Serial numbers Gibson guitars decoder - GuitarInsite (2022)

Gibson serial numbers 1952 to 1961, solidbody model

Serial numbers Gibson guitars decoder - GuitarInsite (1)

A number stamped with ink on the back of the headstock.

Gibson's solid bodys were released in 1952. Gibson did not use serial numbers at that time but started in 1953.

The first digit of the series number is the last digit of the year.If the stamped number consists of 5 digits, there is a space between the first and second digit(a separation between the last digit of the year and the actual serial number).

If it concerns a 6-digit serial number, there is no space, because the highest4-digit number (9999) has been exceeded and the space therefore fills up.This was the case in the years 1955, 1956, 1959 and 1960.

In 1955, Gibson forgot to reset the series of serial numbers to 0001.
So they had only set the year from 4 to 5.For this reason the series of 4 digit serial numbers was exceeded after 9999.
Hence 5 digits and no space between the year (5) and the serial number.(after 5 9999 came 510 000)

Apparently the production was high in 1956 because 6 9999 is exceeded.Also in 1959 and 1960 there was a high production, 9 9999 is exceeded to 932 000 or higher.
Thus, from the production in 1959, a 1, 2 or 3 may be the second digit.

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Gibson stopped the stamped serial numbers at the end of 1960, although a few instruments were made in 1961 with a 1 as a prefix.Some lap steels and Les Paul's from 1961 have such a serial number.

Another exception to the above rules is in the fall of 1958, where some Les Paul Juniors and Specials had a four-digit serial number.


1st digit PRODUCTION YEAR
None 1952
3 1953
4 1954
5 1955
6 1956
7 1957
8 At the end of 1958, a number of LP Juniors/Specials had a four-digit serial number without a prior annual digit 1958
9 1959
0 1960
1 (rare) 1961


Gibson serial numbers, from February 1961 until 1970
Gibson started in 1961 with a new series numbering system.
They wanted to apply a more structured series of sequences, but in practice the opposite happened.Numbers were reused during this period, and in many cases the numbers were not strictly applied for successive years.
For all models, the serial number is stamped on the back of the headstock.A number of serial numbers were duplicated from 1963
to 1969.
From this period the 5-digit and 6-digit numbers are easy to confuse and give an incorrect year.

Serial PRODUCTION YEAR

0100 - 424401961
42441 - 611801962
61450 - 642221963
64240 - 710401964
71041 - 96600 1962 (some 1963 and 1964)
96601 - 999991963
000001 - 0999991967 (all 6-digit numbers starting with 0. are 1967)
100000 - 1060991963 or 1967
106100 - 1068991963
109000 - 1099991963 or 1967
110000 - 111549 1963
111550 - 115799 1963 or 1967
115800 - 1182991963
118300 - 1209991963 or 1967
121000 - 1399991963
140000 - 1401001963 or 1967
140101 - 1443041963
144305 - 1443801964
144381 - 1498641963
149865 - 1498911964
149892 - 1529891963
152990 - 1742221964
174223 - 1766431964 or 1965
176644 - 2503351964
250336 - 3059831965
306000 - 3109991965 or 1967
311000 - 3201491965
320150 - 3206991967
320700 - 3291791965
329180 - 3301991965 or 1967
330200 - 3322401965, 1967 or 1968
332241 - 3480921965
348093 - 3491001966
349121 - 3686381965
368640 - 3698901966
370000 - 3709991967
380000 - 3853091966
390000 - 3909981967
400001 - 4066661966
406667 - 4096701966 - 1968
409671 - 4109001966
410901 - 419999(niet bekend)
420000 - 4291931966
500000 - 5009991965, 1966, 1968 or 1969
501009 - 5016001965
501601 - 5017021968
501703 - 5027061965 or 1968
503010 - 5031091968
503405 - 5209551965 or 1968
520956 - 5300561968
530061 - 5308501966, 1968 or 1969
530851 - 5309931968 or 1969
530994 - 5399991969
540000 - 5407951966 or 1969
540796 - 5450091969
555000 - 5579991966
558000 - 5674001969
570087 - 5706431966
570645 - 5707551966 or 1967
570857 - 5709641966
580000 - 5800801969
580086 - 5809991966, 1967 or 1969
600000 - 6009981966, 1967, or 1968 (low end models)
600000 - 6060901969 (high end models)
700000 - 7008031966, 1967 or 1969
750000 - 7509991968 or 1969
800000 - 8009991966, 1967, 1968 or 1969
801000 - 8128381966 or 1969
812900 - 8199991969
820000 - 8200871966 or 1969
820088 - 8238301966
824000 - 8249991969
828002 - 8474881966 or 1969
847499 - 8589991966 or 1969
859001 - 8919991967
892000 - 8969991968
897000 - 8989991967 or 1969
899000 - 8999991968
900000 - 9099991970
910000 - 9999991968

Gibson serial numbers, early to mid seventies
From 1970 to 1975 the 6 digit serial numbers were randomly created.

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In a random order, numbers were stamped on the back of the headstock. With some instruments preceded by a letter.

In 1970 the orange labels inside the body of acoustic guitars were replaced bywhite with orange rectangular labels.

Serial numbers Gibson guitars decoder - GuitarInsite (2)

The electric models were provided witha rectangular with black and purple triangle.
From 1970 "MADE IN USA" was also stamped on the back of the headstock.Some instruments from the fifties also had such a stamp.

Gibson serial numbers, 1970-1975
After production continued by Gibson's new company Norlin (1969-1986), the same confusing six-digit serial system from the 1960s continued until 1975.(see: Norlin)
This means that instruments with the same serial number were produced either in the 1960s or 1970s.

Guitars got six digits in random order, and in some cases they were preceded by a letter thatdid not seem to have meaning.

Note that the serial numbers between 1970 and 1975 may be a repeat of the serial numbers from 1964 and 1965.In 1970 some 6 digit serial numbers had the letter A as a suffix.

The table below shows the years to which the numbers can relate.


Seral number range PRODUCTION YEAR
000000 - 099999 1973
100000 - 199999 1970 - 1975
200000 - 299999 1973 - 1975
300000 - 399999 1974 - 1975
400000 - 499999 1974 - 1975
500000 - 599999 1974 - 1975
600000 - 699999 1970 - 1972 and 1974 - 1975

Limited Editions
The limited editions from 1975 to 1977 have a gold colored serial number and imprint "Made in USA".These serial numbers are preceded by 2 digits. 99 = 1975, 00 = 1976 and 06 = 1977.

Serials 1977 - June 2005
Gibson's most sustainable numbering system was launched in 1977, an eight-digit number.The first and fifth digits represented the year of manufacture.The three intervening digits, the day of that year.
The digits six to eight indicated the sequence number.
Example: 80923015
80923015 is: 1983, day 092 (day 92 of 1983 is 2 April), production number 015.

After the opening of the new factory in Nashville, production was also included in the serial numbers.001 to 499 appeared on instruments built in Kalamazoo, 500 to 999 built in Nashville.

Even after the Kalamazoo plant closed in 1984, this process continued until 1989 in Nashville.

In July 2005 this 8 digit system was updated by adding 1 digit.The 6th digit is now the batch number, and the last 3 digits are the sequence number of the batch. The sequence number runs from 500 to 699.
Example:
113142030is the

30th instrument from batch 4 of May 11, 2014.
When 699 is reached the batch number is incremented by 1, and the sequence number is reset to 500.
This coding system was used until 2014.

This system was changed again at the beginning of 2014.
The day and batch number were no longer included in the serial number. The serial number now consists of 9 digits, the first 2 of which indicate the year and the next 7 digits the sequence number.

160001234 is production year

2016 with sequence number 0001234.

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Serial numbers Gibson guitars decoder - GuitarInsite (3)

Serial number punch stamping machine, Gibson factory

Gibson closed the Memphis plant in April 2019.
The production of "USA made" solid body guitars is now only produced in Nashville.


The first logo (1902-1920) on Gibson's guitars was in italic typeface, inlaid with pearl.Some specimens from 1903 to 1907 were not oblique, or had no logo at all.

During the period from the end of the 1920s to 1933 the logo was no longer placed obliquely. From some flattop guitars from this era the word "The" was omitted from the logo.From the end of 1933 to 143, Gibson had omitted the "The" of all their logos. The original thin letters were replaced after 1933 by a thicker font.

From 1943 to 1947 the logo was printed in thick gold, also called the banner logo. Some models, such as the LG-2 and the L-50s, have a real banner in the middle of the headstock with the text "Only a Gibson Is Good Enough".

The block logo made its appearance after World War II and is till the face of Gibson to this day.
Between 1968 and 1981 the dot on the "i" was omitted on some guitars. Most models get a dot on the "i" again in 1972, the rest follows from 1981.

FAQs

How do you decode a Gibson serial number? ›

The 1st and 2nd indicate the year of manufacture for the 6 digit serial numbers which we've been using since 2000. Those beginning with "94": In 1994, 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.

Can you look up guitars by serial number? ›

You can look up a serial number either in Gruhn's Guide or run the number in the manufacturer's database. The serial number itself will give you date information and the database will have a description of the guitar so you can check the specs of the guitar in question.

How can I tell if my Gibson serial number is real? ›

Serial numbers: Gibson serial numbers are stamped on the back of the headstock, and appear dark. Fake serial numbers often appear white.

How do you read a 9 digit Gibson serial number? ›

How To Decode A Gibson Serial Number With Examples - YouTube

How do I identify my Gibson guitar? ›

In contrast to finding Fender serial numbers (which can be in a variety of places), locating Gibson serial numbers is more straightforward. What is this? On electrics, they are almost always on the back of the headstock, at the top. On acoustic guitars, they're usually in the soundhole.

How do you date a Gibson? ›

Gibson's most sustainable numbering system was launched in 1977, an eight-digit number. The first and fifth digits represented the year of manufacture. The three intervening digits, the day of that year. The digits six to eight indicated the sequence number.

How can you tell what year a guitar was made? ›

There should be a date on the neck and a date on the body. If those two dates match up, that's probably the exact date your guitar was built.

How much does it cost to get a guitar appraised? ›

Expect to pay between $50 to $275 for an instrument appraisal (or more for extremely rare or expensive instruments). So if you think a guitar is only worth $300, that $250 appraisal might not be a great idea.

What makes a guitar vintage? ›

A vintage guitar is an older guitar usually sought after and maintained by avid collectors or musicians. The term may indicate either that an instrument is merely old, or that is sought after for its tonal quality, cosmetic appearance, or historical significance.

How do I tell what year my Gibson Les Paul is? ›

The first digit of this style serial number indicates the last digit of the year it was manufactured. For example, this Les Paul's serial number is "7_6227" so it was made in 1957.

How do you read BC Rich serial numbers? ›

When distribution came back to B.C. Rich in 1974, a system of serial number coding began using a 5-digit code (XXYYY) with the first 2 digits indicating the year and the last 3 indicating the production number. That would make the first guitar of 1974 to have been numbered 74000, followed by 74001, 74002, 74003, etc.

When did Gibson start stamping serial numbers? ›

Gibson did not use serial numbers at that time but started in 1953. The first digit of the series number is the last digit of the year. If the stamped number consists of 5 digits, there is a space between the first and second digit (a separation between the last digit of the year and the actual serial number).

When did Gibson change serial numbers? ›

When Gibson start the production of solidbody guitars in 1952, a new serial number system was developed. NOTES: not used on the earliest instruments produced (those done in 1952), a few of these instruments have three digits stamped on the headstock top. In 1961, Gibson started a new serial number system.

How can you tell a fake Gibson Les Paul Supreme? ›

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Where are Gibson Les Paul serial numbers? ›

The serial number will be an 8 digit number impressed into the back of the headstock with "MADE IN USA" below. RRR is the factory ranking/plant designation number.

What is a Gibson SG? ›

The Gibson SG is a solid-body electric guitar model introduced by Gibson in 1961 as the Gibson Les Paul SG. It remains in production today in many variations of the initial design. The SG (where "SG" refers to Solid Guitar) Standard is Gibson's best-selling model of all time.

How do you date a vintage Gibson acoustic? ›

Peghead Logos
  1. "The Gibson" slanted or straight (depends on model): 1908-1929.
  2. "The Gibson" straight: 1933-1934.
  3. "Gibson" logo transition (without "The"), varies by model: 1928-1934.
  4. Pearl inlaid, high-end models: 1933-1948.
  5. White silkscreen, low-end models: 1928-1943.

Where are Gibson guitars made? ›

All Gibson guitars are made in the USA. With their solid-body and hollow-body guitars manufactured at their Nashville headquarters, Gibson's acoustic guitars are produced at a separate Montana-based factory. The company's semi-hollow and hollow-body guitars were previously made in their iconic Memphis plant.

How can you tell a fake Gibson Hummingbird? ›

How to spot a fake Gibson:
  1. Measure the guitar to check if it's undersized. ...
  2. Examine headstock and headstock logo to determine that they match those of authentic Gibson guitars.
  3. Check to see that all pearl is inlaid.
  4. Check that Les Paul model script is always in cursive.
  5. Verify that there's not a 3-screw truss rod cover.
4 Sept 2008

What is the headstock of a guitar? ›

A headstock or peghead is part of a guitar or similar stringed instruments such as a lute, mandolin, banjo, ukulele and others of the lute lineage. The main function of a headstock is to house the pegs or mechanism that holds the strings at the "head" of the instrument.

How do you date a Gibson es125? ›

Early post-war ES-125s have no serial number, but can be dated by the Factory Order Number, or FON. The number should be rubber stambed inside the guitar on the back panel, visible through the treble side f-hole.

Do guitars increase in value with age? ›

Certain guitars do increase in value with age, while others do not. Appraisers need to take different factors into account, including the material from which it was made, the country of origin, the amount of skilled handwork that it took to make it, and whether or not a famous person may have once owned it.

How do you tune your guitar? ›

How to Tune Your Guitar For Beginners - YouTube

How do you read ESP LTD serial numbers? ›

It consists of 1 or 2 letters followed by 7 digits. The letter (s) indicate the location of manufacture. The first 2 digits are the year, the next 2 digits are the week number, the 5th digit is the day of the week and the last 2 digits is the production number.

How do I know if my guitar is worth money? ›

A quick Google or Ebay search of your make and model will show you what others are selling guitars like yours for. You can also consult the Blue Book of Guitar Values to see what it is worth. Another great resource is Vintage Guitar Magazine's Price Guide, which is regularly updated and available at Amazon.

How much are guitars worth? ›

Most guitarists, in my experience, will buy somewhere in the $500 to $1,500 range. Beginners usually spend between $100 and $500. More serious guitarists who have a high budget can spend anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000.

What is an instrument appraisal? ›

An appraisal states our opinion about an instrument. Verbal appraisals are an informal spoken assessment of the origins and current market value of an instrument. They are useful if you do not want to insure your instrument but want to know about its origins and an idea of its worth.

How do you date a Gibson? ›

Gibson's most sustainable numbering system was launched in 1977, an eight-digit number. The first and fifth digits represented the year of manufacture. The three intervening digits, the day of that year. The digits six to eight indicated the sequence number.

How do I find out what year my Gibson Les Paul is? ›

6 digits or less and ink stamped:

The first digit of this style serial number indicates the last digit of the year it was manufactured. For example, this Les Paul's serial number is "7_6227" so it was made in 1957.

What year was my guitar made? ›

Look for a date marker on the neck.

There should be a date on the neck and a date on the body. If those two dates match up, that's probably the exact date your guitar was built.

How do you date a Les Paul guitar? ›

The most important dating feature on guitars with six-digit serial numbers is that, starting in 1970, Gibson began stamping “Made In USA” near the serial number on the back of the headstock. Since the value of a Gibson Les Paul differs widely between 1970 and 1975, it is very important to pinpoint the year.

How can you tell a fake Gibson Les Paul? ›

An easy first spot is the truss rod cover. A genuine Gibson Les Paul will only ever have 2 screws in the truss rod cover, and they should be vertically aligned, one at the top, one at the bottom. If it has 3 screws, no matter which orientation, it is almost certainly a fake.

How do you date a vintage Gibson acoustic? ›

Peghead Logos
  1. "The Gibson" slanted or straight (depends on model): 1908-1929.
  2. "The Gibson" straight: 1933-1934.
  3. "Gibson" logo transition (without "The"), varies by model: 1928-1934.
  4. Pearl inlaid, high-end models: 1933-1948.
  5. White silkscreen, low-end models: 1928-1943.

What is a Gibson SG? ›

The Gibson SG is a solid-body electric guitar model introduced by Gibson in 1961 as the Gibson Les Paul SG. It remains in production today in many variations of the initial design. The SG (where "SG" refers to Solid Guitar) Standard is Gibson's best-selling model of all time.

How much does it cost to get a guitar appraised? ›

Expect to pay between $50 to $275 for an instrument appraisal (or more for extremely rare or expensive instruments). So if you think a guitar is only worth $300, that $250 appraisal might not be a great idea.

Where are Gibson guitars made? ›

All Gibson guitars are made in the USA. With their solid-body and hollow-body guitars manufactured at their Nashville headquarters, Gibson's acoustic guitars are produced at a separate Montana-based factory. The company's semi-hollow and hollow-body guitars were previously made in their iconic Memphis plant.

How can you tell a fake Gibson Hummingbird? ›

How to spot a fake Gibson:
  1. Measure the guitar to check if it's undersized. ...
  2. Examine headstock and headstock logo to determine that they match those of authentic Gibson guitars.
  3. Check to see that all pearl is inlaid.
  4. Check that Les Paul model script is always in cursive.
  5. Verify that there's not a 3-screw truss rod cover.
4 Sept 2008

What makes a guitar vintage? ›

A vintage guitar is an older guitar usually sought after and maintained by avid collectors or musicians. The term may indicate either that an instrument is merely old, or that is sought after for its tonal quality, cosmetic appearance, or historical significance.

How old is the guitar? ›

guitar, plucked stringed musical instrument that probably originated in Spain early in the 16th century, deriving from the guitarra latina, a late-medieval instrument with a waisted body and four strings.

How do you tell if your guitar is classical or acoustic? ›

Acoustic vs. Classical Guitar: What are the major differences?
  1. Shape. Most acoustic guitars come in a dreadnought shape in a standard parlor size. ...
  2. Neck. Typically, a standard classical guitar has a wider neck than an acoustic guitar. ...
  3. Bridge. A classic wrap-around bridge is used on a standard classical guitar.
6 Feb 2020

When did Gibson start stamping serial numbers? ›

Gibson did not use serial numbers at that time but started in 1953. The first digit of the series number is the last digit of the year. If the stamped number consists of 5 digits, there is a space between the first and second digit (a separation between the last digit of the year and the actual serial number).

What is the headstock of a guitar? ›

A headstock or peghead is part of a guitar or similar stringed instruments such as a lute, mandolin, banjo, ukulele and others of the lute lineage. The main function of a headstock is to house the pegs or mechanism that holds the strings at the "head" of the instrument.

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