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Each of them can be used to accurately pinpoint the age of a guitar, if you have the correct information.
Unfortunately, correct information can be very difficult to come by.
Gretsch began date-coding serial numbers in August 1966.
Date-coded serial numbers are typically found stamped on the back or top of the headstock, and "Made in USA" is stamped next to the number starting in June 1967. The next digit = last digit of the year (1966 to 1972: 6,7,8,9,0,1,2).
Here is an overview of the badges used on Gretsch Drums throughout the company’s history.
Over those years, the imaging varied slightly on the RB.
Gretsch Snare Drums Catalog Pages is a great place to start your research.
If you are having a hard time and need more help then visit our drum forum which is the largest vintage drum forum on the Internet become a member and ask your Gretsch questions there.
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.
Serial numbers have six numbers, with a three digit suffix. The final numbers are the sequential order of the model made during the lifespan of the model (not that year).
The remaining digits = number of individual instrument, probably.