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.
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. 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.
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The script logo continues without the slant. Some flattop guitars of this era started to omit the word "The" from the inlay.
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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.
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. This makes relying entirely on the physical features of a guitar potentially misleading.
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The thickness of the headstock, however, is not as vulnerable to modification or replacement. Before mid, most Gibson headstocks were thinner at the top when looked at from a side profile.
Afterheadstocks had uniform thickness. Gibson has historically used two different alpha-numerical formats to catalog its instruments: serial numbers and FONs Factory Order Numbers. Instruments will generally have one or both of these numbers stamped or written either inside the body generally the case on earlier models or on the back of the headstock.
These will generally date an instrument earlier than the serial number, as they were typically applied in the early stages of assembly. Some earlier lower-end models had no serial number at all, making the FON the sole numerical identifier in those cases.
A FON usually consisted of a 3- 4- or 5-digit batch number followed by one or two other numbers in most cases. From tothe FON included a letter suffix.
The consistency around this stopped during WWII and resumed in the early s. To complicate matters further, there was sometimes a second letter from to indicating the brand G for Gibson, K for Kalamazoo, W for Recording King and sometimes even a third letter indicating "Electric" the letter E.
The year is indicated by the first letter in any series of letters for these years. Throughout the war and even for some time after, each year had its own quirks around FON batch numbers and letters.
From toa consistent letter code resumed, with the letter appearing before the batch number. Below is a table of the the highest known number for each production year. Early Gibson solidbody electrics received a serial stamp on the back of the headstock, with the first number indicating the year of production.
The serial number on this Les Paul Junior indicates that it was made in Ranking numbers for Bozeman start each day at and the electrics may start as low as the s. Examples: means the instrument was produced on Jan.
The sixth number is now a batch number- batch 0 starts at the beginning of the day, and once we stampthe batch number will change to 1. The first 5 numbers remain the same, the last 3 numbers will remain the same.
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The only difference is the addition of this batch indicator. Most will be 5 to 6 digits in length, but the earliest examples feature 4 digit serial numbers. There should be a space after the 1st digit with the 4 and 5 digit serial numbers, and no space with the 6 digit numbers.
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. The Gibson serial number decoder Date a Gibson guitar by serial number From to Gibson have used an 8 digit serial number on all of their guitars. This can be easily decoded to show the exact day that the guitar was manufactured along with the location of the Gibson factory. 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.
The 1st and 2nd indicate the year of manufacture for the 6 digit serial numbers which we've been using since Gibson USA to present - These serial numbers cannot be dated to a specific day of the year.
The new model year typically launches in the fall as the current model year winds down. 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.
54 rows in Gibson changed the serial number pattern and in went from white labels to . The Gibson Serial Number Decoder currently supports 6 formats from 4 Factories. For guitars made prior to use the extended search function. This new function will try to match the serial number against older formats, details required for an exact match are listed in yellow.