The pattern is as follows: YDDDYRRR YY is the production year DDD is the day of the year RRR is the factory ranking/plant designation number.
Prior to 1984 when the Kalamazoo, MI factory was closed, the numbers 001-499 indicated Kalamazoo production.
As a result, Epiphone established the first permanent presence by an American guitar brand in 1992 with the opening of our Epiphone Korea office which played a daily hands-on role in selecting and sourcing parts and materials as well as closely controlling quality.
While that initial step was instrumental in moving towards continuous improvement and independence, Epiphone knew that ultimately it needed its own dedicated factory with its own employees.
The numbers appear as the 5th and sixth digits in the serial number.]11 = MIC sticker on a '08 Masterbuilt12 = Dea Won or Unsung (China -- uncertainty remains as to which factory)15 = Qingdao (China) -- electric16 = Qingdao (China) -- acoustic17 = China - factory unknown MIC sticker on a J160E18 = China - factory unknown found on one 2009 model bass20 = Dae Won or Unsung (China -- uncertainty remains as to which factory)21 = Unsung, Korea22 = ??? Indonesia (factory still unknown, probably Samick,)I = Indonesia (this letter has appeared as the 5th digit on two authentic new models made in Indonesia ANOTHER CODES: FYYMRRRR F = factory code (See "Factory number code" above) YY = year of manufacture M = This will be a letter code corresponding to the month (A=January, B=February, etc...).
The serial number will be an 8 digit number impressed into the back of the headstock with "MADE IN USA" below.
Just after the end of World War I, the company started to make banjos.
The Epiphone serial number decoder currently supports 12 serial number formats from 25 factories. Serial numbers from 70' and 80's era Epiphone guitars made in Japan are not supported.
Epiphone recently spoke with two key employees who play a huge role at the Epiphone factory.
Lloyd Williams serves as General Manager and Director of Asian Manufacturing Gibson China and Scott Lewis is the GQ Plant Manager.