Gretsch used several different serial number schemes through the years.Each of them can be used to accurately pinpoint the age of a guitar, if you have the correct information.
The Fender-era 51xx guitars follow the normal Fender numbering scheme.When Fender took over production in January 2003 the serial number scheme changed again, and Fender-era serial numbers have a two-character originating factory code, followed by year and month, and finally a sequential ordering number.This sticker, along with the "Made in Korea" sticker, went missing almost immediately — sometimes before the guitar even left the store.In addition, these guitars followed no known numbering scheme.On hollowbodies, the label is usually visible through the f-hole.
On other models such as solidbodies, it should be inside a control cavity.In the beginning, Gretsch simply wrote serial numbers inside the guitar in pencil.These pencilled-in numbers often fade and become illegible, or even disappear.For example, 27136 should be February (2), 1967 (7) and the 136th instrument made that month. (i.e., 1974 would be 4) Last 3 digits = number of the instrument.A hyphenated number was embossed on the back of headstock. For example, 3-8094 would be March (3), 1978 (8) and the 94th guitar made that month. The next three digits are the model number, without the 6 at the beginning.For example, serial number JT03074463 would break down as: Of those, JT is by far the most common on the pro-line instruments.