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Need Help w/ Production Year


flynvfr

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I have an SG (pics attached) that I purchased new in Jan 1980 and trying to determine the year of production. The serial number has not been much help due to the fact that this particular SG was assigned a six-digit number (no letters) at a time when craftsman were suppose to transition to a new eight-digit serial number. Change is always slow, and some of the more seasoned craftsman, as the story goes, continued to use the six-digit system; those in Kalamazoo of course. The "issue" I'm describing is best described by the following except from the 11th edition of the Blue Book:

 

"When the Nashville Gibson plant was opened in 1974, it was decided that

the bulk of the production of products would be run in the South; the

Kalamazoo plant would produce the higher end (fancier) models in the

North. Of course, many of the older guitar builders and craftsmen were

still in Kalamazoo, and if they weren’t ready to change how they built guitars,

then they may not have been ready to change how they numbered

them! Certain guitar models built in the late 1970s can be used to demonstrate

the old-style, six-digit serial numbers. It is estimated that Gibson’s

Kalamazoo plant continued to use the six-digit serial numbers through

1978 and 1979."

 

Here's a few facts about my SG:

1. Purchased new in Jan 1980 (have sales receipt)

2. Has 6 digit serial number (967739) stamped on reverse of headstock

3. Has MADE IN U.S.A. stamped just below the serial number

4. Has rectangular inlays

5. Came stock with Gibson's version of the Bigsby tremolo

 

A few other things to consider:

1. I checked with the Guitar Dater Project and they put the SG at 1970, 1971, or 1972. This is clearly wrong and is merely a consequence of the odd six digit serial number.

2. Checked with Gibson, and still waiting................

 

My guess (not surprising) is that it's a 1978 or 1979, neither one of which is too exciting as far as SG's go. Either way, I'd like to know if there's a way to distinguish between the two years; assuming '78 or '79 is accurate.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read all this info and sharing your insight.

 

Kris

post-42372-027593700 1333543087_thumb.jpg

post-42372-031429600 1333543104_thumb.jpg

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.... The "issue" I'm describing is best described by the following except from the 11th edition of the Blue Book:

"....Certain guitar models built in the late 1970s can be used to demonstrate the old-style, six-digit serial numbers. It is estimated that Gibson’s Kalamazoo plant continued to use the six-digit serial numbers through 1978 and 1979."

 

I'd love to have that demonstrated to me with the physical instrument in my presence, because Gibson's own serial dating site does not contain this information - http://www.gibson.com/en-us/support/serialnumbersearch/

 

According to Gibson's serial dating site your guitar should've been made before 1976. 1975 fits the markers, the bridge would've been the harmonica style bridge, as did the 1978. 1980 had the jack on the side.

 

Have you checked for pot codes/dates?

 

Here's a 1979 with bigsby, but wrong bridge -

 

Gibson+1979+SG+w+Bigsby+in+Boston+for+$897.jpg

 

.

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Check the pot codes! They will add another piece to the puzzle.

 

It is generally accepted fact that Gibson discontinued the six-digit serial number system sometime in early 1975, in favor of the eight-digit prefix coded system of 75,76,77, and then to the current system.

 

It is also was not unusual to see guitars hang in stores for years in the early/mid seventies before being sold, especially small Mom & Pop stores.

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I'm just curious, what makes you think it's definitely not a 1970-72 SG?

 

It just doesn't look right. Subjective I know. But I've looked at hundreds and none come close to my SG. But thanks for the thought.

 

I take my comment back. I just stumbled upon an awesome 1971 SG that looks just like mine except that the truss rod cover is blank. But now I have the pot codes that steer towards a later date.

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Have you checked for pot codes/dates?

 

Gibson+1979+SG+w+Bigsby+in+Boston+for+$897.jpg

 

.

 

Got two numbers off the pots. 70 028 & 1377452 (both on the upward face amidst the solder joints).

 

The 1377452 comes back, according to GuitarDaterProject, as follows: "This potentiometer was made by CTS Corporation (Chicago Telephone Supply) in the 52nd week of 1974." Does that mean my SG is a '74 or '75, or later? Probably later because the 70 028 number, according to several sources, is associated with circa 1978-1981 SGs. And the fact that it was purchased Jan 80, it would seem reasonable to focus in on '78 or '79. Does this make sense. In case you're wondering, I'd like to nail down the year for sale purposes. Thanks

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With the pot codes and serial number (and catalog reprint), there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the guitar in question was assembled in early 1975.

 

OK, one last question. So why two codes stamped on each pot? If "1377452" is the pot code, what's the significance of the second number, the 70 028. I mean, which do you go by. One points to '74, the other late 70's. Any explanation? Thanks again for your patience.

 

Just had an idea. Maybe the first number (1377452) was stamped on during production of the pot itself. They sit around in a bin waiting to be used, and times goes on. Then some years later, when the pot is actually used by a craftsman and installed during production of a guitar, in this case an SG, the second pot code is added, the 70 028 code that points to circa '78 or '79. Make sense?

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  • 1 month later...

Check the pot codes! They will add another piece to the puzzle.

 

It is generally accepted fact that Gibson discontinued the six-digit serial number system sometime in early 1975, in favor of the eight-digit prefix coded system of 75,76,77, and then to the current system.

 

It is also was not unusual to see guitars hang in stores for years in the early/mid seventies before being sold, especially small Mom & Pop stores.

 

But I've also read from several sources that craftsman at the original Kalamazoo plant continued to use the six digit serial number during the "transition" to the eight-digit. I suspect (and it's been suggested) that it was out of habit, to stay consistent with the quality of the guitars coming out of Kalamazoo plant vs the new Nashville plant where quality was a major issue during this era. Who knows? But it could indeed be a pre-75 guitar that hung around the shop (definitely not a Mom & Pop); purchased at Hollywood in Pittsburgh http://hollowood.com/

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OK, one last question. So why two codes stamped on each pot? If "1377452" is the pot code, what's the significance of the second number, the 70 028. I mean, which do you go by. One points to '74, the other late 70's. Any explanation? Thanks again for your patience.

 

Just had an idea. Maybe the first number (1377452) was stamped on during production of the pot itself. They sit around in a bin waiting to be used, and times goes on. Then some years later, when the pot is actually used by a craftsman and installed during production of a guitar, in this case an SG, the second pot code is added, the 70 028 code that points to circa '78 or '79. Make sense?

 

OK, so I'm answering my own question here for the benefit of someone else that might be trying to date their SG. The 70 028 number is simply the part number, and cannot be used for dating (to my understanding) . The reference that 70 028 dated specifically to years 78, 79, etc. was from someone in a forum, and who knows what their level of expertise was in this matter. So I'm back to the pot code 1377452; manufactured the 52nd week of 1974. So no way this found it's way into a 1974, but a 1975 is very possible, maybe likely. The other option is that this pot sat around for several years before installation. Is that likely? I've read some other guitar manufacturers like Fender and Guild bought up bulk numbers of pots and they found their way into guitars spanning several years. Could the same be true for Gibson? I have no reference to that, so I should probably stick to the most probable (Occam's Razor). The very late 1974 pot (52nd week; last week of the year) was used in 1975; so that's probably the year of the guitar. Not 1978 or 1979, years that are closer to the date of purchase, but it's hard to believe that a pot from 1974 wouldn't get used for 3 years. And the pots are original. No evidence whatsoever of mods with the electronics.

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OK, so I'm answering my own question here for the benefit of someone else that might be trying to date their SG. The 70 028 number is simply the part number, and cannot be used for dating (to my understanding) . The reference that 70 028 dated specifically to years 78, 79, etc. was from someone in a forum, and who knows what their level of expertise was in this matter. So I'm back to the pot code 1377452; manufactured the 52nd week of 1974. So no way this found it's way into a 1974, but a 1975 is very possible, maybe likely. The other option is that this pot sat around for several years before installation. Is that likely? I've read some other guitar manufacturers like Fender and Guild bought up bulk numbers of pots and they found their way into guitars spanning several years. Could the same be true for Gibson? I have no reference to that, so I should probably stick to the most probable (Occam's Razor). The very late 1974 pot (52nd week; last week of the year) was used in 1975; so that's probably the year of the guitar. Not 1978 or 1979, years that are closer to the date of purchase, but it's hard to believe that a pot from 1974 wouldn't get used for 3 years. And the pots are original. No evidence whatsoever of mods with the electronics.

 

Forget my previous post! Sorry if this is getting annoying, but I just found a reference from Vintage Guitars (http://www.vintageguitarandbass.com/gibson/potentiometer/) that suggests pots with the part number 70 028 were indeed parts for 78-80 SGs. Why the heck a 1974 pot would be stamped with a part number that dates to the 78-80 SG parts list is just weird. Also, I've looked at pot harnesses that are being sold for parts, and every one of the pot numbers match the year the guitar was manufactured. In other words, as soon as the pots came into stock, they were used. I'm gonna give Gibson a call and see if they can sort this out. Hope all this noise helps someone else.

 

And yet, Vintage Guitars has this disclaimer at the bottom of the parts list:

"As always with Gibson, there a probably many instruments that don't conform to the catalogue descriptions, which are often incomplete and may even contain errors." Further, "some models seem to conform to the part lists, some differ WIDELY. I have seen many seemingly-original pots with codes that do not follow the typical Gibson numbering, and many that just do not conform to the correct resistance values as described in the schematics."

 

I give up!

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Forget my previous post! Sorry if this is getting annoying, but I just found a reference from Vintage Guitars (http://www.vintageguitarandbass.com/gibson/potentiometer/) that suggests pots with the part number 70 028 were indeed parts for 78-80 SGs. Why the heck a 1974 pot would be stamped with a part number that dates to the 78-80 SG parts list is just weird. Also, I've looked at pot harnesses that are being sold for parts, and every one of the pot numbers match the year the guitar was manufactured. In other words, as soon as the pots came into stock, they were used. I'm gonna give Gibson a call and see if they can sort this out. Hope all this noise helps someone else.

 

And yet, Vintage Guitars has this disclaimer at the bottom of the parts list:

"As always with Gibson, there a probably many instruments that don't conform to the catalogue descriptions, which are often incomplete and may even contain errors." Further, "some models seem to conform to the part lists, some differ WIDELY. I have seen many seemingly-original pots with codes that do not follow the typical Gibson numbering, and many that just do not conform to the correct resistance values as described in the schematics."

 

I give up!

 

Actually, I agree with L5Larrry. It's a 1975. The pot numbers, combined with the 6 digit serial number, just don't add up to a late 70's model as I thought. Here's an interesting article (http://www.everythingsg.com/index.php/articles/guitar-reviews/213-horny-devils.html) that suggests the Nashville plant didn't open until June 1975. So it's likely that SG's were still being made at Kalamazoo at the time my SG was in construction, and the 8 digit code was just starting to get into use (primarily at the Nashville plant, once they got up and running; some time later than June 1975 I suspect). So my SG sat at Hollywood for ~4 years before I took ownership. Don't recall if it was the only SG, but it was the one I picked. Here's a pic.

post-42372-032201800 1337794154_thumb.jpg

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.

I've been following.

 

There are lots of issues to deal with with dating a Gibson made before before the 80s.

 

The 1975 date makes sense to me.

 

Whatever the date - you've got a nice SG. . B)

 

 

.

 

Thanks BigK. With SG's from the 70's it takes some real investigation work for get the year straight. Unless you got verification at purchase. Which I didn't way back when I was just a kid excited to get an SG. Thanks for the complement on the guitar.

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