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Dating Your Ibanez Guitar

Ibanez Guitars are probably one of the best deals on the market at this writing. Ibanez has built some excellent guitars and offers tremendous value.  Over the years Ibanez has consistently developed new and cool models. I can remember a period in the late 90's when they were overpriced a little. But they redid their pricing and came back to the market with some great deals.

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Dating Your Ibanez
While dating the appearance and disappearance of various models is not always precise,  fixing the date of individual instruments has for the most part been a breeze since around 1975 or 1976 when a very logical serial number sequence was implemented. The serial number consists of a letter and six digits. The letter represents the month of manufacture; the next two digits are the year of manufacture: the remaining five digits have an unknown meaning, if any.

Thus, a guitar with a serial number H814657 would translate: H=August: 81=1981; 4657=whatever.

By 1988, at least, the initial letter drops off.

Note, however, that at least one Ibanez sub-brand, the Maxxas, does not follow this pattern at all.

I called Ibanez myself for further clarification.

Dating Ibanez Guitars or establishing the year they were made is a little bit tricky.  Below is how it was explained to me by Ibanez on 10/22/98.

On all guitars made before and up to 1987 the first two digits of the serial number would designate the year of manufacture.  For example a guitar manufactured in 1981 would start out with the numbers "81" and if it was made in in 1985 it would start of with "85".

This is a simple easy intelligent idiot proof system.  I have to ask myself why they modified it in 1987.  (It will present problems down the road guaranteed)

On all guitars made after 1987, The last digit of the year is the first number of the serial number for example a 1989 guitar would start off with a "9" and a 1993 guitar would start off with a "3".   I ask you how will someone be able to tell the difference between a 1988 guitar and a 1998 guitar in years to come.

Problem 1: How will anyone know if it was made before or after 1987.  Theoretically someone in the year 2023 could easily mistake a 1976  guitar for a 1996.
Problem 2: How do you know what decade you are in. I mean it's simple for us today to tell the difference between a 1988 guitar and a 1998 guitar  but what will they do in the year 2034 when the want to try to date an Ibanez guitar.