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But the complexity of decoding the number isn’t the most frustrating part of this particular serial number system – it’s the fact that the serial numbers actually repeat every decade – so you actually have to know what decade your guitar was built in to begin with.
Anyway, let’s start with how the main system works – if you don’t have a serial number that looks one of the ones in the next section, then carry on to the following sections for the less common serial numbers. The first letter represents the year that the guitar was built.
For these ones you will also need to know where your guitar was built – which you should be able to be found next to the serial number of your guitar and will say “made in..” and then the country it was built in (either Japan, Taiwan or Indonesia).
Note: The following only applies to acoustic, acoustic-electric and classical guitars.
It’s widely known that the 8 digit serial numbers start with the year as the first number.
But the 6 & 7 digit numbers (located on the neck block) are just sequential numbers used by all the guitars they built, not just the FG’s.
Here’s the system that Yamaha uses for their acoustic guitar serial numbers and what those numbers can tell you about your guitar.
This will be very useful to find the year a guitar was made based on these sequential serial numbers, unlike the later 8 digit numbers that are based on the date of manufacture.
This was a 2 letter, 3 number, then 1 letter system. The first 2 numbers represent the year (instead of just 1 previously).
The first letter is the year and follows the same code as the main system above. There is no indication of year of production in this system. The YMMI changed to a 3 letter, 6 number system in 2001 as follows: The first 2 letters represent the year. Apparently, some could even fall outside of this range.
Since there seem to be models that have both types of numbers, I'm wondering if there where 2 plants that each had their own numbering systems. I’ve been collecting data on vintage Yamaha FG acoustic guitars for a few years.
I'm repeating a post I've made in a couple other forums. This past May Yamaha deleted their Yamaha Guitar Archive web page, pushing me to start a forum to share the info that I’ve collected, including all the data from the Yamaha Guitar Archive.
Ever wondered what you’re Yamaha guitar serial numbers tell you about your guitar?