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Did the gold serial numbers on 1986 model 5/6/3B mean anything?

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  • Did the gold serial numbers on 1986 model 5/6/3B mean anything?

    There is a 1986 Model 6 for sale locally. I'm not looking to buy it, but in the ad the seller makes the claim that if the serial number is gold, they are the first run and more attention was paid to these (possibly overseen by Grover?). I've never heard this before, but I'm by no means an expert. Is there any truth to this/

    Here is a gold one from audiozone. Maybe they were all gold, no idea

  • #2
    No major significance. It just means it was made before they started stamping the serial numbers into the fretboard ends.
    I believe they switched to stamped serials to prevent counterfeiting USA models. Stickers could be sanded off. With a refinished headstock (logo swap) and a fake USA serial stamped into the fretboard, it would be hard for someone to know it was an import.


    • #3
      It is technically correct. but with a hefty dose of spin.

      *yeah, 1986 was the "first run". No one has a 1985 Model Series. No one has a 1985 import. It started in 1986.
      *yes, the original imports (not just 1986) were "overseen" by Grover. I can't say if he touched a single one of them (I wasn't there). But he was in Japan for a long time teaching them how to build HIS guitars.
      *and yes, the original imports had more attention paid to them.... which is only true because it is an accepted use of the phrase, although technically incorrect. people say "attention to detail", when they mean "are of a better quality". The truth is, we don't know what kind of QC there was then or now (Quality Control would be when one actually pays attention to details, not the actual quality level). But we do know that the original imports were every bit as good as the domestic ones. Later ones were "cheapened". QC on a cheap one isn't looking to make a better instrument, they are simply paying attention to the details ; like, making sure there are 6 strings and they remembered to put the inlays in the routes.

      Side note: I know many factories that pay more attention to the cheaper ones. If you are making high quality instruments, they tend to be cared for during every step of the process. Quality Control is assumed. The role of builder is also as an inspector. The cheap ones get churned out so fast that no one really cares, which is why they have a team of people who check them out. When good stuff has something wrong, it is one unit that is bad and it it often caught early. When something goes wrong during mass production, you lose thousands that have already been completed.


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies. I obviously wasn't clear on my question.

        I know they started stamping the serials in 87 and all from 86 had stickers. My question was whether or not the color of the lettering on the sticker changed or if they were all gold. Based off the responses, I assume they were all gold.

        And yes, attention to detail would have been a better term.

        For the record I have an 86 model 5 and 87 or 88 model 6. No difference in quality, just specs. They are both killer.