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Also see Headstock Styles and Logo Styles for help determining when your guitar was made (particularly helpful if there is no serial number).

Note: Any guitar with a serial number with the prefix "SI" is Indonesian-made.

Note #2: Guitars with no serial number were produced at many different times. Samick branded models did not start using serials until around 1987. Also, the Indonesian factory did not use serials from it's opening in 1992 until around 2000. However, there were also some Korean Artist Series Strats made around 1995-1996 with no serial numbers, and many Korean-made Japanese Market models had no serial numbers as well.

Electrics

Earliest serial

Earliest known serial number, June 1984 (production number faded away).

Samick first started using serial numbers on Hondos and other contract brands in 1984 (their home brand models did not use serials until ~1987), using the following format:

YMMPPPP
Y = Year
M = Month
P = Production Number
Example: 8030768 = 768th guitar made in March of 1988
In 1988, occasionally the format was YYMMPPPPP because of high production volume.
Example: 880510504 = 10,504th guitar made in May of 1988
Many guitars made around 1985 have a serial number with the format:
120PPPP or 110PPPP
Example: 1201387
The significance of this format is unknown. It is commonly found on Mastercaster Series models, among others.

These serial numbers are easily recognized as a white sticker with a black border, usually found on the back of the headstock or the heel of the neck. Being a sticker, many are ripped off or wear off over the years. If this is the case, the only other way to date your guitar is by looking for a date ink-stamped on the side of the original box switch.

87 EG1935 proven 4

August 31, 1987

However, as 1990 approached, the use of one digit for the year presented the issue of repeat serial numbers. Around this time, the serial numbers became a bit unpredictable, as they were figuring out a new system. The "S" prefix also first appeared at this time.
YYMMPPPP
SYYMMPPPP
Example: 90080084 = 84th guitar made in August of 1990
Another format found around this time (possibly only for international models):
Sl YYPPPPP
91 SAT 650 proven

1991 SAT-650 serial

Semi-Hollow models (at this time) use a different format, and the serial is found on the label inside the top f-hole.

YYPPPP(P)
Example: 902703 = 2,703rd semi-hollow guitar made in 1990
Bolt-neck models started having the serial number engraved into the neckplate in 1987. They kept the same format, so the decade is determined by the style of neck plate.

(Note: The new design did not appear until May 1990)

1980's:

89 YVMC-103 white

July 1989

1990's:

90 YJ-640 DRS-TT

November 1990

Some lower-end bolt-neck models have blank neckplates with just a serial number engraved, using the format:

YYPPPPP

94 DS-410 BK

1994, production number 10,904

At the turn of the millennium, bolt-neck models kept the same format and neckplate style, so these guitars must be dated by their logo style and other features.
92 serial

Around 1992 (some examples have been found with stickers as late as 1993), all set neck models switched to a silkscreened serial number on the back of the headstock with an "S" prefix:

SYYPPPPP
Example: S9207374 = 7,374th guitar made in 1992
While contract builds always had the prefix, it wasn't always used on Samick brand guitars.

By the end of 1993, the month (M) returned to the format, and by 1994, the format was:

SYMMPPPP
Example: S4030482 = 482nd guitar made March 1994
Finally, in 1997, it changed to:
SYYMMPPPP
Example: S97040076 = 76th guitar made April 1997

SPG

SPG uses the prefix "KS" (Korea, SPG) on Gretsch models[1], with the format:

KSYYMMPPPP
Example: KS14070456 = 456th guitar made July 2014
On Guild models, the following format is used:
KSGYYPPPPP
Current SPG-built D'Angelico models use the prefix "US" with the same format. Before mid-2013, they used the "KS" prefix. Very early models still used the "S" prefix and some also used "R" or "R9".

SPG-built Comins models use the prefix "1ES" and the format:

1ESYYPPPP

Acoustics

Acoustics generally followed the format:

YYPPPPP(P)
or:
YYMMPPPP

Exceptions

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