Epiphone Serial Number Decoding
To find the i.d. of your 1993 or most later models Epiphone use the "keys" and factory letter/number identifiers below -- note that for guitars made prior to 1993, the serial # assigned does not reveal the date or factory where made.
New model codes, no letter prefix
Beginning 2008-09 models are appearing w/o a letter prefix to i.d. the factory. Based on what is reported so far, it appears that the serial code may be:
- YY = year of manufacture
- MM = month of manufature
- FF = factory I.D.
- RRRRR = ranking number
- Example: 08121520333 was made in December 2008, factory 15, 2 unknown significance, 0333 unit produced
NOTE - pre 1993-94 productions also frequently omitted factory letter codes and appeared as all numbers e.g. 023849354 -- these are Asian made (Korea, Japan, Indonesia) but again the exact factory origin is not usually available from guitardater project or other sources.
- F = factory code (this can be 2 letters as well)
- YY = year of manufacture (this can also be just 1 digit for '90s models)
- MM = month of manufacture
- R = ranking number (may be more or less digits)
- Example: S02021234 was made in Feb. 2002 from the Samick Korea factory, unit 1234.
- F = factory code
- YY = year of manufacture
- M = This will be a letter code corresponding to the month (A=January, B=February, etc...).
- RRRR = ranking number
- Example: R03D0263 was made in April 2003 at the Peerless Korea factory, unit 0263.
Epiphone Elite/Elitist models
- F = factory code (this code will be an "F" or "T")
- Y = year of manufacture (2 = 2002, 3 = 2003, etc.)
- YY = year of manufacture (10 = 2010, 11 = 2011, 12 = 2012, etc.)
- SSSS = sequential ranking number
- Example: T41234 is a 2004 Elitist model made at the Terada factory, production rank 1234th unit.
FACTORY LETTER CODES
For Epiphone serial numbers that begin with a letter(s), this list identifies the factory (& country) where produced:
- B - Bohêmia Musico-Delicia (Czech Republic)
- BW - ____?____ (China)
- DW - DaeWon (China)
- EA - QingDao (China) = Epiphone Acoustic
- ED - Dongbei (China) = Chinese Dongbei means North-east.
- EE - QingDao (China) = Epiphone Electric
- F - Fujigen (Japan) = Elite/Elitist models
- FC - ____?____ (China 2000's) Possibly "Global Fine Supply Ltd."
- FC - Fuji-Gen (Japan 1990's)
- F/FN - Fine Guitars (Korea) = non-Japanese models
- G/GG - Identified as early modern Masterbilt acoustics (Epiphone says they have no record of G serials)
- GP - ____?____ (Korea) found on a BB King Lucille from 2001 (verified by Epiphone Customer Service)
- I - Saein (Korea)
- J - Terada Gakki Seisakusyo (Japan)
- K - Korea Ins. (Korea)
- L - Leader Musical Instrument Co Ltd (Korea)
- MC - Muse (China)
- MR - Mirr factory, China
- N - See: FN
- O - Choice (Korea)
- P/R - Peerless (Korea)
- QG - Qingdao Gibson (China) - Interim designation used prior to "EA" & "EE"
- S - Samick (Korea)
- SI - Samick (Bogor, Indonesia)
- SJ - SaeJun (China)
- SK - ???
- SM - Samil (Korea)
- SN - ____?____ (Indonesia)
- T - Terada Gakki Seisakusyo (Japan)
- U - Unsung (Korea)
- UC - Unsung China (China)
- WF - ____?____ (China) found on an Accu Bass Junior from 2001
- Y - ???
- Z - Zaozhuang Saehan (China)
FACTORY NUMBER CODES
For some models starting in 2008, if serial # begins w/numbers [NOTE: The factories identified by these codes are based on patterns which forum members have observed. The numbers appear as the 5th and sixth digits in the serial number.]
- 11 = MIC sticker on a '08 Masterbuilt 500
- 12 = DeaWon or Unsung (China -- uncertainty remains as to which factory)
- 13 = China - factory unknown
- 15 = Qingdao (China) -- electric
- 16 = Qingdao (China) -- acoustic
- 17 = China - factory unknown MIC sticker on a J160E
- 18 = China - factory unknown found on one 2009 model bass
- 20 = DaeWon or Unsung (China -- uncertainty remains as to which factory)
- 21 = Unsung, Korea
- 22 = Korea (factory still unknown)
- 23 = Samick factory Indonesia
- I = Indonesia (this letter has appeared as the 5th digit on two authentic new models made in Indonesia)
"F"-Serial numbers used on LP Std'59/Std'60 models and 'Tribute'/'Tribute-Plus' models
This newest serial number system used by Epiphone is not yet completely deciphered.
'F' doesn't refer to 'Fine, Korea' - nor to 'Fujigen, Japan' - New "F" models are made in China.
This serial number system doesn't exactly tell the year - and doesn't tell the month at all.
- Beginning with F300000 in late 2009 used on LP Std'59/Std'60/Tribute models
- Continued around F310650~F311050 in spring 2012 on Tribute-Plus models
- Continued around F305000 in 2011
- Continued around F310000 in 2012
- Continued around F317000 in 2013
- Continued around F324000 in 2014
Epiphone Japan Serial Numbers
The Yamano Gakki Epiphone Japan serial numbers from 1998 onwards (after the Orville series was discontinued) are in a YMMPPP format.
Y=year. MM=month. PPP=production number.
The serial number letters used by the Terada and Fuji-Gen guitar factories are J = Terada, T = Terada, no letter = Fuji-Gen and F = Fuji-Gen. For example 903584 is dated March 1999 and was made by Fuji-Gen, J903584 is dated March 1999 and was made by Terada, F505693 is dated May 2005 and was made by Fuji-Gen, T505693 is dated May 2005 and was made by Terada.
For Yamano Gakki Epiphone Japan semi acoustic models from 1987 to approximately 1997, the serial numbers are in a YCPPP format. They were made by Terada and usually have an Orange Epiphone label.
Y=year. C=model code. PPP=production number.
- Model Codes (C)
- 1 = NVJ
- 2 = EMPEROR
- 3 = RIVIERA
- 4 = SHERATON
- 5 = CASINO
- 6 = Limited Edition
- 7 = EB-2
- 8 = ES-930J
- 9 = EMPEROR-J
For Example 34784 = 3 4784 = 1993 SHERATON.
The Aria Epiphone Japan models that were made by Matsumoku from the early 1970s and ending before 1987 do not have a reliable serial numbering system but can be approximately dated using their Epiphone label colours.
- Blue label: early 1970s-1980
- Light brown label: 1980-1985
- Brown label: 1985-1987
- Serial numbers starting with '311xxxx' on a golden sticker are 'refurbished' guitars, mostly sold by MIRC (Musical Instrument Reclamation Center)
- There is no way to tell the year or the month it was made.
- MIRC specs can often be different from stock specs.