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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.
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. Ina 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. When trying to date your vintage Epiphone or Gibson instrument, the most accurate way to do it is by decoding the serial number. Because there is not a single, central database for any of the models manufactured prior toyou have to dig deep into the code to figure out from where and when it originated.
If it was manufactured afterthe process is easy. A serial number not only confirms the authenticity of your guitar but can impact the value.
If, for example, you have a Gibson Explorer that was made from toyou have one of the few models produced in that period. If it was manufactured afterthe build date is included in the sequence.
The first and fifth number signifies the year it was built, and the second, third, and fourth are the day of the year.
For example, if the first five digits of your eight-digit serial number arethen you know that the guitar was made on the th day of the year in The sixth number in the modern sequence will tell you the batch, and the last three indicate the rolling production number.
Unfortunately, prior to the system instituted inthe process is anything but simple to decipher. There are entire books written on how to decipher your Epiphone serial number sequence, but here we will outline the basics of what you need to know based on year ranges that have commonalities.
In the first two years, an Epiphone die-stamped the serial number on the inside of the back of their instruments. Beginning inthey moved the placement directly onto the label itself.
Epiphone Made in Japan Fujigen
This sequence begins in with the numberand the last documented serial number in this series is When Epiphone launched the Electar line inthey also began using a new system for serial numbers on their electric instruments.
Inthere were some shakeups inside of Epiphone which resulted in the creation of a new numbering system. Most significantly, Epi died, and his widow gave up her shares which opened the door to a financial restructuring of the company.
At the same time, the new shareholders decided to change some of their production methods which had a direct impact on their inventory. This, in turn, affected the numbering scheme. This is one of the many spans of time where there is a significant amount of grey area around dating the serial number on your instrument. However, there is no data that tells us how many guitars were made each year, which makes it impossible to pinpoint an estimated date the instrument was manufactured.
InEpiphone transitioned their electric models to the same five-digit numbering scheme as their acoustic models. Beginning with inand ending with the last known New-York made model, the Epi Zephyr, number After Epiphone and Gibson merged under the same umbrella, Gibson started following their lead and placing serial numbers on their guitars. During this time period, they ink stamped the digits on the back of the peghead and used the last number of the year as the first number in the serial sequence on their solid body models.
For example, inthe first digit in the serial number is 8. Inthe first number was 0. From toGibson branded guitars used a different numbering series than Epiphone.
Inall of the guitars produced that were not part of the A-Series by both Gibson and Epiphone followed the same serial number series.
Slashed "C": Epiphone's stylized "E", which looks like a "C" with a horizontal slash, appeared in in literature and on metal peghead plates. Models with inlaid or paint logos made the changeover to Gibson necks and the slashed "C" logo style circa On flat tops, the Gibson neck can be distinguished by a wider flare towards the top of the peghead.
By the catalog, all solidbody guitars are pictured with the slashed "C" logo. Peghead "ferns". These varied considerably from guitar to guitar, year to year. Left: peghead style on most Deluxe models. Note the standard script "E" and cloud style fingerboard inlay. On some Deluxe model, Epiphone used Emperior style fingerboard inlays instead. Middle: peghead style on most high-end models like the Emperior.
Records on early Japanese-made Fender instruments are not complete and are therefore not completely definitive for dating purposes. As always, serial numbers should only be used as a guide for dating and should be used in combination with known age-related specifications to help identify the production year of an instrument. Epiphone used their own tuners with a slashed "C" logo and a pearloid button from about to on most mid to high-end models. On their low-end guitars, they used an assortment of different tuners. Epiphone style tuners as used on most mid to high-end guitars. Logos.
Note the standard script "E" and "V" fingerboard inlay; it's pearl with a "V" insert of abalone. Before the war, the "V" inlays were all pearl no abaloneand had a black separating line to separate the "V" from the block.
Necks: After Gibson bought Epiphone inEpiphone parts were used up before Gibson parts were issued. This occured on Gibson-made Epiphone starting in In addition to New York pickups, both acoustics and electrics featured New York necks with a pronouced "V" shape that Gibson necks did not have.
The New York Epiphone peghead shape is also different from that of the later Gibson made necks. The stock of Epi-made necks ran out in late or early on most models. Binding on an Epi: very typical to see shrinking binding pulling away from the body on NY era Epi's.
Binding: The binding used on NY era Epiphones and before was troublesome. The binding was made of celluloid, and glued in place with an Acetone based glue.
The problem is that the binding shrinks considerably with age, and can literial turn to dust. There is no way to fix this short of replacing the binding.
Jan 24, Discussion in ' Epiphone Guitars ' started by Paruwi, Aug 11, Not open for further replies. In models begin to appear without a factory i.d. letter prefix. Y/YY = Year of manufacture (Single digit for some and earlier models) RRRR = Ranking number (may be more or less digits) M = Letter code to corresponding month (A = January. Epiphone was a family business that was created in Now, however, Epiphone is a subsidiary company of the world famous guitar company, Gibson. Epiphone provides an affordable alternative to the relatively higher priced Gibson guitars. Epiphone guitars come in many varieties, including acoustic, electric, and acoustic-electric hybrids. Sep 17, Epiphone started as a family business in as a luxury banjo manufacturer. In the 's, they switched up their business model and began producing high-end guitars, and became the only manufacturer to successfully make the transition. They grew in popularity and by the 's, became Gibson's main rival.
Environmental issue UV light and temperature extremes can make the problem worse. Epiphone "carrosel" knob from the 's. These were used from the late 's until about The brass "ten position" nail was Gibson's idea to embelish these knobs. Knobs: Epiphone most typical electric guitar knob of the 's was the "carrosel" knob. This bakelite material knob was very unique to epiphone. PegHead Markings other than Serial Numbers "seconds" When Gibson owned Epiphone afterthey often marked inferior quality guitars as "seconds", and sold them at a discount to dealers or employees.
These markings were stamped into the wood on the back of the peghead. A "2" stamp is sometimes seen, designating a "second", which had some cosmetic flaw.
Feb 19, Greetings, Several years ago I purchased this cherry red Epiphone Casino. It has the oval orange label serial number in the cavity. Serial # The seller claimed its a MIJ Casino at the time stating some MIJ serial numbers are 5 digits in which the 1st indicates the year of x or x. DATING EPIPHONE GUITARS AND MANDOLINS BY REFERENCE OF SERIAL NUMBERS. Epiphone guitars come from different factories in different countries. For this reason, it is not so easy to know where each guitar comes from or when it is made. The Epiphone serial number decoder currently supports 12 serial number formats from 25 factories. 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.
If there is a serial number on the back of the peghead, the "2" is usually seen centered above or below it. These were only sold to employees at substantial discounts.
This stamp is also seen on the back of the peghead. All second instruments are usually worth less than the same guitar that is not a second given condition as the same. BGN instruments are worth less than a second instrument because these tend to have some fairly serious cosmetic flaw. The easiest way to tell the year of an Epiphone instrument is by its serial number.
Serial numbers are from Jim Fisch, L. Fred, Tom Wheeler, Walter Carter. There are no known factory ledgers for Epiphone. Obviously it has some shortcomings as it is just the sales for one music store. For the most part serial numbers after are consecutive, and hence provide production numbers indicating the number of instruments produced. Jim Fisch, L.
Fred have established an Epiphone serial number registry. This has helped in the dating of old Epiphones, and has given a lot of information regarding production numbers. Obviously any production number conclusions drawn are based on the instruments Jim has recorded only.
Serial Numbers, toacoustic guitars only. For an the serial number is die-stamped on the interior side of an instrument's back. You can see this by looking thru the bass-side "f" hole, generally below the applied label. From forward, the serial numbers were typed or stamped directly on the Epiphone label.
Dating japanese epiphone guitars
The last documented serial number in this series is Year Number Range to to to to to to to to to to to to to Serial Numbers, toelectric instruments only. With the start of the Electar model line in lateEpiphone began a new serial number system for their electric instruments only. These numbers are die-stamped and are between 3 and 5 digits in length.
Usually they are located on the top rear of the peghead. Since these numbers were applied before the instrument was painted, the serial number only gives an approximate age especially on less popular instruments such as electric banjos and electric mandolins. Year Number Range to to to to to to to to to to Serial Numbers, toacoustic guitars only. For some reason, a new numbering system was started in The starting point of serial number 50, was used.
There were a couple of reasons for this: the death of Epi meant his widow's shares where purchased causing a financial restructuring of the company and it's assets.
Also changes in production methods prompted a change in inventory and the numbering scheme. Year First Number 50, to 51, 52, to 53, 54, to 55, 56, to 56, 57, to 57, 58, to 58, 59, to 59, Serial Numbers, toelectric guitars only.
From to the end ofspecific 2-digit prefixes were assigned to individual electric models. The ending 3 digits indicated the actual production number. This impressed serial number may be found on the back top of the peghead. Serial Numbers, toacoustic and electric guitars. Year Number Range to to to to to to "Ink stamped" serial number on a model solidbody.
How can I find out when my Japanese-made instrument was manufactured?
Gibson-made Serial Number,solidbody guitars. Number is ink stamped on the back of the peghead.
As with Gibson solidbody guitars of the same period, the first digit of the serial number is the last digit of the year. Year 1st Number 8 9 0 Gibson-made hollowbody serial number as used from to Gibson-made Serial Numbers, tohollowbody guitars "A" series.
Hollowbody models: number is on the label, with "A" preceding the number. The Epiphone number series is different than the A-series used on Gibson brand instruments of the same period. This is a Epiphone Coronet.
Gibson-made Serial Number, toall instruments non "A" series.
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