Dating epiphone serial numbers
A couple of months ago, I received a call from a friend who runs a drum shop in Southern Illinois.He’d taken in a guitar on trade-a semi-hollow electric Epiphone was as much as he could tell me-and he needed help figuring out exactly what it was.Like Gibson numbers, there are 8 digits in the completenumber, and follows the code of YDDDYNNN. DDD indicates the day of the year (so DDD can't be above 365), and the NNN indicates the instrument's production ranking for that day (NNN = 021 = 21st guitar built).The Nashville facility begins eachday at number 501, and the Montana workshop begins at number 101.Always up for a good guitar mystery, I eagerly accepted his request for help, and as I waited for the guitar to arrive, I began to speculate on what it might be.Maybe it was an MIJ thinline, or even a 60s Casino, ala John Lennon. The guitar was delivered a few days later, and I ripped the box open like a kid on Christmas morning.I was looking at an Epiphone-branded, Gibson-made, USA-manufactured 335 with no serial number and no label, but with pickups that gave me the guitar’s production year.My conclusion was that the guitar must have been either a prototype, or maybe a personal build for someone who worked for Gibson at the time.
The pickups in question were stamped 329 682, which revealed that the production year was 1982.
In 1993, a structure was developed where the number (or pair of numbers) following the initialletter indicates the year of production (i.e.
"3" indicates 1993, or a"93" would indicate the same).
In 1977, Gibson first introduced the serialization methodthat is in practice today.
This updated system utilizes an impressed eightdigit numbering scheme that covers both serializing and dating functions.
The guitar looked and felt like it was USA-made, but I needed to examine it more closely.