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8”x8” Yamaha TT-908Y Recording Custom Rack Tom- Solid Black badge

How To Date Your Yamaha Drums

Until recently, Yamaha's official website readily provided information to users on how to date Yamaha drums. Since the information is no longer available via Yamaha's official website, I have taken the liberty to post it here, and further help readers by putting this information on how to date Yamaha drums into a more readable format since the original text as provided by Yamaha was difficult to decipher. Additionally, while this information is true for most models, there can be deviations from this information on occasion. Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below the article.


Yamaha drums manufactured between 1975 and 1989 are coded with either two-letters or a two-letter prefix in the serial number.

For example, JM or JM1234.

The first letter in the serial number indicates the year of manufacture.

First Letter Year
L 1975
M 1976
N 1977
O 1978
P 1979

Q (Japan)

X (Taiwan)





















The second letter is the month of manufacture.  

Second Letter Month
H January
I February
J March
K April
L May
M June
N July
O August
P September

X (Japan)

R (Taiwan)

Y November
Z December

For some very special drums you will notice a dot after the letters. A dot (•) after the letters indicates a research model or first run in production.


Yamaha drums manufactured between 1990 and 1999 will have a serial number in the format of [Letter][Letter][Dash]. This is quite confusing with the 80's serial numbering system as the only distinction between the 80's and 90's numbering is the - [dash] in the serial numbering scheme. To further complicate matters, Yamaha also uses a three-letter serial numbering scheme on certain models, possibly in preparation for Y2K. All Yamaha drums manufactured between 2000 and 2012 have a three-letter serial numbering scheme.

For example, MN-1234 or PIY12345. 

In the first example, the first letter indicates year of manufacture, same as in the 1980's serial numbering scheme. In the second example, the first two letters indicate the year of manufacture.

First Letter

(Two-Letter Serial Numbers)

First 2 Letters

(Three-Letter Serial Numbers)

H PH 1991
I PI 1992
J PJ 1993
K PK 1994
L PL 1995
M PM 1996
N PN 1997
O PO 1998
P PP 1999
Not Applicable QQ 2000
Not Applicable QH 2001
Not Applicable QI 2002
Not Applicable QJ 2003
Not Applicable QK 2004
Not Applicable QL 2005
Not Applicable QM 2006
Not Applicable QN 2007
Not Applicable QO 2008
Not Applicable QP 2009
Not Applicable HQ 2010
Not Applicable HH 2011
Not Applicable HI 2012


For Two-Letter Serial Numbers, the second letter is the month of manufacture, For Three-Letter Serial Numbers, the third letter is the month of manufacture.

Second or Third Letter Month
H January
I February
J March
K April
L May
M June
N July
O August
P September
X October
Y November
Z December
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Next article Definitive Yamaha Drums Colors and Color Code Guide Through 2012


Kyle Comerford - April 3, 2021

I Have a 5pc Maple custom absolute kit i bought in 2002
22,10,12,14. 14sd
The snare badge is QI-4242(2002 mfg?)
Tom’s and kick badges are in size order

Wouldn’t these, dash less, HM Serial #’s indicate an original Manufacture date of June 1981?

potherat - April 3, 2021

Hello. I have a 18 floor tom with MK- 0596 entirely original. So it must be from april 1996. But it is a pre yess with older feets legs ! The badges have a pinky colour, and decompression air system are like the pre yess system too. If made in 1996, it should have Yess system, isn’t it ?

Charles e Field - April 3, 2021

only number I can find is
SBD522 OUI03030 is this the number or were can I find it this was on the bass and looks like the rest of the drums are different

carlos - April 3, 2021

Hi, i guess mine is older, since i got it in 1988 and it was old at the time. doesn´t has letters in the serial number only 4 numbers: 8265
any help?

Paul Newton - April 3, 2021

Model # FT-814CL serial # JM (Made in Japan) is reportedly a set of Yamaha Touring Series. I have no idea what year or what type of wood…Any Help?

Paul Dasti - April 3, 2021
Hi Drum Guy

I have a set of Yamaha drums made in Japan and the serial number is 7650
do you have any idea what year they were made?

thank you
Paul Dasti

Paul Dasti - April 3, 2021
Hi Drum Guy

I have a set of Yamaha drums made in Japan and the serial number is 7650
do you have any idea what year they were made?

thank you
Paul Dasti

Wade Johnson - April 3, 2021

I bought my Yamaha Recording Series set in 1983. How do I find a serial number if it’s not stamped on the label. For example the 8" tom shows Model: TT-908RA AND Serial Number JI.
I checked my other drums 10, 12, 14, 16, 22 and snare and there are no serial numbers stamped on the labels, just year & month letters.
What do I have?
Piano Black painted finish.

pattio - April 3, 2021

Help with an MIJ Yamaha snare : Ser no 1507
no letters given. What model / year is this snare?

pattio - April 3, 2021

I have a snare drum with the 80s logo
The text reads
Ser. No 1507

There are no letters. I can’t tell by the above chart what model or year it is from. Any help?

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