Gibson serial numbers 1952 to 1961, solidbody model
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 highest
4-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.
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.
8 At the end of 1958, a number of LP Juniors/Specials had a four-digit serial number without a prior annual digit
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
From this period the 5-digit and 6-digit numbers are easy to confuse and give an incorrect year.
Gibson serial numbers, early to mid seventies
From 1970 to 1975 the 6 digit serial numbers were randomly created.
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 by
white with orange rectangular labels.
The electric models were provided with
a 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.
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 that
did 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
|000000 - 099999
|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
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.
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.
is 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.
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.