What is the lowest serial number you've seen on a 1961 SG/LP Std.?

Discussion in 'Vintage SG' started by Red Pharoah, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. Kevin James

    Kevin James V.I.P. Member

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    The only thing consistent about Gibson in those days was their inconsistancy. Also, changes were not made on Jan 1, so it would be possible to have an early 62 with a 61 style joint. That sounds much more likely that a 61 with a 62 serial number. You really need to check the pot codes. I'll bet they date to 62.
     
  2. 61SGLP

    61SGLP Member

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    I don't really think there is much mystery at all. You have an early 1962 guitar, just like me. That neck joint wasn't changed until after our guitars were built in 1962.

    Could you post a pot code or two? They should be readable just from removing the rear cavity plate.

    I'd love to see your pot codes as well!
     
  3. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    I'd love to see the pot codes too! I pulled the back, and can find no numbers or letters on the circular part of the back sides of the pots. There are some letters and numbers on the edges of the post -- visable on two -- but I am having a hell of a time reading them. The pot on which I can see the most is the treble pup tone pot. The letters and numbers appear to be:
     
  4. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    I' love to see the codes on the pots too. But on the circular "tops" of the pots from the back of the guitar, there are no numbers/letters. On the sides of the pots, there are some numbers/letters on the sides, but they are only visible on the side of the treble pup tone pot -- and very hard to read there. The numbers/letters appear to be:

    1716120
    BA11 - 10
    300K C2

    I can't guarantee the accuracy of these numbers as they are VERY hard to read -- even with strong light. They are the best I can see without removing the pot. I am reluctant to do this as I'd have to pull the plastic knob, which is probably very brittle by now.

    Let me know if these numbers tell us anything, or if there is anything else I can look for.

    Thanks.
     
  5. Kevin James

    Kevin James V.I.P. Member

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    Pot codes will be on the side of the pot casing. The writing is VERY small and difficult to read.

    Here is a sight which has a ton of info on the pots as well as pics. For a 61 the codes should be 13461XX. The 134 is for Centralab, 61 for the year and the last two will be the week they were produced.

    1950's Gibson Electricals

    My guitar was a bit of a clusterf**k as well. It has an ink stamped 1960 serial number that was re-stamped after a neck repair and it has all 1961 features so I had to get the pot codes to figure it out as well. It was a B**CH. I had to get in there with a super bright light and a magnifying glass. Finally got the codes which were 1346103 (Centralab pot from 3rd week of 61).
     
  6. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Kevin:

    Thanks for the info. After reading it I got a stronger light. I am 99% sure now that the pot actually reads 1346120. If this is indeed the case, does it mean that my guitar is a 61 built in the 20th week of that year?
     
  7. Kevin James

    Kevin James V.I.P. Member

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    No, it means the guitar could not have shipped out prior to the 20th week of 61. And that is when the pot was manufactured. By the time it arived at Gibson and was actually installed in a guitar your looking at probably mid to late June of 61 at the earliest. It would not be uncommon for parts to sit for a while either, especially if they got a huge shipment etc.

    Unfortunitely this one is a tough one to pin down but I'd say the 62 serial number is the deciding factor here. It is possible for a guitar to have the previouse years features and even parts can sit around the factory before being used... but to have a serial number from the NEXT year, that is really pushing it.

    Think about this, the PAF pickup was discontinued in 62 when the patent sticker pickups first appeared. The sidepull trem was also discontinued in 62 as the manufacturer went out of business. BUT we still see 1963 SG's that have PAF's or one PAF and one patent sticker. Same with the side pull... we still see 63's that have it. Heck even the Les Paul engraved truss rod cover is still found on A LOT of 63's even though Les's contract ended in 62 and he demanded his name be pulled from the guitar. So, as you can see parts could sit around for a while.

    The last resort you could go to is to contact Gibson and give them your serial number and ask them to send you the info on when it shipped. They can actually fax or email you a copy of the page in the shipping log with your serial number and that will tell you when it shipped out. I have a friend who showed me one last Thursday. His 61 SG shipped out in November 61.

    Even that is not fool proof but would certainly help. It didn't work on mine unfortunitely because mine is an ink stamped 6 digit 1960 serial number and Gibson claimed that NO SG's shipped in 1960 and there are no 6 digit numbers in 1960 for ANY guitar regardless of model. The problem with that is there are 4 confirmed 6 digit 1960 bursts logged at Burstserial.com, and all of them are higher numbers than my SG (they were made simultaniously at the tail end of 60). The existence of late 1960 SG's has also been confirmed. They may not have shipped until early 61... but they DO exist. There is one on Gbase right now and a local shop here has one which I have looked at in hand. It has a number in the 0 8XX range.

    For what it's worth my guitar is riding the line between years as well so believe me I know your pain. Mine had a neck repair and after the repair the back of the neck/head was respryed from the 2nd fret up to the top. The number (010634) was re-stamped after after that. In 61 they strted impressing numbers into the wood and my guitar shows no sign of ever having an impressed number. The repair is also at least 30 years old and the difference in value between a 60 and a 61 would be almsot non existant, especially at that time so while I can not prove that 010634 is the original number I can't see any reason why the repair man would have picked a random 6 digit 1960 number to re-stamp. The features are more like a 61 than the 60's I have seen though and the pots date to the 3rd week of 61. So my theory is that it is one of the very last 60's right after they finalized the specs for 61. Since the model debued in 61 it likely that production started in 60 and that final assmebly and shipping occured in 61 so a 3rd week of 61 pot would not be out of line. But.... this is 100% specualtion and I will never know for sure. To be politically correct I refer to it as a 60/61 because I just don't know for sure.
     
  8. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Kevin:

    Thanks for all your info on the model year of my guitar. Frankly, I don't care if it is a 61 or 62. It's the same guitar I've been playing for five decades, and model year designation doesn't change it a bit.

    It is just that events in my life at the time I bought this guitar new make me CERTAIN that I bought it new from an established music store the day after Thanksgiving in 1961. So, for a final question before I call Gibson, is it customary for model year guitars to be introduced in the fall before the actual year of their designation? Like cars. In the fall of 61, there were plenty of 62 model cars sold and on the street.

    But if Gibson assigned 62 model year serial numbers only on and after 1/1/62, I have a real "Twilight Zone" mystery here, that intrigues me. You know, the story about they guy who bought a guitar that hadn't been built yet and went on to become -- a musical failure:)!
     
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  9. Kevin James

    Kevin James V.I.P. Member

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    No problem. I don't think a guitar built and shipped in 61 would have a 62 number, even if it had been made to 62 specs. The 1960 Les Paul SG's kind of point to that as well becasue the Les Paul SG officially debued in 61 however there are known examples that were built in 1960. all of these 1960 SG's had an ink stamped 1960 number though, not a 61 number even though TECHNICALLY they were meant as a 1961 model.

    An important thing to keep in mind is that today we look at features, serial numbers, pot codes etc to date a guitar, but Gibson is known to have been VERY inconsistent in those days so it just isn't always possible to date a guitar exactly. And at the time, they were just guitars, they had no collector value and the workers had no reason to think they ever would. If you told a factory worker in 1961 that the SG he was building that day was going to be worth $15,000 - $25,000 some day and that people would be scrutinizing the tinyest details and reading pot codes etc they would have said you were bat shit crazy. These details just didn't mean anything at all then which makes it all that much harder on some guitars now.

    I'd say the bottom line is this. You are the ORIGINAL owner of a 61/62 Gibson Les Paul SG Standard. You've owned it and played it since it was brand spankin new. That in my oppinion should make it PRICELESS to you. Whether its a 61 or a 62 is splitting hairs and shouldn't matter at all. You've got a beautiful guitar either way :)
     
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  10. 61SGLP

    61SGLP Member

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    I gotta agree with Kevin here--it's so cool that you have hung onto and played an original Les Paul/SG Standard that you yourself bought new. It is also interesting to find a little more history on our old guitars. I'm looking forward to hearing what Gibson says to you.
     
  11. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    Yes, and I did call Gibson yesterday. They are supposed to be researching it for me. Their rep, did say, however, that the pot code of 1346120, indicating the pot was made in late April, '61 would have been highly unlikely to have hung around and been installed about a year later in a '62. Will report back when and if I hear anything.
     
  12. LikeTelevision

    LikeTelevision Senior Member

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    Mine is 34562....in good shape but I need a Vibrato cover....anyone got one?
     
  13. Kevin James

    Kevin James V.I.P. Member

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    Nice guitar. I see you have it on ebay for sale. I would have bid on it but the 0 feedback was just too much of a risk to me. I wish you the best of luck on it though. Looks like its already up to $7,600.00 :)

    <edit>

    You ARE trying to sell this right? Just wondering because your trying to buy parts for it and that would be strange for a guitar your not planning to keep. Same user name and same picture though on ebay....

    http://cgi.ebay.com/1961-Gibson-Les...80623196337?pt=Guitar&amp;hash=item2a0dfb40b1

    item# 180623196337
     
  14. Dolebludger

    Dolebludger Premium Member

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    I still haven't heard from Gibson about my LP SG Standard I KNOW I bought new in '61, but has a '62 serial number.
     
  15. gmania

    gmania Junior Member

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    I am thinking about purchasing a 1961 sg junior, but the guitar shop says there was a repair on the headstock and they ended up re-stamping the serial number with larger numbers than would have been used typically. Does this make sense? Or is there a chance that Gibson used larger number stamps for some guitars in 61? I'm having a hard time conceiving why a repair guy would sand off a serial number to put a new one on other than for suspect reasons. That's really the only thing holding me back from buying it. Help!
     
  16. Kevin James

    Kevin James V.I.P. Member

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    Most 61's would have an impressed SN, as would anything after 61. Some seem to be deeper impressions then others though. I have a 65 Standard with 100% original finish that has almost no impression at all and the ink that fills in the shallow impression is the only reason you can even see the number at all. On the contrary I have a 64 JR that the number is impressed fairly deep. They just vary from guitar to guitar.

    If the back of thre headstock was refinished after the repair then it isn't too far fetched that the original SN stamping could have been covered up and needed a re-stamp.

    As to wether its a good buy or not depends on a few things. What exactly are you looking for, a guitar with collector value, a guitar soley to be used as a player aor a combo of both? How does the guitar sound/feel/play? What is the asking price?

    If your looking for something with any collector value I would look elsewhere. A headstock break with finish touch up and a restamped SN is not going to have any collector value. It may be a great player though, just depends what the asking price is. You would also want to make sure the repair to the headstock was profesionalyy done, is solid, and there is no movement.
     
  17. gmania

    gmania Junior Member

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    The dealer is asking $2,000 for the '61 SG Junior with repaired headstock. It is most definately a professional repair... Actually, I never would have noticed the repair or the serial number stamp if they didn't point it out. The rest of the guitar is in awesome condition and it plays great. That serial number restamping thing still kind of erks me, though. Think it's a good price?
     
  18. Kevin James

    Kevin James V.I.P. Member

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    In all honesty, I wouldn't touch it for anywhere near $2,000.00. The highest I would offer is $1,000.00. If I couldn't find another JR at an acceptable price and I REALLy wanted it that bad I would MAYBEE go up to $1,200.00 but thats it, not a dollar more (and even that is unlikely to be honest).

    The bottom line is no matter how well done the repair is a headstock break chops the value in half. Loosing the original serial number brings it down even more. Depending on the year the blue book lists 61-64 JR between $3,000 and $4,000 I think (Thats from memory, i can check when I get home). But if you look you can find decent unbroken ones for about $2,500, so there is no reason to spend that much on a broken one.

    Here's a couple for you to look at. Both at Elderly Instruments which is a very reputable dealer and at reasonable prices. I should also point out I am in no way affiliated with this (or any) dealer.

    GIBSON SG JR. (1964) - Elderly Instruments

    GIBSON SG JR (1964) - Elderly Instruments
     
  19. 61SGLP

    61SGLP Member

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    I contacted Gibson regarding the shipping date of my guitar, and since you hadnt heard back yet, I asked them about your serial number, too. Mine shipped on Feb 2nd, 1962 from the Gibson factory. They said yours shipped from the factory on March 28, 1962.

    Being in Nashville has its advantages when it comes to communicating with Gibson. :)
     
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  20. Actinic

    Actinic Senior Member

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    Not only are they (Elderly) very reputable, but you can also talk to them on the phone, and they will pull the guitar out to do a real-time inspection. Speaking to an expert salesperson is 100X better than buying from an auction site. Shipping preparation is also above average.
     

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