Serial Number questions

joey1234

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Hi! First of all, I would like to thank all the members of this forum for sharing their knowledge. I have learned a lot over the years on this forum. Now the questions:

-What is the difference between, for example, "R9", "CS9" and even "HS9" serial number guitars? Aren´t they the same spec wise, and if they are, why is the serial number different? I´m confused.

-Why do some CS guitars have a reissue serial number, even though they are not, or at least not sold as reissues? For example, the 2017 black customs (Les Paul, SG, Explorer, Flying V and Firebird) all have reissue serials even though the specs are really off (the SG is missing the middle pickup and maestro, the Firebird has humbuckers, they all have a Richlite fretboard.... I could go on. And to make things more difficult, I have seen pictures of guitars that have the specs to be reissues, but instead they come with a "CS" serial and the "Gibson Custom Shop" logo. Can someone clear this up for me?

Thanks for all your time and support! :)
 

freebyrd 69

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Specs changed for the reissue's in 2013. Different glue, dye, etc.. 2015 and 2016 was a brain fart on CS's part, hell, I'm STILL confused. LOL. They played around with short tennon's and long, they introduced the "True Historic". As far as specs being true to the vintage, Gibson doesn't much care. If you have a particular guitar in mind, let us know, and we can fill you in on that particular model. I'm sure others can chime in on the 15's, 16',s and Customs. Those aren't my bag, and are very confusing.
 

Tim Plains

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The ones made in 2015 with CS serial numbers are not historics, they are called 50s style. Same as 2014 spec reissues but minus the long neck tenon, which is a big deal for reissue buffs. Other years with CS are just Custom Shop Standards.

Serial number beginning with R was only done in 2016 to differentiate regular historics (Standard Historic) from True Historics. THs have regular serial numbers.

HS is for Historic Select or Hand Select. Basically, a custom order or it has a spec that is not associated with the year from the 50s it is copying. Could be something as simple as a different neck shape or color.

I'm not sure what you mean by reissues having reissue serial numbers but are not reissues. Do you have a link?
 
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DanD

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CS9 (or 7, 8, 0) are '15s and have the Gibson Custom Shop short tenon which is not the Gibson USA tenon.

Other Gibson models with a CS prefix can have several spec anomalies and differences and some CS guitars have all the historic specs but with a major non historic spec like quilted tops or metallic paint job's.

HS is Historic Select and has TH specs.

R9 (or 7, 8, 0,) are 2016s and were denoted with an R in front of the 'year' being reissued to denote that they were not TH spec.

The TH spec guitars in 2015 and 2016 got the 50s style 5 digit serial number as such:

9 XXXX for a '59 reissue. My '15 Custom BB is 7 00XX for example.

All Historics were numbered this way in the past with the exception that Gibson had more 6 digit 9XXXXX numbers than 9 XXXX numbers in any given year due to the number of guitars made. Usually the number per reissue year (R9s, R8s, etc...)
was ~2000+.

'14 is an exception as the short tenon CS guitars released in '15 flopped and dealers wanted the older '14 spec R models. So Gibson just continued to produce Rs with '14 serial numbers for most of '15.

The '15 production of '14 serial numbers led to R9s in the 944XXX range.

Definitely confusing and a real cluster f*ck to sort through.

On the up side they are all great guitars. But you certainly don't want to overpay for the CS guitars. Those too are great but they typically trade for far less than their Historic brethren.
 
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joey1234

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I´m looking at the CS SG Bohemian and they have the reissue serial number:
080362_lg5.jpg

080362_lg6.jpg

The 2017 CS SG Custom also has the same reissue serial format:
04-313569600-0761_l.jpg

sub_04-313569600-07617_l.jpg

And then this reissue (?) with a CS serial:
12-315730312_l.jpg

sub_12-3157303128_l.jpg

See what I mean? I cannot understand the Gibson criteria for the Custom Shop serial numbers....
 

DanD

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The gold sparkle paint is not a 'Historic' feature thus the CS number. However, the rest of the guitar may be just like a '61 Historic SG/Les Paul.

It's confusing and takes a bit of research to get the low down but most of the info is out there.
 

jktxs

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It really is confusing because actual non vintage colours like Nordic Blue and the Rock/Fossilised Top historics have regular R9 numbers.
Add to that dealers get to choose serial numbers too, looks like this year's Wildwood spec historics that are not of Gibson's regular historic line are 8 0xxx or 9 1xxx
 

DanD

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The serial number 'cherry picking' seems to be a fairly recent phenomena.

It does appear that Wildwood is getting the 'proper ' five digit numbers while other retailers like CME are using dealer specific serials.

You are correct too that Wildwood is also putting those correct numbers on non-historic colors like their new R7s.

It certainly adds to the confusion level.
 

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