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As of July 2011, the current thinking is that the first digit probably denotes the year, while the following numbers remain a mystery.This only pertains the pre-Fender Korean-made guitars.
When Fender took over production in January 2003 the serial number scheme changed again, and Fender-era serial numbers have a two-character originating factory code, followed by year and month, and finally a sequential ordering number.Serial numbers have six numbers, with a three digit suffix. The final numbers are the sequential order of the model made during the lifespan of the model (not that year).For example, 946119-976 would be a June 1994 Tennessee Rose, the 976th made.This sticker, along with the "Made in Korea" sticker, went missing almost immediately — sometimes before the guitar even left the store.In addition, these guitars followed no known numbering scheme.If you'd like to learn more about Gretsch serial numbers, we highly recommend Ed Ball's "Gretsch 6120: The History of a Legendary Guitar." Ball is one of the key researchers who have determined the actual dates, years and features Gretsch serial numbers correspond to.
Gretsch began date-coding serial numbers in August 1966.
The last four numbers are sequential for the given year (all models combined) and are broken into two categories as follows: So, JT05070014 would be made at the Terada factory in July 2005 and would be the 14th of something special that year (all special models combined).
Unlike the pre-Fender codes, specific models are no longer designated within the serial number.
Gretsch used several different serial number schemes through the years.
Each of them can be used to accurately pinpoint the age of a guitar, if you have the correct information.
For example, 27136 should be February (2), 1967 (7) and the 136th instrument made that month. (i.e., 1974 would be 4) Last 3 digits = number of the instrument.