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Epiphone Serial Number Decoding How to Identify Your Guitar's Place and Year of Manufacture

#1 User is offline   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 10:13 AM

This is a guide to help you identify your guitar's place and year of manufacture by the instrument's serial number alone, based on the information given on the unofficial Epiphone wiki here, which mostly seems down nowadays.

There are basically four distinct formats, also called identifiers, in which order serial numbers occur on Epiphone instruments. For Japanese and refurbished models, which are special cases, see bottom.

YYMMFFRRRRR

  • YY = year of manufacture
  • MM = month of manufature
  • FF = factory ID
  • RRRRR = ranking number

Example: 08121520333 = 2008 / December / factory 15 / unit 20333

Note: 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.

FYYMMRRRR

  • F/FF = factory ID
  • Y/YY = year of manufacture
  • MM = month of manufacture
  • RRRR = ranking number

Example: 3021234 = Samick Korea / 1993 / February / unit 1234
Example: S3021234 = Samick Korea / 1993 / February / unit 1234
Example: S93021234 = Samick Korea / 1993 / February / unit 1234
Example: SI01021234 = Samick Indonesia / 2001 / February / unit 1234
Example: SI010212345 = Samick Indonesia / 2001 / February / unit 12345

Note: 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.

FYYMRRRR

  • F = factory ID
  • YY = year of manufacture
  • M = letter code to corresponding month
  • RRRR = ranking number

Example: R01B0123 = Peerless Korea / 2001 / February / unit 0123.

Note: The month of manufacture is single letter corresponding to each month such as A = January, B = February, etc.

FYYSSSS

This serial number formats is solely used on Epiphone Elite or Elitist models.

  • F = factory ID
  • Y = single digit year of manufacture (2002-2009)
  • YY = double digit year of manufacture (2010-Current)
  • SSSS = sequential ranking number

Example: F21234 = Fuji-gen Japan / 2002 / unit 1234
Example: T101234 = Terada Japan / 2010 / unit 1234

Factory Letter Codes

The following is a comprehensive list of factories and countries for serial numbers that start with at least one letter.

  • B - Bohêmia Musico-Delicia (Czech Republic)
  • BW - ____?____ (China)
  • CI - Cort (Indonesia)
  • DW - DaeWon (China)
  • EA - QingDao (China) = Epiphone Acoustic
  • ED - Dongbei (China) = In Chinese "Dongbei" means Northeast.
  • EE - QingDao (China) = Epiphone Electric
  • F - Fuji-gen (Japan) = Elite/Elitist models (see post below on Epiphone Japan Serial Numbers)
  • F - Qingdao (China) = Les Paul Standard '59 / '60 / Tribute Models (see bottom of post on F-Serial Numbers Used on LP Std'59/'60 models and Tribute/Plus models)
  • F/FN - Fine Guitars (Korea) = non-Japanese models
  • FC - ____?____ (China 2000's) Possibly "Global Fine Supply Ltd."
  • FC - Fuji-Gen (Japan 1990's)
  • H - _______ (China?) Found on a 1995 El Nino
  • G/GG - Identified as early modern Masterbilt acoustics (Epiphone says they have no record of G serials)
  • GR - Grand Reward (Farida, Guang Dong) China, Seen on some early Masterbilt acoustics
  • GP - ____?____ (Korea) found on a BB King Lucille from 2001 (verified by Epiphone Customer Service)
  • I - Saein (Korea)
  • J - Terada Gakki Seisakusyo (Japan)
  • J - Unknown. Possibly Jakarta, Indonesia - Found on a 1997 S-310
  • JK - ??? Korea or Indonesia - Found on a 1999 G-310 Junior
  • K - Korea Ins. (Korea)
  • L - Leader Musical Instrument Co Ltd (Korea)
  • MC - Muse (China)
  • MR - Mirr factory, China
  • N - See: FN
  • O - Choice (Korea)
  • P/R - Peerless (Korea)
  • QG - Qingdao Gibson (China) - Interim designation used prior to "EA" & "EE"
  • S - Samick (Korea)
  • SI - Samick (Bogor, Indonesia)
  • SJ - SaeJun (China)
  • SK - ???
  • SM - Samil (Korea)
  • SN - ____?____ (Indonesia)
  • T - Terada Gakki Seisakusyo (Japan)
  • U - Unsung (Korea)
  • UC - Unsung China (China)
  • WF - ____?____ (China) found on an Accu Bass Junior from 2001
  • X - ____ (China) - Early to mid 1990's serial number label - Verified by Epiphone Customer Service. Seen on "Epi" brand guitars.
  • Y - Korea (seen on a PR775CE)
  • Z - Zaozhuang Saehan (China)

Factory Number Codes

Some models from 2008 onwards have serial numbers that begin with a certain digit.

  • 11 = MIC sticker on a '08 Masterbuilt 500
  • 12 = DeaWon or Unsung (China - uncertainty remains as to which factory)
  • 13 = China - factory unknown
  • 15 = Qingdao (China) - electric
  • 16 = Qingdao (China) - acoustic
  • 17 = China - factory unknown MIC sticker on a J160E
  • 18 = China - factory unknown found on one 2009 model bass
  • 20 = DaeWon or Unsung (China - uncertainty remains as to which factory)
  • 21 = Unsung, Korea
  • 22 = Korea (factory still unknown)
  • 23 = Samick factory Indonesia
  • I = Indonesia (this letter has appeared as the 5th digit on two authentic new models made in Indonesia)

Note: The factories identified by the codes above are based on patterns which users have observed. The numbers appear as the 5th and 6th digits in the serial number. This information has not been officially confirmed by Epiphone.

F-Serial Numbers on Les Paul Standard '59/'60 Models and Tribute/Plus Models

The latest serial number system used by Epiphone has not yet been completely deciphered. The new "F" models are made in China. The new system seems to be just continously 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 models
  • Continued around F310650~F311050 in spring 2012 on Tribute-Plus models
  • Continued around F305000 in 2011
  • Continued around F310000 in 2012
  • Continued around F317000 in 2013
  • Continued around F324000 in 2014
  • Continued around F330000 in 2015

Refurbished Models

Serial numbers starting with "311xxxx2 on a golden sticker are refurbished guitars as sold by Musical Instrument Reclamation Center (MIRC). There is no way to tell the year or the month it was made.

A few points of note:

  • The original serial numbers are usually defaced.
  • Original warranty is void.
  • Sometimes the word "2nd" is stamped on the back of the headstock.
  • MIRC specs can often be different from stock specs.

2018 Gibson J-180 (Everly)
2009 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony
2004 Fender 50th Anniversary American Deluxe Stratocaster
2002 Gibson "Goldtone" GA-15RV
1990 Ovation Legend L717 (A-bracing)

Finely transcribed Cat Stevens Guitar Tabs (fan project)

"Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history
was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now."—Jol Dantzig, founder of Hamer Guitars
-2

#2 User is offline   Leonard McCoy 

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 10:15 AM

reserved for Japanese s/n
2018 Gibson J-180 (Everly)
2009 Gibson Les Paul Standard Ebony
2004 Fender 50th Anniversary American Deluxe Stratocaster
2002 Gibson "Goldtone" GA-15RV
1990 Ovation Legend L717 (A-bracing)

Finely transcribed Cat Stevens Guitar Tabs (fan project)

"Believe me when I say that some of the most amazing music in history
was made on equipment that's not as good as what you own right now."—Jol Dantzig, founder of Hamer Guitars
0

#3 User is offline   Gingerftmyers 

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 05:39 AM

Why does Epiphone not recognize a G series masterbuilt modern guitar??? We can see tgat clearly on the water damaged label.
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#4 User is offline   bonzoboy 

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  Posted 22 November 2017 - 07:35 PM

Thanks for posting that info,I had lost my list of Epi date and factory codes and had to try and guess from memory,the date/factory code of the beautiful near mint EJ-200 natural finish Epi that I bought a few months ago.I had figured that she was made at the Korean Samick factory in August 2002 and was the 30633rd unit made that month and I got it all right-my ancient 63 year old brain can still retain the important things in life,such as guitar and amp specs.....what a relief.
Epiphone John Lennon '65 Casino,Natural Casino,Epi. G400 Custom,Epi. EJ160E John Lennon,Epi.Custom Shop Firebird sunburst,Vox Phantom XII,Mk VI Acoustic,Astro IV Bass Model V273.Hagstrom Corvette&Mk II.'66 Gretsch Tennessean.various Fenders&other guitars&s.
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#5 User is offline   Mystarlite 

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 02:03 PM

Hi. I just got an Epiphone DR-100 in a bait and switch last night. Didn't want to feel like i was wasting both our times so i got it anyway. I can learn how to work on guitars at least as it's missing a string and some frets are sticking up.

Posted Image

From what i can tell this is a Japan (T) guitar from 2007 but:

Posted Image

so i was confused as to which is right.
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#6 User is offline   CaribbeanBlues 

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 02:07 PM

Concerned no one is watching this and I really could use a reply. Nobody seems to think this is a valid serial number. Nonetheless, I have had this guitar in my possession since the day it was purchased. Problem is I can't remember if that was 1962 or 1964 or ??? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Attached File  Epiphone FT45 Cortez.jpg (53.58K)
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#7 User is offline   wolfman2020 

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 04:38 AM

View PostMystarlite, on 13 November 2018 - 02:03 PM, said:

Hi. I just got an Epiphone DR-100 in a bait and switch last night. Didn't want to feel like i was wasting both our times so i got it anyway. I can learn how to work on guitars at least as it's missing a string and some frets are sticking up.

Posted Image

From what i can tell this is a Japan (T) guitar from 2007 but:

Posted Image

so i was confused as to which is right.

0

#8 User is offline   wolfman2020 

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 04:43 AM

I know this was a couple of months ago but If you haven’t gotten an answer I might be able to help you. Could you post, or send me a picture of Front and back of the headstock and look about 4” down from where the neck and headstock meet and tell me If you see a scarf joint in the neck. Also All My epiphones from the 70’s have had blue labels

This post has been edited by wolfman2020: 01 March 2019 - 04:46 AM

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#9 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 08:38 AM

View PostMystarlite, on 13 November 2018 - 02:03 PM, said:

Hi. I just got an Epiphone DR-100.... From what i can tell this is a Japan (T) guitar from 2007 but:.... so i was confused as to which is right.

Yeah, sorry this never got answered. As far as I know, when there's a strip of tape over the original serial number, that means it's a refurbished guitar, which means there was some flaw in its production, big or small, that was identified at the factory, so the guitar was sold wholesale to a refurbishing company, usually MIRC, who looks it over and tries to fix whatever might need fixing. Their s/n numbering system is completely different from Epiphone's, so that's why you're getting "mixed signals." So that guitar was made in China, but you're unlikely to be able to find out much more about it, other than that's a "refurb."
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