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Gretsch used several different serial number schemes through the years.
Each of them can be used to accurately pinpoint the age of a guitar, if you have the correct information.
Serial numbers have six numbers, with a three digit suffix. The final numbers are the sequential order of the model made during the lifespan of the model (not that year).
For example, 946119-976 would be a June 1994 Tennessee Rose, the 976th made.
Most online guides (and quite a few print guides) are based on Jay Scott's groundbreaking book "Gretsch: the guitars of the Fred Gretsch Company," which is a fine book, but is nearly two decades old.
Subsequent research has unearthed quite a few inaccuracies in Scott's numbers, so any serial number guides cribbing from Scott are also incorrect.
The Gretsch-GEAR database exists to get it right: to document the actual serial numbers, to determine once and for all what was built and when, and to harness the collective knowledge of thousands of Gretsch fans to put the pieces together.
On hollowbodies, the label is usually visible through the f-hole.
On other models such as solidbodies, it should be inside a control cavity.