In mid/late 2012, US distributed Japanese-built guitars switched to the year designation that guitars distributed in Japan use.
See below for the formula used to tell the year of manufacture.
, This old style serial number will either be on the neck plate or impressed into the back of the headstock.
The first letter indicates the last digit of the year of production. Tenryu/Wada Factory, Made in Japan, 1985-1986: ######.
The following two digits denote the month, and the remaining four digits denote the instrument’s sequential number of manufacture among all the instruments made during the month indicated.
An Ibanez serial number can tell you two things, year of manufacture and factory [or country] of manufacture.
Custom Shop, Made in Japan, 1966-1985: 001-1042 in sequence Custom Shop, Made in Japan, 1986-1990: Letter-####, like so: J7012.
The letter at the beginning represents the month, so J would be March (see chart above). Custom Shop, Made in Japan, 1991-1996: Letter-letter-###-letter, like so: HP213J. 111 is the unit number; and the final letter is an internal code. During 1999, they starting the count each month at 200 rather than 500. Tenryu/Wada Factory, Made in Japan, 1946-1968: #####.
Similarly, serial number 09050112 indicates the 112th guitar made during May 2009.
View Pro Series Guitars Japanese-made Takamine models distributed in Japan have their own serial-numbering scheme that can be used to reliably date them.
In these eight-digit numbers, the first two digits signify the number of years since Takamine’s establishment in 1962.
Some models will never be found in the catalogs, that's just the way it is.
On typical Ibanez serial numbers the first 2 digits will indicate year, or the first digit will indicate the last digit of the year, but there are also some that indicate no year at all.