Gretsch serial number dating
(Numbers are consecutive, but all number/year matches are approximate) Be aware that these numbers, while considered by most authorities to be accurate, may be substantially off. The next three digits are the model number, without the 6 at the beginning.Several guitars have appeared that seem to use the new dating scheme from as early as Feb. There may have been overlap between the two numbering schemes, or the earlier method may have been phased out as early as 1963. The final numbers are the sequential order of the model made during the lifespan of the model (not that year).These numbers are interpreted in the same way as the earlier date coded numbers, though a hyphen was sometimes placed between the first and second digits better identifying the month/year designation.As an example, 2-365 would be February (2), 1973 (3).Each of them can be used to accurately pinpoint the age of a guitar, if you have the correct information.Unfortunately, correct information can be very difficult to come by.In 1973, the 2nd iteration of the Baldwin era Gretsch label was introduced.
One last thing to remember is that Gretsch years through the 90s were like model years for cars.
Which of course means those 19 serial numbers probably came earlier. Lower numbers will always appear on earlier guitars, higher numbers on later guitars.
Remember that 20 guitars will, of course, not begin with a 9.
Most online guides (and quite a few print guides) are based on Jay Scott's groundbreaking book "Gretsch: the guitars of the Fred Gretsch Company," which is a fine book, but is nearly two decades old.
Subsequent research has unearthed quite a few inaccuracies in Scott's numbers, so any serial number guides cribbing from Scott are also incorrect.
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In January of 2003 the serial number scheme changed from the system previously used by Gretsch Guitars.