Dating a gibson guitar

A new system, introduced in 1961, was made to cover all of the instruments in Gibson’s line (not just acoustic guitars).This was pretty poorly done though (IMO) and meant that some serial numbers were reused so a certain serial number could be from a guitar from different years.

dating a gibson guitar-47dating a gibson guitar-73dating a gibson guitar-50

Serial numbers show approximate date of manufacture.

For all dates, you will need to look at the construction technique and components used to get a more precise date of manufacture.

For more details on Gibson Serialization prior to 1975 and historical product specs, use your Gruhn's Guide or view the following PDF files: Since 1989, all Gibson acoustics are built in Bozeman, MT and all Gibson electrics are built in Nashville or Memphis.

Ranking numbers for Bozeman start each day at 001 and the electrics may start as low as the 300s.

The first serial number for acoustic guitars was 100.

Once the serial numbers hit 99999, Gibson decided to change to a new system, rather than go into 6 digits.

FON’s (and serial numbers) on Gibson guitars are usually found either on the inside of the back of the guitar (inside the sound hole) or on the back of the headstock). There are some other ways you can get an idea of the age of your Gibson. You can also use other features to help identify the time period of your instrument. so why discuss all these other aspects, when this post is supposed to be about serial numbers!

Gibson’s logo has been largely unchanged since 1947 but before that time the logo changed a bit, so you can use that to help identify the era your guitar was built. Good question – and the answer is simply that the serial number system used up until 1977 wasn’t the easiest or most reliable system – so you may not be able to accurately determine anything about your guitar using the serial number alone.

The new system used a letter to prefix the numbers.

The first guitar in this new system was A 100 which was in April of 1947.

The Kalamazoo factory operated until 1984 and guitars made in that factory from 1977 to 1984 had the last 3 digits (the production number) that were between 001 and 499.

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