As one of the oldest and most widely recognized brands in music, Gibson has crafted some of the most cherished and valuable instruments of all time. Determining exactly when your Gibson specimen was made can have high stakes attached to it. A difference of only one year - sometimes even several months - can mean a four-figure difference in value. Our hope is to make the dating process and, in turn, the valuation as easy, accurate and transparent as possible. You should be able to use this guide to determine the year of your instrument and then consult the Reverb Price Guide to find its value, all for free. For many vintage instruments, determining the date of manufacture involves little more than running the serial number through a reference guide. Whereas Martin guitars have been using a single, consistent numbering system since the 19th century, Gibson has used several different serial number formats since its inception in , meaning that some formats and numbers overlap across decades.
The production numbers run in a consecutive order and, aside from a few oddities in the change over yearsit is fairly accurate to use them when identifying solid body instruments produced between and It consisted of numbers that are impressed into the wood.
It is also generally known to be the most frustrating and hard to understand system that Gibson has employed.
The numbers were used between the years There are several instances where batches of numbers are switched in order, duplicated, not just once, but up to four times, and seem to be randomly assigned, throughout the decade.
All numbers were impressed into the wood and a six digit number assigned, though no particular order was given and some instruments had a letter prefix.
The orange labels inside hollow bodied instruments was discontinued in and were replaced by white and orange rectangle labels on the acoustics, and small black, purple and white rectangle labels were placed on electric models. A few bolt on neck instruments had a date ink stamped on the heel area.
InGibson first introduced the serialization method that is in practice today. This ated system utilizes an impressed eight digit numbering scheme that covers both serializing and dating functions.
Gibson custom shop serial dating
The numbers show Kalamazoo production, show Nashville production. The Kalamazoo numbers were discontinued in Bozeman instruments began using designations and, inNashville instruments began using designations.
It should also be noted that the Nashville plant has not reached the s sinceso these numbers have been reserved for prototypes. Examples: means the instrument was produced on Jan. When the Nashville Gibson plant was opened init was decided that the bulk of the production of products would be run in the South; the Kalamazoo plant would produce the higher end fancier models in the North.
Note: Custom shop guitars are not supported Enter Serial Number eg. Extended Search For all Gibson guitars made prior to and reisues. Gibson (Ver. ) The Gibson Serial Number Decoder currently supports 6 formats from 4 Factories. For guitars . Custom Les Paul Collection. Mahogany Explorer. 1 Finish Options. Mahogany Flying V. 1 Finish Options. Les Paul Custom Reissue. 3 Finish Options. Custom Les Paul Collection. Les Paul SG Standard Reissue Stop Bar. 1 Finish Options. Custom SG Collection. SG Junior Reissue. 1 Finish Options. Apr 01, Gibson Custom Shop Serial Numbers Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by vadsy, Aug 27, Page 1 of 2 1 2 Next > Aug 27 the 6 means and the means it was the nd guitar (all models) that Gibson built in the custom shop that year *They made a few SG standards and LP/SG standards in late Peteyvee, Apr 1.
Certain guitar models built in the late s can be used to demonstrate the old-style 6 digit serial numbers. In the earlier years at Gibson, guitars were normally built in batches of 40 instruments.
Thus, the older Gibson guitars may have a serial number and a F O N.
Serial Number Search Gibson Serial Numbers Present This section is designed to assist in dating and/or identifying instruments manufactured or distributed by Gibson Guitar Corp. Please note that most of this information relates to serial numbers used from to present. In , Gibson introduced the serialization method that we primarily use to this day at Gibson USA, Gibson Acoustic, and the Gibson Custom facility in Memphis, TN. The serial number will be an 8 digit number impressed into the back of the headstock with "MADE IN USA" below. Jan 06, No argument here. I don't think the cause is worry about counterfeits. Gibson's history with serial numbers is a nightmare. They've tried to clean it up since the mids, but they keep sticking in changes for limited/special runs/editions, reissues, commemorative editions, signature editions and Custom Shop pieces.
The F O N may indicate the year, batch number, and the ranking order of production within the batch of You should be able to use this guide to determine the year of your instrument and then consult the Reverb Price Guide to find its value, all for free.
For many vintage instruments, determining the date of manufacture involves little more than running the serial number through a reference guide. Whereas Martin guitars have been using a single, consistent numbering system since the 19th century, Gibson has used several different serial number formats since its inception inmeaning that some formats and numbers overlap across decades. This makes it especially important to first identify the general era during which your instrument was made before pinning down the exact date of manufacture with a serial number.
If you know the backstory around when the instrument was purchased, this can provide some rough clues about its era.
Gibson Serial Numbers - 1977 to Present
The most general physical piece of evidence on the instrument, however, is going to be the logo on the headstock. The original logo featured the words "The Gibson" inlaid in pearl at a slant, with an almost hand-written cursive font. This is sometimes referred to as the slanted script logo.
In , Gibson's Centennial year, many instruments have a serial number that begins with "94" for the year, with the remaining 6 digits indicating the ranking number. Gibson Custom Les Paul, Explorer, Flying V, and Futura reissues (since late ): M YRRR or MYRRRR M is the model year being reissued Y is the production year. Gibson serial numbers to , solidbody model. A number stamped with ink on the back of the headstock. Gibson's solid bodys were released in Gibson did not use serial numbers at that time but started in The first digit of the series number is the last digit of the year. Certain guitar models built in the late s can be used to demonstrate the old-style, six-digit serial numbers. It is estimated that Gibson's Kalamazoo plant continued to use the six-digit serial numbers through and So double check the serial numbers on those s L-5s, Super s, and Super 5 BJBs!
Some earlier specimens from to did not slant the logo, or went without a logo entirely. Specimens built before had a star inlay or crescent in place of a logo.
The script logo continues without the slant. Some flattop guitars of this era started to omit the word "The" from the inlay. By Gibson had dropped the "The" from all of their logos while retaining the script "Gibson. From tothe logo was a thick golden script, known as the banner logo.
How To Date Your Gibson Guitar
The block logo debuted after WWII and remains the face of the company. There were minute changes to which letters were connected in the font between tobut the main logo had the same look. Gibson stopped dotting the i in their logo on some of their instruments. Most models get a dotted i again inwith the rest following suit from onward.
Aside from the logos, each era of manufacturing included certain identifying traits such as the hardware tuners, knobs, plates, etc. But not a final verdict.
Many older instruments may have reproduction or other non-original parts, including a non-original finish. It is not uncommon for a new model year model to be produced during the previous model year example - a model may have been built in late Example: 7 is the rd reissue model produced in NOTE - as of1st digit will be a "2" Examples: is the 9th carved top produced on the st day of CS Signature Models: The list below is not an exhaustive listing but we have included many of our most popular Signature models.
Please contact us at service gibson. Andy Summers ES Limited edition of Numbered in sequence as "13xxx" Jimmy Page Les Paul 3 versions -1st 25 aged models were hand numbered and signed by Jimmy Page, no other number is on this model.
Johnny A. Slash Les Paul 2 models - limited edition model, cranberry finish: numbered in sequence as "SL xxx" - Regular production model introduced inalso numbered in sequence as "SL xxx" Note: The discontinued Epiphone Slash Les Paul made has a standard Epiphone serial number.