DATING EPIPHONE GUITARS 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. Epiphone stamps a serial number on each guitar, after decoding it can tell you where and when it was built.


Where to find the serial number
Locate the serial number on the back of the guitar head.
With Semi-Hollow models on the label inside the top f-hole and with acoustic guitars on the label inside the sound hole.

It consists of a number of figures, often also in advance of one or two letters.

If you want to know the production year of your Epiphone guitar, you can decipher it with the serial number decoder, or find it in explanation about the dating system below.


Epiphone serial number date decoder
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Martin decoder
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Rickenbacker decoder
Höfner decoder




The stamped serial number can consist of a series of numbers, or letter(s) and numbers.

Only numbers
For an eleven digit serial number, the encoding is as follows:
Example: 11051502060
The first two digits are the last 2 digits of the year. (11)
The next two digits represent the month. (05)
The 5th and 6th digit represent the factory code.. (15)
(See list numbered factory codes)
The last 5 digits form the series sequence number.
Serial number 11051502060 is the 2060th guitar built in May 2011 at the Qingdao factory in China.
(Since 2004 Epiphone guitars have been produced in China)

Six digit serial numbers
The first digit shows the last digit of the year.
These are Solidbody guitars built from 1958 to 1960 by Epiphone/Gibson in Kalamazoo, USA.
Seven digit serial numbers do not have a factory code, here is the first digit the last year of the decade. The 2nd and 3rd numbers represent the month.
These were manufactured in Korea by Samick between 1984 and 1995.
Eight and nine digit serial numbers without a factory code.
These were used respectively from 1990 and 1988 and also manufactured by Samick in Korea.

Letter(s) and numbers
One letter five digits
The letter indicates the factory code and the first digit is the last digit of the year (since 2002).
The factory code can be an F or a T here.
(See list Factory code letter)
Example: Serial number T32222 is the 2222th guitar of 2003 built in the factory of Terada Gakki Seisakusyo, Japan.

One letter six digits
The letter indicates the factory code and the first and second digit are the last two digits of the year.
Example: Serial number Z051234 is the 1234th guitar built in 2005 at the Zaozhuang Saehan factory in China.

Two letters five digits
The letters indicate the factory code and the first digit is the last digit of the year.
Example: Serial number CI21234 is the 1234th guitar built in 2002 at the Cort, Indonesia factory.

One letter seven digits
The letter indicates the factory code and the first digit is the last digit of the year.
The 3rd and 4th digits represent the month.
The last 4 digits form the series sequence number.
Because the year is only represented by 1 digit, guitars with this coding from the 80s, 90s or a decade of 2000. (depending on the factory code)
Example: Serial number S6031234 is the 1234th guitar built in 1986, 1996 or 2006 at the Samick factory in Korea.

Two letters six digits
The letter indicates the factory code and the next two digits are the last two digits of the year.
The second letter (third character) stands for the month. (A = January, B = February, etc.)
The last 4 digits form the series sequence number
Example: Serial number R04E0123 is the 123st guitar of May 2004, built in the Peerless factory, Korea.

One letter eight digits
The letter indicates the factory code, the next two digits are the last two digits of the year.
The 3rd and 4th digits represent the month.
The last 4 digits form the series sequence number.
Example: C99040233 is the 233rd guitar of April 1999, built in the Cort factory, Korea.
(This coding method was used until 2010)

Two letters seven digits
The letter indicates the factory code, the next two digits are the last two digits of the year.

The second letter (third character) stands for the month. (A = January, B = February, etc.)
The last 5 digits form the series sequence number.
Example: S07C00122 is the 122th guitar of May 2004, built at the Samick factory in Korea.
(This coding method was used until 2010)

Two letters eight digits
The 2 letters indicate the factory code, the next two digits are the last two digits of the year.
The 5th and 6th figures represent the month.
The last 4 digits form the series sequence number.
Example: SI02060234 is the 234th guitar of June 2002, built at the Samick factory in Bogor, Indonesia.

Two letter nine digits
This coding is the same as the coding of Two letter eight digits with the difference that here is 5 digits for it sequence number are used

Acoustic guitars

Japan
The acoustic guitars from Epiphone, which were manufactured by Matsumoku in Japan from 1970 to 1987, are not reliable serial numbering system, but can be approximately dated by color and inscription from the Epiphone label.
Blue label 1970-1975
The first blue labels that were used were leftover labels from the Kalamazoo factory.
In the bottom left corner of these labels is printed "Union Made" and stamped, "Made in Japan".
Until supplies ran out, they were used from 1970 until the beginning of 1971. Some of these first labels do not include Made in Japan or Union Made.
After supplies ran out, new blue labels were used where in the lower right corner "Made in Japan" is printed.
Brown or white "Lincolnwood" label 1976-1979
The Lincolnwood label was also used for the acoustic guitars of the Taiwanese "Ep" series from 1979-1980.
These labels in the bottom right corner say, 'Made in Taiwan'.
From 1980 to 1987 a mottled label was used.

China
In 2004 Gibson opened a factory in Qingdao, China, which produces Epiphone guitars.
No labels have been used here, but stickers with "Made in China" are glued to the neck of the guitars.



Numbered factory codes
NUMBERFACTORYCOUNTRY
 12DeaWon or Unsung China
 13unknown China
 15Qingdao (electric) China
 16Qingdao (acoustic) China
 17unknown China
 18 unknown China
 20DeaWon or Unsung China
 21Unsung Korea
 22 unknown Korea
 23Samick Indonesia

Factory code letter
LETTERFACTORYCOUNTRY
 BBohêmia Musico-Delicia Czech Republic
 C Cort Korea
 CICort Indonesia
 DWDaeWon China
 EAQingDao (acoustic) China
 ED Dongbei China
 EEQingDao (electric) China
 FFuji-gen (Elite/Elitist models) Japan
 F Fine Guitars Korea
 FCFuji-gen ('90) Japan
 GR Farida, Guang Dong China
 ISaein Korea
 JTerada Gakki Seisakusyo Japan
 KKorea Ins. Korea
 L Leader Musical Instrument Co Ltd. Korea
 MCMuse China
 MRMirr factory China
 OChoice Korea
 P Peerless Korea
 RPeerless Korea
 QGQingdao Gibson China
 SSamick Korea
 SI Samick, Bogor Indonesia
 SJSaeJun China
 SMSamil Korea
 TTerada Gakki Seisakusyo Japan
 U Unsung Korea
 UCUnsung China China
 ZZaozhuang Saehan China

Unclear Letter factory codes
LETTERFACTORYNOTE
 BW ?? Probably China
 FC ?? Probably Global Fine Supply Ltd., China
 H?? Probably China
 GP?? Probably Korea
 JK?? Probably Korea of Indonesia
 SK ?? --
 SN?? Probably Indonesia
 WF?? Probably China
 X ?? Probably China

Labels acoustic guitars
Land/periodeLabel
 Japan
Blue label
1970-1975
 Japan
Brown "Lincolnwood" label 1976-1979
 Japan
Mottled pattern label 1980-1987
 China
2004-2018