Gibson Serial Numbers - Lovies Guitars (2023)

GIBSON SERIALIZATION
Identifying Gibson instruments by serial number is tricky at best and downright impossible in some cases.
The best methods of identifying them is by using a combination of the serial number, the factory order
number and any features that are particular to a specific time that changes may have occurred in instrument
design (i.e. logo design change, headstock volutes, etc). There have been 6 different serial number styles
used to date on Gibson instruments.
The first serialization started in 1902 and ran until 1947. The serial numbers started with number 100 and
go to 99999. All numbers are approximates. In most cases, only the upper end instruments were assigned
identification numbers.
YEAR LAST #
1903 1150
1904 1850
1905 2550
1906 3350
1907 4250
1908 5450
1909 6950
1910 8750
1911 10850
1912 13350
1913 16100
1914 20150
1915 25150
1916 32000
1917 39500
1918 47900
1919 53800
1920 62200
1921 69300
1922 71400
1923 74900
1924 80300
1925 82700
YEAR LAST #
1926 83600
1927 85400
1928 87300
1929 89750
1930 90200
1931 90450
1932 90700
1933 91400
1934 92300
1935 92800
1936 94100
1937 95200
1938 95750
1939 96050
1940 96600
1941 97400
1942 97700
1943 97850
1944 98250
1945 98650
1946 99300
1947 99999
White oval labels were used on instruments from 1902 to 1954, at which time the oval label was changed to
an orange color. On instruments with round soundholes, this label is visible directly below it. On f-hole
instruments, it is visible through the upper f-hole. The second type of serial numbers used started with an A
prefix and ran from 1947 to 1961. The first number is A 100.
YEAR LAST #
1947 A 1305
1948 A 2665
1949 A 4410
1950 A 6595
1951 A 9420
1952 A 12460
1953 A 17435
1954 A 18665
YEAR LAST #
1955 A 21910
1956 A 24755
1957 A 26820
1958 A 28880
1959 A 32285
1960 A 35645
1961 A 36150
When production of solid body guitars began, an entirely new serial number system was developed.
Though not used on the earliest instruments produced (those done in 1952), a few of these instruments have
3 digits stamped on the headstock top. Some time in 1953, instruments were ink stamped on the headstock
back with 5 or 6 digit numbers, the first indicating the year, the following numbers are production numbers.
The production numbers run in a consecutive order and, aside from a few oddities in the change over years
(1961-1962), it is fairly accurate to use them when identifying solid body instruments produced between
1953 and 1961. Examples of this system:
4 2205 = 1954 614562 = 1956
In 1961 Gibson started a new serial number system that covered all instrument lines. It consisted of
numbers that are impressed into the wood. It is also generally known to be the most frustrating and hard to
understand system that Gibson has employed. The numbers were used between the years 1961-1969. There
are several instances where batches of numbers are switched in order, duplicated, not just once, but up to
four times, and seem to be randomly assigned, throughout the decade. In general though, the numbers are
approximately as follows:
APPROXIMATE
YEAR SERIAL RANGE
1961 100-42440
1962 42441-61180
1963 61450-64220
1964 64240-70500
1962 71180-96600
1963 96601-99999
1967 000001-008010
1967 010000-042900
1967 044000-044100
1967 050000-054400
1967 055000-063999
1967 064000-066010
1967 067000-070910
1967 090000-099999
1963, 1967 100000-106099
1963 106100-108900
1963, 1967 109000-109999
1963 110000-111549
1963, 1967 111550-115799
1963 115800-118299
1963, 1967 118300-120999
1963 121000-139999
1963, 1967 140000-140100
1963 140101-144304
1964 144305-144380
1963 144381-145000
1963 147009-149864
1964 149865-149891
1963 149892-152989
1964 152990-174222
1964, 1965 174223-176643
1964 176644-199999
1964 200000-250335
1965 250336-291000
1965 301755-302100
1965 302754-305983
1965, 1967 306000-306100
1965, 1967 307000-307985
1965, 1967 309848-310999
1965 311000-320149
1967 320150-320699
APPROXIMATE
YEAR SERIAL RANGE
1965 320700-321100
1965 322000-326600
1965 328000-328500
1965 328700-329179
1965, 1967 329180-330199
1965, 1967, 1968330200-332240
1965 332241-347090
1965 348000-348092
1966 348093-349100
1965 349121-368638
1966 368640-369890
1967 370000-370999
1966 380000-385309
1967 390000-390998
1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 400001-400999
1966 401000-407985
1966 408000-408690
1966 408800-409250
1966 420000-426090
1966 427000-429180
1966 430005-438530
1966 438800-438925
1965, 1966, 1968, 1969 500000-500999
1965 501010-501600
1968 501601-501702
1965, 1968 501703-502706
1968 503010-503110
1965, 1968 503405-520955
1968 520956-530056
1966, 1968, 1969530061-530850
1968, 1969 530851-530993
1969 530994-539999
1966, 1969 540000-540795
1969 540796-545009
1966 550000-556910
1969 558012-567400
1966 570099-570755
1969 580000-580999
1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 600000-600999
1969 601000-601090
1969 605901-606090
APPROXIMATE
YEAR SERIAL RANGE
1966, 1967 700000-700799
1968, 1969 750000-750999
1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 800000-800999
1966, 1969 801000-812838
1969 812900-814999
1969 817000-819999
1966, 1969 820000-820087
1966 820088-823830
1969 824000-824999
1966, 1969 828002-847488
1966 847499-858999
1967 859001-880089
APPROXIMATE
YEAR SERIAL RANGE
1967 893401-895038
1968 895039-896999
1967 897000-898999
1968 899000-899999
1968 900000-902250
1968 903000-920899
1968 940000-941009
1968 942001-943000
1968 945000-945450
1968 947415-956000
1968 959000-960909
1968 970000-972864
From 1970-1975 the method of serializing instruments at Gibson became even more random. All numbers
were impressed into the wood and a six digit number assigned, though no particular order was given and
some instruments had a letter prefix. The orange labels inside hollow bodied instruments was discontinued
in 1970 and were replaced by white and orange rectangle labels on the acoustics, and small black, purple
and white rectangle labels were placed on electric models.
In 1970, the words “MADE IN USA” was impressed into the back of instrument headstocks (though a few
instruments from the 1950s also had MADE IN USA impressed into their headstocks as well).
Year(s) Approximate Series Manufacture
1970, 1971, and 1972 100000s, 600000s, 700000s, 900000s
1973 000001s, 100000s, 200000s, 800000s and a few “A” + 6 digit numbers
1974 and 1975 100000s, 200000s, 300000s, 400000s,500000s, 600000s, 800000s
and a few A-B-C-D-E-F + 6 digit numbers
During the period from 1975-1977 Gibson used a transfer that had eight digit numbers, the first two
indicate the year, 99=1975, 00=1976 and 06=1977, the following six digits are in the 100000 to 200000
range. MADE IN USA were also included on the transfer and some models had LIMITED EDITION also
applied. A few bolt on neck instruments had a date ink stamped on the heel area.
In 1977, Gibson first introduced the serialization method that is in practice today. This updated system
utilizes an impressed eight digit numbering scheme that covers both serializing and dating functions. The
pattern is as follows:
YDDDYPPP
YY is the production year
DDD is the day of the year
PPP is the plant designation and/or instrument rank.
The numbers 001-499 show Kalamazoo production, 500-999 show Nashville production. The Kalamazoo
numbers were discontinued in 1984.
When acoustic production began at the plant built in Bozeman, Montana (in 1989), the series’ numbers
were reorganized. Bozeman instruments began using 001-299 designations and, in 1990, Nashville
instruments began using 300-999 designations. It should also be noted that the Nashville plant has not
reached the 900s since 1977, so these numbers have been reserved for prototypes. Examples:
70108276 means the instrument was produced on Jan.10, 1978, in Kalamazoo and was the 276th
instrument stamped that day.
82765501 means the instrument was produced on Oct. 3, 1985, in Nashville and was the 1st instrument
stamped that day.
However, it has come to light recently that the Kalamazoo plant did not directly switch over to the “new” 8
digit serialization method in 1977. When the Nashville Gibson plant was opened in 1974, it was decided
that the bulk of the production of products would be run in the South; the Kalamazoo plant would produce
the higher end (fancier) models in the North. Of course, many of the older guitar builders and craftsmen
were still in Kalamazoo; and if they weren’t ready to change how they built guitars, then they may not have
been ready to change how they numbered them! Certain guitar models built in the late 1970s can be used
to demonstrate the old-style 6 digit serial numbers . It is estimated that Gibson’s Kalamazoo plant
continued to use the 6 digit serial numbers through 1978 and 1979. So double check the serial numbers
on those 1970s L-5s, Super 400s, and Super 5 BJBs!
Gibson’s F O N System
In addition to the above serial number information, Gibson also used Factory Order Numbers (F O N) to
track batches of instruments being produced at the time. In the earlier years at Gibson, guitars were
normally built in batches of 40 instruments. Gibson’s Factory Order Numbers were an internal coding that
followed the group of instruments through the factory. Thus, the older Gibson guitars may have a serial
number and a F O N. The F O N may indicate the year, batch number, and the ranking (order of production
within the batch of 40).
This system is useful in helping to date and authenticate instruments. There are three separate groupings of
numbers that have been identified and are used for their accuracy. The numbers are usually stamped or
written on the instrument’s back and seen through the lower F hole or round soundhole, or maybe
impressed on the back of the headstock.
1908-1923 Approximate #s
YEAR F O N
1908 259
1909 309
1910 545, 927
1911 1260, 1295
1912 1408, 1593
1913 1811, 1902
1914 1936, 2152
1915 2209, 3207
1916 2667, 3508
YEAR F O N
1917 3246, 11010
1918 9839, 11159
1919 11146, 11212
1920 11329, 11367
1921 11375, 11527
1922 11565, 11729
1923 11973
F O Ns for the years 1935-1941 usually consisted of the batch number, a letter for the year and the
instrument number. Examples are as follows:
722 A 23
465 D 58
863 E 02.
Code Letter and Year
A 1935
B 1936
C 1937
D 1938
E 1939
F 1940
G 1941
Code Letter F O Ns were discontinued after 1941, and any instruments made during or right after World
War II do not bear an F O N codes. In 1949, a four digit F O N was used, but not in conjunction with any
code letter indicating the year.
From 1952-1961, the F O N scheme followed the pattern of a letter, the batch number and an instrument
ranking number (when the guitar was built in the run of 40). The F O N is the only identification number
on Gibson’s lower grade models (like the ES-125, ES-140, J-160E, etc.) which do not feature a paper label.
Higher grade models (such as the Super 400, L-5, J-200, etc.) feature both a serial number and a F O N.
When both numbers are present on a higher grade model, remember that the F O N was assigned at the
beginning of the production run, while the serial number was recorded later (before shipping). The serial
number would properly indicate the actual date of the guitar. F O N examples run thus:
Y 2230 21
V 4867 8
R 6785 15
Code Letter and Year
Z 1952
Y 1953
X 1954
W 1955
V 1956
U 1957
T 1958
S 1959
R 1960
Q 1961
After 1961 the use of FONs was discontinued at Gibson.
There are still some variances that Gibson uses on some instruments produced today, but for the most part
the above can be used for identifying instruments. For the most accurate identification you would need to
contact the Gibson Guitar Corporation itself.
The serial number will be an 8 digit number impressed into the back of the headstock with “MADE IN USA” below.
The pattern is as follows:
YDDDYRRR
YY is the production year
DDD is the day of the year
RRR is the factory ranking/plant designation number.
Prior to 1984 when the Kalamazoo, MI factory was closed, the numbers 001-499 indicated Kalamazoo production. Ranking numbers 500-999 continued to indicate Nashville production through 1989.
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.
Examples: 70108276 means the instrument was produced on Jan. 10, 1978, in Kalamazoo and was the 276th instrument stamped that day.
82765501 means the instrument was produced on Oct. 3, 1985, in Nashville and was the 1st instrument stamped that day.
NOTE – Gibson USA goes to a 9 digit serial number in early July 2005..
The sixth number is now a batch number- batch 0 starts at the beginning of the day, and once we stamp 699, the batch number will change to 1. The first 5 numbers remain the same, the last 3 numbers will remain the same. The only difference is the addition of this batch indicator.
There are always exceptions to these rules, the two listed below are worth noting:
Les Paul Classic: This model features an ink stamped serial number with no “MADE IN USA” (just as we used on the original 1952-1960 Les Pauls). 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.
The 1st digit indicates the year of manufacture for the 4 & 5 digit serial numbers, these were used from 1989-1999. The 1st and 2nd indicate the year of manufacture for the 6 digit serial numbers which we’ve been using since 2000.
Examples –
9 xxx = 1989 (4 digit number beginning with “9” used only in 1989)
0 xxxx = 1990
9 xxxx = 1999
00xxxx = 2000
05xxxx = 2005
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.
Gibson Custom
1952-1960 Les Paul, Explorer, Flying V, and Futura reissues (since late 1992):
M YRRR or MYRRRR
M is the model year being reissued
Y is the production year
RRR(R) indicates the guitar’s place production for that year. NOTE: This number includes all models for a particular reissue year – so, for example, a 1958 Reissue serial number may include ’58 Reissue LP Standard and ’58 Explorer production.
Example: 7 5123 is the 123rd 1957 reissue model produced in 2005.
1961-1969 Firebird, Les Paul, and SG reissues (since 1997):
YYRRRM
Y is the production year
RRR(R) indicates the guitar’s place in production for that year.
M is the model being reissued
Reissue model codes:
1= SG Custom and Special
2= SG Standard
3= 1963 Firebird 1
4= 1964 Firebird III
5= 1965 Firebird V & VII
8= 1968 Les Paul Custom
Examples: 050102 is the 10th SG Standard reissue produced in 2005.
030084 is the 8th 1964 Firebird III reissue produced in 2003.
Historic ES MODELS (since 1995):
(A or B)-MYRRR
M is the model year being reissued
Y is the production year
RRR indicates the guitar’s place in the sequence of Historic ES production for that year.
Reissue model codes:
2= ES-295
3= 1963 ES-335 (block inlays)
4= ES-330
5= ES-345
9 with an “A” prefix = 1959 ES-335 (dot inlays)
9 with a “B” prefix= ES-355
Example: A-38005 is the 5th ’63 ES-335 Reissue produced in 1998.
Carved Top models (serial number on orange label)
YDDDYRRR
YY is the production year
DDD is the day of the year
RRR indicate the guitar’s place in the sequence of carved tops made that day.
NOTE – as of 2000, 1st digit will be a “2”
Examples:
91418009 is the 9th carved top produced on the 141st day of 1998.
20045002 was the 2nd carved top stamped on the 4th day of 2005.
Custom Shop regular production models
CSYRRRR
CS stands for “Custom Shop”
Y indicates the production year
RRRR indicates the guitar’s place in the sequence of production
Example: CS10845 is the 845th reg. production CS model produced in 2001.
CS Signature Models:
The list below is not an exhaustive listing but we have included many of our most popular Signature models. Please contact us at service@gibson.com should you have any questions.
Ace Frehley Les Paul
– 1997 Limited run, numbered in sequence as “ACE xxx”
Note: The discontinued Gibson USA Ace Frehley Signature Les Paul has a standard 8 digit serial number.
Andy Summers ES-335
Limited edition of 50. Numbered in sequence as “AS xxxx”
Dickey Betts ’57 goldtop Les Paul
Limited edition of 114. Numbered in sequence as “DB xxx”
Dickey Betts ’57 red top Les Paul
Numbered in sequence as “DBR xxx”
Gary Rossington Les Paul
Limited edition of 250. Numbered in sequence as “GR xxx”
Gary Rossington SG
Limited edition of 250. Numbered in sequence as “13xxx”
Jimmy Page Les Paul (3 versions)
-1st 25 aged models were hand numbered 1-25 and signed by Jimmy Page, no other number is on this model.
-Limited run of 150 aged models are numbered in sequence as “PAGE xxx”
-Unlimited run of Custom Authentic models are numbered in sequence as “JPP xxx”
Note: The discontinued Gibson USA Jimmy Page Signature Les Paul has a standard 8 digit serial number.
Joe Perry Les Paul (2 models)
– Joe Perry Signature Les Paul from 1996 (trans black finish) – numbered in sequence as “JPxxx”
– Boneyard LP – Pilot Run models have an inked number and hand written “Pilot Run”. The production version (no difference in spec) numbered in sequence as “BONE xxx”
Note: The discontinued Gibson USA Joe Perry Signature Les Paul made has a standard 8 digit serial number.
Johnny A.
Numbered in sequence as “JA xxx”
Pete Townshend LP Deluxe
Limited run of 75, numbered in sequence as “PETE xxx”
Peter Frampton Les Paul (2 models)
– PF LP Custom – numbered in sequence as “PF xxx”
– PF LP Special – numbered in sequence as “PFYxxx” Y indicates the year of production.
Slash Les Paul (2 models)
– 1997 limited edition model, cranberry finish: numbered in sequence as “SL xxx”
– Regular production model introduced in 2004, also numbered in sequence as “SL xxx”
Note: The discontinued Epiphone Slash Les Paul made has a standard Epiphone serial number.
Tony Iommi SG
Numbered in sequence as “TI xxx”
Zakk Wylde Les Paul
Bullseye and the rare “Rough Top” version numbered in sequence as “ZW xxx”
Camo version numbered in sequence as “ZPW xxx”
Gibson Banjos 1988 to present
Earl Scruggs Models
Standard:
Sequential production number, starting at 001
’49 Classic:
YY-RR
YY = Year of manufacture
RR = ranking number (starts at 01)
Golden Deluxe:
YY-RR
YY = Year of manufacture
RR = ranking number (starts at 01)
Flint Hill Special:
FH-YY-RR
YY = Year of manufacture
RR = ranking number (starts at 01)
Special:
ES-YY-RR
YY = Year of manufacture
RR = ranking number (starts at 01)
Style 250
250-TT-RR
YY = Year of manufacture
RR = ranking number (starts at 01)
Granada
YY-MM-RR
YY = Year
MM = Month
RR = ranking number (starts at 01)
RB
RB### = sequential production number
All other models
S(S)-YYMM-RR
S(S) = style (excluding style 250 – see above)
YY = Year
MM = Month
RR = ranking number
Epiphone
Most regular production models since ca. 1993. Many ’80s and early ’90s serial numbers may follow a similar scheme, but may not include a factory ID code.
FYYMMRRRR
F= Factory code (this can be 2 letters as well)
YY= year of manufacture (this can also be just 1 digit for ’90s models)
MM= month of manufacture
R= ranking number (may be more or less digits, not necessarily indicative of total units produced)
Example – S02021234 was issued in Feb. 2002.
Another code used on some current Epiphone models
FYYMRRRR
F= Factory code
YY=Year of manufacture
M= This will be a letter code corresponding to the month (A=January, B=February, etc…)
RRRR= ranking number
Example – R03D0263 was issued in April 2003.
Epiphone Elite/Elitist models
FYSSSS
F= Factory Code (this code will be an “F” or “T”)
Y= Year of manufacture (2 = 2002, 3 = 2003, etc.)
SSSS= Sequential Serial Number
Example – T41234 is a 2004 Elitist model.
Dobro (1995-present)
1995-1997
A(A) (#)###YY
A(A) = model code
(#) ### = ranking number
YY = last 2 digits of year
Example – BA xxx 95 dates to 1995
1997-Current
YMMDDRRY
Y = last digit of year
MM = Month
DD = day of month
RR = ranking number
Y (last digit) = decade
Gibson Goldtone Amps
Product code/production number/quarter and year made
Example – G-03/207/299
Note that the “‘G” is often mistaken for a “6”. This amp was made in the second quarter of 1999.

Back in the 1950s, if you bought a brand new Les Paul Standard your guitar would have been equipped with a Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard. The original specification of many Gibson guitars back the day called for the Brazilian species of Rosewood; it was considered ideal for guitar making. What’s the difference? Rosewood is Rosewood, right? Not exactly. Brazilian Rosewood is often darker, with chocolate-y streaks in the grain. Also, because it can be slightly denser and harder than other types of Rosewood, might provide a little extra sonic “punch” compared with other, softer varieties. Since 1991, Brazilian Rosewood has been listed as an endangered species and has therefore been used sparingly by guitar makers.

However, there have been some small runs here and there of Gibson guitars that do have Brazilian fingerboards, particularly during 2001-2003. And again, in 2017-2019. In ’03 Gibson released the revamped Historic Reissues and for a few months only, all the guitars had Brazilian. The guitars that Gibson has verified, using a serial number range, as having these Brazilian boards have enjoyed a substantial price bump in the marketplace, so knowing if yours is truly Brazilian, Gibson verified, can prove useful. Follow the jump to see the complete serial number guide.

The following information is posted on Gibson’s Forum, by the Gibson administrator:

Brazilian Rosewood Serial Number Guide

2001: there was a run of Brazilian R9s in the range 91203-91250 (91201 and 91202 only come up as Les Paul Classics for me). within this range, the following numbers do NOT have Brazilian Rosewood according to my info: 91236, 91230, 91220, 91217, 91215, 91214, 91209, 91207, 91206.

Also, 911007 comes up as an R9 with brazilian.

2002: 8 R9s, in the range 92038-92045

2003:

1954 Reissue, ranging from 43001-43150
-within this range of numbers, 37 are ’54 Black Beautys
-43001-43006 are 1-pickup ’54 Goldtops that went to Dave’s Guitar in WI. i am assuming these got BR

1956 Reissue, ranging from 63001-63148
-the only exception here is that number 63126 does not exist as far as i can tell

1957 Reissue, ranging from 73010-73707
-numbers below 73010 either have 2002 specs (73001, 73005, 73006, 73007), are prototypes (R7:73004; LP Junior: 73002, 73003) or do not exist
-within this range, 231 are 2 or 3 pickup ’57 Black Beautys
-26 are LP Juniors
-73431-73438 do not exist

1958 Reissue, ranging from 83001-83256
-83001-83008 are prototypes (83001-83004, 83007, 83008), and 2 of these are LP Juniors (83005, 83006). 83009 is a quilt top R8 that went to Guitar Center
-within this range 29 are LP Juniors
-1 is a korina explorer
-83046, 83047, and 83087 do not exist

1959 Reissue, ranging from 93001-93674
-93001-93006 are prototypes
-93008 has 2002 specs
-3 are korina Flying Vs

1960 Reissue, ranging from 03001-03163
-03001-03010 are prototypes (except for 03007 (not a proto) and 03002 (2002 specs)), and 2 of these are LP Specials
-it appears that 03007 DOES have BR
-within this range, 21 are LP Specials
-48 are non-Historic GC ’60 LPs, none of which have BR

Gary Rossington SG
-13001-13075 have Brazilian Rosewood

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