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To combat the problem the company upped its serial number sequence last year from eight digits to nine. davidson is quick to point out that consumers have good reason to be alarmed by real or perceived discrepancies on gibson models. For the most part it looks real. davidson is referring to gibson s system in effect since 1977 of including a guitar s build date within the serial number sequence. Even then there may be four other guitars of all different models with the same number sequence. we make sure all the guys have a copy of gruhn s guide. We don t start any eight digit serial numbers with a five. it doesn t always date the guitar says davidson.
Gibson has had so many different schemes over the years and now we re using reissue serial numbers that look like the old serial numbers. today gibson usa takes great pains not to recycle serial numbers. But with more than 75 years of shipping records in the gibson books and dozens of variations on numerical schemes used over the years serial numbers sometimes do little to shed light on the origin of a mysterious gibson. Serial numbers can pull up multiple guitars from multiple years. we get calls from pawn shops and used music stores every day and a lot of the guitars that people ask us about end up being fake gibsons he says. When faced with a question about a guitar s date davidson most always refers to his beyond dogeared copy of gruhn s guide to vintage guitars. Guitar player gear guide what a serial number can and can t tell about your gibson last july we posted an article entitled when was your gibson made. to illustrate his point davidson types in a serial number from memory and it quickly pulls up three different guitars an sg a steinberger and a les paul.
Another resource for iding and dating guitars is gibson s computer database which catalogues scores of serial numbers from 1987 on through the present. a lot of people think you can just dump these formats into a database where you can pull up the date but there s so much more to it. we re always trying to get things more accurate explains marlow so we changed the les paul classic font because we found a stamp as close to the 60s version as we could.Here s some more about gibson serial numbers originally from gibson backstage pass ellen mallernee july 17 2007 serial numbers can be extremely tricky says gibson customer service manager jason davidson whose team fields calls and emails regarding every gibson division. But that related only to gibson guitars made from 1975 to present. That s exactly what happened following a recent modification in the font size of the serial numbers used on the new les paul classics. The earliest volumes contain hundreds of yellowed pages covered front and back with rows of handwritten numbers. Or it might be an eight digit serial number that indicates it was built on the 700th day of the year.