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Most of the “Made in Japan” and the “Crafted in Japan” guitars us a 6 digit number (But not all and excluding the A prefix! A 6 DIGITS 1985-1987, 1997-1998 (Made in Japan) and (Crafted in Japan) This was one of the most confusing serial number used by Japan.
They placed the "A" on the bridge on the Telecasters and some of them could be as late as 1996 (as in the case with many JD Teles.
First two numbers in the sequence will tell you when your guitar was produced.
If you see a seven digit serial number on the back of a Dean guitar, you can be sure that it was produced in United States.
and both were being made at the same time from 1994 till 1997.
This means that the the serial numbers starting in 1994 ran consecutively on both the MIJ and the CIJ models while the MIJ logo was being phased out.
These links will take you farther down in the document to the manufacturers covered here: Dean -- Epiphone -- Fender -- G&L -- Gibson -- Gretsch -- Guild -- Hagstrom -- Hamer -- Ibanez -- Jackson/Charvel -- Kramer -- Martin -- Ovation -- Peavey -- If you believe something is inaccurate, please point it out in the comments section at the bottom.
Yet if you take the neck off they can be 1994-1997!
And yes there is some overlap in serial numbers between years.
4 to 6 digit Neck Plate Serial Numbers (no other letters or markings on the neck plate, except for the rare "-" or "0" prefix, as noted). made Fenders, starting in mid-1976 has the serial number on the peghead.
Fender serial numbers were assigned like this: bin with serialized plates/bridges. The serial number can only generalized the age of the instrument within a few years.
Esquires, Broadcasters, Telecasters 1950 to 1954 (number on bridgeplate).
Maybe the transitional guitars from MIJ to the CIJ??