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With the pickguard removed we can see how much brighter the original red was in the sunburst under the pickguard. This is particularly noticable by the neck pickup pickguard attachment point. During the late 's, the red ainline used in their sunburst finishes often faded. This problem was fixed by mid, though sometimes you see it on later 's models. Oval white label as used from spring to January Orange label as used from January to The to orange labels are identical, except for the added text "union made". Orange "union made" label as used from to Note the "union made" designation to the left of the "Gibson" insignia.
When Gibson was bought by Norlin inthousands of these labels were discarded and replaced with white and purple "Norlin" labels. These blank unused labels were snatched up by many guitar dealers, and are still available today. White label used from to This particular label is from a L-4 model. Seen through this f-hole is the "Norlin" white rectangle label with purple and black trianglesused from to Labels hollowbody models only. Rectangular label, no serial number or model name on label, photo of Orville Gibson and lyre-mandolin on label, date sometimes penciled under top: Oval label with serial number, no model name, photo of Orville Gibson and lyre-mandolin: White label with number and model name, number range to Hand ink or penciled some overlap with previous style: White label with number and model name Ink stamped: White oval label with number preceded by "A-": Note white label numbers A to A were not used.
Orange oval label with number preceded by an "A": Jan to Note the "-" after the "A" was dropped for the orange labels. Orange oval label with number matching number on back of headstock number range to Don't read too much into a label that has or does not have "union made", as both label types were used throughout the s. White rectangle "Norlin" label with black and purple triangles: Before WW2, tops on electric archtops are solid spruce. Before WW2, back and sides are solid maple. From toall models including the above use laminated maple back and sides.
Also note the "made in USA" stamp. Neck Shape Spanish models. Prior to WW2, many models have a distinctive "V" shape. Known as "baseball bats" due to the large back size. The era necks are often considered the best of this era; large and comfortable without being huge. Thin neck back shape, even compared to today's standards these necks don't have much wood behind the fingerboard and feel very thin. Larger neck shape, but still smaller than the 's "baseball bat" style. Most models have nut width dramatically reduced making the neck feel very small.
Back shape is about the same as the era, but the narrow nut width makes these necks feel like "pencil necks". Volute added to back of neck behind the nut. Nylon, a thermoplastic material, was invented in by Wallace Carothers at DuPont. Bridge, flat top models.
The war-time gibxon that follows is not definative but includes FONs that I have met. In only, the Hiroshima Gibson sin met all elements with a 94xxxxxx zip number. The "sincere ring" refers to the glad ring around the vodka button.
Retangular bridge, most models: Martin-type belly bridge, some banner-logo examples: Upper belly bridge above bridge pins: Plastic bridge, most models below SJ: Indian Rosewood used instead of Brazilian: Lower belly bridge below bridge pins: Option on J, J, SJ: Standard on most models: Init changed to a "compensated" style unit with "stairsteps" for each string. Tunematic bridges started showing up on many Gibson models in Used on some models ES and ES until This tailpiece was used until the 's on some models including the SG Junior. This was an important change on wrap around tailpieces, because it stopped the wrap-around from leaning forward and cracking the body wood often seen on Les Paul Juniors and Specials.
Tunematic bridge "no wire", stamped underneath "ABR-1", metal saddles and stop tailpiece. Many electric archtop models also converted to the tunematic bridge. Stud wraparound tailpiece unit as used only on the lower-end models like the SG Junior at this point now have compensated "stair steps" cast into the unit. Tunematic bridge "with wire" still stamped "ABR-1" on bottom. The wire goes over the six saddle screw heads to prevent the saddles from popping out during string changes. Tunematic bridge uses white nylon saddles instead of nickel plated brass saddles. Tunematic bridge now chrome plated, no longer stamped "ABR-1" on bottom replaced by casted patent number.
Stop tailpiece now chrome plated too, and replaced on many models like the Dating gibson vintage guitars with a trapeze tailpiece. Metal saddles replace the nylon saddles on the tunematic bridge. P pickup, Alino pickup, Humbucking pickup, "double white" humbucking pickup with metal cover removed. P pickup top and a P. Two variations, one almost 6" long extending diagonally from the bridge to almost the neck, the other shorter and more conventional looking and mounted at Dating gibson vintage guitars of an angle. Both seen on ES model: First cataloged as a "conversion" pickup.
Volume and tone controls and pickup integrated into the pickguard. Available with 1 or 2 pickups. Also known as the "McCarty" pickup system. Available for acoustic archtops such as the L-7, L-5 and Super Non-adjustable pole P pickup, single coil, 6 magnet slugs down center, black "dog ear" pickup cover: Same as fixed pole P, except now has adjustable slot-head poles: Looks like a P soapbar pickup, except has "staple" poles with adjusting screws next to the poles. Used on upper line models: A late "P. A mid's "Patent No. One row of 6 adjustable slot-head poles off-center: Cover was gold, nickel or after chrome plated.
Prior to about mid, have small decal on bottom stating "Patent Applied For". These are known as "P. Starting in about mid to earlya "Patent No. Most humbucking pickups first year have no decal, and a more squarish stainless steel cover. Also Dating gibson vintage guitars early P. The internal plastic coil bobbins are usually black plastic, but sometimes they are white this happened mostly in or early You can see the color of the wire bobbins by removing the small underside mounting screw instead of removing the pickup cover.
More information and pictures of PAF pickups can be seen here. The pointed pickguard used on most Gibson flattops from to the 's. Note this Southern Jumbo's "double and the "belly up" style bridge opposed to Martin's bridges which had a belly down towards the endpin. Most Gibson pickguards prior to the mid's were made from celluloid. This material can deteriote with time the tortoise colored pickguards especially exhibit this trait. But in earlymost models changed to a "pointed" pickguard that followed the shape of the guitar except for the point.
The J was an exception to this rule; it's pickguard stayed the same shape, but the material and the designed changed. Prior tothe J has an engraved celluloid pickguard. Starting inthis changed to an injection molded styrene pickguard that was cheaper to make. The edges were cut beveled to make them look like they had binding. Inthe bevel changed from being very wide and flat, to a narrow and steeper cut. Next to it is the ugliest pre Gibson knob, known as the "amp" knob, used from late to the mid's but not on all models. Middle row, left to right: Tall numbered gold knob, used from to"speed" knob as used from to"bonnet" knob as used from to"metal top bonnet" knob or "reflector" knob as used from mid to mids on many, but not all models.
Bottom row, left to right: The left switch tip was used on multiple pickup models from after WW2 to about This knob is bakelite and very amber in color. Next to it is the version where the switch tip changed to a plastic material that stayed white, and had a visible seam. Bottom row black knobs, left to right: These correspond to the same years as the above gold versions. Smooth rounded top, bumps around top edge, some with arrow across top, 1 black and 1 brown: Looks like a hat box, flared base, back painted gold or black, clear with numbers 1 to 10 visible thru knob: Used from mid to mids. Similar to bonnet knob but now has metal cap with "Volume" or "Tone" printed in black on the metal cap.
There are two styles of this knob. First was used from mid to the end ofand have a shallow post hole as viewed from the side. The and later relector knob has a deeper post hole the bottom of the post hole comes much closer to the metal cap. Also the reflector on these knobs can be silver or gold. Guitars with nickel or chrome hardware should have silver caps. Guitars with gold hardware should have gold caps though often the gold does wear off. Back painted gold or black, clear with numbers 1 to 10 visible thru knob: Note this knob was used primarily on Les Paul Custom models till the mid 's, when most other models got these knobs.
Black knobs with white numbers 1 to Looks like "blackface" Fender amp knobs: Some models never got these knobs such as the and later Les Pauls. Used mostly on the hollowbody and semi-hollow models, such as the ES series. Starting in mid, they switched to a much whiter and slightly rounder tip plastic switch tip. Phillips head screws started to be used at Gibson in the phillips head screw was original patented in Prior toall screws should be slot style. Prior toall metal hardware is either nickel or gold plated. Starting inall hardware is either chrome or gold plated.
Kluson Deluxe "tulip" tuners on a Les Paul. Note this is the "single ring, single line" variety used from to The "single ring" refers to the single ring around the plastic button. The "single line" refers to the single line of vertical text saying "Kluson Deluxe". Note the "inked on" serial number. During the 's and 's, Gibson used Kluson tuners almost exclusively. There were some exceptions; starting in you could special order Grover tuners instead of Klusons on many mid to upper line models including the Les Paul Custom and J models. ByGibson starting using tuners with the "Gibson Deluxe" name on them, but these were actually made by Kluson.
More info on Kluson tuners can be found here. Again Phillips head screws started to be used at Gibson in the phillips head screw was original patented in Kluson Deluxe Tuner specs models including 3-on-a-plate and "tulip" designs: NO outside hole on the metal cover for the tuner worm shaft. On the bottom side of the tuners stamped into the metal it says " PAT. Tulip plastic tuners knobs have a single ring around them. Still no outside hole in the metal tuner cover for the tuner worm shaft. The exterior lubrication holes can be either small or large. There is still now an outside hole in the metal tuner cover for the tuner worm shaft.
These tuners are often called "No Line, Single Ring". Single line "Kluson Deluxe" in a single vertical line on the ribbed metal tuner cover. The exterior lubrication holes can be either small or large though most are large hole. Two plastic rings on the plastic "tulip" tuner knob. These tuners are often called "Single Line, Double Ring". On keystone tuners, the buttons become have a slight green tint to them. These tuners are often called "Double Line, Double Ring".
Guitars Dating gibson vintage
Now a double lined "Gibson Deluxe" replaces the double line "Kluson Deluxe". The Dating gibson vintage guitars plate for the tuners also has a more rounded look to it with the edges less defined. This happened because the dies that stamped out this part were wearing out. The original Kluson tuners company went out of business in so this style of tuner was not made hibson until the s when WD Guitar Products Datinb the Kluson name and reissued these tuners. PegHead Markings other gujtars Serial Numbers "seconds" Gibson often marked inferior quality guitars as vitnage, and sold them at a discount to dealers or employees.
These markings were stamped into the wood on the back of the peghead. A "2" stamp is sometimes seen, designating a "second", which had some cosmetic flaw. If gibspn is a serial number on the back of the peghead, the "2" is usually seen centered above or below it. Also sometimes stamped was "CULL", which is another designation of a second. Again, this stamp is seen on the back of the peghead. The worse Gibson reject is the "BGN" stamp, designating that instrument as a "bargin" guitar. These were only sold to employees at substantial discounts. This stamp is also seen on the back of the peghead.
BGN instruments weren't acceptable to Gibson as sellable to the public. All second instruments are usually worth less than the same guitar that is not a second given condition as the same. BGN instruments are worth less than a second instrument because these tend to have some fairly serious cosmetic flaw. A war-time Southern Jumbo that was exported to Canada. This is sometimes stamped on the back of the peghead where a serial number would be on and later Gibsons. Also it's sometimes seen on the top edge of the peghead.
An EStc from the 's, as seen through the bass side "f" hole. Model Body Markings non-Artist models. After WW2, lower-line Gibson vintage instruments did not have a label to designate the model. Instead, Gibson just ink stamped the model number inside on hollow body instruments. If the instrument had "f" holes, this number was ink stamped in the bass side "f" hole on the inside back of the instrument. If the instrument was a flat top guitar, this number was ink stamped inside the round soundhole on the inside back of the guitar. Gibson Cases Mid to high-end model guitars during the 's and early 's used a black case with a red line around the top edge of the case.
The inside is a deep maroon color. Lower models used black rigid cardboard cases. Aboutmid to high end model started to use a tweed case with a 3 inch wide red "racing stripe" on the tweed. The inside of these cases are also usually a deep maroon. These tweed cases were used up to WW2. Post-WW2Gibson offered 3 different cases.
The "low grade" case was an "alligator" softshell case, essentially made of rigid cardboard with a sparse brown lining. This case also often had a hard thin brown plastic handle that cracked very easily. The "medium grade" case was a wooden case with a smooth brown outside and usually a sparse green lining though different color interiors are seen. The "best grade" known as the "faultless" case was the "California Girl" case, as it is known.