From 1977 to 2013 Gibson have used an 8 digit serial number on all of their guitars.

dating a gibson guitar-60

It’s one of the most fun parts of vintage guitars but it can also be the most frustrating.

Fender used at least four different serializing schemes from 1950 to 1980.

Here we can see the braided leads coming from the pickups, an output jack, two orange ceramic disk capacitors, and four round metallic things with codes on the back.

The round metallic things are called potentiometers.

Many players didn’t care about having an original vintage guitar so they didn’t mind ripping out the old electronics and putting in new ones.

Potentiometer codes are only helpful if they are original to the guitar.

One problem with potentiometer date codes is that they are often covered up with solder!

Sometimes you have to piece together the code from multiple potentiometers.

The three digit codes will have one digit for the last number of the year and two digits for the week of the year.

The four digit codes will have two digits for the last two numbers of the year and two digits for the week of the year.

The bottom right pot has the numbers “1376xxx” visible.