I have a very old Craftsman guitar (at least 30 years old) which my dad bought second hand when he was in his early twenties. I love this guitar to bits and have done loads of work on it to try and fix it up.

I would really like to identify the model but I'm finding it hard to know where to start as it's old enough and cheap enough not to have any clear identification or serial and craftsman appear to be long gone.

So basically, I just need a list of the possible steps to identify a guitar. Are there hidden places a serial could be? Can I tell from its specific features?

And just in case someone knows there guitars really well I'll upload a picture too:

Image 1

  • 2
    Some manufacturers put a serial no. in the neck pocket (on a bolt-on!), or at the end of the neck, or in the routed out spaces for the contols. Obviously, the guitar has to be pretty well stripped to find these. – Tim May 15 '16 at 9:02
  • I'm rewiring the pickups in a few weeks since the tone dials don't work at the moment so I'll take a look then – Tim Hargreaves May 15 '16 at 9:40
  • Doing some web searches for Craftsman makes me think this is probably an ST-30, but it also could be a fake. Either the Craftsman logo and headstock shape have changed since this guitar was made, or this is not really a Craftsman. Modern Craftsman have a different font for the logo and a curled instead of rounded headstock end. The rounded shape might actually be trademarked by Fender. – Todd Wilcox May 16 '16 at 18:53
  • Trivially, it's pretty easy to identify a guitar. Does it have 6 strings and is in the shape of a deformed broom? :) – user45266 Jan 27 '19 at 21:19
  • Maybe you found this, but here’s an old auction listing of what looks like a blonde version of your guitar. Not a whole lot of information, but seller says "There is a sticker on the back of the neck plate which says 'Made in Japan’.” By that I’m guessing they mean back of the headstock, but I’m not sure. Maybe it’s helpful. worthpoint.com/worthopedia/… – wabisabied Jan 29 at 1:23

Headstock designs are usually trademarked, and it's the most popular place to put the brand and sometimes the model. Checking the headstock shape and doing web searches for anything written on the headstock is a good place to start.

Some places to look for more information, on electric guitars (particularly with bolt-on necks):

  • The back of the headstock
  • The plate for the neck bolts
  • On the body inside the neck pocket (you have to remove the neck)
  • On the end of the neck where it would be hidden in the neck pocket (you have to remove the neck)
  • On the body inside the pickup cavity (you have to remove the pickguard and/or pickups and/or other electronics
  • On a sticker placed in one of those locations (usually only the cheapest guitars use stickers)

The hardest guitars to track down are those that have no model name on them (which is actually fairly common) and that had their serial number on a sticker which has since been damaged or fallen off. At that point, you just have to try to web search the brand name (if available) and try to find it out.

At the end of the day, if you can't find any useful information about a guitar after doing some concerted web searches for the brand name, then the guitar is probably not valuable, the company is probably out of business or was an obscure sub-brand of some other manufacturer, and anything you found out probably would not help much anyway. E.g., there would probably be no OEM replacement parts available for such an obscure guitar.

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