Unlock Gibson Guitars' Secrets - Gibson Serial Number Lookup (2024)

If you own a Gibson guitar and want to find its serial number, there are a few ways. The easiest way is to use our Gibson Serial Number Lookup Tool at the bottom of this page. Another way is to look at the label on the back of the guitar, which should have the serial number. Gibson’s serial number format is typically YDDDYRRRYY, but some guitars may use a different system, such as a date-based format or factory ranking/plant designation number.

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The Ultimate Gibson Serial Number Lookup: How to Date and Authenticate Your Guitar

Welcome to the ultimate Gibson Serial Number Lookup guide! If you’re a guitar enthusiast looking to buy a Gibson guitar, you must know how to date and authenticate it. With the help of this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to unravel the secrets behind Gibson serial numbers and unlock the rich history of your instrument.

Whether you own a vintage Gibson or are considering a purchase, understanding the serial number is crucial in determining its age, authenticity, and value. Our in-depth analysis will walk you through the different eras of Gibson production and provide valuable insights into deciphering serial numbers.

Vintage Gibson guitars serial numbers.

From the iconic ’50s and ’60s Les Pauls to the timeless ES-335 and SG models, Gibson has crafted some of the most coveted guitars in the world. Accurately identifying your Gibson guitar’s manufacturing date and origin will give you a deeper appreciation for its craftsmanship and heritage.

So, grab your Gibson, grab your serial number, and let’s embark on a journey through time to unlock the secrets of your beloved instrument. Let’s dive into the world of Gibson Serial Number Lookup!

6 Gibson Guitar Serial Number Lookup reasons

Gibson serial number lookup is used by guitar enthusiasts, collectors, and potential buyers to gather information about a Gibson guitar based on its serial number. The main reasons for performing a Gibson serial number lookup include:

  1. Authentication: One of the primary reasons for looking up a Gibson serial number is to verify the guitar’s authenticity. Gibson has a long history, and vintage Gibson guitars can be valuable. Knowing the serial number can help confirm whether the guitar is genuine or potentially a counterfeit.
  2. Dating the Guitar: Gibson has used various serial number systems for years to date their guitars. By looking up the serial number, you can often determine the manufacturing date or at least the production year of the guitar. This information is essential for collectors and buyers interested in vintage instruments.
  3. Identifying the Model: The serial number can also provide information about the specific model of the Gibson guitar. Different Gibson models have distinct features and characteristics, and knowing the model can help you understand the guitar’s specifications and value.
  4. Historical Documentation: Some players and collectors are interested in the historical context of their Gibson guitars. By looking up the serial number, you may find details about the production run, changes in design, and other historical information related to the guitar.
  5. Resale Value: When selling a Gibson guitar, having accurate information about its serial number, model, and age can help determine its resale value. Buyers often use this information to make informed purchasing decisions.
  6. Warranty and Repairs: Knowing the serial number can be crucial to checking warranty information or obtaining replacement parts or repairs for your Gibson guitar. It helps Gibson or authorized service centers identify the guitar and provide appropriate support.

Gibson Serial Number Summary Table

EraSerial Number SystemDescription
Pre-19475 or 6 digits, sometimes inked for easier readingUsed from 1902 to 1947. Some instruments were hand-inked, and the numbers could be duplicated up to four times.
1947-1961An 8-digit number is found on a decal on the back of the headstock.Three digits are stamped on the headstock top
1975-1977An 8-digit number is injected into the headstock’s back with “MADE IN USA” below.The 1st and 2nd digits represent the year: 99 = 1975, 00 = 1976, 06 = 1977.
1977-presentAn 8-digit number is injected into the headstock’s back with “MADE IN USA” below.Format: YDDDYRRR (YY = production year, DDD = day of the year, RRR = factory ranking/plant designation number).
Numbers 001-499 indicated Kalamazoo production. They ranked 500-999 and continued to indicate Nashville production through 1989.Factory Order Numbers (FONs).
An 8-digit number is found on a decal on the back of the headstock.
Bozeman ranking numbers start at 001, and electrics may begin as low as the 300s.
Since 1989All Gibson acoustics are built in Bozeman, MT, and all Gibson electrics are made in Nashville or Memphis.All Gibson acoustics are built in Bozeman, MT, and all Gibson electrics are built in Nashville or Memphis.
July 2005 onward9-digit serial number with a batch indicator (batch 0 starts at the beginning of the day).The first 5 numbers remain the same, and the last 3 numbers indicate the batch.

Remember that Gibson’s serial numbers have evolved, making it challenging to determine the production year based solely on the serial number. If you’re curious about a specific Gibson guitar, use their Serial Number Search Support page for more precise information.

Gibson Custom Shop Models Serial Numbers Table

Here’s a table summarizing the serial number formats for various Gibson Custom Shop models:

ModelSerial Number FormatExplanation
Regular Production ModelsCSYRRRRCS: Stands for “Custom Shop.” Y: Indicates the production year. RRRR: Represents the guitar’s place in the sequence of production. Example: CS10845 is the 845th regular production CS model produced in 2001.
Ace Frehley Les PaulLimited run in 1997, numbered as “ACE xxx.”Note: The discontinued Gibson USA Ace Frehley Signature Les Paul has a standard 8-digit serial number.
Andy Summers ES-335Limited edition of 250, numbered as “GR xxx.”
Limited edition of 50, numbered as “AS xxxx”CS: Stands for “Custom Shop”. Y: Indicates the production year. RRRR: Represents the guitar’s place in the production sequence. Example: CS10845 is the 845th regular production CS model produced in 2001.
Limited edition of 114, numbered as “DB xxx”Dickey Betts ’57 red top LP
Gary Rossington Les PaulNumbered as “DBR xxx”
Gary Rossington SGLimited edition of 250, numbered as “GR xxx”
Jimmy Page Les PaulLimited edition of 250, numbered as “13xxx”Note: The discontinued Gibson USA Jimmy Page Signature Les Paul has a standard 8-digit serial number.
Joe Perry Les Paul– Joe Perry Signature Les Paul (1996, trans black finish) numbered “JPxxx”.Boneyard LP (Pilot Run models inked and hand-written “Pilot Run”, production version numbered as “BONE xxx”).Note: The discontinued Gibson USA Joe Perry Signature Les Paul has a standard 8-digit serial number.
Johnny A.– Joe Perry Signature Les Paul (1996, trans black finish) numbered “JPxxx”.Boneyard LP (Pilot Run models inked and hand-written “Pilot Run,” production version numbered as “BONE xxx”).
Pete Townshend LP DeluxeLimited edition (specific format not provided)

Remember that these serial numbers help identify each guitar’s year, model, and features. If you have any questions about a particular model, contact Gibson at [emailprotected] for more precise information.

How do I check a Gibson serial number?

If you own a Gibson guitar and want to check its serial number, there are a few ways. The easiest way is to use the Gibson Serial Number Lookup Tool, which you can find at the bottom of this page. Another way is to look at the label on the back of the guitar, which should have the serial number. Gibson’s serial number format is typically YDDDYRRRYY, but some guitars may use a different system, such as a date-based format or factory ranking/plant designation number. Additionally, you can refer to the video on Gibson serial numbers, which explains the various systems used by Gibson over the years.

Unlock Gibson Guitars' Secrets - Gibson Serial Number Lookup (1)

Gibson acoustic serial numbers

Factory ranking/plant designation number

Gibson guitar serial numbers are unique decals that help you identify your instrument’s year, model, and factory. Gibson started using these numbers in 1902. They were first impressed with the wood but soon moved on to stamping. Several different methods were employed, including disappearing ink.

During the 1960s, Gibson’s serial numbers were especially noticeable. They were usually inked for easier reading. These numbers can be a little challenging to decipher, but they are also a very accurate way to date your instrument.

In the early 1980s, Gibson changed the way they used serial numbers. They began using Factory Order Numbers, or FONs. Gibson used These internal codes to assign specific instruments to a particular batch. If you find a guitar with a FON, it means that it was ranked in that batch. The serial number and the FON will also help you to date your guitar.

Gibson guitars had three types of cases. In the post-WW2 period, Gibson offered cases with curved tops, plush pink interiors, and brown exteriors. These cases had leather-covered metal handles.

Gibson used a serial number system from 1902 to 1947. The system used 5 or 6 digits. They were sometimes inked for easier reading. Some instruments were hand-inked, and the numbers could be duplicated up to four times.

They switched to a new serial number system when Gibson started producing solid-body guitars. This new system consisted of three digits stamped on the headstock top. The second type of serial numbers ran from 1947 to 1961. The final numbers are sequential orders of the model made during the life span of the instrument.

During the 1960s, the sunburst finishes on Gibson guitars were often damaged. They were fixed in the mid-60s but can still be affected by age. A red line may be visible, or the neck pickup pickguard attachment point might be scuffed.

During the 1990s, a lot of interest in vintage models returned. Gibson reissued some of these models using a different serial number format. These models include the Heritage Korina guitar and the Heritage Les Paul guitar.

Date-based serial system

The Gibson guitar serial number is used to decode the age of a guitar. The first digit indicates the year, followed by two or three digits denoting the model. The last digit shows the production date.

The Gibson guitar serial number is on the back of the headstock and inside the sound hole sticker. This number is essential to guitar players because it can give them much information. For example, if you are unsure of the age of your guitar, the first digit can tell you the model and if it is acoustic or electric. The other digits can give you information about the grade of the wood, as well as if the guitar is a B-stock or factory second. The serial number also reveals the origin of the guitar. If you are considering buying a vintage or antique Gibson, you must know its serial number.

Gibson started using a new serial number system in 1961. Before this, Gibson used a combination of letters and a space to decode its serial numbers. In addition, they reused the same serial numbers for different years. This meant that some of their instruments were dated incorrectly. In addition, the system wasn’t very reliable.

In the 1960s, Gibson started taking serial numbers seriously. Although the process was not perfect, the new system was relatively simple. Unlike the previous system, this one included a letter prefix for the number and a pair of digits describing the year.

The YYYMRRR digit is a bit more complicated. In addition to the YY, it includes the letters RRR and MM. This is a reference to the plant designation number. It explains the plant where the instrument was manufactured. This is often used as a guide to its age. It is also important to note that a guitar’s age does not necessarily depend on the year.

The 6-digit number is not as expected. Instead, they are still in use on specific models. These serial numbers are a bit more confusing. They are usually found on the back of the headstock or pot. Typically, the last five digits are the production number of the model.

YDDDYRRRYY production year

Gibson guitar serial numbers make it easy to identify a specific guitar model. Gibson has used serial numbers to catalog its instruments since the 1940s. However, it has not always used a consistent system. It was not until 1977 that they developed a new system.

Before introducing the new serial number system, Gibson used an eight-digit pattern. The first digit was usually the plant designation, the second was the factory ranking, and the last two were a “MADE IN USA” mark. The pattern was relatively simple but was not entirely reliable. The pattern was only used for acoustic guitars.

The new Gibson serial number system was not the easiest to use. It reused serial numbers from different years. It also operated a white rectangle label for electric models. These models did not have the dotted I, and some bolt-on models had the date inked on the heel. This gave an idea of the year the guitar was made. The block logo changed font connections between 1961 and 1981.

Gibson began to take serial numbers seriously in the 1960s. In addition to a new neck profile, they used deeper beveling and added a natural Holly veneer. They also released several reissues of Les Paul, including the SG. The reissues are marked with the reissue (A or B)-MYRRRM.

The Gibson acoustic guitars are built in Bozeman, MT, while the electrics are in Nashville. Depending on the model, Gibson produces 700 guitars daily, working five days a week. The company will change to a 9-digit number in early July 2005. The Gibson SG has been available since 1997.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Gibson guitar serial numbers were a bit confusing. Not all Gibson instruments followed the pattern; some were marked with the “LIMITED EDITION” designation. Fortunately, the Gibson block logo remains the face of the company.

The Gibson serial number chart can help you decipher your guitar’s age. The year marker is usually on the back of the headstock. If your guitar has fret inlays, you can also determine the age of your instrument.

Current model year

Gibson guitar serial numbers are a great way to determine the year of a Gibson instrument. These numbers are stamped onto the back of the peghead. The neck block inside the body is also numbered. However, these numbers are not always easy to read. It can be unclear if you are unfamiliar with the Gibson guitar serial number system.

Gibson guitar serial numbers can reveal a wealth of information about the guitar’s age, model, and production location. For example, Gibson used a different serial number system before and after World War II, which can help identify a vintage guitar’s era. The specific numbers and letters in the serial number can also provide clues to the guitar’s model, finish, and other details. For collectors and players alike, understanding vintage Gibson guitar serial numbers is essential to appreciate these classic instruments.

There are two different ways to decode a Gibson guitar serial number. The first is to look at the prefix. For example, an “S” indicates that the instrument is acoustic. A “U” identifies an electric. Another example is the “MX” prefix. These are used on mid to upper-line guitars.

The next step is to find the year of the model. You can do this by examining the specifications of the guitar. If it is acoustic, you may get a more accurate date by looking at the shape of the sound hole. Alternatively, you can compare your guitar to a similar instrument to determine.

A third way to identify the year of a Gibson instrument is to look at the Gibson factory order number. These are internal codes that Gibson uses to make instruments. This information is usually stamped on the instrument during the early manufacturing stages. These numbers are also employed to help you authenticate an instrument.

These numbers can be combined with the serial number to determine the exact date an instrument was manufactured. For example, a guitar with serial number 82765501 would mean that it was produced on October 3rd. This could be the fifth week of Godin’s 2006 production year.

Some variations are still in use on today’s Gibson instruments. In particular, custom shop models and reissues use a different serial number format. These reissues are usually inked.

A final tip for decoding your Gibson guitar serial number is remembering that the last digit does not indicate the year. The serial number can be duplicated in various years, so you may have to do some research to determine the date of manufacture.

Gibson Guitars explained

What is the difference between the date-based format and the factory ranking/plant designation number?

The main difference between the date-based format and the factory ranking/plant designation number is how the serial number is formatted. The date-based format typically follows the YDDDYRRRYY pattern where Y is the year, DDD is the day of the year, and RRR is the factory ranking/plant designation number. On the other hand, the factory ranking/plant designation number is a unique code assigned by Gibson to identify the factory and batch of production.

Gibson guitar values serial number.

When determining the value of a Gibson guitar, the serial number can be a vital piece of information. Gibson has used various serial number systems throughout its history, so it’s essential to identify which system was utilized during a guitar’s production year.

Once you have the correct serial number format, you can use it to find the guitar’s approximate production year, model, and sometimes even its original color and hardware. While the serial number alone won’t determine the guitar’s value, it’s a crucial starting point for any valuation. Other factors influencing a Gibson guitar’s value include its condition, rarity, originality, and provenance.

Gibson guitar serial number search engine

To look up the serial number of your Gibson guitar, visit online databases and dedicated resources. Click the image below to get started.

Unlock Gibson Guitars' Secrets - Gibson Serial Number Lookup (2)

Gibson serial numbers are explained in this video.

How to decipher Gibson bass guitar serial numbers

Gibson bass guitar serial numbers can be tricky to decipher, but with the right tools, you can quickly identify your instrument’s year of production, model, and features. Here’s a guide to help you understand the different formats of Gibson bass guitar serial numbers and how to use them to your advantage.

Understanding the different formats of Gibson bass guitar serial numbers

Gibson has used several serial number formats since its inception in 1902, meaning some formats and numbers overlap across decades. This makes it especially important first to identify the general era during which your instrument was made before pinning down the exact date of manufacture with a serial number. For many vintage instruments, determining the date of manufacture involves little more than running the serial number through a reference guide.

Identifying the year of production from the serial number

The most general physical piece of evidence on the instrument will be the logo on the headstock. The logo can help you identify the era during which your instrument was made. Knowing the backstory of the instrument’s purchase can provide some rough clues about its era. For example, if you understand the previous owner of the instrument, you can ask them when they bought it.

In 1977, Gibson adopted the current date-based serial system, which codes the year and day of production. The first number of the sequence indicates the decade of production, followed by the three-digit day of the year, and finally, the year. For example, the serial number 90237XXX corresponds to a guitar built in 1997 on the 237th day of the year.

Determining the model and features from the serial number

The serial number can also help you determine the model and features of your instrument. For example, the first two digits of the serial number can indicate the model of the guitar. The third and fourth digits can tell the year of production. The fifth digit can reveal the specific factory where the guitar was made. The sixth digit can indicate the production line number.

Common misconceptions about Gibson bass guitar serial numbers

One common misconception is that the serial number can tell you the exact date of manufacture. However, this is not always the case. The serial number can only advise you of the year of production and sometimes the production day. Another misconception is that the serial number can tell you the model of the guitar. While the serial number can give you some clues about the model, it is not always definitive.

Resources for further research on Gibson bass guitar serial numbers

If you want to learn more about Gibson bass guitar serial numbers, several resources are available online. Reverb has a comprehensive guide on how to date a Gibson using serial numbers, FONs, and logos.

The Gibson website also has a serial number search function that can help you identify the year and model of your instrument.

The Gibson forum is also a great place to ask questions and get advice from other Gibson enthusiasts.

I hope this guide helps you better understand Gibson bass guitar serial numbers and how to use them to your advantage.

Unlock Gibson Guitars' Secrets - Gibson Serial Number Lookup (2024)

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