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Hummingbird Custom


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All right - I am sure this topic has been discussed at length, however I have not been able to find an answer yet, so I am asking for help here. I have had my Hummingbird Custom since 1975 and have enjoyed it very much. I want to send it to Gibson for a complete overhaul - nothing major just some action work, pick guard and examination of cracks on deck. I cannot determine the year as the serial number is proving evasive at best. The serial number is stamped in ink on the neck brace and is (as far as I can tell) S7-119. The only other ID is a number 2 stamped on the back of the head stock and Made in USA as well. Label is orange oval and made in Kalamazoo, MI. I am leaning toward a 1974 (gasp) or perhaps earlier based on the ink serial number. Can anyone help here? I have only found "S" (FON) as 1959 and batch 119 as 1961 - that's it. Still like it and sounds pretty good.



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Is there a number on the label? Does it say "Union Made" on the label?


How about a close-up of the label?


The "2" on the back of the headstock means the guitar was a second, generally meaning some cosmetic flaw, usually minor.


I think the orange oval label went away around 1970, but need to check my references.


By the way, depending on where you live, you may want to have a more local specialist work on the guitar, rather than sending it to Gibson.


Edit: picture of the label is important. The physical characteristics say sometime between about 1971 and when you bought it in 1975. I assume it was not new when you got it.


If it has an orange oval label, it should have s serial number on the label. You usually see the serial number on the back of the headstock as well. These were sometimes very lightly embossed, and can be missed if the headstock is examined carefully.


I suppose it is conceivable that because the guitar is marked as a second, it never had a serial number. The numbers ink-stamped on the neck block don't match any serial number pattern I am aware of.


Lots of changes were made to the 'bird (and other Gibsons) between 1969 and 1975. Unfortunately, most of those are not considered positive changes. That doesn't mean there aren't good guitars from this period. It just means that in general, they are less desirable than other periods in Gibson's history.

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Although I am not even close to an expert on 1970s Gibsons going on just the Grover tuners if I had to guess I would say the guitar was made no earlier than around 1973.


And I concur with trying to find another repair place to bring the guitar other than Gibson

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Yes a better shot of the label would be helpful. The label I am seeing through the sound hole looks to be white and rectangular, which would put it post '70. It may also be a music store label that I am seeing (it wasn't uncommon to do that). Block inlays as opposed to split parallelograms 1973ish. I would guess pretty solidly '73-'75. BTW, I am not expert at dating these, I just enjoy "taking a stab at it".

I also agree with Nick about changes occurring around the beginning of the '70's. Agree with Nick and ZW about repair options. Glad you enjoy the guitar and that it sounds "pretty good"

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