The serial number on your modern Gretsch guitar or bass contains specific information about where and when it was made. This allows you to accurately date a modern Gretsch guitar by its serial number. By modern , by the way, we mean since , which is when Gretsch serial numbering took its current form. Various other serial numbering systems existed before then that stretch far back into Gretsch history—all the way back to the very earliest Gretsch guitars of the s.
Electromatic dating by serial number??
How To Date A Gretsch Guitar | Reverb News
As such, there are a lot of vintage specimens hidden under beds, lurking in closets or parading in plain sight on shop walls and Reverb listings. Half the battle of finding a great deal or pre-empting conflict is accurately dating the guitar in question. The guide below is intended to help you identify the production year of any Gretsch guitar, given the serial number and its location on the guitar. This information has been compiled from multiple sources cited at bottom. Their collective investigative legwork deserves the respect and gratitude of us all.
Understanding Gretsch guitar serial numbers
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From to , Gretsch serial numbers are sequential, but the manner and placement of the serial numbers on the guitars varies quite a bit. Toward the end of , Baldwin took over the Gretsch Company. These serial numbers were also either 5 or 6 digit numbers, depending on the month of production. 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. Obviously, with the change of the decade, there is plenty of room for confusion in interpreting the numbers.