FANDOM


Ibanez SN examples
Examples of Ibanez serial numbers on back of headstock Red copyright sprite

Ibanez serial numbers are unique identifiers placed on instruments sold under the Ibanez brand. Ibanez guitars have used serial numbers since the mid 1970s. Some sources say the practice started in September 1975, but serial numbers indicating production as early as October 1974 have been spotted.[1]

The serial numbers are generally a character string containing letters and numbers, although some are purely numeric. Serial numbers can be useful in determining the age of a guitar as well as in which country and by which builder it was produced.

Unfortunately, there is no single unified format used for Ibanez serial numbers. Ibanez guitar production is outsourced to several companies and facilities through the world and the numbering schemes are different in each region and/or factory. The information on this page is culled from several sources both on-line and off-line and represents a distillation of the available information. It applies primarily to electric guitars, but some information may also be applicable to acoustics.

Serial numbers on Ibanez guitars can generally be found in one of several locations:

  1. On the back of the headstock either on a sticker or painted/printed on the headstock itself,
  2. Stamped on the neck plate (the metal plate at the joint between the neck and the body), or
  3. Printed, written or stamped on the label inside a hollow body or acoustic guitar, or
  4. Stamped on the fretboard past the last fret, or
  5. Stamped on the neck block inside an acoustic guitar.

The first step in deciphering the serial number is determining the country or facility in which the guitar was produced. In most cases the country of origin is provided in the same location as the serial number. In cases where you have a serial number but not a country of origin, the origin can sometimes be deduced from the serial number, although in this case it's very helpful if you have at least a rough idea of the date of manufacture.

Serial numbers by country of origin

Japan

November 2004–present, FujiGen, "F" + 7 digits

Eight characters
F YY #####
single letter (F) 2-digit number 5-digit number
Example: F1418872 (May 2014)
  • F = manufactured by FujiGen Gakki in Nagano
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 08=2008)
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the year
Number also indicates month of manufacture, with the sequence incrementing to the next multiple of 3,000 each month, as follows:
  • 00001–02999 = November
  • 03000–05999 = December
  • 06000–08999 = January
  • 09000–11999 = February
  • 12000–14999 = March
  • 15000–17999 = April
  • 18000–20999 = May
  • 21000–23999 = June
  • 24000–26999 = July
  • 27000–29999 = August
  • 30000–32999 = September
  • 33000 and up = October

It's unclear whether this numbering convention is rigidly enforced, that is, each month actually starts out with the number prescribed above, or if this is just a way to estimate the production month. What is known is that this rubric is used by Ibanez to set the production date for warranty claims.

Note: as of November 2004, the serial number represents not necessarily the year the instrument was produced but rather the model year to which the instrument belongs. It has long been Ibanez's practice to begin production for the subsequent model year in November (or even late October), but the serial numbering change that was implemented in November 2004 acknowledged and formalized this practice.


1997–October 2004, FujiGen, "F" + 7 digits

Eight characters
F YY #####
single letter (F) 2-digit number 5-digit number
Example: F9914244 (March 1999)
  • F = manufactured by FujiGen Gakki in Nagano
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 08=2008)
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the year
Number also indicates month of manufacture, with the sequence incrementing to the next multiple of 5,000 each month, as follows:
  • 00001–05000 = January
  • 05001–10000 = February
  • 10001–15000 = March
  • 15001–20000 = April
  • 20001–25000 = May
  • 25001–30000 = June
  • 30001–35000 = July
  • 35001–40000 = August
  • 40001–45000 = September
  • 45001–50000 = October
  • 50001–55000 = November
  • 55001–60000 = December

It's unclear whether this numbering convention is rigidly enforced, that is, each month actually starts out with the number prescribed above, or if this is just a way to estimate the production month. What is known is that this rubric is used by Ibanez to set the production date for warranty claims.


2005–present, Sugi, "A-L" + 5 digits

Six characters
M YY # ##
single letter (A–L) 2-digit number 1-digit number 2-digit number
Example:
  • M = letter indicating month of manufacture: A=January...L=December
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 07=2009)
  • # = indicates the model (2=PGMFRM1, 5=UV77RE, others are unclear/unknown)[2]
  • ## = consecutive production number for the month

Note that there is opportunity for confusion with some of the other schemes listed here with regards to the initial letters F and I, however, this format is the only one which has just six characters. It is believed that all Japanese-made models with this serial number format are produced by Sugi Musical Instruments Ltd.

Sugi produces only a handful of high-end models for Ibanez. These include a few special Signature models and some J Customs.

These serial numbers are either hand-printed on the back of the headstock (often in Sterling silver or gold ink or paint) or stamped on the fretboard beyond the last fret or sometimes both.


2016–present, IGDC, "IG" + 6 digits

Eight characters
IG YY MM ##
"IG" 2-digit number 2-digit number 2-digit number
Example: IG161102[3]
  • IG = indicates production at the Ibanez Guitar Development Center
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 16=2016)
  • MM = two digits indicating month of manufacture
  • ## = consecutive production number for the month

These serial numbers are hand-lettered on the back of the headstock.


1998–present, Terada; "T" + 6 digits

Seven characters
T YY ####
single letter (T) 2-digit number 4-digit number
Example:
  • T = manufactured by Terada Musical Instrument Co., Ltd. near Nagano
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 01=2001)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the year

1987–1996; Letter (e.g. "F, H, I or T") + 6 digits

Seven characters
F, H, I, or T Y #####
single letter (F, H, I, or T) single number 5-digit number
Example: F204157 (April 1992)
  • First character is the factory code:
  • F = manufactured by FujiGen Gakki in Nagano (1987–1996)
  • H or T = manufactured by Terada Musical Instrument Co., Ltd. near Nagano (1988–1996), (it's believed that the H stands for the first name of Terada's CEO Haruo Terada)
  • I = manufactured by Iida Gakki (also sometimes listed as Ida Gakki) in Nagoya (1988–1992)
  • Y = last digit of year: 7=1987 through 6=1996
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the year
For FujiGen models, numbering indicates month of manufacture, with the sequence incrementing to the next multiple of 5,000 each month, as follows:
  • 00001–05000 = January
  • 05001–10000 = February
  • 10001–15000 = March
  • 15001–20000 = April
  • 20001–25000 = May
  • 25001–30000 = June
  • 30001–35000 = July
  • 35001–40000 = August
  • 40001–45000 = September
  • 45001–50000 = October
  • 50001–55000 = November
  • 55001–60000 = December

It's unclear whether this numbering convention is rigidly enforced, that is, each month actually starts out with the number prescribed above, or if this is just a way to estimate the production month. What is known is that this rubric is used by Ibanez to set the production date for warranty claims.

Serial numbers in this format are almost universally stamped or printed on the back of the headstock.

Confusion around 1987 FujiGen serial numbers

Models produced through 1988 (and perhaps into 1989) have serial numbers starting with "F7" which would normally indicate production in 1987. It seems that FujiGen or Ibanez produced an overstock of these "F7" serial number stickers and so just continued to use them through 1988.

One can perhaps make a reasonable guess as to whether a model with an F7 serial number was actually produced in 1987 or 1988 based on the production sequence (the last five digits of the serial number). Any production sequences above maybe 45000 may be assumed to be 1988 models, although this rule of thumb doesn't appear to always hold true.

In some cases a determination as to whether a guitar was actually produced as an 1987 or 1988 model can be inferred based on the finish (color) of the guitar, as some finishes are limited to certain years.

Very few (if any) serial numbers starting with "F8" have ever been spotted.

Signature model exceptions

Different serial numbering schemes were used for Signature models (notably JEMs and Satriani models). These exceptions are detailed here.


1975–1986; Letter (A–L) + 6 digits

Seven characters
M YY ####
single letter (A–L) 2-digit number 4-digit number
Example: B840230 (February 1980)
  • M = letter indicating month of manufacture: A=January...L=December
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 85=1985)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month

Numbers from this era/format can be found stamped on the rear of headstocks (in the case set-neck or AANJ construction), on neck joint plates or on labels inside hollow-body guitars.

Most Ibanez models with this serial number format were made by FujiGen Gakki. Exceptions are the Ibanez Blazer models which were made by Dyna Gakki and the Axstar by Ibanez models AX40, AX45, AX48, AXB50, AXB60, AXB65, AX70, AX75 which were made by Chushin Gakki (the flagship Axstar AXB1000 bass was made by FujiGen Gakki).

It is also believed that 'Terada Musical Instrument Co., Ltd. of Japan also made some guitars for Ibanez during this period.' It's thought that 'these would be mostly hollow-body guitars, but may also included some solid-body Artist series models.' There is no proof whatsoever for either of these assumptions. It's most likely that this is a big misunderstanding caused by an over generalization in the database of the "Guitar Dater Project" website, which is not able to assign the right factory to a vintage Ibanez guitar based on its serial number. The false information this website generates has been propogated in numerous advertisements of sellers of vintage Ibanez guitars. There is no proof whatsoever of any solid body Ibanez guitar produced by Terada. On the contrary: the fact that the production of solid body Ibanez Artist guitars shifted to Iida Gakki 1987, while hollow-body and semi-hollow Artist guitars became Artstar labels with H serial numbers, shows that the original production before 1987 came all from the FujiGen Gakki factory, which was experiencing capacity problems during that time period caused by their commitment to produce guitars for Fender Japan. If Terada had produced AR models already, they would have continued doing so. The AR and AS models shared the same necks under the Artist flag. Splitting the production up from a situation in which they were already both made in the Terada factory wouldn't be efficient, so it is highly unlikely that pre-1987 AR and AS models were ever made there.

The fact that the production of prestige models like the AS200 returned to FujiGen says enough.



Korea

Ibanez sourced guitars from Korea from 1987 through 2008.

2000–2008; 9 or 10 characters

Nine or ten characters
X or XX YY MM ####
1 or 2 letters (see values below) 2-digit number 2-digit number 4-digit number
Examples: C02074108 (July 2002, Cort); CP03129418 (December 2003, CP)

First one or two alphabetic characters are the manufacturer/factory code, as follows:

  • C = manufactured by Cort Guitars in Incheon (1987–2007) or Daejon (1991–2007)
  • S (post-1995) = manufactured by Saehan Guitar Technology, a subdivision of Zaozhuang Saehan Music Co., Ltd. (of China), now known as Sunghan Music; electrics only
  • SQ = manufactured by Saehan Guitar Technology, a subdivision of Zaozhuang Saehan Music Co., Ltd. (of China), now known as Sunghan Music; acoustics only
  • Y = manufactured by Yoojin Industrial Co., Ltd. at either Yangju factory (acoustics) or Guangju factory (electrics)
  • A = manufactured by Saein Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. in Incheon
  • CP = manufactured by ???; some speculation is that CP stands for Cort Plant or that models with this designation were made by a partnership of Cort and Peerless or perhaps even that it indicates production at Cort's Indonesian plant which is known as Cort PT (although this last possibility seems highly unlikely since the instruments are marked as "Made in Korea"). (2003–2008)
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 95=1995)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month

1995–1999; 8 or 9 characters

Eight or nine characters
X or XX Y MM ####
1 or 2 letters (see values below) 1-digit number 2-digit number 4-digit number
Example: C8094519 (September 1998, Cort)

First one or two alphabetic characters are the manufacturer/factory code, as follows:

  • C = manufactured by Cort Guitars in Incheon (1987–2007) or Daejon (1991–2007)
  • S (1990–1995; see year code) = manufactured by Samick Musical Instruments Co., Ltd.
  • S (post-1995) = manufactured by Saehan Guitar Technology, a subdivision of Zaozhuang Saehan Music Co., Ltd. (of China), now known as Sunghan Music; electrics only
  • SQ = manufactured by Saehan Guitar Technology, a subdivision of Zaozhuang Saehan Music Co., Ltd. (of China), now known as Sunghan Music; acoustics only
  • Y = manufactured by Yoojin Industrial Co., Ltd. at either Yangju factory (acoustics) or Guangju factory (electrics)
  • A = manufactured by Saein Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. in Incheon
  • Y = final digits of year: 6=1996 through 9=1999
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month

1987–1995; 7 characters

Seven or eight characters
X Y #####
1 letter (see values below) 1-digit number 5-digit number
Examples: P713503 (1987, Peerless); C422807 (1994, Cort)

First one or two alphabetic characters are the manufacturer/factory code, as follows:

  • C = manufactured by Cort Guitars in Incheon (1987–2007) or Daejon (1991–2007)
  • P = manufactured by Peerless Korea Co., Ltd. (owned by Iida Gakki of Japan) in Pusan (1987–1988)
  • Y = manufactured by Yoojin Industrial Co., Ltd. at either Yangju factory (acoustics) or Guangju factory (electrics)
  • A = manufactured by Saein Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. in Incheon
  • Y = final digits of year: 7=1987 through 5=1995
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the month

Sung-Eum Co. production; "E" + 7 digits

Eight characters
E Y MM ####
1 letter (E) 1-digit number 2-digit number 4-digit number
Example:
  • E = manufactured by Sung-Eum Music Co., Ltd. in Yangju
  • Y = final digit of year (e.g. 9=1999)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month

World Co. production; "W" + 6 digits (1999–2008)

Seven characters
W M Y ####
1 letter (W) 1 alphanumeric character 1-digit number 4-digit number
Examples: W842827 (August 2004)
WZ01928 (December 2000)
  • W = manufactured by the World Musical Instrument Co. in Incheon
  • M = alphanumeric representing the month (1=January...9=September, X=October, Y=November, Z=December)
  • Y = final digit of the year (9=1999 through 8=2008)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month

Samick production; "S" + 7 digits (1990–1995)

Seven characters
S Y MM ####
1 letter (S) 1-digit number 2-digit number 4-digit number
Example: S4081012 (August 1994)

"KR" + 9 digits (2004–2006)

Eleven characters
KR YY MM #####
2 letters (KR) 2-digit number 2-digit number 5-digit number
Example:
  • KR = manufactured by ???
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 05=2005)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the year (or month?)

7-digit numeric (1997–2008)

Some Korean Ibanez serial numbers are purely numeric with no alphabetic characters. According to Jim Donahue these guitars were manufactured in the Cort factory, in which he had the supervision. Because they had no date stamps available when they started, the serials numbers of Artstar models in this factory were written by hand. These handwritten serial numbers are hard to decipher. The production of these Artstar models at the Cort factory was discontinued in 2003.

Seven numeric digits
Y MM####
1-digit number 6-digit number
Example:
  • Y = final digit of the year (7=1997 through 8=2008; in the case of a 7 or an 8, you must know general timeframe to determine the precise year as it could mean either 1997/'98 or 2007/'08)
  • MM = month of production
  • #### = consecutive production number for the year

8-digit numeric (1998–2008)

Some Korean Ibanez serial numbers are purely numeric with no alphabetic characters. It's unclear which supplier or factory manufactured these models.

Eight numeric digits
YY ######
2-digit number 6-digit number
Example:
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 02=2002)
  • ###### = consecutive production number for the year
  • No known identifier for the month

10-digit numeric

Some Korean Ibanez serial numbers are purely numeric with no alphabetic characters. It's unclear which supplier or factory manufactured these models. These 10-digit serial numbers likely apply to acoustic models.

Ten numeric digits
YY MM ######
2-digit number 2-digit number 6-digit number
Example:
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 92=1992)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • ###### = consecutive production number for the year

Indonesia

Production of Ibanez guitars in Indonesia began in 2001.

2001–present, ten characters

Ten characters
X YY MM #####
1 letter (I, K or J) 2-digit number 2-digit number 5-digit number
Example: I120426682 (April 2012)

First character is the factory code:

  • I = manufactured by Cort Guitars' (a.k.a. Cor-Tek) Indonesian plant
  • K = manufactured by Kwo Hsaio Co., Ltd.
  • J = manufactured by Sejung
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 85=1985)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the year

Cort production (2007–2009); I + 7 digits

Eight characters
I Y MM ####
1 letter (I) 1-digit number 2-digit number 4-digit number
Example:
  • I = manufactured by Cort Guitars' (a.k.a. Cor-Tek) Indonesian plant
  • Y = final digits of year (7=2007 through 9=2009)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month

"PR" prefix (2004–2007); PR + 9 digits

Eleven characters
PR Y MM ####
2 letters (PR) 2-digit number 2-digit number 5-digit number
Example:

First character is the factory code:

  • PR = manufactured by ???
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 85=1985)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the year

Premium factory (11/2011–2015); six characters

Six characters
M #### Y
single letter 4-digit number single letter
Example: H0089E (August 2015)
  • M = letter indicating month of manufacture: A=January...L=December (2012 forward; for guitars produced in 2010–2011 the first character has no known significance)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month
  • Y = letter indicating year of manufacture: B=2011, C=2012, D=2013, E=2014, F=2015)

This numbering convention was discontinued after 2015. Since then instruments in the Premium line have received standard Indonesian serial numbers.


Premium factory (2010–11/2011); six characters

Six characters
##### Y
5-digit number single letter
Example: 03701B (2011)
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the year
  • Y = letter indicating year of manufacture: A=2010, B=2011)

China

Production of Ibanez guitars in China began in 1999.

J + 9-digits (2004–2012)

Ten characters
J YY MM #####
1 letter (J) 2-digit number 2-digit number 5-digit number
Example: J081150322 (November 2008)
  • J = manufactured by ???; possibly Sejung Musical Instrument Manufacturing in Qingdao (acquired by Parson's Music in 2012)
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 05=2005)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the year

S + 8-digits (2002–present)

Nine characters
S YY MM ####
1 letter (S) 2-digit number 2-digit number 4-digit number
Example: S13120602 (December 2013)
  • S = manufactured by ???
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 05=2005)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month

GS + 9-digits (2007–present)

Eleven characters
GS YY MM #####
2 letters (GS) 2-digit number 2-digit number 5-digit number
Example: GS140406094 (April 2014)
  • GS = manufactured by ???; some speculation is that GS merely stands for GIO Series
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 05=2005)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the year

SS + 8-digits (c. 2010–present)

Ten characters
SS YY MM ####
2 letters (SS) 2-digit number 2-digit number 4-digit number
Example:
  • SS = manufactured by ???
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 05=2005)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month

A + 8-digits (c. 2005–present)

Nine characters
A YY MM ####
1 letter (A) 2-digit number 2-digit number 4-digit number
Example:
  • A = manufactured by ???
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 05=2005)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month

4L + 9-digits (20??–20??)

Eleven characters
4L YY MM #####
2 characters (4L) 2-digit number 2-digit number 5-digit number
Example: 4L141000813 (October 2014)
  • 4L = manufacturer/ facility code (unknown)
  • YY = last two digits of year (e.g. 14=2014)
  • MM = month represented as two digits (01=January...12=December)
  • ##### = consecutive production number for the year (or month?)

Z + six characters (1999–2006) Yeou Chern

Seven characters
Z M Y ####
1 letter (Z) 1-digit number 1 alphanumeric character 4-digit number
Example:
  • Z = manufactured by Yeou Chern Enterprises Instrument Co. Ltd. in Guangdong
  • M = alphanumeric representing the month (1=January...9=September, X=October, Y=November, Z=December)
  • Y = final digit of the year (9=1999 through 8=2008)
  • #### = consecutive production number for the month

9-digit numeric (2005–present)

Some Chinese Ibanez serial numbers are purely numeric with no alphabetic characters. It's unclear which supplier or factory manufactured these models.

Nine numeric digits
#########
9-digit number
Example:
  • ######### = consecutive production number with no known dating significance

Serial number exceptions

JEM/UV models with square heels (non-AANJ)

Steve Vai signature models (known as the JEM and Universe series) produced in Japan have neck plates stamped with a 7 digit serial number with an "F" followed by 6 numeric digits. The first two digits represent the year of production and the final four digits are the production sequence of JEM or UV models within that year.[2]

These models can sometimes also have headstock serial numbers; in these cases the headstock number is considered the "true" serial number.[2]

Joe Satriani signature models

Guitars in the JS series made in Japan have plates with a 6-digit numeric serial number which indicates the sequential number of JS production. These plates provide no other indication of the year of production. The early versions of these JS number plates (starting from around 1990) have a "J" prefixing the number, but the character was dropped some around J002700. The first 15 J number plates were set aside, with J000001 being used for a 1993 model which is currently in the Hoshino USA collection.[2]

As with the JEM models, more recent JS models have headstock serial numbers in addition to the neck joint plate number.[2]

1987–88 FujiGen serial numbers

See also the previous note regarding F7XXXXX headstock serial numbers which indicate 1987 production but actually appeared on 1988 and perhaps some 1989 models.

Sources

  1. List of Ibanez acoustic guitar serial numbers, compiled by user gemberbier, Ibanez Collectors World forum, updated May 3, 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Harris, Rich. Dating Your Ibanez on IbanezRules.com (dealer website), archived August 2017.
  3. RGCTM1 production photo
Attention DISCLAIMER: The information presented in this article is a distillation of information from a variety of disparate sources, some of which are unverified. Some of the information is speculative and this is marked as such in the text.

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.