1960 Melody Maker Weird Serial Number

tvlamptvlamp

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Hello everyone. I recently purchased what I believe to be a massively modded 1960 Gibson Melody Maker. I have no illusions of collectibility for this guitar -- the '70s hit it with a sledge hammer, or at least with a rusty screwdriver, gouging out routes for a DiMarzio Super Distortion bridge pickup, late '70s era patent-number engraved Gibson neck pickup, and why not an extra set of stoptail studs and a Leo Quan Badass patent applied for bridge.

Anyway, what I need help with is the serial number. The "0 7XXX" number is barely visible under the lacquer (already strange), and comparing it to many other "0 XXXX" serial numbers online looks like an unusually large, scripted font that is very close to the top of the headstock. Any information or ID help would be appreciated, especially any nitty gritty about why, if authentic, the serial number application deviates from what seems to be the norm; maybe it was removed and hand-applied?

FWIW, it does have Gibson pots that date to the 23rd week of 1960 and sprague black beauty tone cap.

I've altered the lighting on several of the photos to make the serial number more visible.

Happy to provide any more info and photos. Thanks in advance!


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Alexp88

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Have you black lighted it? I reckon the headstock has been refinished for some reason and the person who refinished it just wrote it on. I would be interested as to why it appears to be refinished in that area?
 

Davey Rock

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Well man, I looked at this expecting to be able to help out with ease but this as well has me stumped. I did a check on the serial number and it indeed dates to a 1960 solid body. However a few things did take my attention. I've never seen a serial number like this before. Ink stamped it looks. The thing is, the 7 looks like the only number that is actually stamped, and the rest look like an attempt with marker or paint. I'm not sure. Comparing the serial numbers, this is either a true 1960 Melody (Gibson changed the serial numbers/tinkered in late 1960), is a 2007/2017 reissue (unlikely due to vintage electronics and typical "back in the day mods", but WOULD explain the strange lacquer). I'm pretty sure this is just a 60 model with strange things on it. The burst does seem a little darker than most other melodies I've seen and there appears the be the slightest red shade in between the black burst and the tinted body, so it very well MAY be a refin but I won't give false information for something I'm not sure on. But anyway like I said, the refin may explain the serial number wonk. Maybe it was just sanded off so much that there was enough ink on it, but still was attempted to touch up. Still tho everything about it screams 1960. The 60s electronics, the bridge angle, the placement of the makeshift tailpiece etc. Not really sure, but as for the time being, it looks like a true 1960. The serial number is still confusing though. They stopped ink stamping in late 1960 which MAY have something to do with it, but I'm am really flabbergasted. The size of the numbers and the way it doesn't seem consistent, but I still find it very unlikely that someone would put all this vintage equipment in a fake or a reissue. Here is my last "maybe." It is possible at the slightessssssst chance that this is a 61. Very rare guitar in the serial number aspect. That 0 COULD be a q. I'm most likely wrong and don't want to get your hopes up, but that is a slight possibility. The reason I say I'm most likely wrong, is because this usually only applied to archtops, but with the slight 1/100000000 chance, it may have been a mix up. I hope I could help even by a little. Good luck man.
 

tvlamptvlamp

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Have you black lighted it? I reckon the headstock has been refinished for some reason and the person who refinished it just wrote it on. I would be interested as to why it appears to be refinished in that area?
Great idea. I'll track down a blacklight and give it a glow. I'll let you know what I find.
 

tvlamptvlamp

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Ok folks, blacklight photos here. Everything is glowing yellow-green, so if it's a refin it's an old one. No real new info about the serial number area, either, as nothing is popping out under the UV light. Feel free to suggest more photos or how to interpret these. I'll also post some comparison photos of my 2004 Les Paul Classic.

Check out that vintage knob glowing.


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2004 Les Paul Classic for comparison.

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Davey Rock

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Ok folks, blacklight photos here. Everything is glowing yellow-green, so if it's a refin it's an old one. No real new info about the serial number area, either, as nothing is popping out under the UV light. Feel free to suggest more photos or how to interpret these. I'll also post some comparison photos of my 2004 Les Paul Classic.

Check out that vintage knob glowing.


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2004 Les Paul Classic for comparison.

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Ok I think I may have finally solved your problem. I THINK this may be a refinish. Remember when I said that the number 7 looked stamped but the rest hand written? Well obviously as we know, it was. Gibson apparently did this very often whenever they did customer refins. This helps explain a few things. 1, funky lookin serial #, 2, the fact that it is a 60 Melody but with what looks like a 61 burst instead, and 3, it has still vintage, but newer parts.
My hypothesis:
This guitar (1960) Melody maker, was a very well used instrument, and eventually the owner wanted it looking fresh. Guy probably got Gibson to refinish it themselves, which explains the newer looking burst and the hand written large serial number. After this, the guitar had the same era parts, but newer hardware and pickups. Travel some years later, guy decided he needed to let it go. Eventually became companions with you. Here we are talking about her. I'm pretty sure this is what happened, and although it's not EXACTLY the original finish, the fact that it glows so much that is makes the hardware look dull and blocks out the serial completely shows it was done around the time it was made. Maybe he was a beginner. Maybe he was just growing as a musician and was expanding his comfort zone. Still honestly, I'd pay at least 2 grand for it if I had the money and was in the market. It may seem like overkill to others, but anything with a good story has that vibe and mojo. And THAT is what makes a good Guitar. Not just rarity. How thin and antiquey these melodies look just give me ALL that. It's crazy. I've played two of my great grandfather's vintage Gibson's, 1 being a 61 es355 tdsv and it was outstandingly buttery smooth low and mellow to play. Felt like a grungy coffee shop Everytime he let me plug in. THAT is what a guitar is. The feel. The emotion. Not price. That thing would be way more valuable in sentiment than a dozen thousand dollar bills. I hope this helped a little. Sorry for blabbing so much. Here's a link to some info if you'd like to look. It's not the same exact hand writing but the penmanship is similar. Besides everyone has different handwriting preferences.

 

tvlamptvlamp

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Ok I think I may have finally solved your problem. I THINK this may be a refinish.
Guy probably got Gibson to refinish it themselves, which explains the newer looking burst and the hand written large serial number.
@Davey Rock I think you nailed it. Wow, it never occurred to me. Thank you for the investigation and link to the refin thread. Also thanks for your excitement about this melody maker. I really is sweet, hack-job that it is -- that's the character! The thing that really got me from the first moment I picked it up and strummed is how good it sounds acoustically. The pickups are really well balanced despite the DiMarzio's nearly 2x output, and the middle position is really usable, too. It's a keeper!
 

Davey Rock

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@Davey Rock I think you nailed it. Wow, it never occurred to me. Thank you for the investigation and link to the refin thread. Also thanks for your excitement about this melody maker. I really is sweet, hack-job that it is -- that's the character! The thing that really got me from the first moment I picked it up and strummed is how good it sounds acoustically. The pickups are really well balanced despite the DiMarzio's nearly 2x output, and the middle position is really usable, too. It's a keeper!
I'm glad I could help man. I'd rather help out others with stuff music related than be in a room surrounded by expensive guitars. Hard to believe but it's true. Glad I could help again man! Take care :cheers2:
 

TM1

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1961's started with the stamped number. I've seen three and four number stamps on Melody Makers and on Epiphones. the Epi's were included in the stamped sequnce. I have a `61 & a `62 Single cut Melody Maker-D's.
 

Davey Rock

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1961's started with the stamped number. I've seen three and four number stamps on Melody Makers and on Epiphones. the Epi's were included in the stamped sequnce. I have a `61 & a `62 Single cut Melody Maker-D's.
What kind of stamping do you mean?
 


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