Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Epiphone Serial Number Decoding


Recommended Posts

Thanks for the info, Robin.  I'm trying to square it with my own info/memory.  I seem to remember my mother having this guitar in the 70s, and I definitely remember playing it in 1982, after she had had it for a few years.  But perhaps I am mis-remembering, or am incorrect in thinking this is the guitar from my memories!

Ron

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know for certain there was no Epiphone by Gibson branding until the mid 1980s. Henry J bought Gibson in the early 1980s. 1981 or 82, I think. I can't remember off the top of my head. Anyway, this branding was intended to link the companies and give Epiphone a more positive perception after the very low end sketchy guitars they were importing to the USA in the 1970s. I have a print ad somewhere that details this idea when it first rolled out. I believe it was a quote from Jim Rosenberg, the CEO of Epiphone after Henry took over.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/5/2018 at 12:07 PM, CaribbeanBlues said:

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!

 

post-96994-094274000 1544040424_thumb.jpg

Serial number: 157589

Production year: 1964

Made by Epiphone (Gibson) in Kalamazoo, USA.

Hope that helps

https://www.guitarinsite.nl/serienummers-epiphone_eng.php

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi!


Let's see guys if you could help me whit this one, I can find any certain information about how to decode the year of this Epiphone.


When I bought it it was abandoned, whit the tuners take off, and bad nut and saddle. Made new ones from ebony, put the tuners on, give some love.. and now it is my favorite guitar, I love the sound and how it plays. 


I would really like to know the year. I know that is a laminated top and that it was like the cheapest of the line. That's all. Thanks in advance!

 

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-22 at 21.38.48.jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2020-04-22 at 21.38.47.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I located my Epiphone, The Complete History Book by Walter Carter from 1995.  (I believe there was also a later updated version of the same book.)  The 1995 book shows there to be no PR 650 in the PR series in January 15,1979  the June 01, 1979 or January 07,1980 price lists, but the PR-650 shows in the July 01, 1980 price list selling for $229.95 with a Natural or an Antique Sunburst finish.  In the pecking order of the PR series that month and year, the PR600 was $199.95, the PR650 $229.95, a PR650-12 string was $259.95 and then numerous PR series models in graduated prices up to the PR795 which was priced at $599.95.  

In the May 15, 1981 Epiphone price list, the PR650 appeared with a list price of $249.95 and the guitar came in a Natural, Antique Sunburst, and an Antique Cherry Sunburst.  The PR prices that month and year ranged from the PR600 at $224.95, the PR650 at $249.95, the PR650-12 string at $279.95, and then additional PR models with graduated prices up to the PR-755S at $629.95.  Of special note is the 1981 price list page showing PR650 shows a Nashville, TN address for Epiphone where as the 1979 and 1980 price lists do not show an address in the similarly designed price lists.

This is important as your PR650's label still shows Kalamazoo, Michigan's address for the Epiphone Company, though it was made in Japan.  It is well known that Gibson who owns Epiphone moved their headquarters to Nashville from Kalamazoo some time during this time period.  Therefore, it goes to reason that since no PR650s were listed in their price lists in 1979, but listed them in their 1980 price list and 1981 price, but the 1981 price list shows a Nashville address for Epiphone while your guitar shows a Kalamazoo address...then, in all likelihood your PR650 was made in 1980 and not 1981.  Although one never knows for sure with guitars from that era.  Just as the serial numbers from that era are quite mysterious to everyone.

The 1982 and 1983 Epiphone price lists, which shows Epiphone with a Nashville address shows the PR650 with a price of $279.95.  The Epiphone book then skips to 1986 for price lists (1986 was the first Epiphone price list after Norlin sold Gibson and Epiphone to Henry J), but it no longer shows a PR650 in the price list.  Or, any PRs for that matter.  The Epiphone book then skips to a price list from 1989 where six PR guitar reappear, but no longer the PR650. 

No further mention of the PR650 is in the 1995 book.  But, I hope this somewhat helps.

QM aka "Jazzman" Jeff

 

Edited by QuestionMark
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jazzman


I can't thank you enough for that AMAZING answer, you solved my question whit a lot of very interesting history tips. Previously i have made a lot of research and I end up thinking that it was made between 79/80, because of a few a saw on sale, so you solved the mystery. Really not so much information around these guitars. 


It is an amazing guitar, I have to try guitars that cost more than 500 and doesn't sound like this one, I love it. 

 

Thanks again! Have a nice weekend!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

I notice that you dont talk about Epiphone LP models with the mention "made in Japan" then the serial number below ; mine has this MIJ mention and thé serial says : 808295

It Can be a 2008 unit made in Japan on August  and rank number 295. 

Or Could also be from August 1980... 

Or from 82...or 95?

Well,as a matter of fact, its a great MIJ quality Les Paul:

With all Gibson specs (brass truss rod nut,superb mahogany set neck ,slim 60 profile, It has non Factory old 1985 APH1-J Seymour Duncan pickups . I also notice a photo Frame superb veneer top. Or maybe it Could be a veneer.

If you have infos about that kind of MIJ Epiphone LP's

Please, just tell me about that. Thanks for your attention.

Best regards.

Daniel CHRAIBI 😉💕

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked the LP up in the 1995 Epiphone book by Walter Carter.   It references Japanese made Epiphones being made from 1970-83.  And, that serial numbers are unreliable during that period.  And, that instruments can be roughly dated by their appearance in catalogs.  With that said, the book shows no Epiphone LPs in its price lists, including a 1986 price list shown in the book.  The book then jumps to 1989 price lists and in that section it shows a Les Paul Custom and a Les Paul Standard, but it doesn't show their prices.  The book then jumps to 1992 price lists, and in that 1992 price list, there is a LP Standard for $629 and a LP Custom for $729.    In 1993, there was a LP-100 Standard for $399 and one for $449 if it was a left handed one.  It also shows a LP left handed Standard for $629 and LP Custom for $729.  In 1994, three more LPs were added, the Special, the STD Gold Top, and the Classic .  The Standard and its left handed version and the Custom remained.  All in all they all ranged from $749 to $899.   The book makes reference in addition to Epiphones being made in Japan from 1970-83, they were made in Korea from 84-85 as well as in 1993-1994.  The book mysteriously skips where they were made from 1986-1992, but I think it just means they can't track their Korean-made  serial numbers during those years.   I would hope that more recent references can fill in that gap.

Since Les Pauls do not appear to have been made from 1970-83 and didn't appear until circa 1989, which was after Epiphone shifted to a Korea plant, it doesn't seem that your LP could have been from that earlier era.  The book came out in 1995, so other references not in my possession would have to be searched if Epiphone LP production again was in Japan in the following years.  I know there was an Elitist era of Epiphones from Terada in Japan somewhere around the late 2000s and those had great reputations.  But, I am not very familiar with that era nor as to whether a LP was made during that Elitist model ere.  Plus, as you know, Epiphone versions of LP's became a staple of the line at some point.  Maybe someone in the Electric section might know more.

Hope this helps..

QM aka "Jazzman" Jeff

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...
On 12/5/2018 at 12:07 PM, CaribbeanBlues said:

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!

 

post-96994-094274000 1544040424_thumb.jpg

149892 to 152989   1963
152990 to 174222   1964

Check out http://guitarhq.com/epiphone.html#specs  It looks like that is a 1964.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

That model was made between 1970 and 1979, and the label reduces it to 1971-1975. They initially used leftover labels from Kalamazoo, which read "Union Made" and had "Made in Japan" added to them. Once those ran out, they printed new labels in the same style, with "Made in Japan" included.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Hi folks, Newb here so apologies if I ask my question n the wrong place.

I've come across an Epiphone 6830 with a blue Kalamazoo label.  the serial number is 09166 which if I got it right looks like 1960?  From what I've read I thought the 6830's were all built in Japan and 1960 would pre date that?

The guitar looks in really good condition (not like other 50 year old guitars I've seen) so I'm a little dubious of both the label and my own research.  Can anyone give me any further pointers?  Be nice to know what sort of price I should be looking to offer for it if I decide to try and buy it.

Cheers

Link to post
Share on other sites

Does the guitar have a bolted on neck with screws or bolts where the guitar’s neck connects to the guitar’s body?   No Kalamazoo-made guitar will have this.  Also, does the blue label specifically say that the guitar itself was made in the USA or does it only show that the Epiphone Company is in the USA?  Early imported Epiphones showed the company as being in the US, sometimes saying Limcolnwood, IL if I am not mistaken.  But, they do not reference that the guitar was made in Kalamazoo, MI.  Thirdly, the 6830 model was never made in Kalamazoo, MI, but is a model that was made overseas during the early import era of Epiphones, circa early 70s.    As a collectible instrument, 6830s have little collectibility, though some have described them as pretty good guitars.  The collectible market drives the prices of used or vintage guitars.  I would only place a value of around $150-$300 on any early 70s Epiphone.  There simply is very little collectible demand for them regardless of any other factor.  As a result, and in view of the much higher quality of present Epiphone guitars made overseas, I suggest putting any funds instead to a solid topped (not a select wood topped) modern era Epiphone (like an EL-00 Pro or an Inspired by Texan or even a lower priced 220 model  or for only a bit higher price, an  Epiphone Masterbuilt  series flat-top/solid wood topped guitar.  

I hope this helps.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

Edited by QuestionMark
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Jazzman,

Much appreciated, I get what you're saying about the difference between "made in" and location of the company.  It does say "Union Made" though.  Will try post a photo of the label.  I neglected to take any photos of the back so I'm not sure about the neck joint (He showed me 10 other guitars at the same time).  I'll see if I can sort that out too.  I get what you're saying about collectability too, that's fine and maybe it's not for me but it's got my curiosity going now.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/4/2020 at 11:57 PM, QuestionMark said:

Does the guitar have a bolted on neck with screws or bolts where the guitar’s neck connects to the guitar’s body?   No Kalamazoo-made guitar will have this.  Also, does the blue label specifically say that the guitar itself was made in the USA or does it only show that the Epiphone Company is in the USA?  Early imported Epiphones showed the company as being in the US, sometimes saying Limcolnwood, IL if I am not mistaken.  But, they do not reference that the guitar was made in Kalamazoo, MI.  Thirdly, the 6830 model was never made in Kalamazoo, MI, but is a model that was made overseas during the early import era of Epiphones, circa early 70s.    As a collectible instrument, 6830s have little collectibility, though some have described them as pretty good guitars.  The collectible market drives the prices of used or vintage guitars.  I would only place a value of around $150-$300 on any early 70s Epiphone.  There simply is very little collectible demand for them regardless of any other factor.  As a result, and in view of the much higher quality of present Epiphone guitars made overseas, I suggest putting any funds instead to a solid topped (not a select wood topped) modern era Epiphone (like an EL-00 Pro or an Inspired by Texan or even a lower priced 220 model  or for only a bit higher price, an  Epiphone Masterbuilt  series flat-top/solid wood topped guitar.  

I hope this helps.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

On 11/5/2020 at 12:32 AM, KevInverg said:

Thanks Jazzman,

Much appreciated, I get what you're saying about the difference between "made in" and location of the company.  It does say "Union Made" though.  Will try post a photo of the label.  I neglected to take any photos of the back so I'm not sure about the neck joint (He showed me 10 other guitars at the same time).  I'll see if I can sort that out too.  I get what you're saying about collectability too, that's fine and maybe it's not for me but it's got my curiosity going now.

 

Here's the pics.   Appreciate any more info any one can give.

https://ibb.co/r0RSSxh
https://ibb.co/XV5YJs9
https://ibb.co/Q9FdFFS
https://ibb.co/YfFsRYp

Link to post
Share on other sites

Per Walter Carter’s book, “Epiphone.  The Complete History”, published in 1995.

Regarding the first Epiphone Japanese-flat-tops and their label it says:

”A blue rectangular label gave the impression that Epiphone’s were still made in Kalamazoo.  It actually didn’t say “Made in ...” anywhere.  It just said “Epiphone Inc.  Kalamazoo, Michigan.”  But, nowhere on the guitars was there a “Made in Japan” notice.  
 

Regarding their early model numbers it says:

”The guitars in the 1971 catalog has four digit model numbers and no model names.”

In the book it shows a photo of a square shouldered 6730, which is likely a lower model version than the 6830.  The 6730 has dot inlays and an adjustable bridge, whereas the photo you provided of a 6830 has block inlays with an adjustable bridge...indicating the 6730 was a lower model than the 6830.   
 

The only indication of the 6830 in the book is a summary of the 1971 catalog that says:

“6830:  square shouldered dreadnaught shape (16” wide”, rosewood back and sides, block inlay, $125”

The 6730 listed above it indicates the 6730 had mahogany back and sides, dot inlays, $99.50.

It says all 1971 flattops had strings anchored through bridge with no bridge pins.  
 

The 6830 model is also shown in a 1970 catalog as is the 6730 with the same pricing.

Per your photo, the 6830 has a bolt on neck, something USA made flattop Epiphones have never had.  Plus, I am not aware of a USA made Kalamazoo made flattop Epiphone ever having a strings through bridge with no pins (although, a Kalamazoo made Gibson J-40 had that type of bridge.)

BTW.  In the book, the 6830 model is no longer listed as a 1972 model

I hope this info is interesting and helpful.   FYI.  I believe there was an updated edition of the Walter Carter 1995 book, issued a number of years later.  However, I do not have that version in my possession to reference.
 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/7/2020 at 2:51 PM, QuestionMark said:

Per Walter Carter’s book, “Epiphone.  The Complete History”, published in 1995.

Regarding the first Epiphone Japanese-flat-tops and their label it says:

”A blue rectangular label gave the impression that Epiphone’s were still made in Kalamazoo.  It actually didn’t say “Made in ...” anywhere.  It just said “Epiphone Inc.  Kalamazoo, Michigan.”  But, nowhere on the guitars was there a “Made in Japan” notice.  
 

Regarding their early model numbers it says:

”The guitars in the 1971 catalog has four digit model numbers and no model names.”

In the book it shows a photo of a square shouldered 6730, which is likely a lower model version than the 6830.  The 6730 has dot inlays and an adjustable bridge, whereas the photo you provided of a 6830 has block inlays with an adjustable bridge...indicating the 6730 was a lower model than the 6830.   
 

The only indication of the 6830 in the book is a summary of the 1971 catalog that says:

“6830:  square shouldered dreadnaught shape (16” wide”, rosewood back and sides, block inlay, $125”

The 6730 listed above it indicates the 6730 had mahogany back and sides, dot inlays, $99.50.

It says all 1971 flattops had strings anchored through bridge with no bridge pins.  
 

The 6830 model is also shown in a 1970 catalog as is the 6730 with the same pricing.

Per your photo, the 6830 has a bolt on neck, something USA made flattop Epiphones have never had.  Plus, I am not aware of a USA made Kalamazoo made flattop Epiphone ever having a strings through bridge with no pins (although, a Kalamazoo made Gibson J-40 had that type of bridge.)

BTW.  In the book, the 6830 model is no longer listed as a 1972 model

I hope this info is interesting and helpful.   FYI.  I believe there was an updated edition of the Walter Carter 1995 book, issued a number of years later.  However, I do not have that version in my possession to reference.
 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

brilliant thankyou.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...