Gibson Serial Number Lookup

Discovering your guitar’s history can be a very rewarding thing to do. Authority Guitar has collated a mountain of data to give you the history by using your Gibson Serial Number.

Your guitar’s journey from the factory into your hands may be a mystery, but it’s always a good way to dig into the earlier life of your instrument. 

It’s also essential to have the correct information if you’re considering buying or selling a guitar. Researching a guitar’s serial number can also stop you from being the victim of fraud.

It’s simple enough with our Gibson Serial Number lookup decoder. Type your serial numbers into the decoder below and you’ll get all the information Gibson has on the instrument.

If you end up with an error message, please scroll down and find your guitar’s credentials manually using our helpful number grids. 

*We’ve tirelessly searched the internet for every record, the information gathered is the most accurate we could find. Some documentation crosses over and some has been lost over the years causing gaps in our data.

As Gibson serial numbers are renowned for being a bit of a nightmare, we contacted them and they’ve advised checking the code on the pots when in doubt. They had to be made before the guitar was assembled so they can give a clue to the age of the guitar. Unless, of course, the pots have been changed.

Gibson Serial Number Lookup Decoder

Authority Guitar Top Tip: If you find your serial number doesn’t yield any results, press ‘crtl & f’ and enter the beginning of your serial number. This page will then be highlighted in all the results starting with the numbers/letters you’ve entered. Scroll down to our ‘Manual Checklist’ and you’ll almost certainly find a serial number very close to your own. Giving you a general idea of when your guitar was manufactured.

Where Do You Find Your Gibson Guitar Serial Number?

Unlike other brands of guitars, Gibson keeps it simple. Electric guitars having the serial number on the back of the headstock and acoustics are punched inside the soundhole on a sticker.

On rare occasions, some dates can be found on the electric guitar pots.

Digit serial numbers & Stamped Serial header

Gibson Guitar History

In 1845 a gentleman by the name of Orville Gibson was working in his wood store. He produced the very first instrument, which would eventually lead to becoming the largest guitar manufacturer in the world.

The first instruments crafted by Orville Gibson were a family of acoustics and mandolins. Loosely based around the archtop violin design.

year of manufacture Orville Gibson
Orville Gibson

Demand was high in 1902, making it impractical to carry on as a one-man Luthier. Gibson decided to go into an agreement with five financers creating ‘Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Manufacturing Company’.

Orville Gibson remains on the workforce until 1904. He retires but is employed as a consultant and collects his monthly pension.

In 1918 Orville Gibson dies.

1921 saw the introduction of one of the most important developments in guitar history. The adjustable truss rod and height-adjustable bridge. Invented by Ted McHugh at Gibson.

Still to this day, all Gibson instruments are installed with the Ted McHugh design.

The first electric guitar was born in 1937. The Hawaiian-styled guitar was named the EH-150. Shortly after that came the Spanish design ES-150.

year of manufacture 1937 ES-150

The Gibson ES-150 was endorsed by Charlie Christian. It immediately becomes a huge hit with Jazz orchestras and bands around the United States.

1937-45 Saw the birth of the superb J-200 acoustic guitars. The Super 400 Premier, the Southern Jumbo, J-45, and the L5-Premier.

Towards the end of World War II, Chicago Musical Instruments saw the chance to take the Gibson brand to millions. They purchase the company and fit the demand.

1946-54 Gibson mastered the classic P-90 single-coil pickup and fits it to guitars such as the ES-5 and ES-175.

During this time Gibson acquired the recording talents of a ceratin Les Paul. The company’s first solid-body guitar was released under the name Gibson Les Paul.

Les Paul sales hit the ground running so Gibson decided to expand on their Les Paul arsenal. The Junior, Special, Standard, and the Custom hit the stores shortly after 1952.

1957 Seth Lover, a Gibson engineer finalizes the Humbucker featuring a double single-coil. It quickly becomes popular in the market.

1958 saw a leap of faith with the first semi-hollow-bodied electric guitar. The hugely successful ES-335 was born.

Three more outrageous designs were brought to the forefront with the Flying V, the Explorer, and the Moderne. These designs were seen as commercial disasters. But they now sit with guitar history’s most sought-after electric guitars.

SG Gibson Guitar
GIBSON SG STANDARD ’61 ELECTRIC GUITAR (VINTAGE CHERRY)

1961 The Gibson solid-body designs continued to be a roaring success. So naturally, Gibson added to the family with the double-cutaway SG models and the classy Firebirds from 1963.

Nashville Manufacturing Plant opens in 1974.

1978 The First Re-Issues were produced featuring the F-SL, the Heritage Les Paul (1980), and the Heritage Korinas (1982).

year of manufacture 50s heritage les paul
GIBSON LES PAUL STANDARD ’50S ELECTRIC GUITAR HERITAGE CHERRY SUNBURST

Further innovating guitars were Further impressive innovations were produced in 1980. With various B.B.King models and Chet Atkins solid body acoustics (1982).

1990+ saw interest in vintage models reignite. Replicas like the 59′ and 60′ flame top Les Paul send players into a buying frenzy.

1994 the new Gibson Nighthawk wins the Most Innovative Guitar at NAMM.

2002 is the 50th Anniversary of the Les Paul. Gibson flexes its muscles by producing the world’s first digital guitar. Further amazing releases saw the world’s first robotic technology-based guitar.

2014 the world is introduced to Min-Etune. An automatic tuning unit is fitted on the rear of the headstock.

gibson serial numbers Min-Etune
Min-Etune. Pic by Freebird_71 

Four new species of pickups (including the Sidewinder). Undercut Fret binding for quicker fingers. A Tektoid nut and Cryogenic treated fret wire for longer playing time.

Gibson really is on a whole different level with the innovation of its instruments.

Gibson Serial Number Lookup – Manual Checklist

Here is a summary of the serial number, model, and year. To gain the best results use our decoder above.

*Authority Guitar Top Tip: Press ‘ctrl & F’ then add the beginning of your serial number/guitar model in the search bar to find your details quicker on our extensive list below.

To reveal an accurate date of the serial numbers below, add your details to our Gibson decoder.

1935-42

225 Parsons St., Kalamazoo. Michigan

A variation of letters was used to decipher the early production of Kalamazoo, MI Gibson guitars.

The following letters would be found with your serial number between the years 1935 & 1942:

A,B,C,D,DA,E,G,H,Ex,F,FA,xG,xK,xW,xxE. (x being any letter)

Some serials were only 3 digits long. Some have 4 digits, then a _ (space) then another 1 or 2 digits. ex 1234 A & 1234 A5.

Use the decoder above to retrieve a much clearer date.

1952-61

Kalamazoo, MI

The Serial process from 1952 was clearer. Archtop models had a stamp on the inside of the ‘F hole’, and the solid-body models displayed the serial number on the rear of the headstock.

The following letters would be found on Archtop models:

Z,Y,X,W,V,U,T,S,R,Q followed by 5 or 6 digits. ex Z12345 & Z123456 would be an Archtop guitar from 1952

Other notable variations from this time period are a 5 character serial number starting with a number, then a space, and 4 digits. ex 3 1234. The first letter in this sequence is the year. 3=1953.

A 6 digit serial number is solid-bodied guitars produced from the years: 1955, 1956, 1959, or 1960.

Serial numbers which start with 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0 & 1, and are 6 digits long are most likely to be a solid body, all bar a few 4 digit serial numbers were LP Juniors or Gibson Specials from 1958. The first number is the year. ex 312345 is from the year 1953 and so on.

As always, to receive the best possible information available, be sure to type your serial info into our decoder above.

1961-70

1961 was the year Gibson wanted to tidy the serial number process up. But in reality, left us with more of a headache.

Many serial numbers were crossed over giving us a choice of two, and sometimes three years.

Without this list becoming too much of a mess, here are the serial numbers within this nine-year period. Enter your full serial details into our decoder to get a much closer idea of the production year:

Serial Numbers 1961-1970
4-5 Digit
0100-42440
42441-61180
61450-64222
64240-71040
71041-96600
96601-99999

6-Digit
000001-099999
100000-106099
106100-106899
109000-109999
110000-111549
111550-115799
115800-118299
118300-120999
121000-139999
140000-140100
140101-144304
144305-144380
144381-149864
149865-149891
149892-152989
152990-174222
174223-176643
176644-250335
250336-305983
306000-310999
311000-320149
320150-320699
320700-329179
329180-330199
330200-332240
332241-348092
348093-349100
349121-368638
368640-369890
370000-370999
380000-385309
390000-390998
400001-406666
406667-409670
409671-410900
410901-419999
420000-429193
500000-500999
501009-501600
501601-501702
501703-502706
503010-503109
503405-520955
520956-530056
530061-530850
530851-530993
530994-539999
540000-540795
540796-545009
555000-557999
558000-567400
570087-570643
570645-570755
570857-570964
580000-580080
580086-580999
600000-600998
600000-606090
700000-700799
750000-750999
800000-800999
801000-812838
812900-819999
820000-820087
820088-823830
824000-824999
828002-847488
847499-858999
859001-891999
892000-896999
897000-898999
899000-899999
900000-909999
910000-999999

1970-1976

Unfortunately, this is where we start to cross over. Gibson state that all 6 digit numbers starting with ‘0’, are from 1967. Yet you may come across these serial numbers between 1970-75.

Our decoder will give you all of the information in both cases.

Serial Numbers 1970-1976
000000-099999
100000-199999
200000-299999
300000-399999
400000-499999
500000-599999
600000-699999

1975-77

Limited Edition Gibson

Limited edition Gibson Guitars during this period are as follows:

99+2 digits (ex 9912) = 1975

00+2 digits (ex 0012) = 1976

06+2 digits (ex 0612) = 1977

1977- July 2005

Finally during the late seventies right up to 2005 Gibson gave us by far the best method of working out our serial number.

With an 8 digit serial number, the following applies:

serial numbers gibson pic Gibson Serial Number Lookup

July 2005-Early 2014

July 2005 saw the 8 digit serial system replaced by another digit. The extra digit slots in the 6th position and is responsible for the ‘batch lot’ number of the guitar produced that day.

‘Batch’ numbers start from 0, once the number 699 guitar is stamped that day, the batch number changes from 0 to 1.

The stamp number (in silver below) starts at 500 and ends at 699. Once it reaches 699, the next guitar stamp goes back to 500.

batch number

2014-

In 2014 the serial number information was changed yet again. The number of digits was changed to 9 in total. The batch number, day number were completely done away with leaving a very simple method.

The first two digits are the year, and the next 7 digits are the serial number. ex 171234567. Year=2017 Serial=1234567.

Shame we didn’t have this system back in 1935 eh!

Custom & Special Reissue Serial Codes

The following codes relate to a range of Gibson SG, Firebird, and Les Paul custom or reissue guitars. As always, use our decoder to find out the guitar in question.

6 digit serial numbers ending in 1,2,3,4,5 & 8.

ex 123451.

The first two digits are the year, the last digit specifies the type of guitar. In this case, the guitar is a 2012 SG Custom/Special Re-issue.

A- & B- Serial Numbers

Gibson serial numbers that begin with an ‘A’ or ”B’ followed by a hyphen are from the ES collection Reissues, since 1995. 6 Digits in total.

ex A-28123. 2=Model, 8=8year, 123 place in manufacturing sequence

A-28123 = Gibson ES-295 1998 123rd in the sequence.

The (A) Models are :

2=ES-295, 3=1963 ES-335 (block inlays), 4=ES-330, 5=ES-345 & 9=1959 ES-335 (dot inlays)

B Models:

9=ES-355

Other Noteable Serial Configurations

CS- Custom Shop

At this time we have scattered information regarding (CS) Custom Shop serial coding. The closest most notable information is as follows.

Serials beginning with CS05 are from Memphis 2010. CS15 is 2011. At this point it is still unclear what the CS10 number is.

It’s important to point out Nashville and Memphis Custom Shop models are unique, even one off serial numbers. Some important information will be printed or embossed as usual on the rear of the headstock or inside the body on a label.

It has been said the CS ES models start off being built in Memphis. The (’59 & ’63 reissue) bodies are then sent to Nashville for completion. Just in case you weren’t confused enough! These particular models do not have serial numbers on the back of the headstock.

The closest coding we have with an explanation is as follows:

ex CS104260

CS= Custom Shop, 1=Year (Last digit of the year, 2011?), 0=Location (0=Nashville, 5=Memphis), 4260= Production Rank

Limited Edition

Limited edition Gibsons such as the serial number PAGE xxx, are signature guitars from great players over the years.

Here are more. As always, pop them into the decoder for a clearer idea of the legendary player in question

  • ACE xxx
  • AS xxxx
  • BONE xxx
  • DB xxx
  • DBR xxx
  • GR xxx
  • 13xxx
  • JA xxx
  • JPxxx
  • JPP xxx
  • PETE xxx
  • PF xx
  • PFYxxx
  • SL xxx
  • TI xxx
  • ZW xxx
  • ZPW xxx

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