One of the areas that causes the most confusion for new members of the Heritage Owners Club is how to decipher and understand the serial numbering system employed by the factory. Essentially, each Heritage guitar is (ink) stamped with a six character serial number on the back of the headstock. The characters are comprised of a leading letter, denoting the year (see table below), followed by five digits.
The five digits of the serial number encode the day and order of manufacture for the guitar. The first group of three digits represent the days remaining in the year on the day the guitar was completed. The last two digits indicate the build order on that day.
For example, a guitar with a serial number of B35012 can be decoded as follows:
From this, we learn that the guitar in our example was the twelfth guitar finished on 15 JAN 1985. One of the interesting side effects of this numbering and encoding system is that guitars built later in a given year will actually have a seemingly "lower" serial number. For instance, the first guitar completed on 1 FEB 1985 would have a serial number of B33401.
This reverse dating scheme initially seems confusing and counterintuitive, but it is actually very effective. If you are pursuing older Heritage guitars, you would seek guitars with a low initial character, followed by a relatively high set of "date" digits, followed by low trailing "build order" digits.
Now that you have a grasp of serial number fundamentals, you will probably notice that some Heritage instruments have some extra identifying marks on the back of the headstock. Below are the three known markings which you might find, in addition to the standard serial number, on the back of the headstock:
|Heritage Guitars Serial Number to Year of Manufacture Conversion|
|Serial Number Prefix||Year of Manufacture|
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