Gibson custom shop serial number dating
A new system, introduced in 1961, was made to cover all of the instruments in Gibson’s line (not just acoustic guitars).This was pretty poorly done though (IMO) and meant that some serial numbers were reused so a certain serial number could be from a guitar from different years.For old guitars we can only know the exact data reading the ESP warranty card (when there is), or unscrewing the neck (if the neck is bolt on) and read under it becuse probably theres the data write on pencil).I keep record of this data in order to try to deduce other correspondences.This is the reason why we can easilu find guitars with the bolt plate referring to a year or two before or after respect the serial printed on the back of the headstock.To have an exact dating of this guitars you have to unscrew the neck and look at the date could be written below.Most will be 5 to 6 digits in length, but the earliest examples feature 4 digit serial numbers.
The following serial numbers apply just to acoustic guitars.The PRE-2015 system doesn't apply to early ESP's, some of which had no serial number tracking system at all and used random numbers. It all began a few years ago with the EU and a thing called the Ro HS (Regulation of Hazardous Materials) and Gotoh in Japan basically changed their production to ensure they didn’t lose the European market, and that being manufacturers who shipped to Europe, which is most everyone.They changed pretty much everything for the “export” market, and export to most makers means anything but US. They have a way of producing black again now so expect it to all go back to the way most of us prefer over of old esp's does not have any serial on the back of the headstock.This Article is designed to assist in dating and/or identifying instruments manufactured or distributed by Gibson Guitar Corp.
Please note that most of this information relates to serial numbers used from 1975 to present.
The first serial number for acoustic guitars was 100.