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Gruhn has a 39 J-55 on their site. Looks a lot like mine, right down to the individual saddles. Mine looks prettier and is worth less because it's refinished. The FON stamped on the back of the headstock on mine is EA 5506. On Gruhn's it is EG 6002. I am pretty sure the "E" is for 1939. But I'm not sure about the second letter's meaning. Is it another date code, like the month?

 

Thoughts?

 

Rich

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The two guitars may have been caught in two slightly different FON protocols. The wording below is a little garbled, but you'll get the idea: (from Vintage Guitars Info website)

 

 

"1938-1941: two or three letters before sequence number. Code is either ink stamped onto the label or impressed into the back of the peghead (for lap steels, impressed into the back of the body). First letter, indicates the year. Second letter, if there is one, indicates the brand of the instrument: G=Gibson, K=Kalamazoo, W=Recording King (Montgomery Wards). Third letter, if there is one, is "E" for Electric.

 

Exceptions: Some high-end models and lapsteels from 1939 to 1940 have the letter A added to the prefixes D, E, or F. This includes the letters DA, EA, FA, followed by 4 digits. Examples include L-5's and Super 400's which have an EA prefix (suggestiong 1939), in addition to a separate paper label indicating 1940 or 1941. In this case the later serial number is the one to believe, as the instrument was probably started and completed in different years."

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