Assigning a date to Duesenberg instruments both new and old is not difficult. This is because, with very few exceptions, Duesenberg instruments are numbered according to a straight-forward system.
A small number of Duesenberg guitars were built under the aegis of Rockinger in the 1980s. They are not addressed in this article. The official Duesenberg time frame, along with serial identification of instruments according to a unique numbering system, did not begin until 1995.
It was in 1995 that the first Duesenberg instruments were made available. Their serial numbers consisted of six digits in a YYxxxx format. The first two digits indicated the year of manufacture, while the following four digits indicate where the instrument fell within a sequence that encompassed all models manufactured in all years up to 2009.
950023 denotes the 23rd Duesenberg instrument, manufacture date: 1995
000765 denotes the 765th Duesenberg instrument, manufacture date: 2000
From 2009 onward, the system was redefined. Serial numbers still consisted of six digits with the first two digits designating the year of manufacture. The final four digits, however, now indicated where the instrument fell within a sequence encompassing all models within that year alone.
101145 – the 1145th Duesenberg instrument to be built in 2010
110234 – the 234th Duesenberg instrument to be built in 2011
The very first deliveries of the Starplayer Special and the V-Caster (with a two-hole neck attachment in 2002) had five or six digit serial numbers, with the first two digits presumably indicating the year of manufacture.
From 2005 on (until 2008/2009) the very first D-Caster and the D-Bass were not given serial numbers. Later models were given (as in the case of the 49er model) numbers corresponding to a new system. According to the latter, the serial number consisted of three letters identifying the instrument model, a hyphen, another letter indicating the year of manufacture (e.g. F for 2006, because F is the sixth letter of the alphabet), and a three digit number indicating the production number for that model alone.
DCA-E002 – the second D-Caster built in 2005
D49-F012 – the twelfth 49er built in 2006
DDB-H012 – the twelfth D-Bass built in 2008
Note that, in addition, 2003/2004 Starplayer TV Specials in Black and Silver Sparkle were sold – primarily on the US market – without serial numbers.
Serial numbers for the Artist Series – introduced in 2011 – describe exactly where an individual guitar falls within the total number produced in the series. The year of manufacturing is not indicated.
08 / 52 is the eighth guitar in a total production run of 52.
The Alliance Series´ Serial Numbers follow the standard Duesenberg system.
Where are all these serial numbers located?
For all hollow instruments manufactured before 2009, the serial number can be found on a sticker inside the f-hole of the body. From 2009 on – coinciding with the new numbering system also introduced that year – the sticker bears only the date of manufacture and the name of the guitar maker. The serial number itself is engraved on a small oval-shaped metal plate screwed onto the back of the headstock. By the way, most of our Violin basses also have a sticker inside the body, even though there is no f-hole. This rectangular label is affixed to the bottom of the instrument via the opening for the bridge pickup.
Already prior to 2009, the “in-between” — or alpha-numeric — serial numbers existed on metal plates affixed to the back of the instrument’s headstock.
On solid body instruments, serial numbers were stamped on the back of the headstock in gold script (or, prior to 2002, in black script). After 2009, however, solid body instruments likewise had their serial numbers etched into metal plates mounted on the back of the headstock.