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The best way to assign a year of manufacture to a guitar is to date each part individually then see how the guitar as a whole lines up to established dates.The potentiometers, or variable resistors that are turned to vary the volume or tone, have codes on the back that indicate the week and year they were manufactured.When dating an instrument by the ‘pot code,’ keep two things in mind: The potentiometers must be original to the piece (new solder, or a date code that is off by ten or more years is a good giveaway to spot replacement pots); and the pot code only indicates when the potentiometer was manufactured!If the pot is an original, it indicates a date before which the guitar could not have been built – so it’s always a good idea to have extra reference material around.

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One problem with potentiometer date codes is that they are often covered up with solder!

If the dates are off by a year or more then it’s possible that the neck and the body didn’t come together. It’s very common to find potentiometers and other electronics replaced on a vintage guitar.

Many players didn’t care about having an original vintage guitar so they didn’t mind ripping out the old electronics and putting in new ones.

Potentiometer codes are only helpful if they are original to the guitar.

Stamped on every potentiometer (volume and tone pots) is a six- or seven-digit source code that tells who made the pot, as well as the week and the year.

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