How To Date Your Gibson Guitar

77 Comments

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How To Date Your Gibson Guitar

Do you know when was your Gibson made? Many players don't, and sometimes (unless you bought it from new) it can be hard to tell. Also, Gibson, as we all know, is one of the greatest manufacturers of guitars, and having the status of one of the most desirable guitar brands ever has some disadvantages, too: counterfeit Gibsons have been sold for many decades now, and many players sometimes don't even realise they've been fooled.

Learn How to Date Your Gibson Guitar

Knowing how to identify correct serial numbers still remains one of the best and most effective ways to date your Gibson, and at the same time confirm its authenticity. So... let's all crack on with it!

Gibson Serial Numbers 1975-Present

This Article is designed to assist in dating and/or identifying instruments manufactured or distributed by Gibson Guitar Corp. Please note that most of this information relates to serial numbers used from 1975 to present. For more details on Gibson Serialization prior to 1975 and historical product specs, use your Gruhn's Guide or view the following PDF files:

Corrections and additions to this section will be made as necessary.

Gibson USA, Gibson Acoustic, Gibson Memphis

From 1975-1977 the number is typically found on a decal on the back of the headstock. This should be an 8 digit number that can be dated by the 1st and 2nd digits as follows:

99 = 1975
00= 1976
06 = 1977

In 1977, Gibson introduced the serialization method that we primarily use to this day at Gibson USA, Gibson Acoustic, and the Gibson Custom facility in Memphis, TN.

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.

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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.

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77 Comments on “How To Date Your Gibson Guitar”

  • RAY Holder
    11th September 2017

    My GIBSON SG SERIAL NUMBER is. 009790J56 . Could anyone decode its number. When was it made and what does J stand for????

    • Lee Glynn
      11th September 2017

      Hi Ray, this might be best to contact Gibson direct about this. -Lee

  • David green
    7th October 2017

    I have a gibson les paul custom shop serial number CS40240. What youe do you think this was oroduced in. Any guideline for the value of this guitar?
    Any assistance will be greatky appreciated.
    Kind regrards
    David

    • Lee Glynn
      16th October 2017

      Hi David, it's best to get in touch with Gibson direct about custom shop guitars! Good luck! -Lee

  • Robert Parscal
    18th October 2017

    Wondering if serial# cs81195 would be 1998 production year or 2008 production year

    • Lee Glynn
      19th October 2017

      Hi Robert, it's best to contact Gibson direct regarding custom shop guitars. -Lee

  • Michael Buckingham
    4th December 2017

    I have recently bought a Gibson 74/55 Special with a serial number of 500651. I may be in stupid mode but cannot find any reference and when I type it in to the Guitar a Project site it comes back with “unrecognised”.
    Any assistance would be great fully received
    Many thanks in anticipation

    • Lee Glynn
      5th December 2017

      Hi Michael, we'd recommend getting in touch with Gibson directly for that query. -Lee

  • Matti Mäkelä
    10th December 2017

    Hello, I saw gibson L5-s. Serialnumber 138548. Would you help me : , what is the product year and date and factory? Thank you very match. Yours MM

    • Lee Glynn
      11th December 2017

      Hi Matt, I would suggest checking with Gibson with that particular serial number. -Lee

  • Murray holmes
    15th December 2017

    Just bought a Gibson Lo standard. Serial number 00170421. In Western Australia. Can you tell me date year and factory please

    • Lee Glynn
      15th December 2017

      Hi Murray, according to our research Your guitar was made at the Nashville Plant, TN, USA on January 17th, 2000. -Lee

  • james azbill
    18th January 2018

    could anyone tell me what this coding means, I have a Les Paul Framton custom shop Black Beauty lpb3 # 7 7985, Thank you, Jim

  • Byron
    15th February 2018

    Hi. I’ve looked on so many sites but can’t seem to find anything on my serial number. I bought my Gibson Les Paul used a few years ago. It’s EE0413122. Can you help me?

    • Lee Glynn
      22nd February 2018

      Hi Byron, probably best to get in touch with Gibson direct about that one! - Lee

  • Dee Yeaman
    19th February 2018

    I found a Les Paul Standard in a pawn shop back in the 90s the number on the back of the head stock is 00236354. I was told its production year was 1964. What do you think. Any idea what it might be worth?

    • Lee Glynn
      22nd February 2018

      Hi Dee, according to that particular number, we're finding that it was potentially made January 23rd, 2006. Is the number correct? Maybe get in touch with Gibson direct for confirmation? - Lee

  • Bill
    2nd March 2018

    Hello -
    I own a Gison Les Paul reissue with a serial number GO 4102 stamped on the back of the head stock. What year? When was this built? Love the guitar and I’ve had it for 6 or so years

    Thanks

  • Ron
    14th March 2018

    I have a Gibson SJ200 Montana Gold serial number MG00199. Can you tell me if this is made in 2000.

  • panayiotis xanthou
    15th March 2018

    I want to buy a Gibson les Paul and i want to ask about the serial numbers.
    The one is Gibson Les Paul Custom EB GH With serial number 203582
    The other one is a Gibson Les Paul 58 Standard from Custom shop 87150
    I would appreciate it if you could help me by telling me the years that these two guitars where produced.
    Thank you very much.

  • william fox
    21st March 2018

    I'm confused and will be grateful for an interpretation of my J-45 serial number: 01145009

    All good wishes, Billy

  • Evertt Eudy
    28th March 2018

    I have, I think a 1938 Gibson Sunburst J-35 Guitar. The only numbers I can find are located on the back of the headstock....DG-2864, Can you identufy it for sure..... thank you

  • Larry Nunn
    17th April 2018

    HI, I have a Gibson Les Paul Junior Cherry Red, an all original unmolested never gigged, in great condition, in my closet. It was used when i bought it, in the Air Force in 1966. No one has played it but me at home , only 45 mins at a time every 4 or 5 yrs. Had it since 1966.
    I would like to know if it is a Classic and what the value is. I think it is a 1958 or 1959, would like to know for sure. The serial nbr is : 931330, it is black ink stamped and the first digit is hard to read clearly. It is I believe it is a 9 but it could be an 8 . thanks so much, Larry Nunn in Raleigh N C

    • Lee Glynn
      18th April 2018

      Hi Larry we would recommend taking this to an authorised Gibson dealer or contacting Gibson directly, as based on its age, this could be worth quite a lot. A dealer will be able to help you with value etc as we wouldn't be able to say for sure. -Lee

  • edna pilbrow
    19th April 2018

    I have a small Gibson bought new in 1956 the only ID I can find on it is inside R781826 can you help me find out more about when it was produced and perhaps it value,if any?

    • Lee Glynn
      23rd April 2018

      Hi Edna, I would suggest contacting Gibson directly as this is a very old guitar - we wouldn't be able to provide an estimate of worth. -Lee

  • Allan
    21st April 2018

    Hi
    I have a Gibson Melody Maker re issue. 00344687.

    Any info would be great thanks

    Allan

  • Geoff ONeill
    27th April 2018

    Gibson Les Paul Custom
    Serial number 175325
    Has the headstock design of a 1958.
    Has Made in the USA stamped below the serial number. Text says Gibson started doing thT in 1970 but a few from the 1950s had it as well. Any ideas?

  • Maurizio
    2nd May 2018

    Hi!
    I have a Gibson Les Paul which, in the certificate of authenticity, reports "Gibson Art and Historic".
    Is a Custom Shop that, in the back of the headstock, reports "0 5358".
    I bought it from a violinmaker in 2013, after having tried it, I liked it a lot.
    If I remember correctly, he told me that it was made by Gibson in 2008.
    What can you tell me about it?
    Thank you!
    Maurizio

    PS: a little while ago I sent the same message, only that, erroneously, I wrote to have taken it in 2008, while, instead, I took it in 2013 (2008 is the year I remember I was told it was made)

  • Michael Sampson
    6th May 2018

    Hello,
    I have a blonde-colored Gibson ES335TD with serial number D348707. What can you tell me about my guitar? Thanks.

  • R. L.
    7th May 2018

    Need help....170013989. Thanks

  • Caleb Harrison
    10th May 2018

    I need to confirm to see if this is correct. I believe I have 97 epiphone Gibson s-310 and my serial is j97080467. Please help

    • Lee Glynn
      15th May 2018

      Hi Caleb, according to our research, that guitar will be from 1997. -Lee

  • Julie Gerard
    15th May 2018

    I have a absolutely gorgeous Les Paul Artisan, #066204318
    So she's a 77, but what's her birthday? :)
    Thanks so much!

  • Alex Tarsus
    16th May 2018

    I bought a Gibson 335 from PMT leeds according to the serial no 12580705 the guitar is made in Nashville but the orange label inside says Gibson Memphis where is my guitar made pls and why are 2 different labels ?

    • Lee Glynn
      17th May 2018

      Hi Alex, hollow body and semi-hollow body Gibson guitars are made in Memphis but the Gibson brand is based in Nashville, hence the two different labels. I hope that helps! -Lee

  • Carl Mansson
    27th May 2018

    My Gibson Flying V has serial no. 001670597.
    I understand its somewhere around 2000 but what exact date year month day and where was it made? Thanks.

    • Lee Glynn
      29th May 2018

      Hi Carl, based on our research, this looks to have been made at the Nashville Plant, TN, USA on January 16th, 2007. I hope that helps! -Lee

  • Ulf Forslund
    3rd June 2018

    Hi. I stumbled upon a Les Paul Classic Reissue with Serial No. 133332. Stamped on the headstock with gold color. When I check that serial number, I get it 1991 or 2001. How do I know more exactly which of the years it is?

  • Russell J Wright
    11th June 2018

    I have a Gibson Les Paul studio with a serial # 026250549. I need help trying to figure out what this means. Thank you.

    • Lee Glynn
      12th June 2018

      Hi Russell, by the looks of it your guitar was built in the Nashville Plant, TN, USA on September 19th, 2005. I hope that helps. -Lee

  • Vidir T.
    13th June 2018

    I bought a Gibson Les Paul Standard with black humbuckers.. serial 034064 and i have no idea where or when it was made?

    Thanks for a greate website :-)

    • Lee Glynn
      18th June 2018

      Hi, it might be best to get in touch with Gibson directly regarding this, as I cant find any information on this serial number. -Lee

  • Doc Quinn
    14th June 2018

    Just bought a Les Paul Custom Gibson and would kinda like to know the year model of it. Still has plastic on pickups and pick guard. Thanks in advance. Doc

  • Doc Quinn
    14th June 2018

    Forgot to post ser# 017160613

    Thanks again

    • Lee Glynn
      18th June 2018

      Hi Doc, this looks like it was built in the Nashville Plant, TN, USA on June 20th, 2006

  • Vidir T.
    19th June 2018

    Sorry :-)
    It is a LP Classic! and not Standard.. My mistake
    Gibson Les Paul Classic with black humbuckers.. serial 034064

    • Lee Glynn
      20th June 2018

      Hi Vidir, we can't seem to find any information on that guitar with that serial number. It might be best to get in touch with Gibson directly. -Lee

  • Raymond Lord
    26th June 2018

    Hi hope you can help
    I have a Gibson. 12 string acoustic. ( 912340)
    The only other number is on a bell shape black tab with
    LG - 12
    Is it possible to date- and proximity cost condition is
    Good. Many thanks.
    Ray

  • D Cook
    27th June 2018

    Custom Gibson looks exactly like Randy Rhoad serial# 745757 Help..Has velute has no dot over I... has no made in USA stamp

    • Lee Glynn
      28th June 2018

      Hi, we can't find any info on that serial. It might help if you contact Gibson directly.

  • Craig T
    2nd July 2018

    I have a Gibson ES 335 in Black that I bought many years ago from a friend. I am trying to date the guitar and am confused by the serial number, which is AN42179. Any ideas or info would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Lee Glynn
      3rd July 2018

      Hi Craig we can't seem to find any info on that serial number so it might be best contacting Gibson directly. -Lee

  • Greg Hodgkins
    30th July 2018

    I have a red Gibson ES-335-TD that has the number 175075 on the headstock. Can you tell me what year it is? Thanks!

    • Lee Glynn
      31st July 2018

      Hi Greg, this is potentially made between 1970-1975. But best check with Gibson direct for clarification.

  • Mr Roubaix
    12th August 2018

    My Les Paul recording is serial no. 823622 made in america 2. Had this since the middle 80s and toured with it. Original owner said her purchased it at Manny's in 1970. Any info about it?

    • Lee Glynn
      13th August 2018

      Hi! According to our searches, the guitar was built in 1966 but if 'MADE IN USA' is impressed into the back of headstock it might be from 1970-1975 as a result of random method 70s. If you contact Gibson direct, they will be able to help more. I hope that helps. -Lee

  • Marie
    18th August 2018

    Hi there - you guys are busy - I have Les Paul Jr with serial number 101155 - I think it's either a 2010 or 2011 - but what is the 55 lol ?

    • Lee Glynn
      20th August 2018

      Hi Marie, I cant seem to find anything on this. I'd suggest getting in touch with Gibson direct about this. -Lee

  • James
    4th September 2018

    I have a Gibson LP S/N 90877 my father bought it new 57 or 59 I am curious regarding the info Thankyou for your time

    • Lee Glynn
      4th September 2018

      Hi James, according to our research, this looks like it was built in 1959. I would suggest getting in touch with Gibson directly as this could be an extremely rare guitar! -Lee

  • pete james
    21st September 2018

    I bought a second hand SG JUNIOR serial number 515914 from Take 5, Shaftesbury Avenue, London in 1970. I would like to know what year it was made.

    • Lee Glynn
      25th September 2018

      Hi Pete, we can't seem to find anything on this serial number. I would suggest contacting Gibson directly on this. -Lee

  • Lisa
    7th October 2018

    I have a Les Paul Custom chambered '57 reissue serial number CR75003... this one is not on the page.. I'm assuming the 7 is 57 reissue, 5 is for 2005, and 003 is the third guitar made in that year? Help, thanks!

    • Lee Glynn
      10th October 2018

      Hi Lisa, i'd suggest getting in touch with Gibson direct as I can't seem to find anything on that serial number. -Lee

  • Kevin Gates
    7th October 2018

    Just recently aquired a Gibson Acoustic guitar!! Thinking 1940s?? Serial number 887220!! What do I have

    • Lee Glynn
      10th October 2018

      Hi Kevin, according to our research you have a 1967 Gibson Manufactured in Kalamazoo. I hope that helps -Lee

  • Dave Burnard
    9th October 2018

    Hi,
    I have an Gibson ES-137 archtop It has the serial number 12201750

    Could you help me and tell me what year and where it was made.

    Many thanks

    • Lee Glynn
      10th October 2018

      Hi Dave, according to our findings, this is from the Nashville Plant, TN, USA and is from 2011. -lee

  • Mike Bembenek
    26th October 2018

    Can You Break Down My SN CS 700611 Thank You Mike

    • Lee Glynn
      31st October 2018

      Hi Mike, based on our search, this is potentially 1966, 1967, or 1969 (Manufactured in Kalamazoo). -Lee

  • Pete Gardner
    31st October 2018

    I have a Gibson j200 boseman serial number 81529003 please can you when it was made

    • Lee Glynn
      31st October 2018

      Hi Pete, based on our search, this was made in the Bozeman Plant, MT, USA on June 1st, 1989. I hope that helps. -Lee

  • Derek Firth
    20th November 2018

    I just picked up a Gibson Les Paul Standard with serial number C851133. Any idea what year this is?

    • Lee Glynn
      20th November 2018

      Hi Derek, this is potentially 1974 - 1975 however, I would check with Gibson direct to confirm though.

  • Gus Benedetti
    13th December 2018

    I just bought a custom shop 3 pup black beauty and the booklet says lpb-0 and serial number 001430 can you tell me the provenance and specs of this guitar

    • Lee Glynn
      13th December 2018

      Hi Gus, it's probably best getting touch with Gibson directly about that serial number.

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