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Whereas Martin guitars have been using a single, consistent numbering system since the 19th century, Gibson has used several different serial number formats since its inception in 1902, meaning that some formats and numbers overlap across decades.This makes it especially important to first identify the general era during which your instrument was made before pinning down the exact date of manufacture with a serial number.Most will be 5 to 6 digits in length, but the earliest examples feature 4 digit serial numbers.There should be a space after the 1st digit with the 4 and 5 digit serial numbers, and no space with the 6 digit numbers.If you know the backstory around when the instrument was purchased, this can provide some rough clues about its era.
This is sometimes referred to as the slanted script logo.
The 1st digit indicates the year of manufacture for the 4 & 5 digit serial numbers, these were used from 1989-1999.
The 1st and 2nd indicate the year of manufacture for the 6 digit serial numbers which we’ve been using since 2000.
You should be able to use this guide to determine the year of your instrument and then consult the Reverb Price Guide to find its value, all for free.
For many vintage instruments, determining the date of manufacture involves little more than running the serial number through a reference guide.