Black/Dark-green 1961 Gibson Les Paul SG Standard

Dolebludger

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The OP still has not posted pics of the neck heel joint at the body. This would let some of us identify the guitar as a late 60, 61,62, or very early 63.

I see the cherry red in places where the black has worn or chipped off. It is the same red as the finish on SG Standards of this era, as close as I can tell from computer pic. And the serial number is wonky. The serial number on my late 61 is 53476, which others have told me is a 62 serial number. That's problematic as I bought it new in late Nov. 61. So I suspect Gibson's SNs were rather random in those days. But I have never seen one on an SG of this era with a space between the first digit and the digits that follow, as on the OP's guitar. Has anybody else seen such a SN spacing?

Also the SN on my 61 is embossed with black ink under the clear lacquer, and have faded some over the almost 60 years. The OP's serial numerals are light in color and very distinct. And they are not in the same font as on my one-owner 61.My suspicion now is (if this guitar is a 61) that it had been refinished in its blackish color over the original cherry red stain, with the SN added in a rather random fashion. As the original SNs were embossed,I wonder if the OP can detect the original embossing.

But of most importance, we need pics of the neck heel joint, as a starting point, to accurately identify its year.
 
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Blueline

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Read Kevin James's post in this thread. He correctly points out that the serial number is an ink stamped one. With the year of production indicated by the first digit followed by a space. The year is not in question. 0= 1960 , 1=1961. There are 1961 ink stamped numbers that looks like the OP's number. This serial number is not comparable to yours because yours is impressed in the wood not ink stamped. Kevin also notes that features are consistent with an early 61 not a later 61, not a 62 or 63.

The issue is whether the serial number is authentic given its rarity. If so then the colour is likely authentic.
 

Blue Blood

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Mine is either a '60 or a '61, were going to put a black light on the rubbed out serial number, hopefully there's enough ink left under the finish to pull a serial number.
IMG_20190105_211709.jpg
 

Dolebludger

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While Kevin James and I do not always agree, we agre on one important thing here. We need some pics of the neck heel, and we need them ASAP.
 

Kevin James

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While Kevin James and I do not always agree, we agre on one important thing here. We need some pics of the neck heel, and we need them ASAP.
You're right, we don't always agree, and frankly, I don't think we ever will (but that's ok, life is too short lol). I do agree that we need to see neck heel pics of the subject example though, as it's an important piece to determining the exact age and version of the model, which will help determine if the finish could be original. I will say I still stand by everything I said in my original post in this thread (post #8). Due to the fact this thread is so old, it seems doubtful IMO that we will ever get the pictures we seek of this guitar.

Things have been so ridiculously busy for me over the past couple years that I haven't been able to spend much time at all on my favorite internet forums such as this one. When I do come by, I mostly "lurk" as I just don't have the time available to post much, unfortunately. I wish I did, because I still have a passion for these guitars. I feel I need to respond to this post though, and several other posts you have made over the years regarding 1960-1965 SG's in general, and also your personal 1962 Les Paul SG. Yes, you read that right, I said your 1962, not 1961, because it is NOT a 1961. Honestly why do you care SO MUCH about it being a 1961 anyways? I seriously don't get it, as a 1962 is every bit as desirable and valuable as a 1961. Honestly, it's just weird.

Please refer to post # 30 of the following thread:
https://www.mylespaul.com/threads/nvgd-1962-gibson-les-paul-sg-standard-ebony-block.131587/page-2

Based on your own words in the thread/post linked above, the story of your guitar is quite clear using even the tiniest bit of common sense. You bought a brand new SG Les Paul in November 1961 (COOL!!!). As you yourself stated it needed repair of some sort, and the store shipped the guitar back to Gibson for the repair in early 1962 due to lack of local repair facilities. For whatever reason, rather than repairing your guitar Gibson shipped you a brand new guitar, also in 1962 (obviously). Now... Let me help you connect the dots here since you're clearly not able to without some help. Your 1961 LP SG was shipped back to Gibson for repair work in early 1962.... Gibson shipped a LP SG back to the store/you also in early 1962..... the guitar in your possession has a 1962 serial number...... post # 29 of the above noted thread by member 61SGLP indicates he confirmed the ship date of your serial number with Gibson (since you made your SN public record) as March of 1962 which matches the repair time line as indicated by you. Based on this information, any reasonable person would conclude YOUR GUITAR IS A 1962. Now....... can we put this issue to bed, or are you still in denial???

Regarding 1960 - 1965 SG's in general, you were alive when it all happened, you bought a brand new Les Paul SG in 1961.... I get it. I'm sure WE ALL get it since you've mentioned it so many times. That doesn't make you an expert on them, or mean you're even reasonably knowledgeable on them for that matter. Frankly, much of what I have seen you post about these guitars over the years has been cringe worthy, and usually seems to be based on your opinions and foggy memories at best, rather than being based on well known and documented facts or the personal experience of having many many examples of said instruments pass through your own hands (owning one is not enough, too much variance from one to the next), and that drives me crazy.

You may be wondering why I care so much to waste my time typing all of this. The answer is very simple. People come here to get advise on guitars they are considering purchasing/selling, guitars that may be worth tens of thousands of dollars, or may be worth significantly less if issues go unrecognized and/or misidentified. As such, anyone (not singling you out here at all) that is going to give advise and/or opinions as to the originality or potential value G*D D*MN WELL BETTER KNOW THEIR SH*T or make it clear that they really don't know and are guessing at best (it's a discussion forum and it's fine to chime in and guess AS LONG AS it's made clear that it's an uninformed guess).

And for the record, I do not consider MYSELF an expert either, I'm just a nerd who has spent way too much time researching, collecting, and playing these specific guitars over the years.
 

Dolebludger

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Kevin,

Sorry if I insulted you, as that wa not my intent. I shall not reply to all of your post, except on one point concerning my guitar. It was shipped to Gibson in 62 under warranty. There were certain identifying features on the 61 that were still there when the guitar arrived from the shipping back. And relevant to this post, the neck heel remained true to the 61 design. I don't care if it is a 61 or 62. But due to the facts I've posted above (especially the 61 style neck heel) I tend to think it remains a 61. But again, I don't care.

I feel that a valuable thing about MLP is that posters with questions can benefit from differing objective opinions. That's what I feel we have here.
 

Dolebludger

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View attachment 403293

Why do the trapezoid inlays on the fingerboard appear to be off-center shifted to the left?

You are right. The inlays are off center to the left. It's obvious when you look at the alignment of the second and fifth strings over them, and that would seem to prove that it is not just camera angle. And I have no idea what that indicates. Does anybody?
 

Kevin James

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Kevin,

Sorry if I insulted you, as that wa not my intent. I shall not reply to all of your post, except on one point concerning my guitar. It was shipped to Gibson in 62 under warranty. There were certain identifying features on the 61 that were still there when the guitar arrived from the shipping back. And relevant to this post, the neck heel remained true to the 61 design. I don't care if it is a 61 or 62. But due to the facts I've posted above (especially the 61 style neck heel) I tend to think it remains a 61. But again, I don't care.

I feel that a valuable thing about MLP is that posters with questions can benefit from differing objective opinions. That's what I feel we have here.
It's quite alright, Dolebludger, and I too apologize to you if I came off a little harsh. It's just that with the prices these guitars go for these days, I don't take the subject of giving advise and opinions as to originality or value lightly, as taking the wrong advise could literally cost someone thousands.

As to your guitar, I hear what you're saying, but I think it would be extremely difficult to prove to a buyer (not that you have plans to sell anyways), while based on the situation and time line which all add up it just makes more sense based on the evidence that your guitar was swapped at the factory for a 1962. Keep in mind there were plenty of 1962 LP SG's with the smooth 61 style heel. For that matter there are even 1963's with a similar smooth heel. The heel shapes were all over the damn place. Between 1960 and 1965 the extremely rare 1960 LP SG's specifically are the only ones that all had the exact same heel shape, which was very distinct and also crossed into the very first 1961 examples (most with the ink stamp 1 XXXX serial scheme). All other years 1961 - 1965 had at least two possible heel shapes that intertwined.

The only other explanation would be if the identifying marks you refer to are on the body specifically, and the repair involved a re-neck with a new serial number. But, without knowing what the repair even related to or exactly what work was done to fix it, it is just too difficult to say. And there is even an issue with that theory as there has been evidence confirmed by many very experienced people that Gibson used a different serial font for repairs which is larger and does not follow the same number guidelines as standard production guitars. I myself even own an example with this different font, and have seen others that were repaired at the factory with the exact same font. Mine is an SG Special that appears to be a very early 1964 that was sent in for some type of repair (I'm not sure what was repaired, I can't find any evidence of a break, or crack anywhere), I see only a tiny bit of clear over-spray to the back of the headstock and this guitar has the different font and a serial number starting with a 0 then a space then 4 more digits, like you would expect to see for a 1960 serial number, but the guitar is absolutely NOT a 1960 (they didn't even make a sharp horned SG Special in 1960). I can also see the very first digit of the original serial number, a 2 with the correct font under this new larger number, and a 6 digit serial number starting with a two would be correct for 1964 as is the heel shape. Also, the 2 is in the exact area you would expect to see the first digit of a 6 digit number, not where you would expect a 2 for a factory 2nd.

As to the OP's guitar, I don't think we will ever know as it doesn't seem that we will ever get the pics needed to further confirm that it is in fact one of the first 1961's with a 1 XXXX ink stamped number, which is key to determining the originality of the black finish. The red you see could be poor filler, or they could even have pulled a cherry red guitar off the line and resprayed it black for a custom order as was the case of the famed black burst now owned by Joe B. In that case, they took a regular production sunburst finished guitar and resprayed the top black for what is assumed a special order. I can't recall how that was authenticated, but I know that guitar was vetted as 100% factory original.
 

Dolebludger

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Kevin,

It would be helpful to me if you could post a pic of the font Gibson used for the SN's on repaired guitars. could compare it to mine. It might tell me alot. The SN on mine is 53476, the repair was a neck broken at the heel, and I think we know for sure that it isn't a 1965!
 

Kevin James

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Kevin,

It would be helpful to me if you could post a pic of the font Gibson used for the SN's on repaired guitars. could compare it to mine. It might tell me alot. The SN on mine is 53476, the repair was a neck broken at the heel, and I think we know for sure that it isn't a 1965!
Here you go. I don't like posting full serial numbers so I blurred the last digit. As you will see the font is much larger than standard pressed numbers. The 2 from the first digit of the original number is extremely light and I can't get it to photograph, but it is touching the edge of the first 4. While there has never been anything directly from Gibson verifying this practice, I have seen other examples with the same font, including another I saw many years ago also starting with a 0. I have also discussed with a few other knowledgeable people that verified they had seen the same font on some factory repaired guitars. Honestly I never really cared about the font or put too much thought into it as either way I knew the serial number was not original when I bought this guitar and as such the value of the guitar was already known to be diminished as a result. This guitar is a monster though that screams and I got it for a great price.
64 SG Special blurred last digit.jpg
 
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Dolebludger

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Kevin,

The font on my SG's SN doesn't appear the same as yours. The slanted line on the "4" is not curved inward, and the entire font seems to be a bit smaller. So bottom line, I don't know what I've got, except it is a 62 or earlier.

And what do you think about the off center fretboard inlays on the lack SG?
 

Kevin James

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Kevin,

The font on my SG's SN doesn't appear the same as yours. The slanted line on the "4" is not curved inward, and the entire font seems to be a bit smaller. So bottom line, I don't know what I've got, except it is a 62 or earlier.

And what do you think about the off center fretboard inlays on the lack SG?
I honestly don't know regarding the inlays. I will agree they sure do appear off center, but the pictures are very poor quality and I would want much cleaner high resolution pictures or better yet I would like to see the guitar in person to ensure this is not some sort of camera angle issue. That said, much of the build work on these guitars was by hand, and it could just be the result of extremely sloppy work (maybe someone working on the inlays on Friday at 4pm ?LOL). But that is nothing more than a guess.
 

Dolebludger

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I personally don't think the inlay situation is camera angle, because the second pic is pretty straight on, and the strings don't come close to aligning with the inlays -- but who knows without a personal exam. I have a bit of a guess too. Mine is that the inlay job turned out so bad that some employee got the guitar, painted it black, and used it for a time. But again, just a guess.
 

Kevin James

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I personally don't think the inlay situation is camera angle, because the second pic is pretty straight on, and the strings don't come close to aligning with the inlays -- but who knows without a personal exam. I have a bit of a guess too. Mine is that the inlay job turned out so bad that some employee got the guitar, painted it black, and used it for a time. But again, just a guess.
I agree with you (hey... look at that, we agree on at least two things! lol) I am doubtful that it's a camera angle issue as well, but I am hesitant to say anything about it for sure based on these low quality pics. Personally, I think it is down to sloppy inlay work but who knows. And for that matter, who knows what else on the guitar may have been sloppy. Maybe the black finish was to hide other sloppy work. Look at the low E string vs. the pole pieces. That looks off as well.

Maybe it was a new employee that worked on the guitar and it was totally fubar'd (F'd up beyond all recognition lol) The black finish could be to hide other cosmetic or workmanship flaws in an effort to salvage it and keep it from the scrap pile. Honestly, we could guess all day on this, but we could also be completely wrong. No way to know for sure on any of this and I just think that an in hand inspection by a qualified expert is absolutely needed at this point.
 
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Dolebludger

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I agree with you once again! I am not a student of early SGs like you are. I was only a buyer of one when they weren’t vintage — but they were new guitars, I don’t really care if mine is a 62, or 61, or a 60. From what I can tell from online sources, that does not affect value, and mine isn’t for sale anyway. The sole reasons I call mine a 61 are that is when I bought it, and the heel joint matches that of a 61 from info posted some time ago on this sub forum. At my age, I probably will have to leave the value of my SG up to my estate!

I actually don’t play my SG much, because its light body mass doesn’t give it much of a resonate tone at the low volumes at which I play now. If I were to play in arenas (don’t hold your breath) it would be great because it’s light body would absorb and reflect the amped tones. In any event, let’s be friends on this forum. I am here to learn, not to fight or argue.
 

Kevin James

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I agree with you once again! I am not a student of early SGs like you are. I was only a buyer of one when they weren’t vintage — but they were new guitars, I don’t really care if mine is a 62, or 61, or a 60. From what I can tell from online sources, that does not affect value, and mine isn’t for sale anyway. The sole reasons I call mine a 61 are that is when I bought it, and the heel joint matches that of a 61 from info posted some time ago on this sub forum. At my age, I probably will have to leave the value of my SG up to my estate!

I actually don’t play my SG much, because its light body mass doesn’t give it much of a resonate tone at the low volumes at which I play now. If I were to play in arenas (don’t hold your breath) it would be great because it’s light body would absorb and reflect the amped tones. In any event, let’s be friends on this forum. I am here to learn, not to fight or argue.
You got it buddy, I'd rather be friends than argue anyways... I hate drama and life is too short. :cheers2:

Regardless of which specific year your guitar it's still one of the earliest years of the SG model and it's a damn cool guitar, and even cooler that you are the original owner. Enjoy it in good health :thumb:
 

Blueline

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Ok here is something that I have observed from examining photos of the 61 new LP standards. The heel from the the 1960 model also is an attribute of all 61 standards with 3 and 4 digit serial numbers. In addition they also have the long guard and brown cases. The long guard appears to be the first feature to disappear. So basically I see 2 variants of 61 LP standards , the ones with the 60 heel and ones with the smooth heel. The smooth heel is a characteristic of the 5 digit serial numbers . This indicates more order in Gibson serial numbers than I had thought. So far this conclusion is based on my sample size of 24 So if you run across a 3 or 4 digit 61 LP standard check them them out to see if they have the 1960 heel. The general rule I use is that older features can occur in later models but later features do not appear on older models. Therefore there should be no smooth heels on 4 digit serial numbers. This observation may not stand up to further data but so far I have found no exceptions.
 

Herbie74

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The OP still has not posted pics of the neck heel joint at the body. This would let some of us identify the guitar as a late 60, 61,62, or very early 63.

I see the cherry red in places where the black has worn or chipped off. It is the same red as the finish on SG Standards of this era, as close as I can tell from computer pic. And the serial number is wonky. The serial number on my late 61 is 53476, which others have told me is a 62 serial number. That's problematic as I bought it new in late Nov. 61. So I suspect Gibson's SNs were rather random in those days. But I have never seen one on an SG of this era with a space between the first digit and the digits that follow, as on the OP's guitar. Has anybody else seen such a SN spacing?

Also the SN on my 61 is embossed with black ink under the clear lacquer, and have faded some over the almost 60 years. The OP's serial numerals are light in color and very distinct. And they are not in the same font as on my one-owner 61.My suspicion now is (if this guitar is a 61) that it had been refinished in its blackish color over the original cherry red stain, with the SN added in a rather random fashion. As the original SNs were embossed,I wonder if the OP can detect the original embossing.

But of most importance, we need pics of the neck heel joint, as a starting point, to accurately identify its year.
They would sometimes finish over the original finish at the factory if the original cherry finish Didn’t look right. See several videos from norms rare guitars when discussing custom colors.
 


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