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For all models, the serial number on the back of the headstock is stamped.Some serial numbers are duplicated from 1963 to 1969.The batch number, the first four digits of the FON, followed by a one or two-digit number. The first digit of the serial number is the last digit of the year.If the stamped number consists 5 digits, there is a space between the first and second digit (a separation between the last digit of the year and the actual serial number).1935-1937: Letter between the batch number and the order number. 0123 A5 1938-1941: Two or three letters before batch number. If there is a second character follows it is the code for the type of the instrument.
The letter preceding the batch number in the FON, and indicates the year of production. Y1234 23 This were used from 1952 to 1961 on archtop models and stamped on the inside of the F-hole. An ink-stamped number from the back of the headstock. No serial numbers were used, Gibson just started therewith in 1953.
Some lap steels and Les Paul's from 1961 have such a serial number.
Another exception to the above rules is in the autumn from 1958, where a some Les Paul Juniors and Specials had a four-digit serial number. From 1970 to 1975, the 6-digit serial numbers randomly generated.
In a random sequence numbers were stamped on the back of the headstock. In 1970, the orange labels in the body of acoustic guitars were replaced by white with orange rectangular labels.
The electrical models were provided with a rectangular with black and purple triangle.
From this period, the 5-digit and 6-digit numbers can be confused easily and gives the wrong date.