WANTED – Data from your vintage Yamaha FG guitars. See the end of the post.
I’ve been collecting data on vintage Yamaha FG acoustic guitars for a few years. This past May Yamaha deleted their Yamaha Guitar Archive web page, pushing me to start a forum to share the info that I’ve collected, including all the data from the Yamaha Guitar Archive. I’ve written other articles on: the history of the Yamaha FG 1966-1981 & FG-3XX series; vintage Yamaha truss rod adjustment procedure; vintage Yamaha neck reset procedure; replacement nuts & saddles; Yamaha FG weights; Japanese emperor date codes; Republic of China date codes; and I’m working on many others.
My latest interest is decoding the mystery of the 6 & 7 digit serial numbers. It’s widely known that the 8 digit serial numbers start with the year as the first number. But the 6 & 7 digit numbers (located on the neck block) are just sequential numbers used by all the guitars they built, not just the FG’s. I’ve also found there are internal date codes that will reveal when the guitar was made.
Serial Number located on the neck block.
Date Code located on one of the interior sides of the guitar.
I’ve started a list of guitars I’ve found (including 3 of mine) with the model number, the serial number, and the date code, which will allow the 6 & 7 digit serial numbers to be grouped into a range for each year, allowing any 6 or 7 digit serial number to be cross referenced to the year it was made.
On YouTube I found a guy in Japan who’s posted short videos of many vintage FG guitars, with the year, model number, partial serial numbers, and in a most cases the internal date code. He’s obviously used the internal date codes to determine the years. I sent him a message asking if he saved all the information for these guitars, but I don’t know what will be lost in the language translation, of if he’ll even get back to me.
With this, and other data I’ve been finding, I’ve discovered even though Yamaha says the first Red Label models imported in the US where in 1968, I’ve found many Red Label FG guitars made in 1967. I’m also tracking the Green Label FG’s, the earliest models (1966-67) only made in Japan, that share the same pool of serial numbers. I’m looking for the transition between the Green and Red labels. I’ve also found the Green Label FG’s have a different truss rod cover, with “Reinforced Neck” on it, very different than the one you normally see. That cover made it onto the earliest FG’s imported into the US, before changing to the familiar one.
Truss Rod Cover on Green Label and very early Red Label FG's.
Regular Truss rod Cover used on Red Label FG's.
WANTED – Could you please add to this thread with the following data from your vintage Green and Red label Nippon Gakki FG guitars that have serial numbers less than 8 digits, located on the neck block? I have 100 serial numbers so far, but only 28 of them also have the internal date code.
Serial number on neck block.
Internal date code (I use flashlight and a cheap USB endoscope with my cell phone, or my cell phone camera if the strings are off.) This is very important to establish the date range of the serial numbers.
If it has the old style “Reinforced Neck” truss rod cover.
Any other information you’d like to share about the guitar.
ON SECOND THOUGHT I might as well collect the early Taiwan numbers too. They have 2 sets of numbers, the 8 digit on the cross brace and a 7 digit on the neck block. The early 70's models have a T in front of it, the mid 70's -1 models dropped the T.
Thank you for your assistance.