Washburn Serial Numbers
The first 20 N4s that were made in 1990 started with serial number 901-920. Nuno bought 901 from a fan in late 2021 which was covered and documented by Guitar World. The serial number was stamped on the back of the headstock and inside the tremolo cavity.
Washburn Serial Numbers
The first run of 20 N4s were built as a limited run in 1990 starting with serial number 901-920 by Stephen Davies. These 20 guitars were much like the later 1991 model Davies except they came with a Seymour Duncan JB in the neck instead of a Seymour Duncan 59. They did not come with a case because Washburn had not produced a molded N4 case until 1991.
From a recent testimony by Terry Atkins, who was in charge of the early Washburn N4 production, some of these early N4s were not (entirely) made by Stephen Davies : Starting from July '91, some bodies were also produced in La Jolla (California), while necks were produced in a cabinet factory in Chicago. Those parts were then sent to either Washburn or Stephen Davies for assembly.A rough estimation based on the preceding production pace has been made stating that N4s whose serial numbers are over 060091 may not have been entirely made by Stephen Davies.
Even though these models feature all the characteristics of early N4s, they lack any visible serial number and do not have the 'Made in USA' written on the back of the headstock. A red serial number is printed on the hidden part of the Stephen's Extended Cutaway.
There is also controversy as a number of N4s were made in Asia during the mid-nineties. Washburn tried to pass these guitars off as though they were built in the USA custom shop and therefore do feature the 'Made in the USA' tag line on the cutaway and serial number on the back of the headstock. Washburn consequently faced legal action and closed their Washburn Europe operation as a result of the heavy fines that they were dealt.
How can I date/identify my Washburn instrument? 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.
If the instrument does not have a serial number, it is likely a factory prototype or sample, and it is impossible to gauge its exact age. We recommend visiting our guitar archives and viewing the annual catalogs to find the closest match.
Washburn maintains limited production records. Washburn can only identify instruments via email, and with a clear digital photograph and serial number. We cannot guarantee that we are able to date your instrument.
To identify your Washburn instrument, we recommend visiting our guitar archives. If you do not find your instrument there, please email a few clear digital photographs of your instrument, along with the serial number to us here. Please allow 7 business days for instrument identification requests. Due to limited historical references, Washburn cannot guarantee an instrument identification request.
Washburn has used many serial number formats over the years, ranging from 4-12 characters long. The year of manufacture can always be deduced from the first few numerical characters in the serial number.
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.
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.
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:
YYMMFFRRRRRYY = year of manufactureMM = month of manufatureFF = factory IDRRRRR = ranking numberExample: 08121520333 = 2008 / December / factory 15 / unit 20333Note: 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.----------------------------------------------FYYMMRRRRF/FF = factory ID Y/YY = year of manufactureMM = month of manufactureRRRR = ranking numberExample: 3021234 = Samick Korea / 1993 / February / unit 1234Example: S3021234 = Samick Korea / 1993 / February / unit 1234Example: S93021234 = Samick Korea / 1993 / February / unit 1234Example: SI01021234 = Samick Indonesia / 2001 / February / unit 1234Example: SI010212345 = Samick Indonesia / 2001 / February / unit 12345Note: 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.----------------------------------------------FYYMRRRRF = factory IDYY = year of manufactureM = letter code to corresponding month (A=January, B=February, etc...)RRRR = ranking numberExample: R01B0123 = Peerless Korea / 2001 / February / unit 0123.----------------------------------------------FYYSSSS(Epiphone Elite/Elitist models)F = factory IDY = single digit year of manufacture (2 = 2002, 3 = 2003, etc.)YY = double digit year of manufacture (2010-Current)SSSS = sequential ranking numberExample: F21234 = Fuji-gen Japan / 2002 / unit 1234Example: T101234 = Terada Japan / 2010 / unit 1234----------------------------------------------F-Serial Numbers on Les Paul Standard '59/'60 Models and Tribute/Plus ModelsThe 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 modelsContinued around F310650F311050 in spring 2012 on Tribute-Plus modelsContinued around F305000 in 2011Continued around F310000 in 2012Continued around F317000 in 2013Continued around F324000 in 2014Continued around F330000 in 2015 ---------------------------------Epiphone Japan Serial Numbers1998 - CurrentThe Yamano Gakki Epiphone Japan serial numbers from 1998 onwards are in a YMMPPP format.Y = Year of manufactureMM = Month of manufacturePPP = Production numberThe serial number letters used by the Terada and Fuji-Gen guitar factories are:J = TeradaT = Terada,F = Fuji-GenNo Letter = Fuji-GenExample: J902123 = Terada / 1999 / February / unit 123Example: T902123 = Terada / 1999 / February / unit 123Example: F902123 = Fuji-Gen / 1999 / February / unit 123Example: 902123 = Fuji-Gen / 1999 / February / unit 1231987 - 1997For 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 manufactureC = Model codePPP = Production numberModel 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
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.) 350c69d7ab