DATING IBANEZ GUITARS BY REFERENCE OF SERIAL NUMBERS

Ibanez officially uses serial numbers on their guitars from September 1975 onwards. But some guitars from 1974 also have a number, which can not be traced back to a production period. he serial numbers generally consist of a string of letters and numbers, but in some cases only numerically.

Where to find the serial number
On Ibanez guitars built from 1975 you will find the serial number stamped or a sticker on the headstock, or on the cover plate of the neck fastening.

Serienummer achterzijde kop

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

  Ibanez serial number date decoder  (v2.0)







Ibanez history in short
In 1908 Matsujiro Hoshino started a bookstore that sold books and sheet music as well musical instruments. From 1921, instruments from Europe and the USA were also imported, including classical guitars from the Spanish luthier Salvador Ibanez.

In 1929 he was succeeded by his son Yoshitaro Hoshino.
More and more instruments were imported such as mandolins from Italy and drum kits from Ludwig from Germany. Because the request of guitars could no longer be met, Yoshitaro decided to build guitars themselve.

Meanwhile, his four sons were also part of the venture and the company Hoshino Gakki was founded. A factory was built near their headquarters
for production of their own guitar line that could accommodate around 30 employees. From now on the "Salvador Ibanez" guitar was called "Ibanez". The company exported many guitars to other Asian countries and in 1937
it had an output of more than 1000 guitars a month.

After the World War II, during which the factory was completely destroyed, the import of musical instruments was resumed slowly around 1950.
Just in 1962 was Jumpei Hoshino decided to build his own guitars again.
A new factory was built where now also amplifiers and electric guitars
were made. The company was named "Tama Seisakusho" as a tribute to the wife of Yoshitaro Hoshino.

Jumpei Hoshino

Ibanez was now the main brand of Hoshino, but they also produced
guitars for other western companies. Drum kits were also made with the brand name "Tama". From 1966 however, it was decided no more build guitars for other companies. This was adopted by other manufacturers,
as Fujigen Gakki or Teisco.

In 1967 the first Ibanez guitars were imported by Elger Company, USA. These were guitars with many buttons and switches and had no logo.
In the late 1960s, the guitars were provided with in "spaghetti-style"
metal logo on the head stock.

In 1970 they focus more on producing cheaper but comparable models of the great USA brands like Gibson, Fender and Rickenbacker. This was called the "Pre-Lawsuit era".
Despite their cheaper production, the replicas of Ibanez have a high quality and are therefore a strong competitor for the USA brands.

In the 1980s own designs were introduced such as the, Performer, Musician and Iceman Models. This period is also called "Golden Years of Ibanez". Many of the guitars from that period are popular objects for collectors.

For over 50 years the guitar building company Fujigen has been a partner of Hoshino, they built the Ibanez electric guitars.
Ibanez guitars have also been produced in South Korea since the early 1990s. The EX series produced there appeared in 1991.
EX = "Experimental". Because the quality of the Korean guitars is just as good as the Japanese, they made since 1994 also other Ibanez models here. These days Ibanez guitars also made in China.

Just like 100 years ago, Hoshino Gakki still has its headquarters in Nagoya. The research and development department is also located here.

From the first successful copies of their own models from the 1970s and 1980s to today, Ibanez has been a solid and indispensable big name in the music industry.


Headquarter Hoshino, Nagoya

Serial numbers

The Ibanez serial numbers generally consist of a string of letters and numbers, but in some cases only numerically.
Unfortunately, Ibanez does not use a uniform format for their serial numbers. The guitar production is outsourced to different companies in various countries where the numbering schemes are different in each factory.

You usually find the serial number on the back of the headstock on a sticker or stamped on the headstock itself, or on the metal cover plate between the neck and the body. At acoustic guitars you will find the serial number stamped or written on the label in the hollow body, or stamped on the neck block inside the guitar.
The information about the Ibanez serial numbers has been obtained on the basis of data from among other Ibanez Ibanez Guitar Wiki.

(The serial numbers used here as examples are fictional)


Manufacture Japan

1975–1986 Letter (A–L) + 6 digits
Example: H770544
The letter represent the month of manufacture (A=January B=February... L=December)
The first 2 digits represent the year (77=1977)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (0544)
Serial number H770544 is therefore the 544th guitar built in August 1977.

Most Ibanez models with this serial number format are made by FujiGen Gakki and Terada. Exceptions are the Ibanez Blazer models, made by
Dyna Gakki and the Axstar Ibanez models (AX40, AX45, AX48, AXB50, AXB60, AXB65, AX70 and AX75), made by Chushin Gakki.

FujiGen Gakki, Nagano

factory FujiGen Gakki, Nagano


1987–1996 Letter + 6 digits
Example: F534157
The letter indicates in which factory in Japan the guitar was manufactured. During this period, three different companies were produced.
F = FujiGen Gakki in Nagano (1987–1996).
I = Iida Gakki in Nagoya (1988–1992).
H or T = Terada Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. in Nagano (1988–1996).
It is claimed that the H is the initial of the first name of the at that time director of the company, Haruo Terada.
The first digit shows the last digit of the year. (7=1987 to 6=1996)
The last 5 digits is the production number which is increased by 5000 each month. Starting in January with 00001.
Serial number F534157 here is the 4157th guitar of 1995, built by FujiGen
Gakki in July 1995.

The production month can be derived from the table below.
Number PRODUCTION MONTH
00001–05000 January
05001-10000 February
10001-15000 March
15001-20000 April
20001-25000 May
25001-30000 June
30001-35000 July
35001-40000 August
40001-45000 September
45001-50000 October
50001-55000 November
55001-60000 December
It is not entirely clear whether this method of numbering was also strictly enforced. That means that each month starts with the number prescribed above, or that these are estimates.
Ibanez uses this number series to determine the production date for warranty claims.

There is some confusion about FujiGen serial numbers from 1987.
Models produced up to and including 1988 have serial numbers starting with "F7", which normally have to indicate production in 1987. It seems that FujiGen or Ibanez had a surplus of these "F7" number stickers, but they just continued to use it until 1988.
You might make a reasonable estimate of whether a model with an F7 serial number was actually produced in 1987 or 1988 based on the production sequence (the last five digits of the serial number).
For each production series above 45000 it can be assumed that they are models from 1988.
In fact, very few (if they exist) serial numbers starting with F8 are observed.

1997-October 2004 Letter + 7 digits
Example: F9824232
The letter F indicates that the guitar was produced by FujiGen Gakki in Nagano.
The first 2 digits represent the year (98=1998)
The last 5 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (24232)
The production month can be derived from the table (see 1987-1996 above).
Serial number F9824232 is the 24232e guitar of 1998, built by FujiGen Gakki in May 1998.
For this period, too, it is not entirely clear whether this method of numbering was strictly enforced.

1998–2019 Letter + 6 cijfers
Example: T990544
The letter T indicates that the guitar was produced by Terada Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. in Nagano.
The first 2 digits represent the year (99=1999)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that year. (0544)
Serial number T990544 here is the 544th guitar built by Terada Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. in 1999.

November 2004–2019 Letter + 7 digits
Example: F1627642
The letter F indicates that the guitar was produced by FujiGen Gakki in Nagano.
The first 2 digits represent the year (16=2016)
The last 5 digits is the production number which is increased by 3000 each month. Starting in November with 00001.
Serial number F1627642 here is the 27642e guitar built by FujiGen Gakki in August 2016.

The production month can be derived from the table below.
Number PRODUCTION MONTH
00001–02999 November
03000-05999 December
06000-08999 January
09000-11999 February
12000-14999 March
15000-17999 April
18000-20999 May
21000-23999 June
24000-26999 July
27000-29999 August
30000-32999 September
33000- ++++ October
From November 2004, the serial number does not represent the year in which the instrument was produced, but rather the model year of which the instrument is part.
Again, it is not entirely clear whether this method of numbering is also strictly enforced.

2005–2019 Letter + 5 digits
Example: C06156
The letter represent the month of manufacture (A=January B=February... L=December)
The first 2 digits represent the year (06=2006)
The third digit indicates the model: 2=PGMFRM1, 5=UV77RE.
With other ditgits it is not clear which model it is or are unknown.
The last 2 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (56)
Serial number C06156 is the 56th guitar of the model PGMFRM1, built in March 2006.

There is some confusion with some of the other schemes mentioned here in connection with the initial letters F and I, but this format is
the only one with only six characters.
It is assumed that all models manufactured in Japan with this serial number format are manufactured by Sugi Musical Instruments Ltd.

2016–2019 2 letters + 6 digits
Example: IG161156
IG = indicates, produced in the Ibanez Guitar Development Center
Ibanez Guitar Development Center (IGDC) is a facility that carries out research and development for Ibanez guitars.
The first 2 digits represent the year (16=2016)
The next 2 digits are for the month (11=November)
The last 2 digits are the consecutive production number for that year. (56)
These serial numbers are handwritten on the back of the headstock.
Serial number IG161156 is the 56th guitar built in November 2016
at the Ibanez Guitar Development Center.

Manufacture Korea

From 1987 through 2008, Ibanez manufactured guitars in Korea.

1987–1995 Letter + 6 digits
Example: P315821
The letter indicates in which factory in Korea the guitar was manufactured.
A = Saein Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. in Incheon.
Y = Yoojin Industrial Co. Ltd. in Yangju, (acoestic) or Guangju (elektric).
C = Cort Guitars in Incheon (1987–2007) or Daejeon (1991–2007).
P = Peerless Korea Co. Ltd. in Pusan (1987–1988).
The first digit shows the last digit of the year. (7=1987 through 5=1995)
The last digits are the consecutive production number for that year.
Serial number P315821 is the 15821st guitar built in 1993, by Peerless Korea Co. Ltd. in Pusan.

1987–1995 Letter + 7 digits
Example: E1020456
The letter E indicates that the guitar is produced by Sung-Eum Music Co. Ltd. in Yangju.
The first digit shows the last digit of the year. (7=1987 through 5=1995)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (0456)
Serial number E1023456 is the 456th guitar built in February 1991,
by Sung-Eum Music Co. Ltd. in Yangju.

1990–1995 Letter + 7 digits
Example: S4111076
The letter E indicates that the guitar is produced by Samick Musical Instruments Co. Ltd. in Incheon.
The first digit shows the last digit of the year. (0=1990 through 5=1995)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (1076)
Serial number S4111076 is the 1076th guitar built in November 1994,
by Samick Musical Instruments Co. Ltd. in Incheon.

1995–1999 1 or 2 letters + 8 digits
Example: SQ6051234
The letter(s) indicates in which factory the guitar was manufactured.
A = Saein Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. in Incheon.
C = Cort Guitars in Incheon in Incheon or Daejeon.
S = Samick Musical Instruments Co. Ltd. in Incheon
SQ = Saehan Guitar Technology.
Y = Yoojin Industrial Co. Ltd. in Yangju, (acoestic) or Guangju (elektric).
The first digit shows the last digit of the year. (5=1995)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (1234)
Serial number SQ6051234 is the 1234th guitar built in may 1996, by Saehan Guitar Technology.


Manufacture Korea (continuation)

1997–2008
Some Korean Ibanez serial numbers only consist of 7, 8 or 10 digits.
These guitars were produced at the Cort factory in Incheon.
(for an 8 or 10 digit serial number this is not entirely certain)

Because they had no date stamps at the start of the production, the serial numbers of the Artstar models were hand written. These handwritten serial numbers are difficult to read and decipher.
In 2003 the production of these Artstar models was discontinued.

1997–2008 7 digits
Example: 8071234
The first digit shows the last digit of the year.
(7=1997 en met 8=2008)
In the case of a 7 or an 8, you must have a general timetable for the correct year can determine, because this can be either 1997/1998 or 2007/2008.
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (1234)
Serial number 8071234 is the 1234th gitaar of 1998 or 2008, built in July. Made by Cort Guitars in Incheon or Daejeon.

1997–2008 8 digits
Example: 99004321
The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (99=1999)
The next 6 digits are the consecutive production number of that
year. (004321)
Serial number 99004321 is the 4321th guitar of 1999, (probably) built by Cort Guitars in Incheon.

1997–2008 10 digits
Example: 0112004524
The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (01=2001)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The next 6 digits are the consecutive production number of that month. (004524)
Serial number 0112004524 is the 4524e guitar of 2001, built in December. Made (probably) by Cort Guitars in Incheon.

1999–2008 Letter(W) + 6 digits or Letter(W) + letter + 5 digits
Example: W962827
The letter W stands for produced by World Musical Instrument Co. in Incheon.
The 2nd digit or letter indicates the production month. (1=January...9=September, X=October, Y=November and Z=December)
The third digit indicates the last digit the production year. (9=1999 through 8=2008)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (2827)
Serial number W962827 is the 2827th guitar of September 2006, built by World Musical Instrument Co. in Incheon.

2000–2008 Letter + 8 digits or Letter + letter + 8 digits
Example: A01042941
The letter(s) indicates in which factory the guitar was manufactured.
A = Saein Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. in Incheon.
C = Cort Guitars in Incheon in Incheon of Daejeon.
S or SQ = Saehan Guitar Technology.
Y = Yoojin Industrial Co. Ltd. in Yangju, (acoestic) or Guangju (elektric).
CP it is unclear where the guitar is built.

It is speculated that CP stands for Cort Plant or an indication that these models are made by a joint venture between Cort and Peerless, or perhaps production indicates in Cort's Indonesian factory known
as Cort PT. Tis last seems very unlikely since the instruments are marked as "Made in Korea".
The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (01=2001)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (2941)
Serial number A01042941 is the 2941th guitar of April 2001, built by Saein Musical Instrument Co. Ltd., Incheon, Korea.

1999–2008 Letters(KR) + 9 digits
Example: KR050612345
It is not known where the letters KR stand for and by whom this instrument is made.
The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (05=2005)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 5 digits are the consecutive production number for that month (or year?).. (12345)
Serial number KR050612345 is the 12345th guitar of 2005, built in June. Unknown where it was made.


Manufacture Indonesia

2001–2019 Letter + 9 digits
Example: K160600221
The letter indicates in which factory the guitar was manufactured.
I = Cort Guitars (known as Cor-Tek factory in Indonesia)
K = Kwo Hsiao Co., Ltd.
J = Sejung
The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (16=2016)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 5 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (00221)
Serial number K160600221 is the 221th gitaar of June 2016, built by Kwo Hsiao Co., Ltd.

(2004–2007) Letter + Letter + 9 digits
Example: PR051112345
With prefix PR The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (05=2005)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 5 digits are the consecutive production number for that year. (12345)
Serial number PR051112345 is the 12345th guitar of 2005, built in November. Unknown where it was made.

(2007–2009) Letter + 7 digits
Example: I7100262
The letter I stands for produced by Cort Guitars (known as Cor-Tek factory in Indonesia)
The first digit represent the latest digit of the year. (7=2007) The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (00262)
Serial number I7100262 is the 262th guitar of October 2007, built by Cor-Tek, Indonesia.

(2010/November-2011) 5 digits + Letter
The Premium Line is a quality label that Ibanez uses for electric guitars made in Indonesia, with more attention to detail than the standard models.
They were introduced in 2011, produced by Hoshino Gakki and
sold under the Ibanez brand.
Production with this serial number runs from November 2010 to December 2011.
The production month can not be derived from this sequence.
Example: 10701B
The first 5 digits is the consecutive production number for the production of the year. (10701)
The letter stands for the year. (A=2010 B=2011)
Serial number 10701B is the 10701th guitar of 2011, from the Premium Line. Unknown where it was manufactured.

(November/2011-2015) Letter + 4 digits + Letter
Example: J0321D
The first letter represents the month of production. (A=JanuarY...L=December)
The 4 following digits are the successive production number for
the production that month. (0321)
The last letter represents the year. (B=2011...F=2015)
Serial number J0321D is the 321th guitar of October 2013, from
the Premium Line. Unknown where it was manufactured.


Manufacture China

(1999-2006) Letter Z + 6 digits or Letter Z + Letter + 5 digits
Example: Z190234
The letter Z stands for produced by Yeou Chern Enterprises Instrument Co. Ltd. in Guangdong.
The 2nd digit or letter indicates the production month. (1=January... 9=September, X=October, Y=November and Z=December)
The third digit indicates the last digit the production year. (9=1999 through 8=2008)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (0234)
Serial number Z190234 is the 234th guitar of January 1999, built by Yeou Chern Enterprises Instrument Co. Ltd. in Guangdong.

2002–2019 Letter S + 8 digits
Example: S05030941
The letter S stands for produced by ??? [not known]
The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (05=2005)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (0941)
Serial number S05030941 is the 941th guitar of March 2005.
The factory and location in China is unclear here.

2004–2012 Letter J + 9 digits
Example: J111214321
The letter S stands for produced by ??? [Possibly by Sejung Musical Instrument Manufacturing in Qingdao]
The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (11=2011)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 5 digits are the consecutive production number for that year. (14321)
Serial number J111214321 is the 14321e guitar of 2011.
Probably made by Sejung Musical Instrument Manufacturing in Qingdao.

2005–2019 Letter A + 8 digits
Example: A15060177
The letter A stands for produced by ??? [not known]
The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (15=2015)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (0177)
Serial number A15060177 is the 177th guitar of June 2015.
The factory and location in China is unclear here.

2007–2019 Letters GS + 9 digits
Example: GS090301145
It is not entirely clear where the letters GS stand for.
Some speculate that it is merely indicates that it concerns guitars from the GIO series.
The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (09=2009)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 5 digits are the consecutive production number for that year. (01145)
Serial number GS090301145 is the 1145th guitar of 2009, built in March.
The factory and location in China is unclear here.

2010–2019 Letters SS + 8 ditgits
Example: SS11020221
The letter SS stands for produced by ??? [not known]
The first 2 digits represent the latest digits of the year. (15=2015)
The next 2 digits indicate the month (01=January...12=December)
The last 4 digits are the consecutive production number for that month. (0221)
Serial number SS11020221 is the 221th guitar of February 2011.
The factory and location in China is unclear here.

20??–20?? Ditgit 4 Letter L + 9 digitss
It is unclear in which exact period this serial number dating was used.
It is also not entirely clear where the number with the letter 4L stands for.
Example: 4L080500889
The first 2 digits after 4L represent the last digits of the year. (08=2008)
The next 2 digits indicate the production month (01=January... 12=December)
The last 5 digits are the consecutive production number for that year or for the month. (00889)
Serial number 4L080500889 could be the 889th guitar of May 2008. The factory and location in China is not known.

From c. 2005 to 2019, some Chinese Ibanez guitars only have a 9 digit serial number. It is unclear which supplier or factory has manufactured these models. From this consecutive production number no date of construction and location can be derived either.