Gibson guitar serial dating
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).
The numbers 001-499 show Kalamazoo production, 500-999 show Nashville production. 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.
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. When production of solid body guitars began, an entirely new serial number system was developed.
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!
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.
Year (s) Approximate Series Manufacture 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.
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. 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.
The first serial numbers started in 1902 and ran until 1947.