DATING YAMAHA GUITARS BY REFERENCE OF SERIAL NUMBERS

Yamaha maintains a messy serial number system whose coding often occurs complicated and illogical. What makes it even more difficult is that a large part of the serial numbers repeat themselves every decade.

Where to find the serial number
On electric guitars, the serial number is generally stamped or punched on the headstock. With acoustic guitars, the serial number is usually written somewhere in the sound cavity of the guitar.

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

Yamaha serial number date decoder










The serial number coding systems below only apply to the Yamaha electric guitars.
Since 2000, the letter system for year and month is applied at all Yamaha plant locations.
The table YEAR AND MONTH CODING SYSTEM explains the meaning of the letters.

YEAR AND MONTH CODING SYSTEM:
LETTER       YEARMONTH
 H        1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011 H    Januari
  I        1962, 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002, 2012  I    Februari
 J        1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003, 2013 J    March
 K        1964, 1974, 1984, 1994, 2004, 2014 K    April
 L        1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005, 2015 L    May
 M       1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006, 2016 M   June
 N        1967, 1977, 1987, 1997, 2007, 2017 N    Juli
 O        1968, 1978, 1988, 1998, 2008, 2018 O    August
 P        1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009, 2019 P    September
 Q        1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 X    October
 Y    November
 Z    December

Production Tenryu/Wada Factory, Japan

From 1946 to 1968 a 5-digit sequential system is used. However, there is no indication of the year of production in this system.

A nice and simple 6-digit system is used in the period from 1969 to1984.
The first two numbers represent the year.
The next two digits represent the month and the last two digits represent the number of the unit (serial number).
For example: 800629
The 29th guitar that was built in June 1980.

In the short period of 1985-1986 a 6-digit serial number has been used but the month is not displayed.
The first 2 numbers are the year.
The last 4 digits are the number of the unit (serial number).
For example: 860123
This stands for the 123st guitar built in 1986.


Production Custom Shop, Japan

In the 1966-1985 period, successive serial numbers from 001 to 1042 were used.
To find the production year, you have to make a rough estimate
The closer to 001 it is closer to 1966 and the closer to 1042, the closer to 1985.

From 1986-1990 the serial numbers have 1 letter followed by 4 digits.
The letter represents the month and follows the same system for months as the most common system.
(see year and month coding system)
The first number stands for the year.
The last 3 digits represent the number of the unit (serial number).
For example: K8123
This would be a guitar built in April 1988 and the 12th guitar of that day made in the custom shop.
The K is April according to the coding system and the year must be 1987, since this system was only used between 1986 and 1990.

In the period of 1991-1996 one used a 2 letter, 3 digit, then 1 letter system.
The first letter is the year and follows the same coding system.
The second letter is the month and also follows the same coding system.
The 3 numbers represent the unit number, but in this case the unit numbers started with 701 for unclear reasons. So the first unit of the day was not 001, but 701.
The last letter is an unknown internal factory code.
For example: KN712J
The above example serial number belongs to a guitar that was the 12th guitar that was built in July 1994.

In the period of 1997-2003 the same method was applied as for 1991 to 1996 with 2 differences.
There is no more internal factory code at the end, and the unit numbers start at 001 instead of at 701.
For example: HL032
The sample serial number here represents the 32nd guitar built in May 2001.

Production Custom Shop, Japan (continuation)

From 2004 to present a 3 letter, 3 number, 1 letter system is used.
The first 2 letters represent the year in this case. So you get the decade here.
The third letter represents the month according to the coding system.
The 3 digits represent the number of the unit. (serial number)
The last letter is an internal factory code.
For example: QNK026C
This guitar in the sample serial number was the 26th guitar built in April 2007.
The Q stands for a 0 and the N is a 7, which means 07 for 2007.


Production Yamaha Music Craft, Japan

For the period of 1997-1999 the same system is used as that for "Custom Shop 1991-1996" except that the unit number starts at 501 with the exception of 701.

From 1999-2000.
The first letter is the year. The second letter the month.
The 3 digits are the number of the unit.(serial number)
The unit number starts at 200.
For example: PX267
This was the 67th guitar made in October 1999.

From 2001 to present they uses a system with 3 letters, 3 digits, 1 letter.
The first 2 letters represent the year. The third letter represents the month and the 3 digits are the number of the unit.(serial number)
The last letter is an internal factory code
For example: QJH055B
This would be the 55th guitar that was built in January 2003.


Production Kaohsiung, Taiwan

An eight-number system is applied here from 1971-2001 The first digit represents the year. The second and third digits represent the month.
The fourth and fifth numbers represent the day of the month.
The last three digits are the number of the unit (serial number)
Because there is only one digit for the year, there are duplicates with this system because it repeats itself every decade.
For example: 60708077
This example serial number was the 77th guitar built on July 8 in 1976, 1986 or 1996.

At the end of 2001, Kaohsiung changed the 8-digit system into a 3-letter 6-number system.
The first 2 letters represent the year. The third letter represents the month.
The first 2 digits are the day of the month and the last 4 digits are the number of the unit.(serial number)
For example: QNJ220171
The sample serial number is the 171st built guitar on March 22, 2007.


Production YMMI (Yamaha Music Manufacturing Indonesia), Indonesia

In the period of 1990-1996 an eight-digit serial number was used in this factory.
The first digit is the year. The 2nd and 3rd digit are the month.
The 4th and 5th digits are the day of the month and the last 3 digits are the number of the unit.(Serial number)
For example: 40707142
This is the 142th guitar from this factory built on July 7, 1994.

From 1997-1999 the same system is applied here as for 1990-1996, except that there are now 9 digits. The last 4 (instead of 3) is the number of the unit.(Serial number)

In 2000 the system changes from 9 to 10 digits. The first 2 digits represents now the year, the rest is the same coding method.

From 2001 to present day YMMI changed its coding to a 3-letter, 6-number system in 2001.
The first 2 letters represent the year. The third letter represents the month.
The first 2 digits are the day of the month and the last 4 digits are the unit number.(serial number)
For example: HKP220234
This is the 234th guitar built on September 22, 2014.