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10-Digit Serial Numbers Our current 10-digit serial numbering format that started in November of 2009 identifies where the guitar was built, the start date, and the assigned number of the guitar on that day's production schedule.
For example, the serial number for the first guitar built in the El Cajon (USA) factory on July 6, 2014 is 1107064001.
I have been playing, collecting, repairing and analyzing vintage Ibanez (and other MIJ guitars) for over 30 years, and I am often asked this question.
The reason I get asked it is because many people who are selling an old guitar without the Ibanez brand on it put something to this effect in their ad: So, if you have found this article because you are considering buying a cool old guitar, the information I have presented below should help you avoid paying more for a guitar than it is actually worth, or finding out later, when you go to sell it, that it really isn't an Ibanez at all.
To understand why a lot of people get confused about the issue of whether a guitar is "made by Ibanez" or "made at the Ibanez factory" we have to look at the relationship between Hoshino, Fujigen, and "Ibanez". (Yes, it's confusing because even Hoshino refers to themselves as "Ibanez" in their modern advertisements.) There is no "Ibanez" company or factory.
Karl and his brother, Georg, led a small team of craftsman who designed and built the Elger Guitars in a workshop in nearby Ardmore, Pennsylvania.
They continued to hand-build exceptional quality instruments until about 1964. Rosenbloom decided to stop production of the hand-made instruments and begin importing guitars instead.
They are based in Japan, but also have a US subsidiary, Hoshino USA, headquartered in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.
Hoshino owns no manufacturing facilities beyond a small custom shop in California.