Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Serial Number id - Gibson Les Paul


Recommended Posts



I have an old Les Paul (70s) but I do not know the exact year and what type (maybe custom or traditional). Looking for some expert help please.


The back of the headstock shows Made in USA and the serial number is 688831. The last digit '1' is slightly lower than the other numbers.


The Les Paul Model logo is now pretty faded. The truss rod cover actually says Les Paul Custom but I'm not so sure.


I'd love to know the year of manufacture and the exact model. Hope you can help.



post-38221-091997600 1327837491_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Little can be deciphered from Gibson's six-digit serial number system. "Made In USA" dates it post-70. This six-digit serial number system was discontinued sometime in early 1975. We're down to 70-75.


Does it have a "volute" on the back of the headstock?


The model, as you suspected, is not a "Custom", but a "Standard". Depending on the actual year, the truss rod cover should be blank or say "Standard". The pickups would have had covers, so the pickups have been replaced, or had the covers removed.


The best way to narrow down (to one or two years) the year of manufacture is going to be from the potentiometer codes. Open up the control cover plate and look for a seven-digit code on the back of the pots most likely starting with "137".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ ^ ^



What He Says!


Just adding a little to what Larry says, Standards from the early '70s are fairly uncommon - until the mid-late '70s, most LPs from 1970-on were DeLuxes. The Standard was back in 'normal' production by about late-1974.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

until the mid-late '70s, most LPs from 1970-on were DeLuxes.


Ah yes, I try to forget the Les Paul Deluxe. There were a spattering of humbucker Standards made prior to their official reintroduction in 1975, but as Pippy mentioned, there was something like 30,000 Deluxes made during this time.


The since the truss rod cover and pickups are not stock Gibson issue, this quite possibly have started out as a Deluxe with mini-hums (and "Deluxe" on the TRC), and re-routed for full size humbuckers. This would explain both the changed TRC and the aftermarket pickups.


Remove a pickup and mounting ring and see what the routing looks like (and post a photo, of course).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the poteniometers are original, you might be able to narrow the age down a bit. The original pots would have a date code impressed into the metal back of the pots. It would start with "137" followed by four more digits. The two numbers right after the 137 would be the year the pot was built in and the last two numbers would the week of that year. For example 1377043 would be consistent with a date code from a poteniometer which was built in the 43rd week of 1970. Gibson bought pots in bulk quanitities, so the instrument most likely would have been built within a year or two of time the pot was built.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...