Ibanez serial numbers are unique identifiers placed on instruments sold under the Ibanez brand. Ibanez guitars have used serial numbers since the mid s. Some sources say the practice started in September , but serial numbers indicating production as early as October have been spotted. The serial numbers are generally a character string containing letters and numbers, although some are purely numeric. Serial numbers can be useful in determining the age of a guitar as well as in which country and by which builder it was produced. Unfortunately, there is no single unified format used for Ibanez serial numbers. The information on this page is culled from several sources both on-line and off-line and represents a distillation of the available information.
The pickups also received a visual ate with new logos. The original RG was discontinued after A new RG was introduced in In an a model based on the RG with rosewood fingerboard was issued for some areas as the RGR.
For another reissue was offered in Japan as part of the limited edition Genesis Collection. Untilthe RG came with a choice of either rosewood or maple fingerboard.
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Outside Japan, all black finished RGs came with rosewood fingerboards while other finishes had maple fingerboards. In Japan, most finishes were available with rosewood or maple fingerboards.
While most RGs have headstocks which are painted to match the body, some and finishes, included Desert Sun Yellow, got black headstocks. Afterthe color-matched headstocks returned for all finishes.
Although the vast majority of RGs from this era are constructed of basswood, there have been a few, isolated examples of ash-bodied RGs which have been discovered when guitars were stripped for refinishing.
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No official explanation has been given for this, so it's not known whether this was due to experimentation or just a mix-up in the factory. 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 would denote a production year of 91 and the th Universe built. This is where you start seeing consecutive numbered plates on the remaining regular joint models that no longer indicate year.
No matter as most can be dated by the headstock serial but there will be guitars without them and the plate number will be the only number available.
The UV plate numbers also changed to these consecutive plates and will be found on late UV7BK's in both green dot and silver. Universe plate would denote a production year of 91 and the th Universe built. Universe number could be a 96' UV7 green dot and the indicates the th plate.
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Pinning these guitars down to closer than a 2 year window would be tough. This actually makes alot of sense from a manufacturing stance as they no longer had to order plates that denoted year of production and could just order consecutive numbered plates without care to year.
They would no longer be restricted to using a specific plate in a specific year and any batch of plates would be good forever.
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JS - JS series guitars built in Japan have a neck plate that is stamped with a consecutive number since production first began with no indication of date. They are termed J plates because of a J prefix in the number but somewhere around J they dropped the J leaving just the 6 digit number.
The only way to date a JS that only has a neck plate number is by spec. Sometime around they started using the typical F based serial stickers on the headstock and in all cases this should be considered the serial number of the guitars that bear them.
Some have actually had two numbered plates and some have had one numbered and one unnumbered plate. Bensalem, Pa. Address Plates - The cast black and chrome neck plates like the JS, these bear a 6 digit serial number.
The first 2 digits indicate year and the last 4 indicate a consecutive production number for USAC's. Note that these do not indicate the guitar was "built" in the US but typically means it was assembled and finished in the US using Japanese parts. These guitars will either have Bensalem or North Hollywood plates depending on year, pre 91' will be Bensalem, post 91' will be North Hollywood.
These plates will either follow the 6 digit plate scheme where the first 2 digits denote year, or they will be blank and have a Japan serial sticker on the headstock. Guitars with the blank numbered cast plate will bear a headstock serial sticker denoting the Fujigen production of the parts.
JEM plate or JS plate, or a consecutive numbered 6 digit cast black and chrome plate on guitars without specific model plates. There are some models that have no serial number at all.
Most Ibanez models with this serial number format were made by FujiGen Gakki. It is also believed that 'Terada Musical Instrument Co. It's most likely that this is a big misunderstanding caused by an over generalization in the database of the "Guitar Dater Project" website, which is not able to assign the right factory to a vintage Ibanez guitar based on its serial number.
The false information this website generates has been propogated in numerous advertisements of sellers of vintage Ibanez guitars.
There is no proof whatsoever of any solid body Ibanez guitar produced by Terada. On the contrary: the fact that the production of solid body Ibanez Artist guitars shifted to Iida Gakkiwhile hollow-body and semi-hollow Artist guitars became Artstar labels with H serial numbers, shows that the original production before came all from the FujiGen Gakki factory, which was experiencing capacity problems during that time period caused by their commitment to produce guitars for Fender Japan.
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If Terada had produced AR models already, they would have continued doing so. Splitting the production up from a situation in which they were already both made in the Terada factory wouldn't be efficient, so it is highly unlikely that pre AR and AS models were ever made there.
The fact that the production of prestige models like the AS returned to FujiGen says enough. Some Korean Ibanez serial numbers are purely numeric with no alphabetic characters.
According to Jim Donahue these guitars were manufactured in the Cort factory, in which he had the supervision. Because they had no date stamps available when they started, the serials numbers of Artstar models in this factory were written by hand.
These handwritten serial numbers are hard to decipher. The production of these Artstar models at the Cort factory was discontinued in It's unclear which supplier or factory manufactured these models.
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These digit serial numbers likely apply to acoustic models. It is believed that the necks of these instruments were produced in Japan by FujiGen while the bodies were made by Cort in South Korea.
In addition to the serial number stamp, the back of the headstock often has a sticker proclaiming "Made in Japan". This numbering convention was discontinued after Since then instruments in the Premium line have received standard Indonesian serial numbers. Some Chinese Ibanez serial numbers are purely numeric with no alphabetic characters. Steve Vai signature models known as the JEM and Universe series produced in Japan have neck plates stamped with a 7 digit serial number with an "F" followed by 6 numeric digits.
This page is for dating Ibanez guitars built in Japan only. See the Factories heading a few paragraphs down for little info on guitars produced elsewhere. Before Ibanez did not put serial numbers on their guitars. Most just bore a neck plate simply marked Japan. The only way to date these guitars is to find out what years they were.
The first two digits represent the year of production and the final four digits are the production sequence of JEM or UV models within that year. Other JEM neck plates have a six digit number starting with a 9 e. Similarly Universe models have plates stamped with a six digit number starting with a 0.
Similarly this number represents the sequential Universe MIJ production number. These models can sometimes also have headstock serial numbers; in these cases the headstock number is considered the "true" serial number.