How to date a Gibson SG

John Shults

Posted on October 17 2021

How to date Gibson SG Guitars 1960s 1970s

 

Knowing how to date a Gibson SG guitar is a study in itself since Gibson serial numbers aren't a consistent way to date Gibson guitars. Gibson serial numbers pre-1975 are difficult to use to identify the year of manufacture since they're style specific, used multiple times throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and not necessarily consecutive. Here are the ways a Gibson guitar collector finds the year of a Gibson SG starting with proper serial number identification, then potentiometer codes, then by features. 

As a Gibson SG guitar collector, I'm always on the hunt for nice examples of Gibson SG guitars. My favorite Gibson SG guitars were made starting at their introduction in 1959, the 1960s, and early 1970s. If you're curious about how much a Gibson guitar collector might value your vintage Gibson SG then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson. You can send pictures to the contact information below so I can check out your guitar. 

If you're looking for more information on Gibson SG guitars then I recommend The SG Guitar Book: 50 Years of Gibson's Stylish Solid Guitar. Author Tony Bacon's books on vintage guitars are essential to any guitar nerds book shelf. 

Here are some other helpful links for dating Gibson guitars:
How to date a Gibson Les Paul
How to date a Gibson ES-335

 

How To Date A Gibson SG 

1. Gibson Serial Numbers pre-1975 (6 digits)

Gibson serial numbers pre-1975 are notorious for being difficult to use to date Gibson guitars. They are style specific, not necessarily consecutive, and repeated multiple times throughout the 1960s and 1970s. I recommend you follow the below steps to check the serial number, then follow the rest of the steps to see if the other aspects of dating the SG match up to the serial number you found. You can also ask the Gibson guitar expert for help.

6 digits or less with no MADE IN USA stamp: contact me here if you'd like to sell a Gibson in this serial number range: Sell a Gibson. Scroll down past these numbers if your guitar has the MADE IN USA stamp.

Gibson serial numbers pre-1975

0100   to  42440      1961 
42441  to 61180      1962  I am looking for all 4 and 5 digit serial Gibsons
61450  to 64222      1963   
64240  to 71040      1964
71041  to 96600      usually 1962 but some 1963 or 1964
96601  to 99999      1963
000001 to 099999   1967  (most "0" are 1967, some 1970s Firebirds)
100000 to 106099   1963 if wide neck or 1967 if skinny neck
106100 to 106899   1963
109000 to 109999   1963 if wide neck or 1967 if skinny neck
110000 to 111549   1963
111550 to 115799   1963 if wide neck, 1967 if skinny neck
115800 to 118299   1963
118300 to 120999   1963 if wide neck, 1967 if skinny neck
121000 to 139999   1963
140000 to 140100   1963 if wide neck or 1967 if skinny neck
140101 to 144304   1963
144305 to 144380   1964
144381 to 149864   1963
149865 to 149891   1964
149892 to 152989   1963
152990 to 174222   1964
174223 to 176643   1964 or 1965
176644 to 250335   1964
250336 to 305983   1965
306000 to 310999   1965 wide neck, 1967 skinny neck
311000 to 320149   1965
320150 to 320699   1967
320700 to 329179   1965
329180 to 330199   1965 wide neck or 1967 if skinny neck
330200 to 332240   1965 if wide neck, 1967 or 1968 if skinny neck
332241 to 348092   1965
348093 to 349100   1966
349121 to 368638   1965
368640 to 369890   1966
370000 to 370999   1967
380000 to 385309   1966
390000 to 390998   1967
400001 to 406666   1966
406667 to 409670   1966 if reflector knobs, 1967 or 1968 witch hat knobs
409671 to 410900   1966
410901 to 419999   serial number range not found in records
420000 to 429193   1966
500000 to 500999   1965 (wide neck) or 1966, 1968, or 1969 skinny neck
501009 to 501600   1965
501601 to 501702   1968
501703 to 502706   1965 wide neck or 1968 skinny neck
503010 to 503109   1968
503405 to 520955   1965 wide neck or 1968 skinny neck
520956 to 530056   1968
530061 to 530850   1966 reflector knobs, 1968 or 1969 witch hat knobs
530851 to 530993   1968 or 1969
530994 to 539999   1969
540000 to 540795   1966 reflector knobs or 1969 witch hat knobs
540796 to 545009   1969
555000 to 557999   1966
558000 to 567400   1969
570087 to 570643   1966
570645 to 570755   1966 reflector knobs or  1967 witch hat knobs
570857 to 570964   1966
580000 to 580080   1969
580086 to 580999   1966 (reflector knobs) or 1967 or 1969 witch hat knobs
600000 to 600998   lower end model specific 1966, 1967, or 1968
600000 to 606090   higher end model specific 1969
700000 to 700799   1966 (reflector), 1967 or 1969 witch hats
750000 to 750999   1968 or 1969
800000 to 800999   1966, 1967, 1968 or 1969
801000 to 812838   1966 reflector knobs, 1969 witch hats
812900 to 819999   1969
820000 to 820087   1966 reflector, 1969 witch hats
820088 to 823830   1966
824000 to 824999   1969
828002 to 847488   1966 refelector knobs or 1969 if witch hats
847499 to 858999   1966 or 1969
859001 to 895038   1967
895039 to 896999   1968
897000 to 898999   1967 or 1969
899000 to 899999   1968
900000 to 909999   1970
910000 to 999999   sometimes 1968 but this range is not consistent

6 digits or less with MADE IN USA: The MADE IN USA stamp starts in about 1970. Guitars with this large stamp were not made before 1970. 

Gibson serial numbers pre-1975 made in USA

000000s        Usually 1973 with MADE IN USA stamp
100000s        Range used 1970-1975 with MADE IN USA stamp
200000s        1973 to 1975 with MADE IN USA stamp
300000s        1974 to 1975 with MADE IN USA stamp
400000s        1974 to 1975 with MADE IN USA stamp
500000s        1974 to 1975 with MADE IN USA stamp
600000s        1970 to 1975 but excludes 1973 with MADE IN USA stamp
700000s        1970 to 1972 with MADE IN USA stamp
800000s        1973 to 1975 with MADE IN USA stamp
900000s        1970 to 1972 with MADE IN USA stamp

Sticker on back of the neck with two digit prefix, 8 digit total serial number:

Gibson serial numbers 1970s

99xxxxxx 1975
00xxxxxx 1976
06xxxxxx 1977

8 digit serial number impressed on the headstock: these guitars were made after 1977. The first and fifth digit will indicated the last two digits of the year it was made. 

Example:    8xxx2xxx  =  1982

Gibson serial numbers 1970s 1980s

 

2. Neck Width (only specific to 1960s Gibson SG guitars)

The neck width of a vintage Gibson SG can help with how to date a Gibson SG if you're not sure if it was made in the early 1960s or late 1960s. Gibson SG guitars made until 1965 had a standard neck with that Gibson collectors call "wide neck". The measurement at the nut is about 1 11/16". Gibson slimmed the necks down in 1965 to 1 5/8" then all the way down to 1 9/16" by the end of the year. 

If you're not sure how to date your Gibson SG by serial number because the number was used in both the early 1960s and late 1960s, you can measure the nut to find out. If the neck measures less than 1 11/16" at the nut then it was made after 1964.

Here's a helpful tool for measuring the neck of a guitar: Digital Calipers on Amazon.

3. Potentiometer Codes

Another helpful way to date Gibson SG guitars is to check the potentiometer codes. Potentiometers are variable resistors that allow a player to control the volume and tone of the signal being sent to the amplifier. If the potentiometers are original to the guitar, then the date indicated by the potentiometer code is the oldest possible date for the guitar. 

How to decipher potentiometer codes for six digit codes (eg. 137 422): the first three digits are the manufacturer code, the fourth digit is the last digit of the year, and the last two digits are the week of the year. The code above is for a potentiometer made by CTS (137) during the 22nd week of 1964.

How to decipher potentiometer codes for seven digit codes (eg. 137 6422): the first three digits are the manufacturer code, the fourth and fifth digit are the last digits of the year, and the last two digits are the week of the year. The code above is for a potentiometer made by CTS (137) during the 22nd week of 1964.

I am looking for all Gibson SG guitars with 1960s potentiometer codes: Sell a Gibson.

How to date Gibson SG guitars with potentiometer codes

4. General Features

Gibson guitar collectors can date a Gibson SG guitar using only its features. One quick and easy feature to look for is the shape of the knobs. Gibson used what collectors call reflector knobs until 1967. Guitars from 1967 and later usually have witch hat style knobs. If the serial number of your Gibson SG guitar was used multiple times during the late 1960s, the knobs style may be helpful.

    Reflector knobs (1961-1967)                            Witch hat knobs (1967-later)

 Gibson reflector knobs 1960s               Gibson witch hat knobs 1960s

Sell a vintage Gibson SG

As a Gibson SG guitar collector, I'm always on the hunt for nice examples of Gibson SG guitars. I'm primarily a buyer for four and five digit serial number guitars, definitely wide neck guitars, and sometimes late 60s and 70s guitars depending on the condition and features. 

If you're looking for where to sell Gibson guitars then I may be the guitar collector you're looking for. I travel world wide to acquire the Gibson guitars I've always dreamed of. I may be able to come to you for an in person transaction for higher value guitars. If not, then I can arrange to have it professionally packed, shipped, and fully insured. 

You can contact me here to sell a Gibson SG. Take some pictures of your guitar and send them to the contact information at the bottom of this page. I'd be happy to check it out and give my thoughts on it. 

Where to sell Gibson SG guitars near me vintage 1960s

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