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1965 Batwing pickguard?


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I have a vintage SG Standard in very nice condition that I purchased from the original owner. He told me it was a '65. The 65s I've seen all have the small pickguard where mine has the batwing guard. According to the serial number, it could very well be a 65.


So my question is: did they put batwings on the later 65s?

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The published accounts I've seen state the batwing pickguard first appeared in 1966. The date discrepency is probably in the deciphering of the serial number. Gibson serial numbers from this period are useless in precise dating. You must also take into account many other specific guitar features in kind of a mathmatical equation to find a "least common denominator". In your case the next number to add to the equation is the potentiometer date codes.


It would also help if you posted some real information about the guitar, like the serial number, pot codes, and detailed photos.

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OK, now the next part of the equation is the potentiometer codes.


Open the back plate and look on the back of the pot "cans". You are looking for a seven-digit number, most likely starting with 137. The last four numbers are a date code. Hopefully aren't all covered in solder.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry I was absent for a while. Life intruded...


Thanks for all of your help and feedback. I really appreciate it!


Pot code from tone pot: CB4-811-1053 500K AT 137 6833


The middle 1 in 811 looked like it was punched lighter that the other numbers. Anomaly maybe?










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First of all... SWEET SG.


The pot codes aren't really a precice way to date a guitar. They're more for approximation. The pots would usually be laying around in the factory for a while before they got installed on a guitar.


It's not like CTS made that pot and then Gibson installed it on your SG on the same day.


It's just about as likely that you have a '69.

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Thanks for all of your input. I do have an inside knowledge of where the guitar came from. In 1971 I was playing in a band with the previous owner. I had a Special - he owned this Standard. He's the one who told me it's a 65.


Regardless of what he told me about the guitar, there is a site here: http://www.vintageguitars.org.uk/gibson_pots_by_guitar/37/SGstandard

that places the pot code on the 1965 list.


Another site here:


says that the batwing guards were introduced late 65.


However - the 'Amp' knobs on it point to 66 or later.

The serial says it's either 65 or 68.


So... I guess I'll go with TMan and agree that it's a 68. The electrics are all original so, I bow to TMan's knowledge of the pot codes.


All that being said, I'm a fortunate guy to have this nice SG. And I thank all of you for your input again. Nice to meet you guys!

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L5Larry seems to be the forums pot code expert. I'm sure he can clarify when he sees this thread.


There are also other indicators like the shape of the inlay on the headstock (not the Gibson logo) and neck heel and other things like that. When a real expert sees this he will be able to tell you for sure.


If it is a batwing made in late '65 I'd say it's probably pretty rare. Take care of it because it might be worth some serious $$$ and it's going nowhere but up. (the vintage guitar market is a bit down now)

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