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Gibson has used numerous serialization systems over its 100-plus-year history, and a majority of these numbers were used haphazardly—and rarely in consecutive order—until the system was standardized in 1977.Up until the early 1960s, serial numbers were fairly consistent, but for most of the 1960s and 1970s, six-digit numbers were used pretty much at random.Also note that, in mid-1972, the “Les Paul” signature and “Model” inscription were changed from a silkscreen to a decal.It appears that your pickups were changed at some point (although the pickup openings seem to be originally cut for full-size humbuckers), the pickguard is absent, and the tip of the pickup switch is missing, as well.Checking the date codes on pots is usually the second step (after approximating the date of the serial number) in determining the guitar’s year. And because many manufacturers purchased pots in large quantities, the pots could sit on the shelves for weeks—if not months—before they were installed.Basically, dating the pots only confirms the time the guitar could have been produced.Lower Right: The fourth and fifth numbers of this seven-digit potentiometer date code reveal the last two digits of its year of manufacture. Hi Brian, There’s no question that dating Gibson guitars is challenging—and sometimes downright impossible.

Guitar production wasn’t nearly as fast paced during that period as it was in the 1960s, which meant Gibson ordered fewer parts at that time.I was told to check the potentiometer date codes, which all have “1377142” impressed into them.I read on a Gibson forum that, on seven-digit pot codes, the fourth and fifth numbers represent the date.For many Gibson owners, it’s hard to believe that an individual serial number won’t automatically indicate the year and model of the guitar in question.In fact, without any other information about the guitar, the serial number is essentially worthless.

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