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Date my pupil's Les Paul


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Hi, sorry for another boring "date my axe" thread, but a pupil brought along his dad's Les Paul for his guitar lesson last week. I'm familiar with the YDDDYPPP system for dating serial numbers, but this one looks like:

5 4044

with spaces between the five and the four.

The SN is printed, not stamped.

It's a nice sunburst instrument, plays really well, the binding is very orangey, and the inlays aged to a very greenish tone.

Cheers in advance...

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Gibson Serial Numbers, 1952 to 1961, solid body models.

Ink stamped number on back top of peghead. The first year of Gibson solidbodies was 1952, and Gibson didn't use any serial number in 1952. Starting in 1953, the first number is the last number of the year. If the ink stamped number consists of 5 digits, there will be a space between the first and second numbers (separating the last digit of the year from the actual serial number). If there is a 6 digit ink stamped number, there is no embedded space as the serial number has exceeded 9999 and now occupies the place where the space existed in numbers 9999 and lower. No space and 5 digits following the year only occured in 1955, 1956, 1959 and 1960, and the second digit will ONLY be a "1" in 1955 and 1956. In 1955 Gibson forgot to reset their serial number back to #5 0001. Instead they continued the 1954 series, just changing the first digit to a "5" for 1955. For this reason the serial numbers exceeded "5 9999", hence 5 digits and no space following the year had to be used. Apparently production was high enough in 1956 to exceed "6 9999". Production in 1959 and 1960 was also very high, exceeding "9 9999" and going to "932000" or higher (so a "1" or "2" or "3" could be the second digit in 1959). The Ink Stamped serial number stopped at the end of 1960, though a few 1961 instruments were made with a "1" ink stamped prefix. This is very rare, but seen on a few lap steels (pressed in serial numbers started in 1961 for all Gibson instruments) and a few Les Paul models. One other exception to the above rules is in late 1958 where some Les Paul juniors and specials had a FOUR digit serial (no leading year digit).

Year First Number

---- ------------

1952 none

1953 3

1954 4

1955 5

1956 6

1957 7

1958 8 *

1959 9

1960 0

1961 1 (very rare)

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Cheers mick, it was similar to that photo, although harder to make out. I'd be pretty doubtful it was old as the 50's, the bridge has retaining wire, so ABR?

Thanks for the prompt help so far! thhe kid was just interested in his dad's old guitar, he also owns a brand new SG, but the Les Paul is a beauty.

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