TACOMA INSTRUMENT DATING
DATING YOUR TACOMA INSTRUMENT
Tacoma Guitars began building instruments in Tacoma, Washington in 1996. In 1996 Tacoma instruments simply used a 4-digit serial number. In 1997, there were still some 4-digit serial numbers but most were 6-digit numbers of which the first two digits were the numbers 97. These may have looked either of three ways; 97XXXX, 97 XXXX or 97-XXXX.
In 1998, Tacoma introduced a serial numbering scheme that is still in use today. To help you understand the Tacoma serial numbers we’ll use a random number G 037 016 0 as an example.
• The letter at the beginning of the serial number identifies the year of manufacture and is based on a dating system introduced by the Tacoma guitar manufacturing plant in 1998, that associated the letter “B” with that specific year. Successive years are associated with the alphabet in sequence. Using this system, the letter “G” would stand for the year 2003.
• The first three numbers of the serial number are derived from the “Julian” calendar which associates each day of the year to a respective number from 1 to 365 in numerical sequence. These three numbers identify the date of manufacture by their respective numerical order. In this case, the numbers 037 identify the instrument as being made on day number 37 of the respective year, which according to the Julian calendar, is February the 6th.
• The next digit of the serial number refers to the unit type. This number will either be a 0 or a 5. A 0 identifies the instrument as having a traditional soundhole, and a 5 identifies the instrument as having a Wing (offset) soundhole.
• The next two digits of the serial number refer to the number of units of that type built on that specific day. In this example, 16, identifies the instrument as being the 16th traditional soundhole instrument built on that day.
• The final digit 0, identifies the category of the instrument as one that was supposed to have been regular production 1st quality. In cases where an instrument was returned to the factory for a neck replacement, requiring re-serialization, this final number will have been changed to a 5. In this case, the 0 identifies it as a 1st quality instrument.
• Tacoma did sell instruments as 2nds prior to FMIC’s purchase of Tacoma in October of 2004; however, they were not identified by the serial number. While these instruments were identified and branded as 2nds inside the body, they would still show a final number of 0 in the serial number. (Note: Since FMIC’s purchase of Tacoma, only 1st quality instruments have been produced and sold.)
To recap this serial number example, G 037 016 0:
G (Built in 2003), 037 (Built on February 6th), 0 (A traditional soundhole instrument), 16 (The 16th traditional soundhole instrument built on that day), 0 (First quality)
Here’s another example, D 194 508 5:
D (Built in 2000), 194 (Built on July 12th), 5 (A Wing (offset) soundhole instrument), 08 (The 8th Wing soundhole instrument built on that day), 5 (This instrument was returned to the factory at some time in its life and had the neck replaced.)