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Through much of the company`s history, Gretsch guitars were numbered sequentially and/or chronologically, so serial numbers (in addition to the features on the guitar) can give a very accurate idea of when the guitar was made.
That said, there are several tricks to successfully dating your Gretsch guitar.
This is particularly tricky in the mid `60s, when some serial numbers may belong to more than one numbering system.
One last thing to remember is that Gretsch years are similar to model years for cars.
Serial number JT03074463, for example, breaks down as: Specific models are no longer designated within the serial number.
This label should be on all guitars after number 25000.
This would be a good time to note that some models, particularly 1962 -`65 models, had the serial number embossed on the headstock in lieu of a label.
On solidbodies, it`s usually inside the control cavity.
Guitars were usually made in batches of 100, and specification changes can be tied to serial numbers with considerable accuracy (see Charting the Changes: