DATING GUITARS AND MANDOLINS
BY REFERENCE OF SERIAL NUMBERS

Serial numbers can be useful in determining the year of manufacture of a guitar or amp.
But due to incomplete registrations and illogical serial numbers, its history is often unclear.
With the help of the serial number decoder, tables and instructions are the year and location
of the largest well-known brands.


DECODERS

Looking up the year of manufacture of a guitar or amplifier(Fender) is based on the format of the serial number of that brand.
Each brand has its own coding method that has changed regularly over the years. As a result, certain brands have the same serial numbers, but with a different coding method, which creates overlaps.
There are also brands that repeat a serial number every decade.
Then the external characteristics of the guitar are important to place the dating in the correct decade. Connoisseurs and specialists, who can be found in the various guitar forums, can help you with this.

With no (or unreadable) serial numbers, the electronic parts of an electric guitar also give an indication.
For example, the production code of the potentiometers can give an indication about the year of manufacture
of the guitar.
Manufacturers sometimes want to change their serial number format, especially in Asian countries to which many Western companies have outsourced their production.
The decoders are updated when the format of a new serial number format from a recognized manufacturer is known.

Fake or real
If a serial number is not in the lists or is not recognized in the serial number decoder, it does not mean that the guitar is a fake.
Conversely, it is of course no guarantee whether the guitar is authentic, as a serial number is easy to copy.

Example of a Gibson serial number:
A real serial number is stamped dark on the back of the
headstock. A fake serial number is usually in white.


Brands such as Gibson, Fender, PRS or other renowned brands also issue a certificate of authenticity, but this can also be used for fraud.

An authorized dealer will certainly not sell you a fake, but if you want to buy a guitar privately or via the internet, be careful.

What you should pay attention to is first of all the price.
Authentic guitars and vintage versions keep their value or increase in price.
This of course depends on the condition of the guitar.
If the price seems very favorable, that is already a reason to doubt.

What you should also pay attention to is the appearance of the guitar.

Headstock
Note the shape of the headstock, the font used, and the position where the serial number is affixed. You can compare this with original images of the model.

Fret inlays
The manufacturers have advanced equipment to accurately place the inlays between the frets. On a fake you often see a deviation with respect to the original model.

There are more external features that you should pay attention to, such as the logo and printed or stamped serial number, but that differs per brand.

With acoustic guitars, the most common trick is that forgers use cheap plywood instead of solid wood.
To do this, look at the inner edge of the sound hole to see if the wood grain also continues.

If you are in any doubt about the guitar's authenticity, please first contact the manufacturer's service department and provide the features (or a photo) that you are unsure about.
The manufacturer will certainly respond to this because they want to combat counterfeits and will take action against them.

MIRC USED guitars
It is often said that guitars where have "USED" printed on them and got a gold-colored sticker are fake.

This is not true, read more about the gold colored stickers and numbers of MIRC guitars.