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Everything posted by JimR56

  1. Interesting. We're going to need to see some photos. The serial number isn't making any sense to me. Is it a six-digit number, or four digits followed by a space and then two digits? Either way, it's not clear to me that it would make sense for an instrument of that general age. Are you pretty certain about what you're seeing with the serial (or factory order) number? So, photos of the instrument is very important, and if you can manage a photo of the model and serial numbers, that would be great too. Thanks.
  2. Congratulations. What a great thing to inherit! Thanks for sharing the nice photos. These things are fairly rare, and require some research. Here's what I can offer, based on a few reliable sources. Your guitar is a "Black Special" (similar black-finished instruments produced during WWII are referred to as the "Wartime Special"). These black instruments were not cataloged by Gibson, and were sold through dealers as a special order (aka "dealer specials"). If your guitar has a 16" lower bout like an L-50, then (based on the dating info below) it's a "Black Special #4". (black specials can have different number designations from 2 through 7, depending on their size and specs, and years of production . See a list here: https://books.google.com/books?id=sgeZ_cISRpAC&pg=PA143&lpg=PA143&dq=gibson+%22wartime+special%22&source=bl&ots=nBtR05Tz61&sig=ACfU3U3wgxKjdVlfyqHWTuhbYkyZzDa7EQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiayuHqt9nlAhVUnp4KHXamAYkQ6AEwEHoECAkQAQ#v=onepage&q=gibson%20%22wartime%20special%22&f=false) EG-5548 is a factory order number, or "FON". It dates to 1939. (see: http://www.guitarhq.com/gibson.html#serial) Gibson Factory Order Numbers with a Letter, 1935 to 1941. Many instruments from 1935 to 1941 have a letter designating the year within the Factory Order Number (FON). The FON consists of a batch number, usually 4 digits. Then there is a letter (and sometimes a space), followed by a 1 or 2 digit sequence (ranking) number. 1935-1937: Letter is between the batch number and the sequence number. Code is ink stamped on the inside back. 1938-1941: two or three letters before sequence number. Code is either ink stamped onto the label or impressed into the back of the peghead (for lap steels, impressed into the back of the body). First letter, indicates the year. Second letter, if there is one, indicates the brand of the instrument: G=Gibson, K=Kalamazoo, W=Recording King (Montgomery Wards). Third letter, if there is one, is "E" for Electric. Exceptions: Some high-end models and lapsteels from 1939 to 1940 have the letter A added to the prefixes D, E, or F. This includes the letters DA, EA, FA, followed by 4 digits. Examples include L-5's and Super 400's which have an EA prefix (suggestiong 1939), in addition to a separate paper label indicating 1940 or 1941. In this case the later serial number is the one to believe, as the instrument was probably started and completed in different years. Year 1st Letter ---- ---------- 1935 A 1936 B 1937 C 1938 D, DA 1939 Ex (where 'x' is any other letter) 1940 F, FA 1941 E (with NO other following letter) 1941 G 1942 H
  3. JimR56

    Gibson 381 F

    This topic prompted me to search for more information on Gibson' history with regard to nylon- or gut-stringed guitars. I just found this, which I found quite interesting: http://kenlelen.blogspot.com/2016/07/gibsons-classical-gas-66-pre-war-gut.html I was going to say that the "F" inside your guitar could possible suggest a date of 1940. I wasn't sure if that was even possible, so I hesitated. Now it seems more of a possibility.
  4. JimR56

    Gibson 381 F

    There are people here who know flat-top guitars much better than I do, but I'll offer a few thoughts. First, it would appear from your comments that you attempted to convert a classical guitar (nylon strings) to something it was not designed to be. If I'm correct about this, there are two problems created. First, different internal bracing is required for nylon vs steel strings. Perhaps the person who installed your bridge also installed new bracing? I would have thought that this would have been necessary to prevent serious damage. The other problem is that you've altered a guitar in a pretty drastic way, which is going to impact its market value in a pretty drastic way. Probably more questions raised here than answers we can provide. The bottom line here, I think, is that even un-altered, your guitar would only have had a modest value. As it is now, I'm afraid its value is going to be very low. I tried to enlarge your photos in order to get a better idea of the headstock logo, but without success. It would help a lot if you could post a close-up photo of the headstock. Is the "381F" stamped on the neck block, or inside the back? I don't know if you can get a photo of that for us, but it might help also in trying to date the instrument.
  5. I have no idea what an "Epiphone serial number decoder" is, but I wish people would educate themselves on how to date guitars. I've been posting here for years, and always provide links to the following website, which is one of the best for dating vintage guitars from Gibson and some major manufacturers. Very few people seem to take any notice of its availability, and instead go looking for magic websites that are supposed to generate answers when you enter a serial number. If you're reading this, and want to be able to help people date their vintage guitars, simply save this link: http://guitarhq.com/ It isn't 100% foolproof, but it's about as accurate a source as one can find online. The serial number 406626 would most likely date to 1966 (although that was an era when Gibson's numbering system began to have flaws). I wish that a larger photo of this Casino could be provided, as this image is very very small. Gibson-made Serial Number, 1961 to 1969, all instruments (non "A" series). Beginning in 1961, Epiphone serial numbers follow Gibson's serial number series. All models, stamped in back top of peghead. No "MADE IN USA" stamp below serial number! Note many serial numbers are duplicated from 1963-1969. To figure out which is the exact year for a guitar, see the General Specs section for details. Numbers thanks to Walter Carter. Number Range Year ------------ ---- 0100 to 42440 1961 42441 to 61180 1962 61450 to 64222 1963 64240 to 71040 1964 71041 to 96600 1962, a few from 1963/1964 96601 to 99999 1963 000001 to 099999 1967 (all 6 digit numbers starting with "0" are 1967) 100000 to 106099 1963 or 1967 106100 to 106899 1963 109000 to 109999 1963 or 1967 110000 to 111549 1963 111550 to 115799 1963 or 1967 115800 to 118299 1963 118300 to 120999 1963 or 1967 121000 to 139999 1963 140000 to 140100 1963 or 1967 140101 to 144304 1963 144305 to 144380 1964 144381 to 149864 1963 149865 to 149891 1964 149892 to 152989 1963 152990 to 174222 1964 174223 to 176643 1964 or 1965 176644 to 250335 1964 250336 to 305983 1965 306000 to 310999 1965 or 1967 311000 to 320149 1965 320150 to 320699 1967 320700 to 329179 1965 329180 to 330199 1965 or 1967 330200 to 332240 1965, 1967 or 1968 332241 to 348092 1965 348093 to 349100 1966 349121 to 368638 1965 368640 to 369890 1966 370000 to 370999 1967 380000 to 385309 1966 390000 to 390998 1967 400001 to 406666 1966 406667 to 409670 1966 to 1968 409671 to 410900 1966 410901 to 419999 unknown 420000 to 429193 1966 500000 to 500999 1965, 1966, 1968, or 1969 501009 to 501600 1965 501601 to 501702 1968 501703 to 502706 1965 or 1968 503010 to 503109 1968 503405 to 520955 1965 or 1968 520956 to 530056 1968 530061 to 530850 1966, 1968, or 1969 530851 to 530993 1968 or 1969 530994 to 539999 1969 540000 to 540795 1966 or 1969 540796 to 545009 1969 555000 to 556909 1966 558012 to 567400 1969 570087 to 570643 1966 570645 to 570755 1966 or 1967 570857 to 570964 1966 580000 to 580080 1969 580086 to 580999 1966, 1967 or 1969 600000 to 600998 low end models, 1966, 1967, or 1968 600000 to 606090 high end models, 1969 700000 to 700799 1966, 1967 or 1969 750000 to 750999 1968 or 1969 800000 to 800999 1966, 1967, 1968 or 1969 801000 to 812838 1966 or 1969 812900 to 819999 1969 820000 to 820087 1966 or 1969 820088 to 823830 1966 824000 to 824999 1969 828002 to 847488 1966 or 1969 847499 to 858999 1966 or 1969 859001 to 895038 1967 895039 to 896999 1968 897000 to 898999 1967 or 1969 899000 to 899999 1968 900000 to 901999 1970 910000 to 999999 1968
  6. The cutaway version of the full depth ES-125 was produced in relatively small numbers, starting in 1965 and up to 1970. They made them with either one pickup or two pickups (fewer single-pickup versions, the ES-125C, were made). An "iced tea" burst is still a "sunburst". It's just one of the shades used (as opposed to cherry or tobacco, for example). Here's a video of a guy talking about the two pickup version, the ES-125CD ("D" for "double" pickups):
  7. That serial number probably dates to 1966-69. Unfortunately, Gibson's numbering system was poorly managed during that period, and some numbers were duplicated. Your number is actually even more difficult to assess, because it's in a specific range that doesn't show up in the surviving listings. More info here: http://www.guitarhq.com/gibson.html#serial
  8. Thanks Tio. Just wanted to make sure I was talking about the right guitar (so many different 125's sharing this one thread)! 1960 seems to be the year (reflector-top vol/tone knobs, if original, would suggest the latter part of that year).
  9. Hi Tio, I just realized that you have not yet posted an image showing the whole guitar. Since I haven't seen an image of the stamped model name, or the body shape and depth of the guitar, I just want to make sure we're talking about an ES-125TCD here. (Thin body; Cutaway; Double pickups) As for the fact that the FON appears to pre-date the production of the model, this is not so unusual. The following excerpt (even though your guitar wouldn't have had a serial number) from guitarhq.com helps to explain: Another question asked is, "The FON number says the instrument is 1958, yet the serial number says 1959; why are they different?". There is a very logical reason for this. The FON number is stamped on the instrument very early in the manufacturing process. Most times, the serial number is applied as one of the last steps (especially on pre-1961 hollow body instruments) when the instrument is nearly finished. Depending on the demand for the instrument, it could take Gibson up to 6 months to finish the instrument. Hence the FON number could be one year, and the serial number the next year.
  10. If that's a Gibson with its original factory order number, it would appear to me to be from 1949, because the batch number (13) is not written in red pencil (see below). As for the model, you should take measurements of the body, examine the types of wood used in its construction, and check the data against a good reference source. If you can, also try to determine whether it was originally acoustic or electric. If you don't have any books, you can look here: http://guitarhq.com/gibson.html Whatever it was, it was a budget model, and wouldn't have great value even if it was still in its original state. Now, it has even less, so I wouldn't worry too much about trying to accurately identify what it was. Just play it and enjoy it. Gibson Factory Order Numbers, 1942 to 1951. Serial numbers are seldon found on instruments made during WW2. But most (not all) have Factory Order Numbers (FON). These contain a four digit batch number stamped in ink, followed by a two digit sequence number written in red pencil (during WW2 only). After the war, the red pencil wasn't used (and on instruments made during the war, sometimes it's really hard to see the red penciled sequence number). Usually there is no more than 46 instruments (sequence numbers) per batch. Also no batch number with a "1" as the first digit was used during WW2. The FON is usually located on the neck block. The war-time list that follows is not definative but includes FONs that I have seen. Unfortunately I don't have every range of FON's during this period. Year Factory Order Number ---- -------------------- 1941 G (letter code sometimes seen after FON, i.e. 2586G). 1942 907, 910, 923, 2004, 2005, 7000ish (i.e. 7119) - all 'Banner' logo. 1942 H (letter code sometimes seen after FON, i.e. 7116H). Range 5xxxH to 8xxxH 1943 Range generally 9xx to 22xx, depending on the model. 1944 Range generally 22xx to 29XX, depending on the model, some with no FON. 1945 1xx to 10xx, but many with no FON. 1946 n/a ('Banner' logo no longer used, now script logo with no banner). 1947 700s to 1000s 1948 1100s to 3700s ('Script' logo no longer used, block logo used.) 1949 2000s 1950 3000s to 5000s 1951 6000s to 9000s
  11. Just to add to the info that Pippy provided, yes, your guitar likely dates from 1970-72. Here is a good source for checking Gibson serial numbers: http://www.guitarhq.com/gibson.html#serial It may work fine for pot codes, but in my experience, the "Guitar Dater Project" is not a consistently accurate source of information.
  12. Hi Tio, sorry for the delay in responding to your posts. I followed your link to the Wikipedia page, and noticed how confusingly some of it was written. So, I edited the information there today. ES-125TCD's were made from 1960 to 1970. We can wait and see what FON number you find inside, but it looks like yours is probably from late 1960 to 1961, based on the control knobs (if original), the lack of a serial number on the head, and the brown (rather than reddish) sunburst. Your gold headstock logo is probably a decal, and looks correct for a low end model such as this. Your tuners are not original to the guitar, but they are very nice Grover Rotomatics, so not necessarily a bad thing. Pickups are of course one part that many people like to modify. I'm not a pickup expert, so I'll leave that question for someone else, but they certainly look the part. All in all, it's a very nice looking example. Despite the tuner change and name scratched on the back of the head, the guitar looks to have been well cared for. Congratulations on getting it, and enjoy it!
  13. John, click on the link I posted just above, in reply to Emo. Scroll down until you find the serial number range that matches your guitar (hint: it's in the 1960's)
  14. Thanks Taco. The database for your photos requires me to download each photo individually before I can see them. I was actually suggesting that you use a photo-sharing site (such as flickr, imgur, etc) from which you can link individual image url's directly to share photos on forums like this. Anyway, the one photo you provided is probably enough for me to share some thoughts. Your parallelogram fretboard inlays are of the type found on Epiphone's Casino and Riviera models (and probably a few others). The Casino model was of course very similar to Gibson's ES-330, and both of these instruments were being manufactured at the Gibson facility during those years (the 1960's). This probably makes the possibility (which is all I can really say that it is) that the inlays are original (as a custom order) to your 330 a bit more likely, since those parts were used in manufacturing guitars at the same facility. It is also possible that somebody replaced the fingerboard at some point in time with a Casino fingerboard. Either way, I think you have a very nice guitar indeed. Determining its value, based on this unusual feature, is (as I said before) a subjective matter of opinions, and would be affected by clearing up the mystery as to whether it was an original custom order or a later modification. This would be best achieved by a hands-on examination by a knowledgeable vintage guitar expert or repairperson. And I realize that you may not have such a person nearby. At any rate, I would say that you got a very nice guitar for a very good price.
  15. I'm not even a flat-top enthusiast, but I would guess the same. I'm not sure I've ever seen an instrument of this type with a plywood top. Sorry about that, Clayton. I hope you got it cheap. If you enjoy playing it, then none of this analysis really matters.
  16. Hi Taco, please post some photos here. A basic full front view, and whatever close-up photos you would care to add of the fretboard area. You can post as many photos as you like, if you host them on a photo-sharing site and link them here. Congratulations on getting the 330!
  17. 1956 is correct. You're also correct regarding the tuners not being original. They are nice tuners, though. I had trouble getting the photobucket pages to load, seemingly due to their ads. I tried it in another browser where I use an ad blocker, and nothing loaded at all. Anyway, from the quick glimpses I got of your main page, I think it might be a J-160E. They were introduced in 1954. Hopefully some of the flat-top guys (which I am not) will come along and add more expertise.
  18. A 1970's guitar would (should) have "Made In USA" stamped below the serial number on the back of the head. It might also have a volute.
  19. If it has no sentimental value, and you like your J45's case better, I would just search current and completed listings (sold items) on ebay, and maybe check prices on Reverb.com to get a feel for what it's worth. Since it's a little roughed up, it may not fetch a premium price. Just my opinion, and I hope this helps.
  20. I really couldn't give you an accurate estimate without seeing the guitar, and knowing more about its originality. Naturally, if he is selling it to a dealer who needs to buy at a price where he can make enough of a profit to justify the purchase, your friend isn't going to get as much money as he would if he sold it himself or even consigned it to a dealer (who would then take a smaller percentage of the final sale price). I think it's possible that $1800 is a fair offer, but I just couldn't say for certain. I also have no idea what is involved in the $400 of repairs. Anyway, I hope this is helpful in some way.
  21. Hi Taco, The serial number 174425 would date to either 1964 or 1965 (part of Gibson's confusing period of keeping records). Knowing the number alone is not enough information to identify anything about the guitar's origins (other than the year it was made), unless one had a copy of the original Gibson log page showing that guitar in the listings (and even then it may not indicate the specifics of a customization). So yes, an ES-330 from 1964-1965 would normally have had rectangular block inlays on the fretboard. I have seen a few ES-330's and ES-335's with double parallelogram inlays (the type normally found on the 345), but it's not always clear as to why we see these. One possibility is that they were originally custom-ordered that way, but it's probably just as likely that it could have been a later modification. If the guitar could be examined by a vintage expert, they could probably determine whether a modification was done. If the guitar had been custom-ordered that way, this would of course be better than if it had been modified, in terms of the guitar's value. If the different inlays were in fact the result of an original custom order, this complicates the process of assigning a value to the guitar. The reason for this is that not everyone agrees on whether a variation from stock features is a good thing or a bad thing. It makes the instrument more rare (and in this case I think it makes it more appealing visually, and the ornamentation on ES-345's was fancier than ES-330's- or ES-335's), but there are those who think that guitars are more appealing if they conform to the original model specs. In my personal opinion, I think a custom order like this makes the guitar more special and should make it more valuable. How much more is subjective. I hope that his helps.
  22. Hi Ed, It looks like your serial # begins with two letters (GO), followed by 1070642. This would date differently from a number read as a G followed by the number 01070642. In other words, if that second digit was a zero rather than a letter O. If the number is correctly read as beginning with the letters 'GO', followed by 1070642, then I would read that as a guitar made in July, 2010 (using the code YYMRRRR). If the number is actually G followed by the number 01070642, this would suggest a manufacturing date of July 2001 (using the code YYMMRRRR). An explanation of the above codes, and more details can be found under "Epiphone", here: https://www.themusiczoo.com/blogs/news/gibson-and-epiphone-guitars-serial-number-guide Hope this is helpful.
  23. Hi Emo, Without a letter prefix, your 8868 FON (factory order number) would fit into the 1951 range (6000's to upper 9000's). More info here: http://www.guitarhq.com/gibson.html#serial That's an absolutely beautiful example of an ES-125!
  24. You're probably better off asking your question in the Epiphone forum: https://forum.gibson.com/forum/90-epiphone-electrics/ You can also look at the Epiphone Wiki page for the Sheraton: http://www.epiphonewiki.org/index/Sheraton.php
  25. Yes, it looks like it might have been an ES-125. Here's an image of a 1953 ES-125: First of all, the metal piece you refer to is called a tailpiece. Your ES-350T tailpiece is nice, but it's not original to that guitar. The original single P-90 pickup (with the black plastic cover, shown above) was removed, and two humbucking pickups (a type that wasn't introduced on Gibsons until 1957) were installed. You can still see the P-90 mounting holes and the shadow of the P-90's outline in the finish adjacent the humbucker closer to the neck. The volume and tone knobs all came from a Gretsch (brand) guitar, and a switch was added. The way it was done, the location of the knobs no longer conforms with what you would normally see on a stock two-pickup Gibson archtop guitar of this type. You still have a nice old musical instrument there, it's just not as valuable or collectible due to the modifications. The exception to this would be if your humbuckers are vintage "paf" (patent applied for) models, dating from 1957 to around 1962. If they are original paf's, then they are quite valuable. Also, your 350T tailpiece and Gretsch knobs will have considerable collector's value on their own, to the right people.
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