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Help Needed w/Southern Jumbo date - see the volute


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Trying to date a Gibson Southern Jumbo.


1. The previous owner (the original owner) swore he bouth it in 1968 (before he was married).

2. The serial number 9560XX makes the 1968 date possible (I blotted out the last two numbers in the photo).

3. The shoulders and bridge seem consistent with the 1968 date.


However, it say "made in USA" on the headstock, which leads me to the question. The "Made in USA suggests it is from 1970 - 1972, but the font for "USA" is a bit bigger than the font for "Made in" suggesting it may be an earlier model. (From what I understand, they were inconsitent about this)


As to other clues....

1. The tuners were replaced long ago and the original owner doesn't have the old set, so that is no help

2. The case is also non-original, so that is no help

3. There is no label, so that is no help.


That leaves me with the volute - or lack thereof. I have attached some pictures. To me, it is NOT the distinct volute you typically see on more recent guitars but perhaps some of you know better. I appreciate your help!


What do you think?





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I am not sure I have ever run across a volute on any Gibson made before the last couple of months of 1969. So if your guitar has a volute it would probably have been made after 1970, if not then it would have been made earlier. But then again, I only play 'em, I don't make 'em. Hopefully some of the more knowledgable folks here will chime in.


But if I had a dollar for every guitar I have run across which the owner swears they got before this life event or that and which turned out to have been built five to ten years later...

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xkb1 - I understand why you might not want the last two digits to show - but you need better than a coupla twists to hide them. Gimp straightened out the wood grain and up came the numbers. My favourite is Gaussian blur - kinda hard to undo, especially if yah throw in some random noise too. Better still - just cut 'em out.....

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Goodness - I am just trying to figure out if this guitar has what they call a volute' date=' or not. [/quote']


You said you were trying to date an SJ.


The guitar does not appear to have a pronounced volute, however every indication, including the serial number, is that it's a 1970's SJ.

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in a previous post' date=' i wondered out loud what reason one would have for blotting out serial #'s. can anyone tell me why? thanks.[/quote']


sometimes ebay scammers will purloin a legit serial number and apply it to a non-legit guitar they're trying to pass off. if the potential buyer bothers to check the number with the factory it will come up as a real gibson. it just won't be the same one. we've all seen the rash of epi's doctored to look like gibbys. that's typically where you'll find the fakes with the legit numbers.

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This subject of hiding (or generally not disclosing) serial numbers was brought up in the LP forum last week. I told the tale of me being free with that info and here it is, courtesy of Copy and Paste, Inc.:


11 years ago I went to court (many times!) to defend my ownership of a '65 Jazzmaster. A drunk called me up one day and asked what the serial number of my Jazzmaster was. I knew he had at least two of his own and I foolishly thought he was just comparing numbers to see which was older, etc. He then claimed it was stolen and a half hour later the Sherriff was at my door. He took photos and cautioned me to not sell it or try to hide it. After further investigation on the Sherriff's part and a couple drunken shouting matches between him and the drunk claimant, they decided there was not enough proof to seize it from me. His only claim to ownership was a slip of paper given to him at the Canadian border when he crossed to play a gig. The serial number was L12345 and on the slip was scribbled 1234 (no 'L') and then a '5' added in an obvious different pen. That number was made up for the purpose of illustration of course.


I thought it was a done deal until I got a notice I was being taken to small claims court for the return of the guitar. I spoke to two lawyers and they both said it wa an open and shut case and I didn't have a chance. I decided at that point the lawyers I spoke to didn't want to be bothered with a pissant case like this and I was on my own.


I subpoenaed the Sherriff and the owner of the store where I bought the Jazzmaster. I also took the guitar to Canada myself (10 miles) and requested one of the forms mentioned earlier. He sent me inside where I was given a pad of them and told to fill it out myself. I took that to court and told the judge I (or anyone) could have written anything at all on that paper and that it meant nothing.


It's been a long time and I don't remember all the particulars but I do know nothing was settled that day and I went back twice again. On the second time they asked for a third court date so they could contact Fender to trace the serial number. I told the judge they didn't keep those records and he gave me "that look" that said he was going to give them the chance regardless. I wrote to Fender and sent the letter by express mail and begged them to respond asap, which they did, with days to spare. The letter basically said they did not maintain any kind of database or registration then. At the court date his lawyer said he tried to call Fender several times but kept getting the runaround. I then offered my letter from Fender. Once the judge saw that, he had seen enough and I won the case.


I sold the guitar that afternoon and haven't been near a Jazzmaster since.


So yeah, if I have a $60 guitar on ebay I won't bother hiding the number, but anything of value gets a couple digits blocked out.

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xkb1 - I understand why you might not want the last two digits to show - but you need better than a coupla twists to hide them. Gimp straightened out the wood grain and up came the numbers. My favourite is Gaussian blur - kinda hard to undo' date=' especially if yah throw in some random noise too. Better still - just cut 'em out.....[/quote']


Now you know what a mess some tw*t made of the headstock of my J45 cutting out the "2" which indicated a reject.


Dogs good thanks

(refer other thread) no France today I am afraid

so no contreband for you lady, to whom I send my love



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I have a friend who has a similar SJ in natural and he said he bought his new in 1969. I tend to think yours is a late 1969 model or early 1970's model made in late 1969. Yours has a belly bottom adjustable bridge which was a 1969 trait on a SJ. In 1970, the adjustable bridge was gone. Made in USA began appearing on some 1969 instruments. 1969 and 1970 SJ's still had split parallelagrams on the fretboard, but morphed into a block non split inlay shortly after. I've seen some 1969 instruments with volutes as Gibson was transitioning fully to the voluted neck by 1970. Pre-1969 square shouldered SJ's have the multipointed plain Hummingbird pickguard...1969 SJ models have the teardrop shaped pickguard...whereas the multi-pointed plain Hummingbird-like pickguard returned to the SJ model circa 1971 for the rest of the 70's. The serial number equates to a 1970 model, but with the belly bottom adjustable pickguard, I'd say yours was made in very late 1969 (or possibly in very early 1970 still transitioning from the 1969 specs using up 1969 parts.) Gibson's labelling changed to the rectangular sticker label in 1970 from their prior label or an inked imprint in the soundhole. My friend's has no label, but has an inked imprinted SJ in the soundhole. You might check to see if there is any faint remains of the ink on your guitar which would explain why it has no label in it. Hope this helps. Nice guitar.



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The vintage store I worked in put stickers on all serial numbers to prevent situations like KSDaddy described. Serial numbers on internal labels were covered with paper that was taped down on either side of the label.


In Canada we have no statutes of limitations for crime. Someone can come in to claim a 1945 guitar was stolen from their uncle Dave in 1961 and the police do not require that a police report was filed back in the day to support the claim.


As the current holder of the instrument, it becomes your duty to essentially prove the claim wrong or lose the guitar.

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