The second type of serial numbers used started with an A. Though not used on the earliest instruments produced those done in , a few of these instruments have. Some time in , instruments were ink stamped on the headstock. The production numbers run in a consecutive order and, aside from a few oddities in the change over years.

In Gibson started a new serial number system that covered all instrument lines. It is also generally known to be the most frustrating and hard to. The numbers were used between the years In general though, the numbers are. From the method of serializing instruments at Gibson became even more random.

When Was Your Gibson Made?

The orange labels inside hollow bodied instruments was discontinued. During the period from Gibson used a transfer that had eight digit numbers, the first two. In , Gibson first introduced the serialization method that is in practice today. It should also be noted that the Nashville plant has not. When the Nashville Gibson plant was opened in , it was decided.


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Of course, many of the older guitar builders and craftsmen. Certain guitar models built in the late s can be used. So double check the serial numbers. In the earlier years at Gibson, guitars were. Thus, the older Gibson guitars may have a serial.

Gibson Serial Numbers - Guitars Collector

The F O N may indicate the year, batch number, and the ranking order of production. This system is useful in helping to date and authenticate instruments. There are three separate groupings of. The numbers are usually stamped or. F O Ns for the years usually consisted of the batch number, a letter for the year and the. Code Letter F O Ns were discontinued after , and any instruments made during or right after World. In , a four digit F O N was used, but not in conjunction with any.

From , the F O N scheme followed the pattern of a letter, the batch number and an instrument. The F O N is the only identification number. Higher grade models such as the Super , L-5, J, etc. The most collectible Gibson archtops are the larger models made from the early 's to The Advance 17" or wider models from late onward are of the same construction used in today's archtops.


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  • The pre-war cutaway L-5 and cutaway Super are also known as Premier models. Non-cutaway models are not nearly as collectible as cutaway Premier models. Cutaway archtop models made from to are also very collectible, but are not as much as the pre-war Advance Premier models.

    Non-cutaway post-war models are interesting but not very collectible. 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. Vintage Flattop Gibson Collectibility. Gibson began to develop professional quality flat top instrument in the 's. Many concepts were stolen from Martin, which was the company that invented features such as X-braced tops and large dreadnought body sizes.

    Gibson then modified Martin's designs and developed its own improvements including adjustable truss rods, adjustable saddle s , and super jumbo body shapes. Although workmanship on pre-war Gibsons is not as high as pre-war Martins, Gibson flat tops are well designed and constructed so they have excellent tone. Many player including me prefer Gibsons of this period to all other flat tops. Flat tops of the 's and 's are also excellent instruments. Since they are much more common, they are also easier and less expensive to obtain.

    Gibson flat tops of the 's and 's seem to be inferior in tone and construction to the same models of the 's. This is generally blamed on adjustable bridges that were standard on all models in the 's. Also the end of "sloped" shoulder body styles helped alienate players and collector alike.

    Gibson Guitars

    Vintage Electric Arch top Gibson Collectibility. Pre-war Gibson electric arch tops are excellent instruments.

    Since pre-war models are early in the evolution of the electric guitar, they are historically important. Postwar full depth, non-cutaway models were generally designed as student models and are not very valuable. Post-war Gison electric archtops with cutaways from the 's are considered to be excellent and collectible.

    There are two styles of Thinline Gibson models.

    Vintage Guitars Info - Gibson collecting vintage gibson guitars

    First is the "fully hollowbody" style. These thinline, fully hollow, models are somewhat collectible. The single cutaway Byrdland a short scale, thin body L-5CES is excellent in quality, but its short scale length and narrow neck makes it less collectible. The single cutaway EST a plainer version of the Byrdland , having the same problems, also has limited collectibility mostly due to its scale length. Fully hollow thinlines such as the double cutaway ES never had the appeal or utility of the semi-hollow counterparts such as the ES Thinline, semi-hollow electrics from to are very cool and wanted by players and collectors.

    Also, the stop tailpiece setup of the ES is more collectible than the vibrato or trapeze tailpiece systems. Vintage Electric Solid body Gibson Collectibility. The Les Paul models from the 's along with the Korina Flying V and Explorer are some of the most collectible solidbody production guitars. Les Paul models with Humbucking pickups from the 's are the most desired, with the P pickup models selling for significantly less money. Original series Firebirds with full reverse bodies are also very collectible.

    Other solidbody gibson may have some appeal, but not to the extent of the previously mentioned models. Vintage Double neck Gibson Collectibility. Double neck models with carved spruce tops are different than any other Gibson design. Because of this they are collectible.

    Solidbody double neck SG style guitars are not nearly as desirable, though popularized by bands such as Led Zeppelin in the s. Vintage Gibson Electric Bass Collectibility.

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    Generally speaking, Gibson doesn't have much of a reputation as an electric bass maker. Though the first electric Gibson bass introduced in known as the EB-1 is interesting, it's not desirable to the player.

    DATING GIBSON GUITARS BY REFERENCE OF SERIAL NUMBERS

    The late fifties EB-2 and EB-6 are also interesting, but don't appeal widely to players. Likewise the Thunderbird II and IV basses are nice companions to the Firebird guitars, but again don't appeal to players. Because of this, the collectibility of Gibson basses is somewhat limited, especially when compared to Fender electric basses.

    Other Identifiers

    Vintage Gibosn Ukulele Collectibility. Gibson ukes, though not as collectible as Martin ukes, has a certain charm. Although I do not list Gibson uke models here, please email me if you have a Gibson uke you are interested in selling.