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Guitar Serial Numbers

Alembic - Tom Anderson - B.C. Rich - Benedetto
Carvin - D'Angelico - D'Aquisto - Dean
Dobro - Epiphone - Fender - G&L
Gibson - Martin - Rickenbacker - Stromberg


The first 2 numbers of the serial number correspond to the year built. There may also be present a letter code designating a certain model. The latter digits indicate the individual instrument and it's place in production.

Tom Anderson

The specifications and paperwork on every guitar built by Tom Anderson Guitarworks is recorded and stored in the company offices. The neck plate of each guitar has the date it was complete along with the letters A, N, or P, corresponding to a.m., noon, or p.m. The neck plate should also say Made In California.

B.C. Rich

With production beginning in 1972, the first 350 guitars were numbered sequentially. In 1974 a system of serial number coding began using a 5 digit code with the first 2 digits indicating the year and the last 3 indicating the place in production. Because of increased demand and production late 70s and early 80's serial coding, as it relates to identifying year of production, began to become inconsistent. By 1980 the numbers were 2 years ahead, and by 1982 year coding was off by 4 years. Current American made B.C. Rich serial numbers follow the year and number of guitars format.


Benedetto archtops, over which 400 instruments have been made, are numbered in a numbering sequence consisting of 4 or 5 digits. The last 2 digits are the year and the preceding numbers are the instruments place in production. Semi-hollowbody electrics follow the archtop numbering scheme. Violins, and violas as well as solidbody guitars and electrics have their own numbering sequence.


Between 1964 and 1970 Carvin guitars do not have a serial number. The first guitar to have a serial number was #5000 and it was issued in 1970. Carvin guitars serial numbers first appeared on the end of the fretboard and are now located on the neck plate.


John D'Angelico built 1,164 guitars, all by hand. With the individual attention paid to each instrument, and the variations driven by custom orders, this led to differences in the specifications in the construction of his guitars. D'Angelico had filled many orders from jazz guitar's most accomplished players. With this interaction, John was able to build into his instruments, the construction necessary to stay current with the arch-tops ever expanding role in the orchestral setting. John D'Angelico constructed some of the finest arch-top guitars ever made.


James L. D'Aquisto apprenticed to John D'Angelico in 1952. After D'Angelico died, his workmanship and style lived on in the work of D'Aquisto. D'Aquisto continued the D'Angelico history by using select woods, similar body shapes, and a similar peghead design, while using his own innovative ideas to compliment an already successful product.


Danelectro serial numbers are generally found in the neck pocket, but have been found in other hidden recesses on the body. Most serial numbers are found in the form of a 4 digit code. The first 2 digits indicate the week of completion with the last digit revealing the year.


Dean guitars made in the USA follow a serial number pattern consisting of a 7 digit number with the first 2 numbers being the year of manufacture, followed by instrument production numbers. The serial number is found on the back of the headstock. Imported Dean guitars do not have year coded serial numbers and have to be dated by configuration and design.


The Dobro name comes from the combination of Dopyera and Brothers. The Brothers Rudy, Emil, John, Robert and Louis formed the National stringed Instrument Company in 1926. The history of Dobro is very interesting and at times convoluted, with rights and ownership being passed back and forth through out the years.

Dobro style instruments have four major features that need to be kept in mind: the body (either metal or wood), the neck (either square or round), the amplifying system (either single-plate or tri-plate), and the number of frets to the body (either 12 or 14).

B prefix on most 1931-32 Cyclops models.
Regal (OMI - 1970 on)

1970-79 - "D" or "B" followed by 3 or 4 digits (ranking) & last number indicates year. (B - metal, D - wood).

1980-87 - number before letter indicates year - 8 followed by 3 or 4 digits, then year number & either B or D (B - metal, D - wood).

1988 on - 2 or 3 letters & 6 or 7 numbered code. Last 2 numbers indicate year.


The Epiphone company was established in 1928 in New York City. Named after the companys president Epaminondas Stathopoulo, Epiphone was known in the 20's for a line of highly ornamental banjos. Epiphone started making electric guitars in the 1930's, and are probably best known for its archtops. The C. G. Conn company bought Epiphone in 1953 and moved production to Philadelphia. The Stathopoulo family bought the company back in 1955 but by 1957 the company had been acquired by CMI. CMI started shipping Gibson Epiphones from Kalamazoo in 1959. Norlin purchased CMI in 1969, and arranged the production of Epiphones in Japan and later Korea.

Fender Serial Numbers

G&L Guitars

G&L guitars have a serial number that is 7 digits long consisting of a letter prefix that corresponds to a "G" for guitar or a "B" for bass followed by 6 numbers. The Broadcaster has a "BC" prefix.

Gibson Serial Numbers



Serial Numbers 1960 - 1986
The year is the first Letter, The month is the second letter.

Serial Numbers 1986 - 1995
The year is the number after the letter-The letter is the month.


Charles Stromberg and his son Elmer started making guitars in the 1930s. They made a total of approximately 640 instruments. The better quality instruments were made from the middle of the 1940s onward. Elmer Stromberg died in 1955 afew months after his father's death. During the early years the Strombergs used their business cards as labels in the guitars. The telephone number on the card helps to determine when a particular model was made.