Sometimes knowing the model number/name will narrow down the year range for your guitar.Referencing guitar catalogs can be very useful useful in this context.
Scenario 2 – the date is hidden inside a serial number Assuming you cannot find a date on the guitar, the next step if to find a serial number. It must be noted that not all serial numbers have meaning but in many cases the serial number includes date of manufacture and other information. Once you have found the serial number it is simply a matter of referring to a resource to decode the number/letters.
Here are the common locations: Top brace underneath the sound hole: Unfortunately the serial number on this Lyle Guitar does not help with dating. Not all serial numbers have published information about decoding them and unfortunately some manufacturers have not kept records or aren’t around any more to ask.
Serial numbers from this period can only date the instruments by several years precision, so it's hard to appraise one just by looking at it personally or in photo books.
In years 1957-1958 serial numbers where starting by a "-" sign, or "0" before the number.
But we know Lyle guitars were imported from Japan by L. will try to point you in the right direction for serial number decoding for many makes.
In some cases you may have to refer to the manufacturer.In the most straightforward of cases the luthier will write his/her name, the date of manufacture and even who the guitar was made for on a label smack in the middle of the sound hole like this: Now we start getting into more serious surgery.On a number of brands such as Fender and Standel a date is written either on the base of the neck or on the guitar body where the neck joins.Strings While a circumstantial long shot the strings in the case can also provide some useful evidence.I was contacted by a US owner who had an unmarked guitar that came with this set of strings.Of course this source of dating information is not reliable for brands that have been around for a long time such as Martin, Fender and so on…