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A difference of only one year - sometimes even several months - can mean a four-figure difference in value.Our hope is to make the dating process and, in turn, the valuation as easy, accurate and transparent as possible.The first and fifth numbers are the year, for example 8997653 = 8997653 or 1986 ES (Electric Spanish - hollow body with fixed pickup(s) T - Thinline D Double - 2 Pickups C Cutaway or Cherry Finish 3/4 - 3/4 side and short scale SV - Stereo and Veritone wiring option Please keep in mind that Serial numbers show approximate date of manufacture.
Some flattop guitars of this era started to omit the word "The" from the inlay.
1933 - 1947 By 1933 Gibson had dropped the "The" from all of their logos while retaining the script "Gibson." The original thin script was replaced with a thicker font on higher-end models in the mid-’30s, and across the entire lineup by the end of the decade.
Here's a look at the different logos Gibson used during each major era of manufacturing.
1902 to Late 1920s The original logo featured the words "The Gibson" inlaid in pearl at a slant, with an almost hand-written cursive font.
Specimens built before 1902 had a star inlay or crescent in place of a logo.
Late 1920s to 1933 The script logo continues without the slant.
Gibson Solid Body Serial Numbers Gibson Serial numbers are located on the back of the headstock Years 1953-1961 Use the first number of the 5 or 6 digit serial number.
For example 55395 = 1955 920874 = 1959 1977 Forward - finally a standard serial number was used.
If you know the backstory around when the instrument was purchased, this can provide some rough clues about its era.
The most general physical piece of evidence on the instrument, however, is going to be the logo on the headstock.
Before mid-1950, most Gibson headstocks were thinner at the top when looked at from a side profile. Gibson has historically used two different alpha-numerical formats to catalog its instruments: serial numbers and FONs (Factory Order Numbers).