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- Under the old numbering scheme 1997 would show duplicate numbers to 1987 so the serial number was changed to the F and 7 digits, now the first 2 denoting year of production. The last 5 numbers will be the consecutive number denoting production count for the year with the caveat that each month will start at predetermined intervals of 3000 or 5000, etc. With production year beginning in November - 00000 - Shown as F for Fujigen in the examples above, other factories used that mainly produced the budget models were C for Cort [Korea], S for Samick [Korea], W for World [Korea], and guitars are also built in I Indonesia, China, and who knows where else.
These serial numbers are usually quite different from the MIJ numbers, have many extra digits because of the enormous volume of guitars produced, and I am not familiar enough with any of them to tell you how to figure out the dating.
Prior to 11/2011 there are 5 digits followed by a letter.
The letter denotes year, starting in 2010 with A, with a 5 digit production number. Alphabet Production Month (A = January to L = December), Next two numbers are Production Year (09-2009. 5 is UV77REMC [2 is FRM1, etc], Next Two numbers is monthly series number.
Here is the breakdown courtesy of Ibanez Collectors World.
Until 1977 Maxon used 5 digit serials: 1st character is a production code (1,2,3, etc., maybe related to different production location) 2nd character indicates the year of production (2=1972, 3=1973, etc.) 3rd character indicates the month of production (0=January, 1=February, ...
9=October, .=November, X=December) 4th and 5th character is the day of production (01 to 31) Although guitars already had serials from 1975, between 19 they used a 6 character serial on pickups: 1st character is a production code (1,2,3, etc., maybe related to different production location) 2nd character indicates the year of production (7=1977, 0=1980, 1=1981, etc.) 3rd and 4th character indicates the month of production (01=January, ...
See the Factories heading a few paragraphs down for little info on guitars produced elsewhere.In cases where generic non model specific plates are used the 4 digit number is just the consecutive number of that plate which could have made it on possibly 10 different models.- JEM plates are 6 digit and the first 2 digits is the production year while the last 4 is the consecutive number JEM built from inception. Except for the very first batch of 90' UV plates that began 00, UV plates are also dated by the first 2 numbers. A Universe plate 912787 would denote a production year of 91 and the 2787th Universe built.In a case where a guitar has both the true serial number will always be the headstock number.Plate numbers usually follow the pattern of the first 2 digits denoting year of production followed by a 4 digit number that denotes consecutive production for that model for that year, or consecutive production number for that particular model from the models inception.