Beyond the TreesBeyond the Trees Guitar headstock 1975 to present “I built my first guitar in 1975, though I built (and sold) a variety of odd stringed instruments before then.
Q. How can someone tell the date of manufacture for your guitars?

This would be virtually impossible for my instruments built in the 1970s and early ’80s. These had no labels, signing or dating. The only way to verify that an instrument from this period was in fact made by me, as well as the date I made it, would be to contact me personally. In most instances I have dated templates, or photographs of the early ones. At some point in the 1980s I began putting in labels. The earliest labels were woodcut prints, hand painted and lettered with a date, Fred Carlson and/or Beyond The Trees, and probably our address for that period, in Plainfield, Vermont.

At some point, and I didn’t keep records of this so I don’t know when it started, I began signing my name (Frederick Carlson), with the date at time of signing, on the inside/underside of the top, usually in the upper bout area. This signing would occur before the back was glued on, so at some point well before the instrument was actually finished.

How to tell when Beyond the Trees guitars are made
In the early 1990s I began a system of numbering, to simplify future dating of instruments. This system consists of a letter or letters denoting the model, or type of instrument, followed by a number indicating how many of that type of instrument ( up to and including that one at the time of

labeling) had been made (in other words, whether that instrument was the 1st or the 21st) and a hyphen followed by a set of numbers representing the sum total of guitar-like instruments I had built up to and including that one, and a two digit number indicating the year the label was made (which is usually, but not always, the year the instrument was actually strung up).

Example: my Sympitar known as The Star Traveler was finished (and labeled) in 2004, and was the 54th guitar-like instrument I’d built. It was also the 10th Sympitar. The number appearing on the label, therefore was S10-5404 (10th Sympitar, 54th guitar, 2004). Also on the label would appear the instruments’ name, my name and/or Beyond the Trees, and our shop address at the time, or simply Santa Cruz, California.” [Source:  Fred Carlson, Beyond the Trees, email 22/3/3008]