Serial Number Guide

Below are some guidelines and help for you who are interested to find out the age of your Rickenbacker instrument. Rickenbacker International Corporation has used a number of various systems. Some of the earlier had no corresponding dates to the number, except for the invoices. Below are some of the most common serial number variations.  Click on the one that appears to be the type you have on your instrument!

1999 - now Serial Numbering System 9946122  
1997 - 1998 Serial Numbering System S1 xxxx  
1987 - 1996 Serial Numbering System K2 xxxx   
1961 - 1986 Serial Numbering System VD xxxx  
1950's    Hollow Body Guitars* 2T xxx, 3V xxx  
1950's    Solid Body Guitars and Basses 4C xxx, B xxx  
1950's    3/4 size guitars V xxxx  
Need help? Contact me! ???????  
Another numbering variation 2R xxx  
Rickenbacker Related Patents    

*) The first Capris, like the early 1958 model 325 is also in this group, with its own serial numbering variations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                     

                     

 
Current Rickenbacker Serial Number System
 
The first 2 numbers of the serial number represent the year of manufacture. 
The second two represent the week of the year. 
The remaining figures are a production number.

 

 
Example: 9846122  is year 1998, week 46, prod. number 122

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1997-1998  Numbering System
 
First character is month, second is year.
 
Example: S1 is June 1998
 
Month Code  Year Code
M = Jan 0 = 1997
N = Feb 1 = 1998
P = Mar
Q = April
R = May
S = June
T = July
U = Aug
V = Sept
W = Oct
X = Nov
Y = Dec
 
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1987-1996 Numbering System
 
First character is month, second is year.
 
Example: K2 is Nov 1989
 
Month Code   Year Code
A = Jan 0 = 1987
B = Feb 1 = 1988
C = Mar 2 = 1989
D = April 3 = 1990
E = May 4 = 1991
F = June 5 = 1992
G = July 6 = 1993
H = Aug 7 = 1994
I = Sept 8 = 1995
J = Oct 9 = 1996
K = Nov
L = Dec
 

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1961-1986 Numbering System
 
First character is year, second is month.
 
Example: VD is 1982, April
 
Year Code     Month Code
A = 1961 A = Jan
B = 1962 B = Feb
C = 1963 C = Mar
D = 1964 D = April
E = 1965 E = May
F = 1966 F = June
G = 1967 G = July
H = 1968 H = Aug
I = 1969 I = Sept
J = 1970 J = Oct
K = 1971 K = Nov
L = 1972 L = Dec
M = 1973
N = 1974
O = 1975
P = 1976
Q = 1977
R = 1978
S = 1979
T = 1980
U = 1981
V = 1982
W = 1983
X = 1984
Y = 1985
Z = 1986
 
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1950's Hollow Body Guitars

The code for Rickenbacker hollow body guitars made from 1958 through December 1959 reveals some Model information. It does not tell you the date of manufacture. It is possible to find more information through factory invoices. The first digit in the serial number stand for the number of pickups. The letter 'T' is for non-vibrato tailpiece and the 'V' means vibrato tailpiece.  Below are a few examples:

#2V165 was a September 1958 Model 365

#2V166 was a September 1958 Model 335

#2T388 was a May 1959 Model 330

#2T417 was an August 1959 Model 360

#3V701 was an October 1959 Model 345

#3V254 was a December 1958 Model 375

As so many times during the earlier periods, there are exceptions from the serial numbering system shown above. The first Capri guitars, like some 1958 Model 325 didn't have the number of pickups in the serial number. It only showed the tailpiece version, i.e. #V85. It also happened that a vibrato model could end up with a 'T' in the number as well as a 'V' on non-vibrato models.

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1950's Solid Body Guitars and Basses

Here are some examples on the full size standard guitars, basses and mandolins. The first numbers tell us what model the instrument is. The letter following the first number(s) indicate the instrument style.  The first single digit after the letter tells us what year in the 50's. It works like this: 

#4C6231 was a 1956 Combo 400 (4C= Combo 400 or Model 425, 6=1956, 231 is the ID number for the individual instrument).

More examples:

 #6C444 was a 1954 Combo 600 (6C=Combo 600).

#8C410 was a 1954 Combo 800 (8C=Combo 800).

#65C7110 was a 1957 Combo 650 (65C= 650 Combo)

#85C7121 was a 1957 Combo 850 (85C=Combo 850)

#B7105 was a 1957 bass (B=bass)

#M101 was a 1958 mandolin (M=Mandolin)

The Model 450 usually had a 4 rather than a 45 in the part of the serial number. It ended with an 'A'. For example #4C7414A was a 1957 Model 450.

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3/4 Size Guitar Serial Numbers

3/4 Size Guitars were usually numbered  like these examples:

#V7379 was a 1957 Model 1000

#V7255 was a 1957 Model 900

#V0139 was a 1960 Model 900

#V014 was a 1960 Model 950

V often stood for Model 900 or Model 1000. It could also be a Model 950. The codes didn't tell us any specific model information, but it tells us that the instrument was one of the smaller student models.

There was some minor exceptions from this, but the above mentioned system was the most common.

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Serial Numbers with a 'R'

The numbers with an 'R', like in #2R022 was used in the early 60's for DeLuxe Hollow Body Models with the Rick-O-Sound output. The Model that has the serial number mentioned was a Model 360F made in July 1960.

 

 

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Rickenbacker Related Patents

Patent information related to Rickenbacker instrument:

Patent # Subject Date
#1.839.395 Hand vibrato tailpiece.1) Jan 5, 1932
#1.881.229 Molded musical instruments and necks.2) Oct 4, 1932
#2.089.171 Frying Pan and horseshoe pickup.3) Aug 10, 1937
#2.130.174 Headless electric violin class instruments.3) Sep 13, 1938
#2.152.783 Roller Vibrato Tailpiece.3) Apr 4, 1939
#2.241.911 Vibrola Spanish Guitar.1) May 13, 1941
#2.310.199 Tubular body electric violin class instruments.3) Feb 9, 1943
#2.310.606 Detachable horseshoe pickup.4) Feb 9, 1943
#3.091.150 The Sceusa neck.5) May 23, 1963
#DES. 208.329 Bantar.6) Aug 15, 1967

1) C.O Kauffman  2) A.P. Young  3) George D. Beauchamp 4) Paul M. Barth 5) Peter P. Sceusa 6) F.C Hall

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NOTE!
If you canīt date your instrument
using this table, please contact me!