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FON under top 1960's acoustic

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I have a late 1960's Gibson Heritage Acoustic. There is an ink stamped number inside on the bottom of the spruce top. It is 5 digits in black and then a larger red 2. Factory order numbers supposedly ended in 61 according to all ive found. Does anyone know about this?

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I have a late 1960's Gibson Heritage Acoustic. There is an ink stamped number inside on the bottom of the spruce top. It is 5 digits in black and then a larger red 2. Factory order numbers supposedly ended in 61 according to all ive found. Does anyone know about this?

 

 

I have seen numbers stamped on the inside of Gibson tops in the late 60's. The 1968 top on my 1950 J-45 is ink-stamped 48033, which is totally unrelated to the guitar's 3644 FON. I assumed that in my case it was related to the repair job work number, but I really have no idea.

 

Gibson was really banging out the guitars in that period, so it may have been some sort of inventory control.

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I have seen numbers stamped on the inside of Gibson tops in the late 60's. The 1968 top on my 1950 J-45 is ink-stamped 48033, which is totally unrelated to the guitar's 3644 FON. I assumed that in my case it was related to the repair job work number, but I really have no idea.

 

Gibson was really banging out the guitars in that period, so it may have been some sort of inventory control.

 

 

Hey, did Gibson overspray the body of your 1950 when they did the work? Only reason I ask is that at one time Martin routinely oversprayed every guitar that came in for restoration. Next time I change strings though I will look under the top of my wife's 1960 J200 which went back to the factory at one point for a total refinish (luckily they reused the original bridge and pickguard). Never thought of looking under the top though. On her guitar they stamped the FON on the back of the headstock which, of course, was standard beginning in 1961. Oddly while there is the "R" FON on the neck block there is a different number on the label beginning with an "A". I always assumed this had something to do with the fact that beginning in 1960 every J200 was made in the Custom Department which may have used a different numbering system.

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Hey, did Gibson overspray the body of your 1950 when they did the work? Only reason I ask is that at one time Martin routinely oversprayed every guitar that came in for restoration. Next time I change strings though I will look under the top of my wife's 1960 J200 which went back to the factory at one point for a total refinish (luckily they reused the original bridge and pickguard). Never thought of looking under the top though. On her guitar they stamped the FON on the back of the headstock which, of course, was standard beginning in 1961. Oddly while there is the "R" FON on the neck block there is a different number on the label beginning with an "A". I always assumed this had something to do with the fact that beginning in 1960 every J200 was made in the Custom Department which may have used a different numbering system.

 

I'm pretty sure they oversprayed the back and sides, as there was a jack hole (now invisibly plugged) in the side that appeared to have lacquer in it when the guitar got back to me in late summer of 1968. They certainly re-sprayed the neck, since they re-shaped it. Plus, the top was brand new, and with both a cherryburst finish and an adj bridge.

 

It seems that in the 1960's neither Gibson nor Martin placed any specific "vintage finish" value on older guitars, so over-spray seems to have been common when a guitar went back to the factory for repairs. Remember, too, that a guitar like my old 1950 J-45 was only 18 years old in 1968--the equivalent of a 2001 guitar today--so it really wasn't seen as anything "vintage."

 

I have to say the work Gibson did in 1968 was pretty good. It just wasn't what I wanted. I wanted my old 1950 J-45 back with a re-glued top and a new fretboard. What I got looked like a brand-new 1968 guitar. It was only by looking inside and seeing the FON and the original back bracing with my crappy re-gluing efforts that I could definitively even say it was my old guitar.

 

I was pretty ignorant about historically-accurate details in 1968, as were most of us.

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It could. Although, George Gruhn has commented that a Gibson factory 2nd does not have a lower price in the vintage guitar resale market.

 

Others have observed that Gibson’s factory seconds are for typically indistinguishable from non-seconds, often making buyers/sellers wonder why they are even designated as 2s.

 

Some speculate that they were not seconds at all, but rather possibly display instruments to be used in stores, that sold the non-display instruments. Or, promo instruments given to artists rather than sold to them. Or, instruments sold to Gibson employees. The 2s are kind of a mystery as to why they were marked 2s.

 

Just worth mentioning.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark

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j45nick, that is great info! The number under mine is very close to yours. Would you happen to know what month you sent yours in for repair?

 

This is so great! I really appreciate everyones replies!!

 

Thank you

 

Also, I wonder if these numbers are non sequential and maybe a part number?

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j45nick, that is great info! The number under mine is very close to yours. Would you happen to know what month you sent yours in for repair?

 

This is so great! I really appreciate everyones replies!!

 

Thank you

 

Also, I wonder if these numbers are non sequential and maybe a part number?

 

 

Mine was sent to Gibson in early July of 1968, and came back prior to early September, when I went back to college for the year. I seem to recall it being at Gibson for about six weeks.

 

It is probably some kind of work order number, inventory number, or a production sequence number, but could be a part number. It may pre-date the assignment of an FON, which I believe may have been assigned when the neck was joined to the body. (Somebody correct me if I'm wrong on that timing.)

 

After about 1963 (someone can supply the real date), the J-45 and J-50 were the only slope-J bodies produced by Gibson, so any such top could only be for one of those two models. The backsets (prior to cutting to shape) might have been the same for both square and slope bodies, or someone may have sorted them between those two shapes based on the wood characteristics, if they were taking that kind of time in the building process back then, which may be wishful thinking.

 

What I don't know is if the repair shop just pulled a top off the regular production line when they needed one, or if they had a separate inventory stream. I would love for someone here who might have access to or info from anyone who worked on the Gibson production line or repair shop in the 1960's (or any other time period) who might supply info on factory practices.

Edited by j45nick

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Mine was sent to Gibson in early July of 1968, and came back prior to early September, when I went back to college for the year. I seem to recall it being at Gibson for about six weeks.

 

 

 

It is great that you know as you owned the guitar when it went off. I do not have a clue when the work was done on my wife's J-200. Only way to narrow it down is the tuners which is the only original part not to be reused. It has gold "milk bottle" Grover Rotomatics. While these did show up on the model in 1959, those on her guitar do not have the "Patent Pending" stamp. While Grover stopped stamping the tuners with PP in 1969 they apparently did not start producing them until the old ones were used up. The first year I have been able to find them being used consistently would be 1973 which would make that year the earliest possible date for the work.

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Thanks Nick!

 

I cant believe no former Kalamazoo worker ever gets on these boards. Someone MUST know what these numbers are. 5 black ink numbers with a bigger red 2 after it. It doesnt work as a serial number, according to available info. It really doesnt matter.... just, puzzles drive me crazy! Lol

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Thanks Nick!

 

I cant believe no former Kalamazoo worker ever gets on these boards. Someone MUST know what these numbers are. 5 black ink numbers with a bigger red 2 after it. It doesnt work as a serial number, according to available info. It really doesnt matter.... just, puzzles drive me crazy! Lol

 

 

If you own Gibsons for long enough, you'll find there are plenty of things to make you crazy.

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