Martin Guitar Serial Number

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Martin Serial Numbers

Identifying Martin Stringed Instruments

Martin guitar serial numbers will have between 4 and 7 serial numbers. The most common Martin serial numbers will have 6 digits due to an influx in manufacturing quantities in the 1960s and 1970s. Serial numbers are on the neck block inside the sound hole, on the back of the head-stock, or on the neck joint.

Martin began producing instruments in 1833. Prior to serial numbers, the different instruments were identified by the Martin brand which was stamped into the back of the headstock, the upper portion of the back or on the back binding strut visible through the soundhole (the eased blocking reinforcing the center joint between the 2 back pieces).

The original instruments had a paper label that read: “Martin and Coupa”

1833 to 1867The brand reads: “C.F. Martin New York”.
1867 to 1898The brand reads: “C.F. Martin & Co. New York”.
1898 onwardThe brand reads: “C.F. Martin & Co. Nazareth, Pa.”
1888 to 1898Paper label includes: “Charles A. Zoebisch & Sons” (Zoebisch was the sole distributor of Martin at the time).
1898Serial numbers begin at #8000
1929Model numbers were marked on the neck block, inside the body.

Some pre-1898 guitars have the date penciled on the top just inside the sound hole.

Before 1929, the model size and style designation was generally written on a paper label and glued inside the top of the instrument case.

1895Mandolins were introduced
1915Ukuleles, taropatches, tiples and Hawaiian guitars were introduced
1923Tenor banjos were introduced

After workers at the Nazareth factory had been employed for a period of years they were permitted to fashion an instrument for themselves at the plant. Many of these unique instruments pop-up today and don’t fit any clear category. Fortunately, they are often signed by the builder.

Ukuleles did not carry serial numbers but can be roughly identified and dated by the headstock:

1895 to 1932The Martin brand stamped on the back of the headstock.
1930 onwardThe Martin logo decal on the front of the headstock.
1895 to 1934Bar frets
1934 onwardStandard frets

Interestingly, the original order for Martin decals was placed in June of 1932. This implies that a number of ukuleles built in 1930 remained in the factory until being sold in 1932. It was, after all, the depression. This would also explain why the occasional pre-1932 Martin guitar appears with a decal.

Martin Serial Numbers: Guitars
YearLast Number
1898x8,348
1899x8,716
1900x9,128
1901x9,310
1902x9,528
1903x9,810
1904x9,988
190510,120
190610,329
190710,727
190810,883
190911,018
191011,203
191111,413
191211,565
191311,821
191412,047
191512,209
191612,390
191712,988
191813,450
191914,512
192015,848
192116,758
192217,839
192319,891
192422,008
192524,116
192628,689
192734,435
192837,568
192940,843
193045,317
193149,589
193252,590
193355,084
193458,679
193561,947
193665,176
193768,865
193871,866
193974,061
194076,734
194180,013
194283,107
194386,724
194490,149
194593,623
194698,158
1947103,468
1948108,269
1949112,961
1950117,961
1951122,799
1952128,436
1953134,501
1954141,345
1955147,328
1956152,775
1957159,061
1958165,576
1959171,047
1960175,869
1961181,297
1962187,384
1963193,327
1964199,626
1965207,030
1966217,215
1967230,095
1968241,925
1969256,003
1970271,633
1971294,270
1972313,302
1973333,873
1974353,387
1975371,828
1976388,800
1977399,625
1978407,800
1979419,900
1980430,300
1981436,474
1982439,627
1983446,101
1984453,300
1985460,575
1986468,175
1987476,216
1988483,952
1989493,279
1990503,309
1991512,487
1992522,655
1993535,223
1994551,796
1995570,434
1996592,930
1997624,799
1998668,796
1999724,077
2000780,500
2001845,644
2002916,759
2003978,706
20041,042,558
20051,115,862
20061,197,799
20071,268,091
20081,337,042
20091,406,715
Martin Serial Numbers: Mandolins
YearLast Number
1895x,x23
1896x,112
1897x,155
1898x,359
1899x,577
1900x,800
1901x,881
19021,171
19031,348
19041,507
19051,669
19062,026
19072,357
19082,510
19092,786
19103,098
19113,431
19123,847
19134,162
19144,462
19154,767
19165,007
19175,752
19186,370
19197,237
19208,761
19219,627
192210,196
192311,020
192411,809
192512,520
192613,359
192713,833
192814,170
192914,680
193014,892
193115,290
193215,476
193315,528
193415,729
193515,887
193616,156
193716,449
193816,580
193916,747
194016,957
194117,263
194217,405
1943none
1944none
1945none
194617,641
194718,303
194819,078
194919,559
195020,065
195120,521
195220,902
195321,452
195421,952
195522,254
195622,629
195722,985
195823,111
195923,262
196023,512
196123,663
196223,938
196324,139
196424,339
196524,439
196624,564
196724,639
196824,839
196924,989
197025,039
197125,065
197225,289
197325,339
197425,679
197525,895
197626,045*
197726,101
1978None
197926,112
198026156
198126,215
198226,225
198326,247
198426,254
198526,263
198626,273
198726,279
198826,281
198926,283
199026,291

* 259,996-260,020 could also be 1976

Martin Serial Numbers: Range & Production
YearSerial #-StartSerial #-End(Total production)
189880018349(347)
189983508716(367)
190087179128(411)
190191299310(181)
190293119528(217)
190395299810(281)
190498119988(177)
1905998910120(131)
19061012110329(208)
19071033010727(397)
19081072810883(155)
19091088411018(134)
19101101911203(184)
19111120411413(209)
19121141411565(151)
19131156611821(255)
19141182212047(225)
19151204812209(161)
19161221012390(180)
19171239112988(597)
19181298913450(461)
19191345114512(1061)
19201451315484(1335)
19211548516758(909)
19221675917839(1080)
19231784019891(2051)
19241989222008(2116)
19252200924116(2107)
19262411728689(4572)
19272869034435(5745)
19283443637568(3132)
19293756940843(3274)
19304084445317(4473)
19314531849589(4271)
19324959052590(3000)
19335259155084(2493)
19345508558679(3594)
19355868061947(3267)
19366194865176(3228)
19376517768865(3688)
19386886671866(3000)
19397186774061(2194)
19407406276734(2672)
19417673580013(3278)
19428001483107(3093)
19438310886724(3616)
19448672590149(3424)
19459015093623(3473)
19469362498158(4534)
194798159103468(5309)
1948103469108269(4800)
1949108270112961(4691)
1950112962117961(4999)
1951117962122799(4837)
1952122800128436(5636)
1953128437134501(6064)
1954134502141345(6843)
1955141346147328(5982)
1956147329152775(5446)
1957152776159061(6285)
1958159062165576(6514)
1959165577171047(5470)
1960171048175689(4641)
1961175690181297(5607)
1962181298187384(6086)
1963187385193327(5942)
1964193328199626(6298)
1965199627207030(7403)
1966207031217215(10184)
1967217216230095(12879)
1968230096241925(11829)
1969241926256003(14077)
1970256004271633(15629)
1971271634294270(22636)
1972294271313302(19031)
1973313303333873(20570)
1974333873353387(19513)
1975353388371828(18440)
1976371829388800(16971)
1977388801399625(10824)
1978399626407800(8174)
1979407801419900(12099)
1980419901430300(10399)
1981430301436474(6173)
1982436475439627(3152)
1983439628446101(6473)
1984446102453300(7198)
1985453301460575(7274)
1986460576468175(7599)
1987468176476216(8040)
1988476217483952(7735)
1989483953493279(9323)
1990493280503309(10032)
1991503310512487(9177)
1992512488522655(10167)
1993522656535223(12567)
1994535224551696(16472)
1995551697570434(18737)
1996570435592930(22495)
1997592931624799(31868)
1998624800668796(43996)
1999668797724077(55280)
2000724078780500(56422)
2001780501845644(65143)
2002845645916759(71115)
2003916760978706(61947)
20049787071042558(63852)
200510425591115862(79904)
200611158631197799(81937)

The serial numbers started with number 100 and go to 99999. We’ve found many exceptions to these numbers but they are an OK guideline to the approximate date of manufacture.

Gibson Serial Numbers: 1903-1947
YearLast Number
19031150
19041850
19052550
19063350
19074250
19085450
19096950
19108750
191110850
191213350
191316100
191420150
191525150
191632000
191739500
191847900
191953800
192062200
192169300
192271400
192374900
192480300
192582700
192683600
192785400
192887300
192989750
193090200
193190450
193290700
193391400
193492300
193592800
193694100
193795200
193895750
193996050
194096600
194197400
194297700
194397850
194498250
194598650
194699300
194799999

Labels that are white oval were used from 1902 to 1954. The oval label were then changed to orange. On instruments with round sound holes, the label is visible directly inside. On f-hole instruments, it is visible through the upper f-hole. The second type of serial numbers used started with an A prefix and ran from 1947 to 1961. The first number is A 100.

Gibson Serial Numbers: 1947-1961
YearLast Number
1947A 1305
1948A 2665
1949A 4410
1950A 6595
1951A 9420
1952A 12460
1953A 17435
1954A 18665
1955A 21910
1956A 24755
1957A 26820
1958A 28880
1959A 32285
1960A 35645
1961A 36150

In 1961 it changed again. The following are the approximate serial number ranges.

Gibson Serial Numbers: 1961-1968
YearSerial #-StartSerial #-End
196110042440
19624244161180
19636145064220
19646424070500
19627118096600
19639660199999
1967000001008010
1967010000042900
1967044000044100
1967050000054400
1967055000063999
1967064000066010
1967067000070910
1967090000099999
1963-67100000106099
1963106100108900
1963-67109000109999
1963110000111549
1963-67111550115799
1963115800118299
1963-67118300120999
1963121000139999
1963-67140000140100
1963140101144304
1964144305144380
1963144381145000
1963147009149864
1964149865149891
1963149892152989
1964152990174222
1964-65174223176643
1964176644199999
1964200000250335
1965250336291000
1965301755302100
1965302754305983
1965-67306000306100
1965-67307000307985
1965-67309848310999
1965311000320149
1967320150320699
1965320700321100
1965322000326600
1965328000328500
1965328700329179
1965-67329180330199
1965-67 1968330200332240
1965332241347090
1965348000348092
1966348093349100
1965349121368638
1966368640369890
1967370000370999
1966380000385309
1967390000390998
1965-67 1968400001400999
1966401000407985
1966408000408690
1966408800409250
1966420000426090
1966427000429180
1966430005438530
1966438800438925
1965-69500000500999
1965501010501600
1968501601501702
1965-68501703502706
1968503010503110
1965-68503405520955
1968520956530056
1966-69530061530850
1968-69530851530993
1969530994539999
1966-69540000540795
1969540796545009
1966550000556910
1969558012567400
1966570099570755
1969580000580999
1966-68 1969600000600999
1969601000601090
1969605901606090
1966-67700000700799
1968-69750000750999
1966-68 1969800000800999
1966-69801000812838
1969812900814999
1969817000819999
1966-69820000820087
1966820088823830
1969824000824999
1966-69828002847488
1966847499858999
1967859001880089
1967893401895038
1968895039896999
1967897000898999
1968899000899999
1968900000902250
1968903000920899
1968940000941009
1968942001943000
1968945000945450
1968947415956000
1968959000960909
1968970000972864

From 1970-1975 all numbers were stamped into wood and assigned a six digit number. There are many exceptions and sometimes letter prefixes were used. The orange labels inside hollow bodied instruments were discontinued in 1970 and replaced by white and orange rectangle labels on the acoustics and small black, purple and white rectangle labels were used on electric models.

In 1970, the words “MADE IN USA” was stamped into instrument headstocks (though a few instruments from the 1950s also had MADE IN USA stamped into their headstocks).

Year(s) and Approximate Serial Numbers

  • 1970, 1971, and 1972 100000s, 600000s, 700000s, 900000s
  • 1973 000001s, 100000s, 200000s, 800000s and a few “A” + 6 digit numbers
  • 1974 and 1975 100000s, 200000s, 300000s, 400000s, 500000s, 600000s, 800000s and a few A-B-C-D-E-F + 6 digit numbers

During the period from 1975-1977 Gibson used a transfer that had eight digit numbers, the first two indicate the year, 99=1975, 00=1976 and 06=1977, the following six digits are in the 100000 to 200000 range. MADE IN USA were also included on the transfer and some models had LIMITED EDITION also applied. A few bolt on neck instruments had a date ink stamped on the heel area.

In 1977, Gibson first introduced the serialization method that is in practice today. This updated system utilizes an impressed eight digit numbering scheme that covers both serializing and dating functions. The pattern is as follows:

  • YDDDYPPP
  • YY is the production year
  • DDD is the day of the year
  • PPP is the plant designation and/or instrument rank.

The numbers 001-499 show Kalamazoo production, 500-999 show Nashville production. The Kalamazoo numbers were discontinued in 1984. When acoustic production began at the plant built in Bozeman, Montana in 1989, the series numbers were reorganized. Bozeman instruments began using 001-299 designations and, in 1990, Nashville instruments began using 300-999 designations. It should also be noted that the Nashville plant has not reached the 900s since 1977, so these numbers have been reserved for prototypes.

Examples:

  • 70108276 means the instrument was produced on Jan.10, 1978, in Kalamazoo and was the 276th instrument stamped that day.
  • 82765501 means the instrument was produced on Oct. 3, 1985, in Nashville and was the 1st instrument stamped that day. However, it has come to light recently that the Kalamazoo plant did not directly switch over to the “new” 8 digit serialization method in 1977. When the Nashville Gibson plant was opened in 1974, it was decided that the bulk of the production of products would be run in the South; the Kalamazoo plant would produce the higher end (fancier) models in the North. Of course, many of the older guitar builders and craftsmen were still in Kalamazoo; and if they weren’t ready to change how they built guitars, then they may not have been ready to change how they numbered them! Certain guitar models built in the late 1970s can be used to demonstrate the old-style 6 digit serial numbers.

It is estimated that Gibson’s Kalamazoo plant continued to use the 6 digit serial numbers through 1978 and 1979. So double check the serial numbers on those 1970s L-5s, Super 400s, and Super 5 BJBs!

Gibson’s Factory Order Number (FON) System
In addition to the above serial number information, Gibson also used Factory Order Numbers (FON) to track batches of instruments being produced at the time. In the earlier years at Gibson, guitars were normally built in batches of 40 instruments. Gibson’s Factory Order Numbers were an internal coding that followed the group of instruments through the factory. Thus, the older Gibson guitars may have a serial number and a Factory Order Number. The FON may indicate the year, batch number, and the ranking (order of production within the batch of 40). This system is useful in helping to date and authenticate instruments. There are three separate groupings of numbers that have been identified and are used for their accuracy. The numbers are usually stamped or written on the instrument’s back and seen through the lower F hole or round soundhole, or maybe impressed on the back of the headstock.

1908-1923 Approximate #s

Gibson Serial Numbers: 1908-1923
YearFactory Order Number
1908259
1909309
1910545, 927
19111260, 1295
19121408, 1593
19131811, 1902
19141936, 2152
19152209, 3207
19162667, 3508
19173246, 11010
19189839, 11159
191911146, 11212
192011329, 11367
192111375, 11527
192211565, 11729
192311973

Factory Order Numbers for the years 1935-1941 usually consisted of the batch number, a letter for the year and the instrument number. Examples are as follows:

  • 722 A 23
  • 465 D 58
  • 863 E 02

Code Letter and Year

  • A 1935
  • B 1936
  • C 1937
  • D 1938
  • E 1939
  • F 1940
  • G 1941

Code Letter Factory Order Numbers were discontinued after 1941, and any instruments made during or right after World War II do not bear an FON codes. In 1949, a four digit FON was used, but not in conjunction with any code letter indicating the year.
From 1952-1961, the FON scheme followed the pattern of a letter, the batch number and an instrument ranking number (when the guitar was built in the run of 40). The FON is the only identification number on Gibson’s lower grade models (like the ES-125, ES-140, J-160E, etc.) which do not feature a paper label. Higher grade models (such as the Super 400, L-5, J-200, etc.) feature both a serial number and a FON.
When both numbers are present on a higher grade model, remember that the FON was assigned at the beginning of the production run, while the serial number was recorded later (before shipping). The serial number would properly indicate the actual date of the guitar. FON examples run thus:

  • Y 2230 21
  • V 4867 8
  • R 6785 15

Code Letter and Year

Martin Guitar Serial Number List

  • Z 1952
  • Y 1953
  • X 1954
  • W 1955
  • V 1956
  • U 1957
  • T 1958
  • S 1959
  • R 1960
  • Q 1961
Guitar

After 1961 the use of FONs was discontinued at Gibson. There are still some variances that Gibson uses on some instruments produced today, but for the most part the above can be used for identifying instruments. For the most accurate identification you would need to contact the Gibson Guitar Corporation itself.

Gibson Banjo Serial Number Reference: 1925-1935
Serial #Model #Approx. Year of Mfg.
120-1TB-11925
130.21TB
0394-5TB-51929
416-8TB-41930
800-7TB-41932
807-1RB-31933
820-1TB-31925
8124-45TB-31934
8161-22RB-31934
8171-1TB-3
8208-7TB-31926
8326-36TB-1
8444-8TB-51926
8482-50TB
8535-2TB-
8662-6TB-
8684-3GB-
8701-9TB-41929
8760-45RB-
8782-13TB-4(5)1928
8836-34TB-41929
8852-14GB-31930
8948-72TB-31929
8977-54TB-31928 (May 19th)
9114-4TB-41929
9025-93TB-31930
9135-4All-Am1934
9204-42TB-31929
9226-27TB-61929
9226-31TB-61929
9470-42Granada1929-30
9639-9RB-41934
9539-84TB-11930
9549-64TB-4
9711-19TB-21930
9711-24TB-21930
9812-15TB-31932
1107A-25TB-11925
11109-14TB1923
11863-16MB-31924
11938-13TB-11925
41677-3MB-31925

Gretsch Model and Serial Numbers

Gretsch Model Numbers

Gretsch Model Numbers: 1948-1975

1959

Model #ModelYear
6000Classic Hauser, inlaid headstock
6001Classic Hauser, plain headstock
6002Folk, sunburst
6003Model 60031951-1955
Grand Concert1955-1959
Jimmie Rodgers1959-1963
Folk Singer1963-1965
Folk, natural top1965-1975
6004Burl Ives1952-1955
Folk, mahogany top1970-1975
6005Ozark Soft String
6006Electro Classic
6007Synchormatic Sierra
6008Wayfarer Jumbo
6009Jumbo Flat top
6010Sun Valley
6014Synchromatic 100, sunburst1948-1949
Synchromatic 6014, sunburst1949-1955
Corsair, sunburst1955-1959
6015Synchromatic 100, natural1948-1949
Synchromatic 6015, natural1949-1955
Corsair, natural1955-1959
6016Corsair, Bordequx burgundy
602012-string flat top
6021Jumbo Synchromatic model 125F1948-1955
6022Rancher
6023Bikini guitar
6024Bikini bass
6025Bikini double neck
6028Synchromatic 160, sunburst
6029Synchromatic 160, natural
6030Synchromatic 6030, sunburst1951-1955
Constellation, sunburst1955-1959
Sho-Bro Spanish1969-1971
6031Synchromatic 6031, natural1951-1955
Constellation, natural1955-1959
Sho-Bro Hawaiian1969-1971
6036Synchromatic 300, sunburst1948-1951
Synchromatic 6036, sunburst1951-1955
6037Synchromatic 3001948-1951
Synchromatic 6037, natural1951-1955
6038Synchromatic 6038, sunburst1951-1955
Fleetwood, sunburst1955-1959
17″ Eldorado, sunburst1959-1968
6039Synchromatic 6039, natural1951-1955
Fleetwood, natural1955-1959
17″ Eldorado, natural1959-1968
6040Synchromatic 400, sunburst1948-1951
Synchromatic 6040, sunburst1951-1955
18″ Eldorado, surburst1959-1968
6041Synchromatic 400, natural1948-1951
Synchromatic 6040, natural1951-1955
18″ Eldorado, natural1959-1968
6042Synchromatic 400f flat top
6050New Yorker
6070Hollowbody bass, long scale, 1 pu
6071Hollowbody bass, short scale, 1 pu
6072Hollowbody bass, long scale, 2 pu
6073Hollowbody bass, short scale, 2 pu
607512-string electric, sunburst
607612-string electric, natural
6079Van Eps 7-string, sunburst
6080Van Eps 7-string, walnut
6081Van Eps 6-string, sunburst
6082Van Eps 6-string, walnut
6000Black Hawk, sunburst
6001Country Club, stereo, sunburst1959-1963
Black Hawk, black1968-1972
6002Country Club, stereo, natural1959-1963
Streamliner double cutaway, sunburst1969-1975
6003Country Club, stereo, Cadillac Green1959-1963
Streamliner double cutaway, cherry1969-1975
6004Rally, green
6005Rally, bamboo yellow/cooper mist
6006Princess
6011Double Anniversary, stereo, sunburst
6012Double Anniversary, stereo, 2-tone smoke green
6015Rambler
6017Double Anniversary, sunburst
Custom cat eye soundhole model1965-1968
6018Double Anniversary, 2-tone smoke green
6019Chet Atkins Tennessean
6020Chet Atkins Hollowbody1954-1966
Nashville1967-1971
6021Chet Atkins Solidbody
6022Chet Atkins Country Gentlemen
6024Anniversary, sunburst
6025Anniversary, 2-tone smoke green
6026Astro-Jet
6027DuoJet Tenor
RocJet, Porsche Pumkin1969-1971
6028DuoJet
6029SilverJet
6030Roundup1955-1959
RocJet, Mercedes Black1969-1973
6031Jet FireBird
6032Corvette Solidbody, 1 pu, no vibrato
6033Corvette Solidbody, 2 pu, no vibrato
6034White Penguin1955-1963
Corvette Solidbody, 1 pu, vibrato1963-1968
6035Corvette Solidbody, 2 pu, vibrato
6036White Falcon
6037White Falcon, stereo
6045Jet Airliner lapsteel
6047Jet Mainliner lapsteel
6048Jet Twin Console lapsteel, no legs
6048LJet Twin COnsole lapsteel, 4 legs
6052Electromatic Student lapsteel
6056Electromatic Standard lapsteel
6058Electromatic Console lapsteel
6082Corvette hollowbody, sunburst
6083Corvette hollowbody, natural
6084Corvette holowbody, Jaguar Tan
6085Electromatic Spanish, sunburst1949-1955
Clipper, 2 pu, sunburst1972-1974
6085NElectromatic Spanish, natural
6086Clipper
6087Electro II, non-cut, sunburst1951-1955
Corvette, ivory top, grey mist body1957
Corvette-style, cutaway, ivory top, grey mist body1958
Clipper, natural1959-1960
Viking, sunburst1967-1975
6088Electro II, non-cut, natural1951-1955
Viking, natural1967-1975
608916″ elctric cutaway, 2 pu1950-1955
Streamliner single cut, bamboo yellow/copper mist1955-1957
Viking, Cadillac Green1967-1972
609016″ electric cutaway, 1 pu, sunburst1950-1955
Streamliner single cut, sunburst1955-1957
609116″ electric cutaway, 1 pu, natural1950-1955
Streamliner single cut, natural1955-1957
6092Electro II, cutaway, sunburst1951-1954
Country Club, sunburst1955-1971
6093Electro II, cutaway, natural1951-1954
Country Club, natural1955-1971
6096Country Club, Cadillac Green
6099Convertible1955-1958
San Salvador1958-1968
Gretsch Model Numbers: 1971-1981
Model #ModelYear
7176Southern Belle
7505Folk, sunburst
7506Folk, natural
7514Sun Valley, sunburst
7515Sun Valley, natural
7525Rancher
7535Deluxe
7545Supreme
7555Clipper
7560Double Anniversary, sunburst
7565Streamliner, sunburst
7566Streamliner, cherry
7575Country Club, sunburst
7576Country Club, natural
7577Country Club, walnut
7580Van Eps, 7-string, sunburst
7585Viking, sunburst
7586Viking, natural
7593White Falcon, single cutaway
7594White Falcon
7595White Falcon, stereo
7600Broadkaster solidbody, natural
7601Broadkaster solidbody, sunburst
7603Broadkaster hollowbody, bigsby, natural
7604Broadkaster hollowbody, bigsby, sunburst
7605Broadkaster bass, natural
7606Broadkaster bass, sunburst
7607Broadkaster hollowbody, no bigsby, natural
7608Broadkaster hollowbody, no bigsby, sunburst
7609Broadkaster hollowbody, red
7610RocJet, black1971-1975
7611RocJet, Porsche Pumpkin1971-1975
RocJet, black1975-1980
7612RocJet, cherry
7613RocJet, walnut
7615Solidbody bass
7617BST 1000, 2 pu, walnut
7620Country Roc1974-1979
BST 2000, walnut1979-1980
7621Roc II
7623Corvette solidbody, 2 pu
7624TK300, red
7625TK300, natural
7626TK300 bass, red
7627TK300 bass, natural
7628Committee
7629Committee bass
7632Deluxe Corvette
7655Tennessean
7660Nashville
7667Streamliner II
7670Country Gentlemen
7680Deluxe Chet, red1973-1975
Atkins Super Axe, red1976-1980
7681Deluxe Chet, walnut1973-1975
Atkins Super Axe, ebony1976-1980
7685Atkins Axe, ebony
7686Atkins Axe, red
7590Super Chet, red
7691Super Chet, walnut
7705Sho-Bro Hawaiian, 6-string
7710Sho-Bro Hawaiian, 7-string
7715Sho-Bro Spanish
8210BST1000, 1 pu, walnut
8211BST1000, 2 pu, red
8215BST1000, 2 pu, walnut
8216BST1000, 1 pu, red
8217BST1000, 2 pu, walnut
8220BST2000, walnut
8221BST2000, red
8260BST5000
Gretsch Model Numbers: 1989-Present
Model #Model
400Synchromatic, similar to Synchromatic 400
6010Sun Valley, triangle soundhole
6020Crimson Flyer, electric acoustic, cutaway, triangle soundhole
6022Rancher acoustic
6030Nightbird, electric acoustic, cutaway, triangle soundhole
6119Tennessee Rose, similar to Tennessean
6120The Nashville
6120wThe Nashville, western
6121Round Up
6122sCountry Classic I, single cut, similar to 1958 Country Gentlemen
6122Country Classic II, double cut, similar to 1961 Country Gentlemen
6128DuoJet
6129SilverJet
6131Jet FireBird
6136White Falcon I, single cutaway, no vibrato
6175Electric acoustic fretted bass
6176Electric acoustic fretless bass
7593White Falcon I, single cutaway, bigsby
7594White Falcon II, double cutaway, bigsby

Before 1965 it is possible to determine the approximate date of the instrument by it’s serial number but a more accurate method is to consider both the serial number and the appropriate specifications together. The system of numbering at the Brooklyn Gretsch factory was approximate at best and many inconsistencies exist in both serial numbers and product line specifications. To complicate matters, Gretsch built many one-of-a-kind prototypes and there were employee variations on the cataloged lines.

Since there are examples of consecutively numbered instruments with different specifications, it appears that the serial numbers were not applied simply to batches of instruments.

1949 to 1965 Serial Numbers

Numbers can be found stamped in ink on the inside of the instrument back wood or on the Gretsch label itself. Most F-hole models have the label on the inside back and can be seen through the f-holes. Solidbody models with control plates have the label somewhere inside the control cavity. Some serial numbers have been found scratched on the inside control plate of solidbody guitars and sometimes the serial number is impressed on the top edge of the headstock.

Gretsch Serial Numbers: 1949-1965
NumberYear
2000-3000’s1949-1950
4000-50001951
5000-60001952
6000-80001953
9000-120001954
12000-160001955
17000-210001956
22000-260001957
27000-300001958
30000-340001959
34000-390001960
39000-450001961
46000-520001962
53000-630001963
63000-770001964
77000-840001964-early 1965 (partial-new number scheme started early 1965).

1965 to 1972 Serial Numbers

The number can be found on the back of headstock or on the top edge of the headstock and (prior to 1967) with no hypen in the number. Also: “Made in USA” is stamped on the back of the headstock next to the serial number starting in June 1967 through approximately 1973.

  • First digit or first 2 digits month (1-12)
  • Next digit last digit of the year (1965 to 1972: 5,6,7,8,9,0,1,2)
  • Remaining digits rank of individual instrument

Example:

  • 118243 November 1968, 243rd instrument
  • 31041 March 1971, 41st instrument
  • 993 September 1969, 3rd instrument

1973 to 1981 Serial numbers

Hyphenated number impressed into back of peghead.

  • 1 or 2 digits before hyphen month (1-12)
  • First digit after hyphen last digit of year
  • Last 3 digits rank of instrument

Example:

  • 10-5155 October 1975, 155th instrument
  • 4-622 April 1976, 22nd instrument

1900-1970 Sequential-listed below
1-6 digits stamped into the top edge of the headstock-often difficult to read. Some banjo models have the serial number stamped on the inside of the rim.

1970-1972
6 digits hand-written on the label or printed on a silver sticker placed on, or near the label inside the instrument. It’s not uncommon for those stickers to fall off where they can sometimes be found loose inside the instruments.

1972-1974
6 digits printed on a small brown paper label glued to the label.

1974-1979
Six digits printed on the label.

Levin Serial Numbers
YearSerial #
19001-90
190191-473
1902474-982
1903983-1648
19041649-2673
19052674-4160
19064161-5842
19075843-8054
19088055-10065
190910066-12104
191012105-14475
191114476-17048
191217049-19757
191319758-22765
191422766-25785
191525786-29339
191629340-33829
191733830-38398
191838399-41750
191941751-45996
192045997-48663
192148664-49766
192249767-50960
192350961-52669
192452670-55018
1925550>19-58262
192658263-61029
192761030-64274
192864275-68224
192968225-71939
193071940-75971
193175972-79078
193279079-82022
193382023-86306
193486307-91524
193591525-96981
193696982-102985
1937102986-108392
1938108393-114174
1939114175-119373
1940119374-123698
1941123699-129542
1942129543-135882
1943135883-143365
1944143366-154203
1945154204-167856
1946167857-183407
1947183408-195194
1948195195-208144
1949208145-227015
1950227016-243439
1951243440-271455
1952271456-291537
1953291538-303551
1954303552-321200
1955321201-336743
1956336744-350110
1957350111-366295
1958366296-384905
1959384906-402016
1960402017-411407
1961411408-420508
1962420509-429605
1963429606-438472
1964438473-448145
1965448146-458480
1966458481-474502
1967474503-486142
1968486143-491732
1969491733-499256
1970499257-507899
1971507900-514799
1972514800-522499
1973522500-530599
1974530600-538999
1975539000-547499
1976547500-554999
1977555000-561600
1978561601-564889
1979564890-567750

The Levin factory closed in 1979. Some nylon string acoustic models were built by Landola in Finland.

YearSerial #
1980-198?567751-570978 (latest known example)

Levin Serial Numbers and Model Names

In late 1947, Levin redesigned and modernized its entire line of instruments. Changes included cutaways on archtops, natural finish on some f-hole guitars and mandolins, and a line of nylon string acoustics. Up to that point, only the top 3 archtop guitar models (The De-Luxe, Solist and Royal), some early lutes and some fancier banjo models had names. All Levin’s other instruments were identified by a model number only.

After 1947 all models were given a name and a model number. The model number was inconsistently stamped as a prefix or suffix to the serial number. If the model was available in both natural and sunburst finish, the letter “N” would follow to denote a natural finish instrument. The use of a prefix or suffix was largely discontinued in 1955 when the most of the lines were redesigned again. Some prefix and suffix designations remained on old models until they were all discontinued by 1958. In the redesigned lines of 1955, all models were identified by model number only.

Levin Prefixes and Suffixes of the Lines of 1947-1955 (1958)
ModelName
1De-Luxe
2Solist
3Royal
4Orchestra
5Star
6Dansant
7Valencia
8Sevilla
9Navarra
10Madrid
11Tarragona
12Barcelona
13Ambassadör
14Princess
15Diplomat
16Carmen
17Rio
18Ideal
19Amatör / Favorit
20Senorita
21Kentucky
22Bolero
23Havanna
24Carmencita
25Kansas
26Pepita
27Texas
28Nevada
30Trubadur
31Artist
32Opera
33Sonett/Menuett
34Revy/Elite
40Aristokrat
41King
42Master
43Serenad
44Rosalie
45Safir
46Classic
47Not Known
50Konsert
52Capri
53Palermo
54Taranto
70Alto
75Tenor
80Oktavo
85Oktavo
90Kamiki
92Honolulu
95Hula

A few prefix or suffix’s were occasionally used-but without clear reason.

Levin Prefixes and Suffixes of the Lines of 1955-1963

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