Dating a vintage Gibson acoustic guitar can be a difficult process but most of the time it can be done. Many Gibson acoustic guitars made from June of 1942 until late 1945 or early 1946 bore a golden banner on the headstock that reads, “Only a Gibson is good enough.” The banner era Gibson guitars are especially difficult to date since the factory order numbers jumped around and the shipping ledgers are largely undocumented. We don’t know when the last banner applied guitar left the factory but it seems to die out around the end of WWII.
One potentially helpful book on banner era Gibson acoustic guitars is Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women & Gibson’s ‘Banner’ Guitars of WWII. Follow author John Thomas as he interviews women that worked in the factory during WWII, wades through dilapidated areas of the former Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, MI, and documents many factory order numbers from the rumored existing shipping ledgers.
For example, I was recently contacted by woman with her family’s old guitar. She gave me the factory order number and asked if I had any more information about it. The guitar was a 1945 Gibson SJ and by a strange twist of fate, Thomas had documented another SJ with the same FON in the book. Her guitar’s batch mate shipped out of the Gibson factory on October 24, 1945.
Do you have a vintage Gibson acoustic guitar with a “Only a Gibson is good enough” banner? We’re always looking for nice examples and would be happy to help with information on it. You can contact me here: Sell Gibson guitar.