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Help me date older J50


bbbacres
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I have an older J50. Man I got it from was almost certain it was a 1958. But as I went to verify I faced a dizzying number of serial number contradictions. The guitar has round shoulders. So it is pre 69. It does NOT have an adjustable bridge, but I know some owners changed that. If it is the original bridge the 58 date looks more possible. But the serial number makes no sense: 823276. Photos attached. No red sticker inside soundhole, long gone. Serial number is clear and impressed on back of headstock. Nothing else, no "made in USA" or anything else.

 

I appreciate your thoughts. post-48089-022098300 1511963091_thumb.jpg

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I have an older J50. Man I got it from was almost certain it was a 1958. But as I went to verify I faced a dizzying number of serial number contradictions. The guitar has round shoulders. So it is pre 69. It does NOT have an adjustable bridge, but I know some owners changed that. If it is the original bridge the 58 date looks more possible. But the serial number makes no sense: 823276. Photos attached. No red sticker inside soundhole, long gone. Serial number is clear and impressed on back of headstock. Nothing else, no "made in USA" or anything else.

 

I appreciate your thoughts. post-48089-022098300 1511963091_thumb.jpg

 

Gruhn and Carter reports the range 820088-823830 as 1966. Those years have a few duplicate numbers, but slope shoulders is consistent with 1966. Check the headstock pitch -- 13 degrees, 65 and latter; 17 degrees 65 and older.

 

Let's pick,

 

-Tom

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Pretty unambiguously 1966, between the serial number, double ring rosette, serial number embossed on the back of headstock. J-50 in this era (and J-45) would not have had a label inside. If it were 1958, it would have the serial number ink-stamped on the neck block. The serial number would have a T prefix.

 

It should have either "J-50" or "J-50 adj" ink-stamped on the back centerline cleat, visible almost in the middle of the soundhole. That can be hard to see, as it can fade if the guitar has been left exposed to uv rays.

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  • 3 years later...
  • 3 months later...

Nick, 092316 is essentially a five digit number that references to a timeframe between 1962 and 1964.  Nut width should be 1-11/16”.  Tricky stuff sometimes!  Edit:  See below - My info is incorrect & Nick’s got it right - it’s a valid six digit number!

Edited by bobouz
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2 hours ago, bobouz said:

Nick, 092316 is essentially a five digit number that references to a timeframe between 1962 and 1964.  Nut width should be 1-11/16”.  Tricky stuff sometimes!

It is also a six-digit number beginning in 0, which is 1967, so I don't know which it is.

Gibson Serial Numbers, Feb 1961 to 1970.

    • 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. In these cases, to figure out which is the exact year for a guitar, see the General Specs section for more details. ALSO note: It is easy to confuse 5 digit and 6 digit serial numbers from this era, and hence get the wrong year for a guitar. That is, 55555 is not the same number as 555555 (but when reading the number off the back of a Gibson peghead, these two numbers do look very similar!)
      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
Edited by j45nick
added additional thought
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2 hours ago, j45nick said:

It is also a six-digit number beginning in 0, which is 1967, so I don't know which it is.

Gibson Serial Numbers, Feb 1961 to 1970.

    • 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. In these cases, to figure out which is the exact year for a guitar, see the General Specs section for more details. ALSO note: It is easy to confuse 5 digit and 6 digit serial numbers from this era, and hence get the wrong year for a guitar. That is, 55555 is not the same number as 555555 (but when reading the number off the back of a Gibson peghead, these two numbers do look very similar!)
      
      
      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

Indeed Nick, you are correct!  I use Gruhn’s 2nd guide, and he’s got it in there, but I missed it within his sequencing.  1-9/16” nut width for sure, as you originally stated.

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  • 8 months later...

I have a j-50 that my father brought to me used in the early to mid 1960's. Stamped serial no. 344614.

Printed inside "J50 ADJ BRIDGE" which it has in rosewood.

Nut is 1 11/16" and does not seem to be plastic. Neither does the the bridge.

Logo has the "i" dotted. Pickguard has the point. Sound hole has a two circle decal.

I'm an old man now and it would be great to know the age of this instrument. Memory isn't what it used to be but I thought I got it (used) in late 1963 or 1964.

thanks, 

Wayne

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3 hours ago, torasama said:

I have a j-50 that my father brought to me used in the early to mid 1960's. Stamped serial no. 344614.

Printed inside "J50 ADJ BRIDGE" which it has in rosewood.

Nut is 1 11/16" and does not seem to be plastic. Neither does the the bridge.

Logo has the "i" dotted. Pickguard has the point. Sound hole has a two circle decal.

I'm an old man now and it would be great to know the age of this instrument. Memory isn't what it used to be but I thought I got it (used) in late 1963 or 1964.

thanks, 

Wayne

My initial reaction to your description and the serial number is 1965. Some guitars from that year seem to have the wider 1 11/16" nut, while some are narrower. There are also non-consecutive serial numbers at times in this period, so it is entirely possible the year could be off slightly, as might be suggested by the wider nut.

The serial number should be stamped on the back of the headstock.

Welcome, and don't feel alone about being old. There are a lot of geezers here, including me.

Post a picture of the guitar if you get a chance.

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I am too lazy to go look up serial numbers.   But generally your guitar dates to between 1961 when the ADJ saddle bridge became a standard feature on the J50 and others and 1965 when, as j45nick notes,  Gibson went with a skimpier nut.   As always with Gibson though there will be a transition period so specs may overlap a bit.  

 A new J50 cost somewhere in the $150 range in the early-1960s.  It might as well have been a million bucks though back then.  So going used made a lot of sense for a whole lot of us. 

Edited by zombywoof
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15 hours ago, Dave F said:

I'm past that group. I'd have to go to the nursing home to get a date.

But on the other hand, when you do get beyond that group, behavior which was once considered obnoxious is now seen an eccentric.  I got away with all kinds of ornery attitude and behavior the last years I worked because it got racked up to a "just let it it go, he is simply old" thing.

Edited by zombywoof
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