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ES-125 LATE FON and year verification


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Hey folks,

I'm looking at buying a ES-125 from the 50's and want to be sure I have my date correct.

My confusion arises because the guitar has both
- Strap Peg in the lower bout instead of a screw-in button (Pre-1960)
- Very old Kluson "Double Line" tuners (1965-on) instead of "Single Line" and they match up quite well.
- VERY late FON if it is correct

The FON is "9609 4" or "9609 (space) 4"

Everything I've read says the last of the non-alphanumeric FONs were in 1951 and were in the 9000s but there is no indication of how high into the 9000's the FONs go.

If I am correct, this should date the guitar to '51.

Can anyone confirm? 

Edited by parentevan
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It would be best if you could post some photos (or at least one photo) of the guitar.  You're right about the probability of 1951 for that FON, especially with the space between the 4th and 5th digit (and if the number is stamped inside the back of the body)... but since 125's were produced for many years beyond that, I'm wondering whether we might possibly be dealing with a serial number here, and not a FON.  I'm just basing that on helping inexperienced folks here over the years, but you seem to have done your homework, so 1951 seems likely in this case.

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Thank you so much for your response. Yes, I’ve done all the homework I can on the topic before bothering anyone. (Like you I’m sure, I get really annoyed by folks who just want others to do the work. Plus, I really enjoy learning.)

The thing that bothers me the most is that…

A. The 9,000 number is SO high. 

B. The first numbers could have (unlikely) been stamped upside down and be 6096 until the last stamp came in. 

C. Only the top half of the ES-125 didn’t get stamped, so whoever was in n charge of stamping might have skipped his coffee that morning. 

Anyway, I bought the guitar and I’ll check the pots when it arrives. but it’ll still be interesting and good information about how high the FONs go. 



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Nothing up to 9999 9 would really shock me.  Gibson's numbering systems were anything but consistent and perfect.  Also, I've seen plenty of cases where employees forgot their coffee.  😉

I was actually hoping to see a photo of the whole guitar, to see the logo, the pickup, the control knobs, etc etc, but again, I think you're practically there when it comes to dating it.  Hope it's a fine player!

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