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Early Korg Serials

Posted under Projects at . Last updated 2024-05-16 05:13.
Tags:reference, Korg, history

I was wondering about MS‑20 serial numbers and identifying characteristics. One thing led to another and, well, I started to compile this page. It grew substantially, and the actual MS‑20 details are now on a new page:
Korg MS‑20 Serials & Characteristics

There is also a more detailed investigation of one particular serial number:
Twynthesisers

Korg used a variety of serial number systems up to about 1984, when the last product catalogue I’ve read came out [1]; the table below attempts to make sense of them. Introduction years given and chronological order are a bit approximate as not all sources are reliably precise. Some serial numbers are linked to sources (mostly Matrixsynth (MS)); the others are mostly from online ephemera. [2][3] Numbers suffixed P are devices I have personally examined. Some instruments have appeared online repeatedly; all quasi-permanent appearances found are listed. Where an item is relisted on an auction site by the same seller it will normally be regarded as one appearance, unless additional photos etc. are given.  symbols indicate tooltips with additional information, usually dates or reliability qualifications.

This page will usually be updated as and when I see more numbers. (Additions with durable online sources or pictures welcome. Current total examples known (including MS-20s): 2,817)

Please note: Examples are noted here in an attempt to find patterns in serial numbers. The presence on this page of a serial number found on a sales site does not imply anything about the honesty of the seller; indeed there have been a number of cases where the sales seem unlikely to be genuine, and the purported sellers may not even be in the country they claim to be selling in. (Alternatively images may be reused by different sellers who are too lazy to take their own shots.)

Year-based and Other Numbers (c.1966–1981)

Most of the early serial numbers for models introduced up to c.1977 seem to be a two-digit year number followed by a distinct four-digit series for each model (yynnnn). This is shown by the existence of duplicates of the complete numbers e.g. there are two 760051s but they are different models. (See Appendix: Collisions) n.b. this means that serial numbers cannot be used to determine production numbers for these models.

However, some models have either four or five digits, but no year ((n)nnnn), and there is at least one instance of an eight-digit number.

Sometimes a particular model may change from one system to another, or perhaps use different systems in different national markets; in some cases the importer/rebadger may have used their own serial numbers which are unlike Korg’s.

Several early Korg products were rebadged, mostly as Univox for import to the USA. Some of these seem to use their own numbering.

To some extent, it is possible to determine which national market group a particular device was originally sold in by checking the rated mains voltage. [4] Roughly, that’s 100V — Japan; 117V — North, Central & northern South America, Taiwan; 220V — continental Europe, most of Africa, most of South America; 240V — former British empire countries. [5] In some instances there seem to be distinct serial numbers for the different markets.

modelintro.
year
number typeexamples
Donca Matic Rockmate[6] (beatbox) next model 1966 nnnnnn
  1. s/n not very legible.
Mini Pops Doncamatic (organ module) next model | previous model ? y​y​nnnn
Doncamatic Mini Pops 5[7] (organ module) next model | previous model 1966 y​y​nnnn
Mini Pops 7 /
SR‑95
(beatbox) next model | previous model
1966 nnnnn
y​y​nnnn
Mini Pops 3 /
SR‑55
(beatbox) next model | previous model
1967 y​y​nnnn
  1. Anomalous number; might actually be 69013?
  2. s/n amended manually from 721108.
Mini Pops 20 S (beatbox) next model | previous model 1969? y​y​nnnn
JR‑5[8] (beatbox) next model | previous model 1971? y​y​nnnn
Mini Pops Junior /
MP‑J
[9] (beatbox) next model | previous model
1972 y​y​nnnn
Synthesizer Traveler /
F‑1
(multi-effects pedal) next model | previous model
1972? y​y​nnnn
  1. Duplicate sales — see Korg Duplicate Sales, Synthesizer Traveler 720604
Donca Matic Stage Man /
SM‑20
(beatbox combo amplifier) next model | previous model
I’ve seen the introduction date given as 1973 to 1979, but the earlier end of that range seems more likely. The only s/n example I’ve seen seems to be 1975 but it’s not absolutely clear that it is a serial number rather than something else.
? y​y​nnnnnn
VCF /
Synthe Pedal /
FK‑1
[10] (filter module with pedal) next model | previous model
1973? y​y​nnnn

The model name in North America (* 117V) is Synthe Pedal and imported by Unicord, but in Japan and elsewhere († 240V, ‡ 220V) is VCF. The 240V and 220V models found have Keio Giken as the manufacturer, but that may be a consequence of their date; they seem to have been released later than the others — but this impression may change.

  1. Difficult to read s/n.
Mr.Multi /
FK‑2
[11] (multi-effects pedal) next model | previous model
1973? y​y​nnnn
K‑1 /
miniKORG /
miniKORG‑700
(unitary keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model
1973 0nnn
3nnn

K‑1 numbers seem not to form a single continuous sequence. Most are 117V models, Univox-branded.

  1. Wrong s/n (2281) in MS title.
  2. This MS article questions whether this is 3342 or 3347; but the synth is identifiable from the scratched rear label as the same as 3342 a1. (Note however that the last picture in a1 is not of the same instrument at all.)
5nnn

5nnn numbers are 100V, Korg branded

6nnn

6nnn numbers are 220V, Korg-branded

  1. 6559 has a Hohner International label. Possibly they acted as distributors in some countries? (Update, 2022-04-14: This is now confirmed with the discovery of a Hohner UK brochure from c.1977 featuring a range of Korg keyboards, beatboxes and pedals.)
7nnn
8nnn

most 7/8nnn numbers are 240V, Korg-branded

*7816 is 230V

K‑2 /
miniKORG 2 /
miniKORG‑700S
(unitary keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model
1974 (0|1)nnnn

Some K‑2s use four or five digits. This mostly looks like a single series, but dropping the leading zero after about 1300.

11423 is an outlier here, and may not be part of the same series. (Or may have an extra 1 by mistake.) All these are Univox-branded (Univox miniKorg K‑2), imported to the USA; perhaps they used their own numbering for this model?

5nnnn

One Japanese-market 100V K‑2 found. (miniKorg‑700S)

  • 50362
5nnnnn

Other K‑2s have six-digit numbers beginning 5, and are all 240/220V models. The 5 could represent 1975 — but if so, what happened in 1974? Were K‑2s only sold in the US in the first year? Perhaps these are both 74 and 75.

503- numbers seem all to be 240V Korg-branded. One 504- has turned up, for a Korg-branded 220V model which being sold from Sweden, but with an older French label. Perhaps 504- was used for 220V markets? Then there is a Korg-branded 240V 510- instance, which may represent an overflow from the initial 503- block, skipping 504-?

y​y​nnnn

From 1976 to 1979, some K‑2s have regular year-based numbers (no 78s found yet):

*240V miniKorg‑700S117V miniKorg 2. According to the plates these are imported by Unicord but they aren’t actually branded Univox.220V miniKorg‑700S

  1. Wrong s/n (770345) in MS link & title.
K‑3 /
MAXIKORG /
KORG‑800DV
(unitary keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model
1974 K‑3s have two distinct types of serial numbers, 4-digit and year-based 6-digit. From the year component of the 6-digit numbers it seems possible that they were introduced late in 1975, and that all 4-digit numbers are earlier. Both types appear to have been used in all major national markets.
0nnn

0nnn numbers are Univox- or Unicord-branded, 117V (MaxiKorg):

  1. also here with new text
[57]nnn

5- numbers (and so far only one 7-) are Korg-branded (800DV), and are mostly 100V, except: * 240V, † 220V, ‡ unknown:

  1. Reappeared a week later with new pictures.
  2. 5663 turned up twice in 2017 and again in 2021, the second and third time with a case but otherwise the same pictures. The s/n is difficult to make out; MS says maybe 6668 in a2 text but it looks more like 5663 to me; and the plate seems to also have been misstamped with 5662 during production. With the stamping device having moved on a notch, 5663 seems then to have been added with the plate the right way up rather than waste it. So there probably never was a K‑3 5662.
y​y​nnnn

Most of the 6-digit numbers are 117V Univox-/Unicord-branded (Maxi-Korg). The remainder are Korg-branded (800DV), * 100V, † 220V, ‡ 240V:

  1. also here
RT‑10 (electronic metronome) next model | previous model 1974? nnnnn
  • 41206
WT‑10A[12] (electronic tuner) next model | previous model 1975 ynnnnn?

It seems likely that the first digit of these numbers refers to the year as 197n.

  • 612885
  • 702145
  • 703903
  • 704130 P
  • 704305
  • 813745
  • 821019
  • 830769
  • 910867
  • 913428
  • 913849
  • 913629
  • 918341
  • 922933
  • 923613 a1
  • 923613 a2
  • 923613 a3
  • 923695
900PS (unitary keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model 1975 y​y​nnnn
  1. The year is isn’t quite clear, but looks like 75. The seller states that it had been owned for 45 years, meaning since 1977, but also gives 1975 as the production year.
  2. The serial number fifth digit here is unclear.
SB‑100 (unitary keyboard bass synthesiser) next model | previous model 1975 y​y​nnnn
  1. The title at Matrixsynth has the wrong number (150150).
  2. MS has wrong s/n (788122) in title.
Mini Pops 35 (beatbox) next model | previous model 1976 y​y​nnnn
Mini Pops 120
(P/W)
[13] (beatbox) next model | previous model
1976 y​y​nnnn
Mini Pops SR‑120 (beatbox) next model | previous model 1976 y​y​nnnn
  1. MS has wrong s/n (80099 or 80039) in the article text.
K‑4 /
PE‑1000 /
Poly Ensemble‑P
(piano-strings keyboard w/ synth voice) next model | previous model
1976 y​y​nnnn
  1. Could be 780186?
  2. MS has wrong s/n (80253) in article text.
  3. s/n unclear in pic; might be 780484, which is more likely as there is no other example of a 9, and notably few 8s, suggesting that production may have ceased in 1978.
K‑5 /
PE‑2000 /
Poly Ensemble‑S
(organ-strings keyboard) next model | previous model
1976 y​y​nnnn

(see note [14])

  1. MS has the wrong s/n for this in title and url; the first 7 is difficult to make out but there.
  2. MS has wrong s/n (78004) in appearance 2 title.
  3. The 3 given here could actually be an 8.
  4. Difficult to read s/n.
KORG‑770 (unitary keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model 1976 y​y​nnnn
  1. The Matrixsynth post for 770410 suggests that it previously appeared in 2011 but that was actually PE‑2000 770410.
  2. Also appeared 2023-08 eBay UK. Modded from 100V to 240V. This 770 does seem to be clearly stamped 77059 but it should almost certainly have another digit at the end. n.b. 770059 is another 770, clearly stamped with six digits.
  3. MS has the wrong s/n (074530) in the link but the right one in the page title.
  4. MS has wrong s/n (480035) in title. It has to start with a 7, but the picture is unclear; I’m going with 780035, but it could be 780835?
KA‑180 (combo keyboard amp) next model | previous model I have no information regarding the KA‑180’s introduction date. These are significantly later than the last other 5-digit serial number. But a user manual is available online, which is stylistically identical to the 770 manual, which may indicate a 1976 date. And the knobs are the same type used on it and the other 1976 models, and early (1977?) M‑500s, so this position should be about right.
? nnnnn
  • 78059
  • 78145
M‑500 /
micro-preset
(unitary keyboard preset synthesiser) next model | previous model
1977 y​y​nnnn

*rebadged as VictorEarly M‑500s had the same knob type as Korg 770s and earlier models; later ones (and all M‑500SPs) had the same as on the PS-series and later models. The change seems to have occurred in mid-1977, but all Victors so far have the early type.

  1. Wrong s/n (770323) in MS link & title. Dents and label can be compared with a2 which clearly is 770329.
  2. This M‑500 reappeared in 2023-01 with what seem to be screenshots of the same pictures, but seemingly from the same seller.
  3. Hard to read s/n.
M‑500SP /
micro-preset
(unitary keyboard preset synthesiser) next model | previous model
1977 y​y​nnnn
19nnnn

Some M‑500SPs have numbers in the upper half of the 19- block, so they might have been placed there by Korg later in the production run after they stopped using year-based numbers, on the basis that they weren’t going to sell more than 5,000 MS‑50s?

It seems likely that 95245 is one of these, but with a missing leading 1 on its label. Or it could be a missing 7; however — tentatively — given the numbers found so far, it looks as though 79s stopped in 792-. This fits with the 1978 production which also came to two thousand and something. The first digit of 1(?)95782 is not visible, but I’m assuming it fits in here too; it’s possible that it was also missing.

PS‑3010 (keyboard) next model | previous model 1977 This looks like a year-based number but since there don’t seem to have been more than a few hundred total PS-3300 and PS-3200s made it’s unlikely that there would have been over a thousand of the accompanying controller keyboards. Possibly y​y​m​mnn?
y​y​nnnn?
PS‑3100 (polyphonic unitary/semimodular keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model 1977 You’d expect the first PS‑3100s to have 77- numbers, but only 71 and 80 (which I assume is year-based) so far. So perhaps 71- was used for 1977–79 instead. (It could be a model number introduced late in production, eventually overlapping with the Poly-61. But then, where are the 1977–79 ones? Perhaps someone at Korg had become discontented with colliding numbers in 1975–1977? That said, if these are regular year-based numbers as above you’d expect them to be year+4-digit sequence, but that would imply that over 2,000 were made prior to 1980 and another 9,000 in 1980, which is unlikely given its rarity. Even 2,000 seems more than you’d expect. These numbers may be using a different system entirely.)
71nnnn
y​y​nnnn?
  1. s/n given in an accompanying photograph
PS‑3300 (polyphonic semimodular synthesiser) previous model 1977 Again it’s not clear that these are regular year-based numbers. There were supposedly only fifty or so of these built. (Though recently Korg have displayed a reissue with some differences.) Possibly these are y​y​m​mnn? Implying up to five per month?
y​y​nnnn?

Model Numbers (1977–c.1983)

The year-based number system seems to have been retired in 1981. From c.1977–83 new models have six-digit serial numbers where the first two digits are mostly specific to the model. In some instances (presumably the better-selling models) there are additional number blocks.

The last four digits usually seem to be a separate sequence for each model. This is shown by the existence of duplicates of these four digits between models. Consequently the serials should tell us something about production numbers, but we don’t get a production date.

Mostly the numbers were not separate for different national markets. But there are exceptions. Some of the leading digits do overlap between models, but as yet I haven’t noticed any complete duplicates between models.

It seems that the tuners (WT‑12, GT‑6, Micro-Six) don’t follow the same pattern, as indeed, the WT‑10A didn’t. However, as yet at least, there are no duplicate numbers, so these are probably in the same numberspace. The other overlaps are with the PK‑13 pedalboard and the KR‑55B, and there are other question marks around Korg pedals. Perhaps Korg had a slightly different view of tuners and other accessories than of keyboards and other more substantial products.

(See the Appendix below for a quick summary of these numbers.)

modelintro.
year
number typeexamples
EM‑570 (powered mixer) next model 1977 11nnnn
SE‑500 (tape echo unit) next model | previous model 1977 12nnnn
MS‑10[15] (unitary/semimodular keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model 1978 13nnnn
  1. with MS-20 439057 (MS has the MS-10 s/n in the title which however refers to the MS-20)
  2. MS has wrong s/n (730144) in title for a2.
  3. previously at reverb.com (link now dead)
  4. s/n only visible on box
  5. Duplicate sale — see Korg Duplicate Sales, MS‑10 134458
  6. A second MS-10 with this serial number. Visibly different from the first. This vintage Korg MS10 has been a valuable part of the band Sneaker Pimps synth arsenal for decades.”
  7. MS has wrong number (134937) in link & title.
  8. Peculiar; from the pictures this does seem to be MS‑10 135041, but the title at Matrixsynth has the serial number 152817, which is not an MS‑10 but an SQ‑10 . . . in fact, my SQ‑10. (boggle emoticon) And there’s a picture of the back of it in the post, which of course is where MS has seen the number. I just found this out seven years later, having owned the SQ‑10 since about a week after this went up at Matrixsynth.
  9. MS has the wrong serial number (1703C036) in the link and title.
MS‑20 (unitary/semimodular keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model 1978 14nnnn
439nnn

(see the MS‑20s page)

GT‑6 (electronic guitar tuner) next model | previous model 1978? 12nnnn?
14nnnn?
15nnnn?
16nnnn?
  • 120365
  • 122931
  • 125138
  • 140518
  • 142102
  • 143900
  • 146540
  • 147466
  • 155899
  • 161007
  • 162068
  • 168477
  • 184452
  • 187532
  • 189510

This appears to overlap with the MS‑20s and SQ‑10s, but additional numbers might extend that. [16] I have also (2022-09) seen pictures of a GT‑6 with a handwritten number 32405 but I doubt that’s its original number; it may be an inventory number. (2023-02:) There is also now a Micro-6 with a 14- number.

SQ‑10 (step sequencer) next model | previous model 1978 15nnnn

Early SQ‑10s were made with vinyl-on-chipboard ends; this changed to a plastic moulding based on the MS‑10/MS‑20/VC‑10 ends between 151215 and 151238. (Perhaps around the same time as the MS‑50 came out, which had the moulded ends from the start.)

  1. This appearance is identifiable only by box comparison.
  2. This seems to be the SQ‑10 in this demo video.
  3. Appears here alongside MS-20 144571; they were being sold simultaneously by the same seller.
  4. MS has wrong s/n (152097) in title.
  5. s/n visible on box; with MS-50 --0891
  6. Turns out there’s a picture of the back of this at Matrixsynth. See note for MS‑10 135041 above. And it also appears at this post, identifiable by dents and scratches.
VC‑10 (polyphonic keyboard vocoder) next model | previous model 1978 16nnnn

Early VC‑10s misspelled the word RESPONSE as RESPONCE on the front panel. I’m not exactly sure when it was corrected but these images show that it was probably between 160449 and 160469, though 160518 has a C as well; which may be down to reaching the bottom of an older stock pile. However, 160177 has an S.

  1. The s/n (162214) in the MS link is wrong.
MS‑02 (control interface) next model | previous model 1978 17nnnn
MS‑03 (control interface) next model | previous model 1978 18nnnn
  1. The third digit in the s/n is unclear but there’s a spot of ink that is compatible with a 0 and probably not a 1.
MS‑50 (modular synthesiser) next model | previous model 1978 19nnnn

Most MS-50s had the description Synthesizer on the front panel like the MS-10 and MS-20, but some had Expander Module instead. These seem all to have been intended for the North American market.

* Expander Module

  1. I made this -117 but MS says -112.
  2. MS has the wrong s/n in the page title.
  3. Last digit missing.
  4. MS page title has wrong s/n (90339).
  5. s/n not in pics
  6. s/n interpretable on box; with SQ-10 152730
  7. Appeared with SQ‑10 151949 this time.
SE‑300 (tape echo unit) next model | previous model 1978 20nnnn
  • 200353
  • 200617
  • 200642
  • 200699
  • 201535
  • 202560
  • 202976
  • 203387
  • 20?384
PS‑3200 (programmable polyphonic semimodular synthesiser) next model | previous model 1978 21nnnn
WT‑12 (electronic tuner) next model | previous model 1979? Not sure what’s going on here. The serial numbers are of the model-based type but mostly overlap with other models; it may be that there’s another unknown 22- model too. [17] No collisions so far. [18]
20nnnn
21nnnn
22nnnn
23nnnn
26nnnn
  • 202916
  • 204150
  • 210708
  • 210711
  • 211712
  • 221854
  • 222122
  • 224144
  • 228658
  • 229647
  • 231760
  • 232122?
  • 232784
  • 254983
  • 260193 P
Λ /
Lambda /
ES‑50
(organ-strings keyboard) next model | previous model
1979? 23nnnn
  1. MS has 23120 in title, missing 1.
  2. The MS url says this is a Sigma but it’s a Lambda. This has been corrected in the article text.
  3. MS has wrong s/n (231497) in title.
  4. MS has wrong s/n (23887) in title.
  5. MS has wrong s/n in title
Σ /
Sigma /
KP‑30
(polyphonic preset synthesiser) next model | previous model
The Sigma release date is unclear. It appeared in the Korg 1978 general catalogue, which did not contain the Lambda, so it seems likely that it came before the Lambda, but the 6-digit numbers come later in the model sequence.
1978? Some Sigmas have a four-digit number starting 0, which is usually also printed on a label on the top panel. Others have a six-digit number starting 24. It seems possible that the 0nnn group are part of the same sequence, but leaving off the 24-. [19]n.b. several sellers have written that only 1,000 Sigmas were made, but it looks like being at least 3,500 from these results.
0nnn

These were all originally 100V-rated (Japan market).

  1. The MS title and url say Lambda but it’s a Sigma.
24nnnn

All the 24-s are 117V/240V.

KR‑55 (beatbox) next model | previous model 1979 25nnnn
  1. MS has wrong s/n (25270) in title.
36nnnn
  1. MS has wrong s/n (366784) in title.
KR‑33 (beatbox) next model | previous model 1979 26nnnn
  1. MS has wrong s/n (260268) in title.
X‑911 (guitar synthesiser module) next model | previous model 1979 27nnnn
  1. MS has wrong s/n (888825) in title and text:The listing states SN 271228, but if you look at the bottom pic, you'll see 888825. This is a dealer, so I'm guessing this is just a typo.” Actually the picture is wrong; it seems to be of a Roland RE‑201 Space Echo’s numberplate. The X‑911 s/n does not appear in the photographs but 271228 is a valid X‑911 number, so I’m going with that.
  2. MS has wrong s/n (272672) in title.
Δ /
Delta /
DL‑50
(unitary keyboard synthesiser + string machine) next model | previous model
1979 28nnnn
  1. Duplicate sales — see Korg Duplicate Sales, Delta 283648.
  2. now with cardboard overlay
  3. Duplicate sales — see Korg Duplicate Sales, Delta 283837.
PK‑13 (bass-pedal keyboard) next model | previous model ? Some PK‑13s overlap (but don’t collide) in 28s with the Delta. But others are 42-, which is not otherwise occupied as yet. There may be another 42- model?
28nnnn
42nnnn
  • 280067
  • 280166
  • 280430
  • 420174
  • 421167
SD‑400 (BB delay unit) next model | previous model 1979? 29nnnn
  • 290079
  • 290175 P
  • 290818
  • 292442
SD‑200 (BB delay unit) next model | previous model 1979? 30nnnn
  • 301182
  • 302023 P
  • 302030
  • 302429 P
WT‑3 (Japanese-scale electronic tuner) next model | previous model ? 31nnnn?
  • 317957
CX‑3[20] (electronic organ) next model | previous model 1979 32nnnn
  • 320781
  • 322319
  • 322368
  • 322538
  • 323625
  • 323871
  • 323922
  • 324082
  • 324467
  • 324556
  • 324797
  • 327598
  • 327709
  • 328327 a1
  • 328327 a2
  • 329300
Trident (I) /
TRD
(polyphonic unitary keyboard synthesiser + string machine) next model | previous model
1980 33nnnn
  1. MS gives x for the last digit here as it’s obscured, but I think there’s too much space for it to anything other than a 1 in this font.
  2. The MS title on appearance 2 says it’s s/n 045692. Which it isn’t.
  3. The s/n here is difficult to make out but the instrument doesn’t have some of the dents seen on the earlier appearance of 331792 above so I’m assuming it’s -3.
BX‑3[21] (dual-manual electronic organ) next model | previous model 1980? 34nnnn
  • 340069
  • 340392
  • 340399
  • 341776
LP‑10 (electronic piano) next model | previous model 1980 35nnnn
Mono/Poly /
MP‑4
(4-voice unitary keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model
1981 37nnnn
  1. Duplicate sales — see Korg Duplicate Sales, Mono/Poly 370245.
  2. MS has wrong s/n (371557) in title.
  3. Difficult to read s/n; MS gives 072618 but it must be 372618.
  4. MS page title has wrong s/n (373456).
  5. Pictures are in the same location as a1, so similar, but are new; a MIDI upgrade has been added and the s/n plate removed.
  6. MS has wrong s/n (873463) in title.
  7. Duplicate sales — see Korg Duplicate Sales, Mono/Poly 374771.
  8. MS has wrong s/n (237991) in title.
  9. MS has wrong s/n (275545) in title.
  10. s/n wrong (075738) in MS title.
  11. MS gives 371565 but I make it 377565.
47nnnn
53 nnnnnn

These don’t seem to be original Korg number plates; presumably Hagström, the importer’s, plates and numbers?

PolySix /
PS‑6
(6-voice unitary keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model
1981 38nnnn
  1. MS has wrong s/n (3809004) in title.
  2. Duplicate sales — see Korg Duplicate Sales, PolySix 385072.
  3. MS has wrong s/n (186971) in title.
39nnnn
  1. Duplicate sales — see Korg Duplicate Sales, PolySix 390218
  2. MS has wrong s/n (ZU72723) in the article text, but the actual s/n is visible in a photograph.
46nnnn
  1. MS has wrong s/n (456042) in title.
  1. Hagström import
There seems to be an overlap in the 39s between the PolySix and the KR‑55B. (This may be why there are significantly fewer 39– than 38– PolySixes?) The numbers are a bit clumpy, as if batches of one or the other model were receiving numbers, anything from about 10 to about 1,500 at a time. (These figures may change, but the distribution really doesn’t seem random at this point.) next model | previous model
KR‑55B (beatbox) next model | previous model 1982 39nnnn
BPX‑3 (bass synthesiser module) next model | previous model 1982? 40nnnn
Trident II /
TRD‑2
(polyphonic unitary keyboard synthesiser + string machine) next model | previous model
1982 41nnnn
EPS‑1 (electronic piano + string machine) next model | previous model 1982? 43nnnn
  1. s/n given in title but not clear in pics
Micro-Six /
GT‑6J
(guitar/bass tuner) next model | previous model
MuZines has an advert for the Micro-Six from the December 1982 Music UK. So this is likely to be about the right introduction date even if there are earlier number types.
1982? 13nnnn
14nnnn
42nnnn
43nnnn
46nnnn
49nnnn
  • 136648
  • 145862
  • 429563
  • 43627(?) [i]
  • 439366
  • 460030
  • 462224
  • 490221
  • 492832

Micro-6s have turned up with 13/14nnnn numbers, like some GT‑6s. Implications unknown; possibly they were just using up known unused numbers?

  1. last digit invisible
SDD‑3000[22] (rackmount digital delay unit) next model | previous model 1982? 44nnnn
  • 441357
KPR‑77 (programmable rhythm machine) next model | previous model 1982? 45nnnn
49nnnn
  1. Might be 496090?
Some of these numbers look like the earlier year-based numbers, but they were released later than the number would indicate so I assume they are part of the model-number sequence. This could indicate gaps at 48-, 51- to 59-, 61- to 69- and 73- to 79- where I’ve seen no numbers (also, still no 10). They may be out there, but it looks as though at this point Korg just decided to allocate blocks of 100,000. (Not avoiding older numbers, however; so far one collision is known — Mini Pops 3 and Poly-61 702650 — and there are likely to be others.) next model | previous model
SP‑80 (electronic piano) next model | previous model 1982? 5nnnnn
  • 503930
SP‑80S (electronic piano with strings voice) next model | previous model 1982 6nnnnn
Poly‑61 (programmable polyphonic unitary keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model 1982 7nnnnn
  1. The same seller seems to have readvertised this Poly-61 on eBay Japan using the same pictures two years later in May 2023.
SAS‑20 (presets keyboard) previous model 1983 8nnnnn

It looks as though there were more than 10,000 of these made?

Based on results to date, it is possible that after the decision in c.1982 to use blocks of 100,000, starting with 5nnnnn, there were no models planned for 46- through 49-, but 46- and 47- were used for additional PolySixes and Mono/Polys but as the last possible 10,000 block, 49- was used as an overflow for any models that required it. In which case it is unsurprising that there seems to be no 48- model.

Just Numbers (1983–)

After some point in 1983 new models were given six-digit serial numbers which seem just to be numbers 000001-999999 [23] for each model, as a single sequence over the production timespan [24]. (Presumably some products were by now selling so well that blocks of 100,000 seemed likely to be insufficient.) If so, production numbers may be estimable, though then some of the figures are surprising.

modelintro.
year
number typeexamples
AT‑12 (electronic tuner) next model 1983? nnnnnn
  • 022254
  • 038228
  • 054678
  • 061681
  • 081741
  • 102127
GT‑60X (electronic guitar tuner) next model | previous model 1983 nnnnnn
  • 013537
  • 051878
  • 062858
  • 070660
  • 070784
  • 090221
  • 090339
  • 107851
  • 112885
  • 123802
  • 123616
  • 123672
  • 124717
  • 138768
  • 140697
  • 140996
  • 159567
  • 164834
  • 172176
  • 195275
  • 196178
  • 196724
  • 210508
KM‑50 (electronic metronome) next model | previous model 1983 nnnnnn
  • 004359 P
KMX‑8 (mixer) next model | previous model 1983 nnnnnn
  • 000031
  • 000389
  • 000635 [i]
  • 001273
  • 001372
  • 001874
  • 002285
  • 002291
  • 002723
  1. Duplicate sales — see Korg Duplicate Sales, KMX‑8 000635.
MM‑25 (powered speaker) next model | previous model 1983? nnnnnn
  • 000060
  • 001741
  • 002136
  • 002890
PME‑40X (effect pedal chassis/controller) next model | previous model 1983 nnnnnn
  • 000500
  • 000676
  • 000853 a1
  • 000853 a2
  • 001845
  • 004015
  • 004705
  • 005345
  • 008770
  • 010349
  • 010498
PSS‑50 (groovebox) next model | previous model 1983? nnnnnn
  1. new and fewer photos a few weeks later
Poly‑61m (programmable polyphonic unitary keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model 1984 nnnnnn
Poly‑800 (programmable polyphonic unitary keyboard synthesiser) next model | previous model 1984 nnnnnn
  1. MS has wrong s/n (047215) in title.
  2. s/n only visible on box.
  3. s/n only visible on box.
The CPG‑01, CPK‑01, and CPS‑01 are small LCD-based devices which can show the note positions of a range of chords for Guitar, Keyboard, and written (Staff) music respectively. They are identical apart from the LCD screen. I can’t yet be certain whether they have a separate series of serial numbers for each model or if they might be a single series. (Korg named them Chord Processors but they dont really process anything so I’m defining them as demonstrators.) next model | previous model
CPG‑01 (chord demonstrator) next model | previous model 1984 nnnnnn
  • 011660
  • 020409
CPK‑01 (chord demonstrator) next model | previous model 1984 nnnnnn
  • 014004 P
CPS‑01 (chord demonstrator) next model | previous model 1984 nnnnnn
  • 001033
  • 004818
  • 010614
DDM‑110 (programmable rhythm unit) next model | previous model 1984 nnnnnn
  • 000314
  • 001871
  • 005925
  • 008331
  • 011461
  • 014588
  • 014612 a1
  • 014612 a2
  • 014680
  • 014847
  • 016062
  • 016089
  • 016844
  • 017891
  • 019734
  • 019788
  • 021262
  • 024606
  • 024760
  • 026948
  • 027544
  • 028919
  • 029709
  • 032403
DDM‑220 (programmable rhythm unit) next model | previous model 1984 nnnnnn
  • 004592
  • 004689
  • 005117
  • 005811
  • 006274
  • 007504
  • 010794
  • 011523
  • 014222
KMS‑30 (MIDI synchroniser) next model | previous model 1984 nnnnnn
  • 000058
  • 000560
  • 001281
  • 001418 a1
  • 001418 a2
  • 002177
  • 002450 [i]
  • 002643
  • 001397
  • 002807
  • 005531
  • 005785
  • 005945
  • 006217
  1. Duplicate sales — see Korg Duplicate Sales, KMS‑30 002450.
KMT‑60 (MIDI thru-box) next model | previous model The KMT‑60 is a six-way MIDI signal repeater. I dont have any catalogue references or dates for it but I’m assuming it was released alongside the KMS-30.
1984? nnnnnn
  • 000181
EX‑800 (programmable polyphonic synthesiser module) next model | previous model 1984 nnnnnn
SDD‑1000 (rackmount digital delay) previous model 1984 nnnnnn
  • 000374 [i]
  • 004967
  • 005604
  1. for repair

Known Unknowns

No serial numbers visible on pictures I’ve seen of MS‑01s, MS‑04s, FK‑3s, FK‑4s, and FK‑5s. I have also examined a KVP‑001 pedal, and the slightly later EXP‑2 and KVP‑002, and found none. This may be typical for Korg pedals of the time. An exception is the PME‑40X — and its modules, which also seem to be just numbers, but I haven’t been taking a note of them.

Other models I’ve seen no numbers for include: KA‑180M, PS‑3040, PS‑3050, PS‑3060, Mini Pops 45, WT‑13, SP‑2035[25], Quartz.

As a general caveat regarding distribution of these serial numbers, it should be borne in mind that there is an obvious sampling bias, on the basis that the websites I can keep track of are English-language ones; while this includes some results from Japan and occasionally various parts of Europe, the bulk of these numbers are found either on eBay.uk or on Matrixsynth, which predominantly obtains results from eBay.us. Therefore units sold in non-English national markets are likely to be underrepresented. I have no good information regarding original sales proportions in non-English markets, but there seem to be very few results from, for example, Hindi, Spanish, or Swahili markets. It may indeed be that sales in these areas were quite limited in c.1965–1984, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there at all, and more significantly it doesn’t mean that distinctive serial number formats might not have been used, which are not identified in these results to date.

PEX

Some things I’ve examined personally.

704130132610148721149500152817602245004359

Appendix: Model Numbers Summary

(As found. As noted above, some of these correspondences are a little unclear.)

number typemodels number typemodels number typemodels
10nnnn? 25nnnnKR‑55 40nnnnBPX‑3
11nnnnEM‑570 26nnnnKR‑33, WT‑12 41nnnnTrident II
12nnnnSE‑500, GT‑6 27nnnnX‑911 42nnnnPK‑13, Micro-Six
13nnnnMS‑10, Micro-Six 28nnnnDelta, PK‑13 43nnnnEPS‑1, Micro-Six
14nnnnMS‑20, GT‑6, Micro-Six 29nnnnSD‑400 439nnnMS‑20
15nnnnSQ‑10, GT‑6 30nnnnSD‑200 44nnnnSDD‑3000
16nnnnVC‑10, GT‑6 31nnnnWT‑3 45nnnnKPR‑77
17nnnnMS‑02 32nnnnCX‑3 46nnnnPolySix, Micro-Six
18nnnnMS‑03 33nnnnTrident 47nnnnMono/Poly
19nnnnMS‑50 34nnnnBX‑3 48nnnn?
20nnnnSE‑300, WT‑12 35nnnnLP‑10 49nnnnKPR‑77, Micro-Six, MS-20 (493-)
21nnnnPS‑3200, WT‑12 36nnnnKR‑55 5nnnnnSP‑80
22nnnnWT‑12 37nnnnMono/Poly 6nnnnnSP‑80S
23nnnnLambda, WT‑12 38nnnnPolySix 7nnnnnPoly‑61
24nnnnSigma 39nnnnPolySix, KR‑55B 8nnnnnSAS‑20

Appendix: Collisions

All duplications (and triplications) of serial numbers found on this page. (n.b. In instances above where digits are given as unclear, they will not appear in this table.)

numberinstances
0066K‑1 0066Σ 0066
000560KMS‑30 000560EX‑800 000560
001372KMX‑8 001372EX‑800 001372
005117DDM‑220 005117EX‑800 005117
702650Mini Pops 3 702650Poly‑61 702650
760051K‑3 760051KORG‑770 760051
760093K‑3 760093K‑5 760093
760322K‑2 760322K‑3 760322
770004K‑3 770004Mini Pops SR‑120 770004K‑5 770004
770006K‑5 770006KORG‑770 770006
770024VCF 770024K‑3 770024
770041Mini Pops Junior 770041K‑3 770041K‑5 770041
770071K‑3 770071Mini Pops 35 770071
770073K‑2 770073KORG‑770 770073
770167K‑4 770167KORG‑770 770167
770172VCF 770172900PS 770172
770203900PS 770203K‑4 770203M‑500 770203
770220K‑3 770220KORG‑770 770220
770222K‑5 770222KORG‑770 770222
770325Mr.Multi 770325KORG‑770 770325
770410K‑5 770410KORG‑770 770410
770441K‑4 770441KORG‑770 770441
770474K‑4 770474KORG‑770 770474
770657K‑4 770657KORG‑770 770657
771201M‑500 771201PS‑3300 771201
780070SB‑100 780070K‑5 780070

(This table is automatically generated and may be updated without notice.)


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Notes

  1. After 1984 there seems to be an increasingly numerous and indistinct range of plastic boxes and serial numbers. I don’t feel like I have time to spend on them.  
  2. Some sources are given as year-month, eBay, country of sale, but it should be noted that occasionally the location of sale items is not given in eBay listings, only the seller’s nominal business location. In some instances the instrument and even the actual seller were elsewhere, perhaps in a different country. As I usually only check the UK eBay it’s the default.  
  3. Some sources at reverb.com were previously linked but these pages seem no longer available at 2024-05-16 so I wont be giving links there in future.  
  4. Note for people used to recent products: In this period linear power supplies were the norm, and setting these up to switch (even manually) between input voltages was regarded as an undesirable expense by most manufacturers. Digital instruments can usually get away with switch-mode power supplies, which can be built to automatically adjust to possible input voltages relatively simply. Even recent analogue instruments are less likely to have national (mains voltage) market differences, due to the use of external power adaptors.  
  5. 220V countries would also include current Chinese empire and former Soviet empire countries, but there may not have been any direct sales there. There are several examples where devices have been converted to a different voltage, including some to 230V. There is also one K1 which does seem to have an original 230V stamp, though I’m not sure where in the world 230V was a standard at the time; perhaps for touring between 220V and 240V areas? Or just a typo.  
  6. The Rockmate was also rebadged as several different brands/model names including Olsen, Lafayette Rockbeat, Knight Combo Sideman, Wexler (see examples here, here, here). To date I haven’t seen any of their serial numbers.  
  7. The name Doncamatic may be found as one or two words in different models, and it’s not always clear why.  
  8. The JR‑5 was Univox-branded and seems to be the same machine as the Mini Pops Junior. Tentatively, we might think it was simply renamed early in 1972?  
  9. The code MP‑J does not appear on the units but does appear in Korg catalogues.  
  10. The VCF (also called Synthe Pedal) was operated with an FK‑1 pedal, and is sometimes listed as the FK‑1, which in fairness is actually written on the numberplate. But contemporary Korg catalogues list the FK‑1 pedal as separate from the VCF. Confused yet? Well in addition some VCFs seem to be partnered with FK‑4 pedals. Make what you will of that.  
  11. There is another Mr.Multi at Matrixsynth which doesn’t seem to have a serial number but does show what may be a 4-digit batch number inside.  
  12. I’m not clear whether the WT‑10A and WT‑10 are precisely the same thing. Korg themselves seem to do without the A in their current materials but all these examples have it, as did their catalogues at the time. There are slight cosmetic differences between the 6/7- versions and the 8/9- versions.  
  13. The Mini Pops 120 was produced with two case types, a portable version and a not-so-portable woody-cased one. I’m assuming that these are the versions listed in the Korg catalogue as 120P and 120W, and have added the suffixes accordingly.  
  14. The MS article Korg Poly Ensemble S String Synthesizer PE‑2000 K‑5 SN 03044 (2012-02-18) shows another K‑5. While the title claims this is s/n 03044, it should be a six-digit number, probably starting with a year 76- to maybe 79-. However, I can’t make it out. The label saying 03044 seems to be an inventory number added by a studio. (Sentience Studio, from which other clearer labels also appear in several MS articles.)  
  15. The service manual for the MS‑10 states that the noise circuit was changed starting with s/n132828. (This implies that Korg used incrementing serial numbers.) It also indicates that the first MS‑10 was 130000 rather than 130001, which implies that this may have been normal for the model-number series.  
  16. The GT‑6 appears in the Korg 1978 brochure with the MS‑20 and MS‑10. In Korg’s interview with Mieda Fumio and Nishijima Hiroaki, they state that it was developed concurrently with the original MS-series models, but I have no specific information regarding order of introduction. I’m placing it between the MS‑20 and SQ‑10 on the basis of serial numbers found to date, but there may be more to come . . .  
  17. PS‑3060 perhaps?  
  18. Possibly, having used up the 22- block, someone decided they weren’t going to sell more than a thousand Stage Echo 300s or PS‑3200s, so they might as well use the spare numbers; but the 23- and 26- numbers are a bit intermingled with the later Lambdas and KR‑33s.  
  19. Rationale: No duplication found yet between the 0nnn and 240nnn, and it’s beginning to look like there may be disproportionately few 240nnns. (Update: As more numbers have accumulated it appears that there are even fewer 242nnns, which brings that into doubt. More examples needed.)  
  20. A digital revision of the CX‑3 was released in 2001, which has a six-digit number type. They are also visually distinct.  
  21. A digital revision of the BX‑3 was released in c.2001. They are visually distinct. No s/ns seen yet.  
  22. A pedal (rather than rack) version of the SDD‑3000 with later-type serial numbers was released in 1984 or later.  
  23. At least, we have two or more numbers under 100.  
  24. (Update:) This seems to be demonstrated by the existence of DDM‑220 and EX‑800 005117.  
  25. I suspect these are the 10- block on grounds of proximity to the EM‑570.  

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