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No Serial Number on Country & Western

PJ Hoffman

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I'm  considering spending a lot of money restoring my old Country and Western.  It would help if I knew the year of manufacture, but the guitar has no serial number.  I do know it was made between 1956 and 1962.  Does anyone have any information or insights?  Thanks!



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Without a factory order number or serial number, it's pretty impossible to pin down the exact year, but it may not matter that much. Neck profile probably got thinner starting around 1961. Early profiles were typical of mid-50's slope-J's: nice full handful. Nut width will be 1 11/16" throughout the period.

The ones of these I've played have been very nice guitars. The CW was previously known as the SJN, as you probably know.

Those tuners may not be original. The ones I've looked at had individual closed-back Klusons with white oval plastic buttons, just like a Southern Jumbo from the same period.

To my eye, the guitar looks really nice as-is: original except for the holes for the tone/volume knobs. If those bother you, a good luthier can plug them so that they are almost invisible,  while leaving the original finish on the rest of the top intact. Does it have a jackhole on the treble side of the lower bout to go with the holes for the tone/volume pots?

Looks like maybe a couple of top cracks between the bridge and the tailblock. 

I see honest playwear, but nothing off-putting.

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I appreciate your thoughtful comments.  The nut is the 1-11/16" width so that puts it in the fifties - very helpful.

You're right about the tuners - many years ago I replaced the originals because couple of them were failing.  And there is indeed a jack hole on the treble side.  

There are cracks on the back and structural issues inside the body, but I am certainly leaning toward restoring it.

Do you know if Gibson made this model without a serial number - maybe an early production run?


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The lack of a serial number of some type is an anomaly, but the guitar is identifiable by its characteristics, so it is not a great concern.

"Restore" is not a word I would use, since that implies returning something to as-new condition. What you want to do is repair it to make  playable and protect its structural integrity, while maintaining the look the displays the guitar's 60+ years of history. A good luthier can do that. You just have to tell him/her what you want out of the guitar.

With vintage guitars, even ones that are not of great value, maintaining as much of the original fabric and finish as possible is key. You could make it look like a new guitar, but what would be the point? You can go out and buy a brand new one, but 60-year-old ones in great playing condition are harder to come by.

I hope you kept the original tuners. Ninety-nine times out of 100 those can be returned to perfect working condition. The most common problem is deteriorating tuner buttons, but identical new replacements buttons are readily available. Bringing old tuners back to life is a hobby of mine.

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  • 6 months later...

Until recently, I would have said the number was unrelated to a serial number because of its location in the dovetail. However, we recently had a guitar with the same issue as yours, and it was ultimately determined that the number in the neckblock dovetail was a serial number or factory order number.

In your case, the number 2772 could probably date the guitar to fairly early in 1961, which  is consistent with what we see. The nut width would have been 1 11/16", but the neck cross-sectional shape (depth) would be thinner than the same measurement on the same guitar from the late 1950's, which would otherwise look pretty identical.

If it is a 1961, I would expect the neck depth at the first fret (ignoring the fret itself) is about .85" or less, but I haven't' looked at enough guitars from this period to say that is a hard rule.

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