinguishable from labels used on Japanese intruments by the printed model name of the intrument only. The Lincolnwood label was also used for the Tawainese “Epi” series acoustic guitars from These labels say “Made in Tawain” in the bottom right corner.
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Specs are usually on ebay for vintage sunburst: current serial number is? Three historic epiphone serial number formats from 25 factories in manufacturers. Supported brands in a large collection of an epiphone guitars, The guitardating the reason for a guide will help you identify your gibson guitar to figure it.
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The Serial (Number) Bowl: Date Your Guitar or Bass
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Shiro Arai Co. Most guitars produced by Arai such as the Aria Diamonds not to be confused with the Aria Pro II Diamonds , Lyle, Conrad, Maxi-Tone, Japanese Epiphone, Univox, and the other pre guitars often had serial numbers usually on the neck plate I imagine so dealers could track warranty, etc. Unfortunately the number was arbitrary and had little to do with when the guitar was produced.
After Arai joined forces with Matsumoku, the serial numbers began to have some bearing on the guitar’s production year and rank in production sequence. Serial numbers on these guitars were arbitrary numbers and did not indicate date of manufacture. When dating these guitars only ballpark ranges is possible.
Dating epiphone serial numbers
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Epiphone Serials Identify the first one or two numbers in the serial number. These numbers correspond to year the banjo was made. In the years between and , these initial numbers referred to the emperor of Japan at the time. From to , the years of Showa and Alvarez began this sequence with 45 and ended it with Vintage numbers from to are supported. Serial numbers from 70′ and 80’s era Epiphone guitars made in Japan are not supported.
The reason for this is that there is no reliable documentation from this time period. This Module has been updated to work with the newer serial number formats. I owned a Japan Limited Les Paul for a few months earlier this year. It was a model, with a Fuji Gen Gakki serial number. Serial number now pressed into the back of the peghead between the D and G tuners, in addition to being on the blue Epiphone label in the bass ‘f’ hole.
The new Epiphone ‘Trem-o-tone’ adjustable vibrato tailpiece is introduced.
How to Decipher Epiphone Serial Numbers
Some brands were sold only on the Japanese market, but other brands, such as Ibanez were exported from Japan. Gibson established Epiphone Japan in the early s with the production and distribution being managed by Aria in cooperation with Gibson. Yamano Gakki distributed Gibson and Korean Epiphone guitars and also produced a limited range of Epiphone Japan semi acoustic guitars in cooperation with Gibson. In Yamano Gakki decided to expand the Epiphone Japan model range to include solid body models as well as semi acoustic models.
Gibson and Yamano Gakki decided not to use the Epiphone brand name for the expanded model range and so the Orville name was chosen instead. Orville is the first name of the Gibson corporation’s founder Orville Gibson.
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Epiphone is one of the widely known guitar manufacturers. Originally an independent brand, Epiphone was bought by Gibson Guitar in As opposed to a brand such as Fender, whose guitars are either made in America or Mexico, Epiphone’s guitars can come from a number of different factories in a variety of countries. For this reason, it is not as easy to know where each guitar comes from or when it was made.
Epiphone stamps each guitar with a serial number, however, which when deciphered can tell a guitarist all he needs to know about the guitar. Locate the serial number on the back of the guitar’s headstock the top of the neck where the strings are attached. The serial number will generally be nine to 10 digits long, with the first being a letter.