Gretsch dating guitars
Another New Serial Number Scheme 1973 to 1981 A number is impressed into back of the headstock.
The 1 or 2 digits before the hyphen show the month (1=Jan, 12=Dec.) The first digit after hyphen shows the last digit of year.
The Gretsch name was resurrected in 1988 for a series of inexpensive Traveling Wilburys commemorative guitars.
“Made In USA” was added to the serial number stamp and the numbers were date coded in the same way that they had been between ’65 and ’67.
These serial numbers were also either 5 or 6 digit numbers, depending on the month of production.
This is particularly tricky in the mid `60s, when some serial numbers may belong to more than one numbering system.
One last thing to remember is that Gretsch years are similar to model years for cars.
They made some guitars early to unveil at the big trade shows and tried to be ready to fill orders immediately, so those guitars would have an earlier-than-expected build date.
On the other hand, some less popular models may have sat on the shelf for years before being sold as new.
Through much of the company`s history, Gretsch guitars were numbered sequentially and/or chronologically, so serial numbers (in addition to the features on the guitar) can give a very accurate idea of when the guitar was made.
That said, there are several tricks to successfully dating your Gretsch guitar.
After the war that method continued, but some guitars had the serial number embossed on the headstock.
With the advent of labels in the late '40s, the serial number is usually found on the label, which is usually visible through the soundhole on hollowbody models.
The numbers were once again located on the back of the headstock and would have been printed in Gold, Black or White (depending on the color of the guitar).