How to date a vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar

John Shults

Posted on October 12 2019

How to date a vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar

Vintage Gibson Les Paul guitars are simple to date if you understand the complex way that Gibson assigned serial numbers to guitars. That's a tall order! If you're looking for "How old is my Gibson Les Paul guitar?" then you've come to the right place. 

Need help? I'd be happy to take a look at your guitar. Click the red Contact Me button in the lower right corner of your screen to send me information about your guitar. I'm looking forward to checking it out!

The serial number for your guitar should be on the back of the neck at the top just between and above the tuning machines. Take a look- if your serial number is more than 6 digits then your guitar is no earlier than 1976. 

1957 Gibson Les Paul Special headstock serial number

6 digits or less and ink stamped: 

Is your serial number ink stamped like the 1957 Gibson Les Paul Special above? Gibson used 5 or 6 digit ink stamped serial numbers on Les Paul guitars from 1952 until 1960. The first digit of this style serial number indicates the last digit of the year it was manufactured. For example, this Les Paul's serial number is "7_6227" so it was made in 1957. 

Do you have a Gibson Les Paul with an ink stamped serial number? I would love to see it. Click the Contact Me button in the corner of your browser. 

 

6 digits or less and impressed on the back of the headstock:

Gibson used the 6 digits or less impressed serial number style from 1961 until 1975. Gibson guitars with "MADE IN USA" impressed below the serial were made from 1969 and on. If your guitar has 6 digits impressed on the headstock and a "MADE IN USA" underneath then it was likely made between 1969 and 1975. Gibson reused serial numbers during this time period so that's as close as we can narrow these guitars down without reading the potentiometer codes. Here's an example of that style.

 

1974 Gibson ES-335 headstock serial number

 

Needing help yet? I'd love to check out your guitar. I'm always looking to buy clean examples of vintage Gibson Les Paul guitars. You can send a message to me by clicking the Contact Me button in the lower right corner of your screen. I'm looking forward to seeing it!

3 to 6 digit serial number impressed with no "Made In USA":

Your guitar, if vintage, was made between 1961 and 1969. Serial number ranges here can be tricky since Gibson reused the serial range multiple times through out the 1960s. You would probably benefit from having a professional take a look at your guitar. I would love to take a look. Click the Contact Me Button (lower right of your browser) to send me a message about your guitar. Here's a list of the possible years of manufacture for different serial number ranges:

 

100  ------ 42440   1961

42441---- 61180    1962

61450 --- 64222    1963

64240 --- 71040    1964

71041 --- 96600    1962, 1963, or 1964

96601 --- 99999    1963

000001 - 099999   1967  

100000 - 106099   1963 or 1967

106100 - 106899   1963

109000 - 109999   1963 or 1967

110000 - 111549   1963

111550 - 115799   1963 or 1967

115800 - 118299   1963

118300 - 120999   1963 or 1967

121000 - 139999   1963

140000 - 140100   1963 or 1967

140101 - 144304   1963

144305 - 144380   1964

144381 - 149864   1963

149865 - 149891   1964

149892 - 152989   1963

152990 - 174222   1964

174223 - 176643   1964 or 1965

176644 - 250335   1964

250336 - 305983   1965

306000 - 310999   1965 or 1967

311000 - 320149   1965

320150 - 320699   1967

320700 - 329179   1965

329180 - 330199   1965 or 1967

330200 - 332240   1965, 1967 or 1968

332241 - 348092   1965

348093 - 349100   1966

349121 - 368638   1965

368640 - 369890   1966

370000 - 370999   1967

380000 - 385309   1966

390000 - 390998   1967

400001 - 406666   1966

406667 - 409670   1966 to 1968

409671 - 410900   1966

410901 - 419999   unknown

420000 - 429193   1966

500000 - 500999   1965, 1966, 1968, or 1969

501009 - 501600   1965

501601 - 501702   1968

501703 - 502706   1965 or 1968

503010 - 503109   1968

503405 - 520955   1965 or 1968

520956 - 530056   1968

530061 - 530850   1966, 1968, or 1969

530851 - 530993   1968 or 1969

530994 - 539999   1969

540000 - 540795   1966 or 1969

540796 - 545009   1969

555000 - 557999   1966

558000 - 567400   1969

570087 - 570643   1966

570645 - 570755   1966 or 1967

570857 - 570964   1966

580000 - 580080   1969

580086 - 580999   1966, 1967 or 1969

600000 - 600998   low end models, 1966, 1967, or 1968

600000 - 606090   high end models, 1969

700000 - 700799   1966, 1967 or 1969

750000 - 750999   1968 or 1969

800000 - 800999   1966, 1967, 1968 or 1969

801000 - 812838   1966 or 1969

812900 - 819999   1969

820000 - 820087   1966 or 1969

820088 - 823830   1966

824000 - 824999   1969

828002 - 847488   1966 or 1969

847499 - 858999   1966 or 1969

859001 - 895038   1967

895039 - 896999   1968

897000 - 898999   1967 or 1969

899000 - 899999   1968

900000 - 909999   1970

910000 - 999999   1968

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