How to Date a Guild Guitar

Acoustic Guild Guitar Acoustic Guild Guitar 2

Dating a guitar is not only a useful and interesting thing to be able to do, in financial and historical terms it is vital. Even if you are not planning to sell your guitar knowing a bit about when it was made is a fun thing to do, from there you can read about the history of the company and work out just where your guitar fits into the story. If you are looking to buy or sell a Guild produced piece then the date is vital, this helps provide a provenance or authentic record for the guitar in question and that is one of the key factors which dictates its value.

At the foot of this page, you will find a long and detailed list regarding the manufacture date of your guitar and it is as simple as looking for the serial number of your guitar on the list and from that, it will tell you the date. Over the years and due to various changes of ownership some of the necessary documentation has unfortunately been misplaced or destroyed and whilst this has led to a few anomalies and inconsistencies in the dating charts, the information presented here represents the most comprehensive data available for Guild guitar dating.  For those interested in knowing more of the backstory of their guitar there are some useful guides, the best of which are “The Guild Guitar Book” by Hans Moust and “Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars” by Hans Gruhn. These will not only help confirm the year of production of your instrument but will also help identify the various specifications that define your guitar, explain where it sits on the evolutionary path and put it into a wider historical context.

Unfortunately, records for Guild guitars prior to 1960 are somewhat unreliable, where they exist at all, so we are unable to fully assure the accuracy of dating before that time but we have been able to ascertain some last serial numbers which may help. Anyone looking to date what they believe is a guitar of that age should seek expert advice as your guitar may well be quite valuable.

 

Frequently asked questions about Guild Guitars

I can't find my guitars serial number?

Sorry, I know this list is not complete. Listed below is all the info we could collect before Westerly RI was closed by Fender.

My Guild has different specifications than the model listed on another website?

This is not unusual. Guild made many unrecorded variations of their Guitars.

How much is my Guitar worth?

It is probably worth more than the dollars you will sell it for. If you are thinking of selling, check adds in Vintage Guitar Magazine, or on Guitar classified web pages and see what similar Guitars are selling for.

Does Adirondack Guitar buy and sell Guild Guitars?

You bet we do.  While we are happy to buy used guitars and gear, we absolutely love Guild Guitars since they've got a rich history.  Left-handed guitars and righties are welcome, just give us a call and we can work with you to figure everything out.

Where do I find my Guild Guitar Serial Number?

Every Guild Guitar is different, however you can generally look on the back of the headstock or within the guitar itself (in the soundhole).  On a heavily used guitar, there is a chance that time has taken its toll and it could be weathered down or off.  Here are a few examples from the store:

Guild-Dating-Headstock Guild Dating Soundhole

 

Adirondack Guitars specializes in left-handed instruments (but we love our righties too), so if you are thinking of selling such a piece then please contact us first for a discussion about date and price and we will be only too happy to help.

 

Guild Guitar Dating Guide

1952 - 1960

 

YEAR APPROXIMATE LAST SERIAL NUMBER PRODUCED 

 

1960 - 1969


The following chart displays the first and last serial numbers of guitars produced in each given year (1960 to 1969). There are no corresponding model names or numbers available.


YEAR FIRST NUMBER PRODUCED LAST NUMBER PRODUCED 

 

1965 - 1969

**Between the years 1965 and 1969, Guild used a separate serial numbering system for each guitar model The following chart details the year, the guitar model, and the beginning and ending serial number for each model in each given year.

 

MODEL 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 


1970 - 1979

The following chart displays the first and last serial numbers of guitars produced in each given year (1970 to 1979). There are no corresponding model names or numbers available.

YEAR FIRST NUMBER PRODUCED LAST NUMBER PRODUCED 


1979 - 1983

Between the years 1979 and 1983, Guild returned to the system which used a separate serial number prefix for each guitar model. The following chart details the year, the guitar model, and the last serial number produced for each model in each given year.

MODEL 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 

Guild-Dating-Headstock


1984 - 1989

Between the years 1984 and 1989, Guild continued with the system which used a separate serial number prefix for each guitar model. The following chart details the year, the guitar model, and the last serial number produced for each model in each given year.

MODEL 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 


1990 - 1994

Between the years 1990 and 1994, Guild continued with the system which used a separate serial number prefix for each guitar model. The following chart details the year, the guitar model, and the last serial number produced for each model in each given year.

MODEL 1990 1991 1992 1993 


1994 - 1996

For the year 1994, ONLY the model prefix and last serial number for each model produced is available. For 1995 and 1996, Guild returned to the system which used a separate serial number prefix for each guitar model, and also the first and last serial number produced for each model in each given year.

MODEL 1994 1995 1996 

(CR01) 

Guild Dating

1997 - 1999

The following chart details the year, the guitar model, and the beginning and ending serial number for each model in each given year.

MODEL 1997 1998 1999 


GUILD CUSTOM SHOP GUITARS


The Guild Custom Shop 45th Anniversary, Deco and Finesse models use a completely different serial numbering scheme. Each are numbered on the back of the headstock with the number in the given series, i.e. 1 of 45. Each also has a seven digit serial number inside the guitar. The first three numbers (beginning with 500), refer to the sequence of units made, i.e. 501, 502, 503 etc. . The last four digits refer to the date of production. The first and fourth of these numbers in reverse refer to the year of production. The middle two digits refer to the month. For example: #5077019 would mean the seventh guitar made that year, and would date to January 1997.


MODEL 1997 1998 1999 

 

 

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