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Greco Serial Number Decoder & Models

 

Before 1975, Greco guitars did not have Serial Numbers. It is therefore the format of the logo, the serial of the pickups, the finish and the hardwares that can help determine the year of manufacture of the instrument.

1st Format – Greco guitar serial number from mid 1975 up to and including 1999.

The serial number contains a letter and six digits :

  • For example, F761020 means:
  • F = month (A = January, B = February … F = June, L = December)
  • 76 (first 2 digits) = year (76 = 1976, 79 = 1979)
  • 1020 (last 4 digits) = production sequence.
Note : this serial format (Letter + 6 digits) was the only one in use from mid 1975 to 1979. However, it was still in use in the 80s and the 90s.

2nd Format – Greco guitar serial number from 1980 up to and including 1994.

The serial number contains 5 digits as shown in the pictures below (this system was inspired by Gibson). There is often a space between the first digit and the following.

  • For example, 0 5730 means:
  • First digit = year (0 = 1980 or 1990, 2 = 1982 or 1992)
  • 4236 (last 4 digits) = production sequence.
Note: As mentioned previously, the serial number format with “1 letter + 6 digits” still was in use during the 80s and 90s.

3rd Format – Greco guitar serial number in the mid 80s

In the mid 80s (1984-1985), there is one more serial number format with “1 letter + 5 digits” as shown in the pictures below.

  • For example, C 51020 means:
  • C = month (A = January, B = February … F = June, L = December)
  • 5 (first digit) = year (5 = 1985)
  • 1020 (last 4 digits) = production sequence.

After 1995, serial numbers follow the same logic as the first format, “1 letter  + 6 digits”.

Examples of Greco guitar and bass models:

Models above 700 usually have a nitrocellulose finish. The model designation consists of 2 or 3 letters followed by a number:

  • EGF = Les Paul Standard Flametop,
  • EGC = Les Paul Custom,
  • EG = Les Paul Standard,
  • EJr = Les Paul Junior,
  • EGS = Les Paul Special,
  • MM ou MG = Melody Maker,
  • FV = Flying V,
  • EX = Explorer,
  • PB = Precision Bass,
  • JB = Jazz Bass,
  • TB = Thunderbird Bass,
  • EB = Eb Bass,
  • SS = SG Models,
  • JM = Jazz Master,
  • JG = Jaguar,
  • SE = Strats,
  • TE = Telecasters,
  • SA = Semi-acoustic (models like 335),
  • FA = Full acoustic (models like ES-150),
  • L = models like L-5

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Comments :

25 Responses

  1. I have a Greco N50, blonde, with what looks to simply be the serial #4 stamped in the headstock back. How do I find the value of my guitar? I bought it in 1980 in Portland, Oregon.
    Thanks for any help anyone can give me!

  2. I have a Greco that has been in my family for years. In bad shape. I’m trying to find determine what’s kind it is, but can’t figure it out. The plate on the back just says Japan and the Greco on the head is written in cursive. Two f grooves, two dials, 2 positions on the mic switch. Is there any way I can find out more about this guitar? Thanks

      1. Thank you so much, I had not looked those catalogs, I must have missed them. I searched for a while earlier. Anyway, it looks like a 1967 920, but without the pick guard and not in very good shape (hazards of teenagers learning how to play, I guess). Thanks again. I can send you a picture if you’d like to further verify, but it’s not necessary. I’d just like to get it back in working order and see how it sounds. Thanks again!

        1. Hi Frankie, great info, I’m amazed how much information you’ve amassed. This may be a stupid question, but is there some standards for the end of the model numbers, such as EG550R, S, GS etc? I assume they are colour codes? I’m looking at a EG550R, does the R stand for red burst? I couldnt find that model in the 75 catalogs but there was a EG550S. Is it safe to assume the spec is the same regardless of the last letter for these models?

          Thanks

          Andrew

          1. Hi Andrew, you’re totally right. The last letter is the color codes: R = Red Burst, S = Sun Burst, B = Black, W = White, G = Gold …
            The specs are the same regardless the the last letter, differences are the color of the guitar and hardware color too.

          2. Thanks Frankie, another question I wonder about is the dates for neck design… it seems early cheap models had a 4 bolt neck, higher end models had thru neck, and then late there was also a single bolt with 2 screws thru from the neck pickup pocket into the neck? Do you have any wisdom around years these changes occurred? Ive seen a few thru necks with cracking, although it is claimed the cracking is only in the finish. Is that a common issue with the thru necks? Thanks a lot for your help. Hopefully this will help others too.

          3. Hi Andrew, the 4 bolt neck lasted until 1977 for low end Greco (not low end guitars at all, just low end series of the brand). Then single bolt with 2 screws in the neck pocket appeared later in the 90’s I guess but I’m not sure about the exact period.
            About the cracking, you have to look very well to the pics and make your own opinion. It can be a simple cracking in the finish indeed or a more serious issue generally in the head joint; that’s kind of things happen. Hope that’s help.

  3. Thanks Frankie, great help! Im trying to decide between a late 70s 550 or a 700… the 550 has some nice binding and fancy inlay in the headstock, but I read the 700 is a better instrument… more research required 🙂

  4. Hi, i’m hoping you can help me place the year and any other info about this Greco thinline tele i just bought?! I will attach pictures. Its serial number doesnt match any other info ive found online (it even misspells guitar as “guiter” on headstock…! Its a great axe, very glad to have it!

    Oh well guess i cant attach pictures, headstock says “ Gneco “ then “electric solid guiter 2543611 02634 82448”

    Thanks so much!
    Bru in New Orleans

  5. Hi Frankie,
    I am looking at purchasing a lovely Black Custom Greco however now have a few alarm bells going off as there is no serial number. Does this mean it’s fake or been altered? Are there any that came out without serial numbers?
    Cheers,
    Steve

  6. Hello & thanks for the great info you have provided so far on the site.

    I’m trying to investigate a ‘Blackguard’ TL800 – claimed to be late 70s. None appear in the catalogues until 1980.
    The tuners have been changed, as has the bridge plate, so now there are individual saddles rather than the 3 brass ones. My major problem is the 8 digit serial on the back of the neck plate (no preceding letter). I have asked for more info and have seen photos of the neck join which is stamped S-20 6KL. Does any of this mean anything to anyone, or is it something I should stay clear of?

    Thanks for any clues you might be able to offer!

    Best wishes,

    Paul

  7. Hi Frankie – you really are the font of knowledge for these instruments!
    So, what do you know about neck profiles please? I’m looking for ‘my’ Greco amongst all the variations and definitely focussed on the higher end Lesters EG800/900/1000 models from the late 70’s as most likely. I keep seeing different descriptions, like 60’s slim, 59 rounded etc, but are there standard profiles for these models do you know?

    Cheers

    Richard

  8. Are Greco guitars Sa650 rare ? And do you know about how many were manufactured? Thanks so much for a reply back

  9. Frankie, thanks so much for sharing all this very useful information! I have a Greco short-scale double cutaway bass that I thought was from the 70’s but with s/n G871901, I now figure it must be from July 1987. It’s a fantastic bass that really thumps!
    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge, it’s much appreciated.

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