Squier Factory Codes: Serial Number Lookup Decoder

Squier is a subsidiary brand of Fender. It’s known for producing quality, budget-friendly Fender guitar shapes. But how can you tell where an instrument was made and when? One way to determine the age and authenticity of a Squier guitar is by decoding its serial number. 

This can be a great way to make sure you are getting a real instrument and not a fake. This is especially valuable when you are buying or selling. In this article, we will explore the various formats and methods for deciphering Squier serial numbers! Including identifying the year of production, factory of manufacture, and other valuable information.

What are Squier Factory Codes?

Squier serial numbers are unique codes. They are assigned to each guitar produced by the company. These numbers can be used to determine the year of production and legitimacy of a Squier guitar. As well as the factory and country, among other things.

The format of Squier serial numbers has changed over the years. This makes it necessary to understand the codes used during different periods of production. Yet, with a little bit of knowledge and some detective work, it’s possible to decode a Squier serial number. Thus uncovering valuable information about your guitar.

Have other guitars that need decoding? We have tools for that here:

Squier Factory Code

Squier Serial Number Decoder

We have built a tool that covers a large range of Squier serial numbers. It’s limited because some of them are used more than once. But each in different countries. Our decoder would not be able to tell you accurate information. And so some of the codes are not going to be recognized.

Input your serial number to get information like the factory and date it was made. Then, explore the information below the tool to find out more about your Squier guitar! If it doesn’t recognize the number, use the tables below to figure out the information manually.

Enter your serial number in the tool and press verify!


Guitar Serial Number Verification


Understanding Squier Serial Numbers

Below you will find the countries and codes used to mark Squier guitars. This includes most models and prefixes used.

Japanese Serial Numbers

If your Squier was made in Japan, it came from one of two factories. You can determine this by the label it was given. If it says Made in Japan, then it came from the FujiGen factory and is dated between 1982 and 1987.

On the other hand, it says Crafted in Japan, it came from the Tokai factory and was made between 1995 and 2008. This is really the only way to determine what year it was made. This is because some of the same serial numbers were used by both factories!

As a result, we couldn’t put these into our lookup tool. It just wouldn’t know for sure which factory made it. Nor would it know which year it was made in. But here is some information about each factory.

FugiGen

DateSerial Number Prefix (+ 5 or 6 Digits)
1982-1984JV
1983-1984SQ
1985-1986A, B, or C
1984-1987E
1986-1987F
1987-1988G
1988-1989H
1989-1990I or J
1991-1992L
1992-1993M
1993-1994N, O, P, or Q
1994-1995S or T
1995-1996U, N
1996-1997V

Tokai

DateSerial Number Prefix (+ 6 Digits)
1997-1998A
1998-1999B
1995-1996N (+ 5 digits)
1997-2000O
1999-2002P
2002-2004Q
2004-2006R
2006-2008S
2007-2008T

USA

All Squier guitars made in the USA are from the factory in Corona, California. They come with two prefixes, which are either an E or N. The E prefix signifies that it was made in the eighties. The N means the nineties.

The first digit following the letter marks the year it was made. The serial code also includes 6 or 7 more numbers specific to the guitar.

First LetterFirst DigitRemaining Numbers
DecadeYear6 or 7 Numbers
E= Eighties
N= Nineties
E4 = 1984
N6 = 1996
Could be month and build number.

There are also some USA-made Squiers that don’t have a letter prefix in the factory code. These numbers are normally 6 digits long. These codes were not found on the headstock, but on the neck plate.

Mexico

The guitars made in the Ensenada factory use the same number system as the USA instruments. The country code appears first, followed by the decade it was produced in. These letters are N for the nineties and Z for the 2000s.

First LetterFirst DigitRemaining Numbers
DecadeYear6 or 7 Numbers
N= Nineties
Z = 2000s
N5 = 1995
Z4 = 2004
Could be month and build lot.

China

The guitars marked as made in China were produced in many factories. One of which is located in Taiwan but marked as China. This factory is known as Yako and is used to make many guitars. Some of the others located in China are, Cort, Axl, Samick, Muse, and Grand Reward.

Some of these numbers consist of up to 4 letters and make use of the year code in different ways. In some cases, the first 2 digits following the letters are the year. In others, a single digit is used to display this information. The numbers can range from 6 to 13!

LettersFirst Two DigitsRemaining Digits
FactoryYear6 to 13 Numbers
CA, CAE, CXS = AXL
CD, CT, CJ, CY, YN = Yako
CGS, CGR, CGT = Grand Reward
COB, COS = Cor -Tek (Cort)
CSS = Samick
CMC = Muse
Single Digit: YN7 = 1997
Two Digits: CAE08 = 2008
Could be month and build lot.

The prefixes that use single digits for the year include:

  • YN
  • CY

Most of the others use the two digits after the letters to denote the year of manufacture. Some of the Grand Reward, Muse, and Samick guitars have 4 letters, with the last one perhaps indicating the month. But this hasn’t been confirmed.

Korea

The factories you will find making Squier guitars in Korea include Cor-Tek, Sunghan, and Samick. These are popular factories in Korea that make many of the guitars for big brands. Their codes are relatively the same in that they use prefix letters and digits for the year.

Most of the codes use a single digit for the year, except for KC and KV. These use 2 numbers for the year, which has a range starting from 1997. CN and VN use the second letter to denote the decade.

LettersFirst Two DigitsRemaining Numbers
FactoryYear6 to 8 Numbers
CN, KC = Cort
E, S = Samick
KV, VN = Sunghan
M = Unknown
Single Digit: CN6 = 1996
Two Digits: KC98 = 1998
Build lot and other information

There are also a few serial codes without a prefix at all. These are 6 or 7 digits long, with the very first one marking the year. For example, a serial number like 601382 would tell us it was made in 1996.

Indonesia

Indonesian factories that make Squier guitars use similar codes. These also consist of anywhere from 2 to 4 letters and a series of digits. Factories here are also Cort and Samick, and they use the first two numbers for the year of construction.

LettersFirst Two DigitsRemaining Numbers
FactoryYear6 to 8 Numbers
IC, ICF, ICO, ICS = Cort
IS, ISS, SI = Samick
CSSJ19 = 2019Build lot and other information

India

Guitar manufacturers from India are responsible for a few different series. But only for a short period. Some Squier 2 guitars were made here in the late eighties. These models had a sticker applied to them with the factory code. But they tend to fall off quite easily after a few years.

You can expect to find Squier guitars made in India to have the following prefixes and numbers.

DateSerial Number Prefix (+ 6 Digits)
2007-2008CS07, SH07, or ZSSH07
2008-2009NSHJ08, SH08, or ZSSH08
2009-2010NSHA09, NSHD09, NSHE09, NSHF09, NHSG09, NSHH09, NSHI09, NSHJ09, or NSHK09
2010-2011NHS10
2011-2012NHS11 (+ 5 digits)

FAQ

Where Can You Find the Serial Number?

Over the years, Squier has changed the area of the guitar where they place the serial number. There are a few places to inspect:

  • Front or rear of the headstock
  • The neck plate
  • Neck heel

The neck heel should be inspected when there is no sign of the code anywhere else. To get at it, the neck needs to be removed from the body. This one is a last resort.

What If The Factory Code is Missing?

If you have looked over the entire guitar and can’t locate the factory codes, all is not lost! You can first try and compare your guitar to other pictures online. Look for things like pickups, body shapes, and other features.

When you find one like yours, see if you can find more information. There are also many forums of people who can help you. You can always contact a Squier dealer to help you decode your guitar.

Photo of author

Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!