What a serial number can and can t tell you about your Gibson

Originality of an instrument is very important. First Determine the Type of Guitar and the Model. The new low-end case was a black softshell with a plush deep red lining. These will generally date an instrument earlier than the serial number, articles as they were typically applied in the early stages of assembly.

The inside of these cases are also usually a deep maroon. Specimens built before had a star inlay or crescent in place of a logo. Cover was gold, nickel or after chrome plated. The inside is a deep maroon color.

The first number of the sequence indicates the decade of production, followed by the three digit day of the year, and finally the year. Gibson serial number consistency was never given much thought, as Gibson changed serial number system many times. This is very similar to Behlen's Violin Varnish still available today. Ink stamped number on back top of peghead. Around is when Gibson started experimenting with Nitrocellulose laquer, and by all models were using lacquer.

Vintage Guitars Info - Gibson collecting vintage gibson guitars

Code is ink stamped on the inside back. Many player including me prefer Gibsons of this period to all other flat tops. Many electric archtop models also converted to the tunematic bridge. Neck Shape Spanish models. Also, these cases have a pink interior satin cover that goes over the top of the guitar before closing the case.

Generally speaking, Gibson doesn't have much of a reputation as an electric bass maker. Original series Firebirds with full reverse bodies are also very collectible. Finally Determine the Originality. Hence, some serial numbers may be duplicated in different years.

This is sometimes stamped on the back of the peghead where a serial number would be on and later Gibsons. Non-cutaway post-war models are interesting but not very collectible. The exact model within the type.

How to Date a Gibson Using Serial Numbers FONs and

Archtop cutaway models made from to are also very good instruments, but are not nearly as collectible as the pre models and are more utility instruments. Some models never got these knobs such as the and later Les Pauls. Code is either ink stamped onto the label or impressed into the back of the peghead for lap steels, impressed into the back of the body. If the instrument was a flat top guitar, speed dating panama city this number was ink stamped inside the round soundhole on the inside back of the guitar. Next Determine the Exact Model.

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How to Date Gibson Guitars Using Serial Numbers

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Gibson Serial Numbers, to present. Many older instruments may have reproduction or other non-original parts, including a non-original finish. Labels hollowbody models only. There are several general questions which can be asked in determining a guitar's model, once the type of guitar flat top, arch top, etc.

Gibson Guitars Serial Number Decoder - GuitarInsite

The Guitar Dater Project - Gibson Serial Number Decoder

Vintage Gibson LapSteel Collectibility. Various serial number systems were used by Gibson, and often the same serial number could be used in the s, s, and s. This style serial number was used on all to solidbody Gibson guitars.

Gibson Guitar Serial Dating - Guitar Nucleus

Also the reflector on these knobs can be silver or gold. The exterior lubrication holes can be either small or large though most are large hole. If the model is hollow, look on the inside for any tags and made note of any ink stamps sometimes the model is ink stamped inside the guitar. Tulip plastic tuners knobs have a single ring around them. And they also have a combination lock on the main exterior latch and a leather handle.

  • Volume and tone controls and pickup integrated into the pickguard.
  • Gibson Factory Order Numbers, to - Overview.
  • Lower models used black rigid cardboard cases.
  • If you know the backstory around when the instrument was purchased, this can provide some rough clues about its era.
  • Pre-war Gibson electric arch tops are excellent instruments.


The script logo continues without the slant. The and later relector knob has a deeper post hole the bottom of the post hole comes much closer to the metal cap. The handle on the medium and high grade cases was leather covered metal. You can see the color of the wire bobbins by removing the small underside mounting screw instead of removing the pickup cover.

This is not the most desirable of the Les Paul brown cases, as it has a flat top and four latches typically this style of brown case was sold with Les Paul Specials and Juniors. These models have their own serial number system, and are not covered in this document. This stamp is also seen on the back of the peghead.

Gibson Serial Numbers

Methods For Dating a Gibson Instrument. Dating a Gibson by Serial Number. Our hope is to make the dating process and, in turn, the valuation as easy, accurate and transparent as possible. Vintage Gibson Electric Bass Collectibility. Vintage Electric Arch top Gibson Collectibility.

Some other special order custom colors were available. After the war, the red pencil wasn't used and on instruments made during the war, sometimes it's really hard to see the red penciled sequence number. This is because they are early examples in the evolution of the electric guitar.

Gibson vintage guitars history and collecting. Some guitars also have binding on the neck. This new serial number system allows determination of the exact date the instrument was stamped with the serial number, tag dating sites and the factory of manufacturer.

Les Paul Classic, present. This case was very popular for Les Pauls. Most Gibsons have some sort of body binding. Cutaway archtop models made from to are also very collectible, but are not as much as the pre-war Advance Premier models.

Today, the pedal steel has made the lapsteel obsolete. This makes relying entirely on the physical features of a guitar potentially misleading. This material can deteriote with time the tortoise colored pickguards especially exhibit this trait.

  1. Vintage Double neck Gibson Collectibility.
  2. Nylon, a thermoplastic material, was invented in by Wallace Carothers at DuPont.
  3. Gibson ukes, though not as collectible as Martin ukes, has a certain charm.
  4. The original series made by Orville Gibson generally don't sound that good, but are interesting historically.

Sometimes this is difficult, but you have to look at the format of the number, and the general era of the instrument. Most humbucking pickups first year have no decal, and a more squarish stainless steel cover. Since pre-war models are early in the evolution of the electric guitar, they are historically important. This is very rare, but seen on a few lap steels pressed in serial numbers started in for all Gibson instruments and a few Les Paul models. This case also often had a hard thin brown plastic handle that cracked very easily.

What is the color of the back of the guitar? In this case the later serial number is the one to believe, as the instrument was probably started and completed in different years. Model Body Markings non-Artist models. Vintage reissue and custom shop models use a different serial number format.

1902 to Late-1920s

These markings were stamped into the wood on the back of the peghead. The format consists of a three or four digit number, a hyphen, then a one or two digit batch number. Most Gibson pickguards prior to the mid's were made from celluloid. Vintage Flattop Gibson Collectibility. All stamps in the same size type.

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