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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.

1975-1989

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)

1980

H

1981

I

1982

J

1983

K

1984

L

1985

M

1986

N

1987

O

1988

P

1989

 

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)

October
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.

1990-2012

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)

Year
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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Comments

John - July 10, 2020

I have a sd-55oma serial JM March of 82’ nice!

Randy Severino - June 26, 2020

I have a Yamaha Snare SD493 HH-3652 So it should be 1991 January .

thanks for the Information.

Justin Gillespie - June 26, 2020

I have a Recording Custom Kit that starts with TT. I see no letters (first or second) with a T.

Joost - March 9, 2020

For MIJ this correct. For Taiwan Produktion (77-81) the letters are a tiny bit different. x =0 R=10

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