Serial numbers Yamaha guitars decoder - GuitarInsite (2022)

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:

LETTERYEARMONTH
H 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011H Januari
I 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002, 2012I Februari
J 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003, 2013J March
K 1964, 1974, 1984, 1994, 2004, 2014K April
L 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005, 2015L May
M 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006, 2016M June
N 1967, 1977, 1987, 1997, 2007, 2017N Juli
O 1968, 1978, 1988, 1998, 2008, 2018O August
P 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009, 2019P September
Q 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010,
2020
X October
Y November
Z December
As you can see in the table, the letter of the year is repeated every decade.
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 123th 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.

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Example KN712J belongs to the 12th guitar produced in July 1994.
KN712J is the 12th guitar 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.

From 2004 to 2022 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.
QNK026C is the 26th guitar built in April, 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 2022 they uses a system with 3 letters, 3 digits, 1 letter.
The first 2 letters represent the year. The third letter represents
the month andthe 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 1971-2001The 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)

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YEAR AND MONTH 3 LETTER CODING SYSTEM
LETTERYEARMONTH
H

1

H January
I

2

I February
J

3

J March
K

4

K April
L

5

L May
M

6

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M June
N

7

N July
O

8

O August
P

9

P September
QX October
Y November
Z December

For example: QNJ220071
The sample serial number is the 71th built guitar on March 22, 2007.

Serial numbers Yamaha guitars decoder - GuitarInsite (1) Around 1971 Yamaha moved the production of acoustic guitars from Japan to Taiwan.Parts and materials from the factory in Japan were also shipped to the new factory.The first Taiwanese productions had both Japanese-made parts and new Taiwan-made ones.
Sometimes it can happen that you find two different serial numbers inside the body.1 inside the body under the sound hole and 1 on the neck block.
The number above the neck block is Taiwanese and valid serial number for the guitar.The neck block is a part that was already made in Japan, so this is

not

the correct serial number for the guitar.

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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 2022 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.

The older models have a number on the back of the pickup. This is the production date.
Serial numbers Yamaha guitars decoder - GuitarInsite (3)
However, this date is based on the Japanese Showa calendar, which spans from 1926 to 1989. 25 years must be added to the year on the pickup to determine the date according to the Gregorian calendar.
An addition of 88 years applies for the Heisei period (1989-2019).

What applies to potentiometers also applies to the pickups.
These were made before the guitar. For the year of construction of
the guitar, approximately half a year must be added.

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FAQs

How do you read a Yamaha guitar serial number? ›

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). 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.

How do I know what Yamaha guitar I have? ›

The first step is to find the serial number-a combination of letters and/or numbers- and the "Made in..." label (Japan, Taiwan, or Indonesia) on the guitar. You should be able to find these near the soundhole label or the stamp inside the guitar.

Can you look up guitars by serial number? ›

You can look up a serial number either in Gruhn's Guide or run the number in the manufacturer's database. The serial number itself will give you date information and the database will have a description of the guitar so you can check the specs of the guitar in question.

What does a guitar serial number mean? ›

10-Digit Serial Numbers

Our current 10-digit serial numbering format that started in November of 2009 identifies where the guitar was built, the start date, and the assigned number of the guitar on that day's production schedule.

How do I find out what year my guitar was made? ›

Look for a date marker on the neck.

There should be a date on the neck and a date on the body. If those two dates match up, that's probably the exact date your guitar was built.

How do I know if my Yamaha guitar is original? ›

One aspect of that consistency is that every single genuine Yamaha instrument will have a serial number, with which one could trace the instrument's origins. If it's missing by design, the instrument is not genuine.

How can I tell how old my acoustic guitar is? ›

For US instruments, the serial number will start with a letter. That letter indicates the decade. The second character will usually be a number. That number indicates the specific year.

How do I find my Yamaha serial number? ›

The serial number on YAMAHA GRAND PIANOS is stamped on the gold colored plate located inside the piano as illustrated in the grand piano picture. The serial number on YAMAHA VERTICAL PIANOS is stamped on the gold colored plate on the inside of the piano as illustrated in the vertical piano picture.

When did Yamaha start making guitars in Taiwan? ›

These Taiwan-made instruments were introduced in 1987. RGX Series guitars often have 24 or more frets and a bolt-on neck. Some high-end models use a neck-through-body design.

Can I look up a product by serial number? ›

Using the Serial Number

Once you have your product's serial number in hand, you can often use it to see if the product is covered by a warranty or extended service plan, if the product has been recalled and to see other information about the product.

How much does it cost to get a guitar appraised? ›

Expect to pay between $50 to $275 for an instrument appraisal (or more for extremely rare or expensive instruments). So if you think a guitar is only worth $300, that $250 appraisal might not be a great idea.

What makes a guitar vintage? ›

A vintage guitar is an older guitar usually sought after and maintained by avid collectors or musicians. The term may indicate either that an instrument is merely old, or that is sought after for its tonal quality, cosmetic appearance, or historical significance.

How do you read B.C. Rich serial numbers? ›

All B.C. Rich models, both imported and USA handmades implement this same year time date stamp and guitar production number format:
  1. 121XXXXX first digit = year of manufacture.
  2. Second digit = means nothing until double-digit years get here again.
  3. Third digit = quarter of manufacture.
  4. Digits 4 thru 8 = production number.

Where is vintage guitar made? ›

Vintage® guitars are designed in the UK and built to exacting standards using only the best quality hardware, pickups and tone woods. The Vintage design team's relentless quest for innovation, authentic tone, outstanding playability and great looking instruments delivers true working musicians tool's.

What does BC stand for in B.C. Rich? ›

B.C. Rich is an American brand of acoustic and electric guitars and bass guitars founded by Bernardo Chavez Rico in 1969.

How old is the guitar? ›

The guitar is an ancient and noble instrument, whose history can be traced back over 4000 years. Many theories have been advanced about the instrument's ancestry. It has often been claimed that the guitar is a development of the lute, or even of the ancient Greek kithara.

How do you tune your guitar? ›

How to Tune Your Guitar For Beginners - YouTube

How do you read ESP LTD serial numbers? ›

It consists of 1 or 2 letters followed by 7 digits. The letter (s) indicate the location of manufacture. The first 2 digits are the year, the next 2 digits are the week number, the 5th digit is the day of the week and the last 2 digits is the production number.

How do I identify my guitar? ›

Guitar builders affix their guitars with names so people know what they are playing. The most common place to find identification is on the headstock or on a label inside of the guitar, if applicable. If there is nothing on your guitar in question, chances are the original label or logo has fallen off.

When did Yamaha start making guitars? ›

Yamaha's first electric guitars officially launched in April 1966 under the names S302 and S201, which were changed one month later to SG-3 and SG-2.

How do I check my fender serial number? ›

Where to Find the Serial Number on Your Fender Guitar?
  1. At the top of the neck plate.
  2. On the front or at the back of the headstock.
  3. On the cover plate of the vibrato (on Stratocasters)
  4. On the back of the vibrato cover plate (on early '50s Stratocasters)
  5. At the end of the heel of the neck.
23 Mar 2021

How can you tell the difference between an acoustic and classical guitar? ›

Shape. Acoustic and Classical guitars are shaped differently. Acoustic guitars are usually built with a dreadnought shape which is larger than that of a Classical instrument. It is rare to have cutaways giving you access to the higher frets on Classical guitars.

How do you date a Martin guitar by serial number? ›

The number in the left-side column is the year, and the number following the year is the last serial number used in that given year. Serial number 8349 for example, would be the first guitar built in 1899.

What do the numbers on Martin guitars mean? ›

The number after the letter designates the ornamentation or series styling. The higher that number, the fancier the guitar. We don't go higher than 50. Our eleven ornamentation styles run:; 1–;15–;16–;17–;18–;28–;35–;40–;41–;42–;45.

What year is U3? ›

The Yamaha U3M dates from around 1980 to around 1982 or 1983. The Yamaha U3A is very similar to the Yamaha U3M but can sometimes slightly bigger, fuller sound.

Where is Yamaha U1 made? ›

Designed for the experienced pianist and professional musician, Yamaha U1 upright pianos are made in Japan and feature outstanding tone, touch and durability.

Where is Yamaha GC1 made? ›

Where is the Yamaha GC1 made? The GC1 is made in Hamamatsu, Japan which is Yamaha's premier facility where they make many of their very best pianos such as the CFX concert grand piano and the famous Yamaha U3 uprights and other similar high-end uprights.

Where are Yamaha Guitars made in? ›

With acoustics, Yamaha has 2 places where the majority of guitars are manufactured. Indonesia and China. Also, some of the acoustic- and classical guitars, Red Label-series for example are still made in Japan.

What can a serial number tell you? ›

A serial number (SN) is a number assigned to each individual product in order to distinguish that product from all others. The serial number is sometimes used only for warranty control and sometimes used for both warranty control and for version control.

How do you read a serial number? ›

The 1st three numbers of your serial number will always provide your manufacture date. The 1st number is the YEAR of manufacture; the 2nd & 3rd numbers indicate the MONTH of manufacture.

What is serial number example? ›

For example, the serial number 1234567 has seven digits, and begins with a one. For a lottery bond the serial number is an added incentive for the purchaser to buy the bond. On the right is a serial number string of up to four digits, with a separating horizontal line in the middle.

How do I know if my guitar is worth money? ›

A quick Google or Ebay search of your make and model will show you what others are selling guitars like yours for. You can also consult the Blue Book of Guitar Values to see what it is worth. Another great resource is Vintage Guitar Magazine's Price Guide, which is regularly updated and available at Amazon.

How much are guitars worth? ›

Beginners usually spend between $100 and $500. More serious guitarists who have a high budget can spend anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000.

What is an instrument appraisal? ›

An appraisal states our opinion about an instrument. Verbal appraisals are an informal spoken assessment of the origins and current market value of an instrument. They are useful if you do not want to insure your instrument but want to know about its origins and an idea of its worth.

How old does a guitar have to be to be considered a classic? ›

While an antique is defined as an object over 100 years old, there's no strict chronological definition of what makes something vintage. Typically, though, guitars around 30 years old or older fall into that category, and even newer instruments will often be labeled as such by sellers.

How many years until a guitar is vintage? ›

In general terms, any instrument older than 30 years is considered vintage. However, the consensus among players is that the vintage status should be granted only to guitars built before 1980. The “antique” tag is reserved for instruments older than 100 years, which for now only applies to acoustic guitars.

Do guitars improve with age? ›

Older guitars often sound better than newer ones as they dry out over time which causes them to become harder leading to a more resonant tone with better sustain. The increase in age affects the tone more in acoustic guitars than electric ones.

What is the B.C. Rich NJ Series? ›

The NJ Retro's feature a maple neck-through-body with mahogany wings in either a Ferrari Red or Cherry Sunburst pearl finish. The 24 5/8” scale neck features a glossed modern “C” shape, 12” radius rosewood fretboard, jumbo frets, and BCR diamond white pearl inlays.

What is a BC Rich Warlock worth? ›

B.C. Rich Warlock guitars have a wide price range. The basic MK1 starts between $200 and $300. A 7-string version costs around $300 to $350. The high-end B.C. Rich Warlock Mk11 starts around $1,000 and $1,500 depending on the version and vendor.

Are BC Rich Guitars made in USA? ›

All 2019 (and forward) B.C. Rich guitars are featuring innovative upgrades and are factory optimized for speed and playability. All B.C. Rich models have the latest electronics, USA made pickups and the best available hardware money can buy.

What is the best brand of guitars? ›

To sum it all up, the best guitar brands are Ibanez, Fender, and Gibson. The best overall option would be the Ibanez JSM100, based on its overall quality and versatility. The Fender Telecaster is our number one Fender recommendation, while from the Gibson range we would single out the ES-175.

What is Lignum Rosa Wood? ›

Lignum Rosa is plain old latin for rosewood, which of course it isn't. It some kind of thermally treated wood, possibly maple or poplar.

Who makes the vintage electric guitars? ›

Who makes vintage electric guitars? Well-known guitar makers include Gibson, Les Paul, who worked closely with Gibson, and Fender. These two brands have been around for a very long time, and many vintage finds come from these two companies. When people think of guitars, they often think of Gibson, Les Paul, or Fender.

What does NJ mean on a B.C. Rich guitar? ›

Although Rico had begun producing import guitars in Japan as early as 1978 under the "B.C. Rico" name, these were predominantly acoustics until the early 1980s. Eventually they were rebranded as the B.C. Rich NJ series in 1983 (with the “NJ” standing for “Nagoya, Japan”).

Are BC Rich guitars still made? ›

All guitars from 2019 (to forever) will be neckthroughs (we are BC Rich after all) with updated/optimized electronics and the best available brand name components. Some of the legacy models (yes IronBirds and Stealth too) are back in production, while we have some new models we can't wait to share.

Who owns B.C. Rich now? ›

The brand was heading down between 2015 and 2019…. Three associates decided to buy the brand in 2019, including Bill Xavier, new president and CEO of BC Rich guitars. Bill seems to be a guitar player and an early and hardcore fan of BC Rich….

How can I tell how old my acoustic guitar is? ›

For US instruments, the serial number will start with a letter. That letter indicates the decade. The second character will usually be a number. That number indicates the specific year.

How do I find my Yamaha serial number? ›

The serial number on YAMAHA GRAND PIANOS is stamped on the gold colored plate located inside the piano as illustrated in the grand piano picture. The serial number on YAMAHA VERTICAL PIANOS is stamped on the gold colored plate on the inside of the piano as illustrated in the vertical piano picture.

When did Yamaha start making guitars in Taiwan? ›

These Taiwan-made instruments were introduced in 1987. RGX Series guitars often have 24 or more frets and a bolt-on neck. Some high-end models use a neck-through-body design.

When did Yamaha start making guitars? ›

Yamaha's first electric guitars officially launched in April 1966 under the names S302 and S201, which were changed one month later to SG-3 and SG-2.

How much does it cost to get a guitar appraised? ›

Expect to pay between $50 to $275 for an instrument appraisal (or more for extremely rare or expensive instruments). So if you think a guitar is only worth $300, that $250 appraisal might not be a great idea.

How can you tell the difference between an acoustic and classical guitar? ›

Shape. Acoustic and Classical guitars are shaped differently. Acoustic guitars are usually built with a dreadnought shape which is larger than that of a Classical instrument. It is rare to have cutaways giving you access to the higher frets on Classical guitars.

What makes a guitar vintage? ›

A vintage guitar is an older guitar usually sought after and maintained by avid collectors or musicians. The term may indicate either that an instrument is merely old, or that is sought after for its tonal quality, cosmetic appearance, or historical significance.

What year is U3? ›

The Yamaha U3M dates from around 1980 to around 1982 or 1983. The Yamaha U3A is very similar to the Yamaha U3M but can sometimes slightly bigger, fuller sound.

Where is Yamaha U1 made? ›

Designed for the experienced pianist and professional musician, Yamaha U1 upright pianos are made in Japan and feature outstanding tone, touch and durability.

Where is Yamaha GC1 made? ›

Where is the Yamaha GC1 made? The GC1 is made in Hamamatsu, Japan which is Yamaha's premier facility where they make many of their very best pianos such as the CFX concert grand piano and the famous Yamaha U3 uprights and other similar high-end uprights.

Where are Yamaha Guitars made in? ›

With acoustics, Yamaha has 2 places where the majority of guitars are manufactured. Indonesia and China. Also, some of the acoustic- and classical guitars, Red Label-series for example are still made in Japan.

Which Yamaha models are made in Japan? ›

In the current product line, only the Handcrafted instruments which have a 26 or 36 in the model # are made in Japan.

Are Yamaha guitars made in China? ›

Hangzhou Yamaha Musical Instruments Company Ltd. has a state-of-the-art facility in China where 1,500 employees, trained by a Japanese master craftsman, produce 500,000 Yamaha acoustic guitars each year.

Who owns Yamaha guitars? ›

Established in 1960 as Yamaha International Corporation, Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) offers a large assortment of high-quality musical instruments and audio products to U.S. customers. YCA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yamaha Corporation, Japan, and is one of the world's largest global subsidiary companies.

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