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Can anyone help me find info about my old Gibson?


sethrob903

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So here's the deal sethrob .... you have found the right place for information .... these guys, collectively know 'bout everything to know about Gibsons.

 

BUT

 

Ya gotta do a good job providing information.

SO

 

Post some pictures because you won't get far with that serial number ... it doesn't look like anything I can find. It's probably a factory order number. Recheck the number closely because sometimes they are hard to see. Post Pictures! As many as you can and as detailed as you can. Give as many details as you can.

 

Welcome to the forum and good luck with identifying the guitar.

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I have an old Gibson acoustic. I know almost nothing about it and can't seem to find anything online. The only identifying mark are numbers 2669-41 on the back of the headstock. Does anyone know where I can go to find out about it?

This is a good place, but the "identifying mark" isn't much to go on. Post some photos -- stick them on some photo hosting site and use the "Insert image" button in the editor -- and we can probably help.

 

-- Bob R

 

Added later: I guess I spent too long composing. (I was looking for a link to the photo posting instructions.) Anyway, +1 for what jdd707 said.

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Here are some photos, more to come. I double checked the numbers on the headstock and they are definately 2669-41. The top was not originally sunburst. I dont know if a new top was put on it or just refinished.post-43909-027485800 1337357534_thumb.jpgpost-43909-027485800 1337357534_thumb.jpgpost-43909-075832700 1337357550_thumb.jpg

 

FON (factory order number) suggests 1949, and with that year and body shape, you'd say it began life as an LG-x. However, the top detail (burst and pickguard) looks like a later B-25. I'm guessing the guitar might have been re-topped or re-finished in the late 1950's-1960's. It's also a 19-fret board, so the 1949 date a belly-up bridge make sense. I'd say refinish and new pickguard were done at some point.

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... 1949 date a belly-up bridge make sense ...

A '49 LG should have a straight bridge, not belly-up. But the fretboard is definitely pre-'56. So that's a little more evidence of this being a '60-ish retop of a '49 guitar rather than a just a refinish. The way to settle it, or at least come close, would be to check whether the top braces are scalloped (meaning the top is likely original) or tapered (meaning the top is a replacement).

 

-- Bob R

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The 19 frets certainly indicate a pre-1955 guitar so the 1949 date works. While the pickguard is the style Gibson started using in 1955, the belly up bridge did not appear on the LGs until 1961 and then was the adjustable version which became standard that year. So I would agree with what has been said - the guitar is a 1949 (based on the FON) LG-1, 2 or 3 that has at the least been refinished and had a post 1955 style pickguard added and the bridge replaced. While I can't tell from the photos, it is easy to figure out whether it is an LG-1 as these were ladder braced and there will be no strip of wood running down the center of the back. If you see that center strip through running the length of the guitar through the soundhole then it is an LG-2 or LG-3. With the refinish though you will probably never know which.

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Thanks everyone for the input. My grandfather sent it to the Gibson factory to have the top repaired sometime in the mid 50s. The top was originally black and yellow. I can't get the other images to upload for some reason. I would say it is in good condition for its age. There are some scratches and the bare wood is exposed above the pickguard. Does anyone have any estimate as to the value of this guitar?

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Yeah, that is definitely a 1960s Gibson finish.

 

While it is a crappy answer the guitar would be valued at whatever somebody is willing to pay for it. The refinish and replaced pickguard and bridge will probably take as much as 60% to 70% off the value of what it would be worth without those changes.

 

If it were me I would not worry about value and just keep it a member of the family.

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Does anyone have any estimate as to the value of this guitar?

A '49 LG-2 in fine condition might sell for $2500. (A dealer would probably ask a bit more, but would have a tough time getting $3000.) But with the work that's been done on this one, I'd say more like $1000. The refinish alone cuts the value by around 50%, given that it is a '60s style burst rather than a reasonable approximation of the original. The trouble is that it's worth nothing to a collector at this point, so the value is simply determined by how good a guitar it is.

 

-- Bob R

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awesome guitar .

looks like a B 25 ... but I'm not sure.

 

 

JC

 

 

JC, You've got to become a bit more of a detective. You are right, it looks like a B-25, but the 19-fret board and the FON tell a different story. If I hadn't seen Gibson do the same thing to my old J-45 in the late 60's, I might not have picked up on it.

 

For some reason, when you sent a guitar to Gibson for top repairs in the 60's, they liked to return them with the then-current 'burst finish, no matter what the original was. The only question here is whether the guitar was re-topped (as mine was in 1968 when I sent it in to have the top re-glued!) or the original top repaired and refinished. It's just a guess, but seeing the belly bridge makes me suspect it was re-topped, although the non-adjustable saddle throws a bit of a monkey wrench into that analysis, depending on when the work was done.

 

If it was done prior to, say, 1963, the fixed saddle and belly bridge might make sense, but there are others here that know a lot more than I do.

 

I'd like to know if this is a ladder-braced top or x-braced, and whether it is a one-piece or two-piece back. We'd then know what it is/was. It might also have an inside back stamp (LG-1, LG-2) that would tell us, if we could inspect it.

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I'm betting it's the original top, just refinished and updated with guard/bridge correct (and readily available) for the period. I'm just playing the odds here, and what I surmise would happen if it showed up on the bench. If they replaced the top, would they not have to remove the fingerboard? And would they have re-used the original board or would it have been easier for them to grab a 20 fret board off the rack instead? I know back then when necks were removed it was common to cut the board at the joining fret and the fingerboard extension removed (I suppose that could have been done to remove the top as well) but I hope and pray Gibson never did hack stuff like that.

 

As to the bridge, again I'm just playing the odds here, but if they replaced the top in 1965 (let's say) wouldn't the new top have already had the threaded inserts and chances are they would have automatically used an adjustable bridge? If it's the original top, they would likely have used a non adjutable bridge rather than install the inserts. FWIW my '64 SJ has a non adjustable bridge and I always assumed it went back to Gibson at some point (the inserts are still there though).

 

Just gut feelings and playing the odds, nothing I could prove in court. I'm assuming a lot here. I'd love to go inside with an inspection mirror.

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Just gut feelings and playing the odds, nothing I could prove in court. I'm assuming a lot here. I'd love to go inside with an inspection mirror.

 

 

Agree 100%. Maybe we should create a new specialty: forensic lutherie.

 

We don't know exactly what repairs were made to this top, but I can envision a scenario where the original bridge either was damaged or needed to be removed to repair the top. The repair tech reaches into the parts bin, and pulls out a belly bridge with a fixed saddle rather than the then-current adjustable saddle: just using up old parts.

 

For the record, I think Gibson decided to replace the top on my J-45 in 1968, rather than re-glue it, because I made the mistake of asking for a new fretboard at the same time. The original board was badly worn in the first chord positions. To tell the truth, It never ocurred to me that they would replace a 19-fret board with a 20-fret one, but they did. With the board off, they probably looked at the beat-up original top and decided to replace it, rather than re-glue it. Gave me a near-new guitar.

 

Oh well.

 

From the work they did to my guitar, I think the Gibson repair shop in those days (1960's) was keen to do quality work. Neither Gibson nor customers like me really considered the impact on vintage value more than 40 years in the future. They were just trying to do a good job for the customer, and I was just trying to get my guitar fixed.

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I read a Gruhn article, must have been 25 years ago or more, where Gibson had done some repair work on a Loar era F style mandolin. They did stellar work but one thing they did "wrong" was to replace the headstock overlay with one with a modern block logo. Sacreligious now, but commonplace back then.

 

We've learned a lot in 30 years though. Many repairs that took place 30+ years ago would not happen now. We owe it to the instruments to take great pains with repairs that will be as true to the original construction as possible.

 

Sometimes that line gets crossed where an older instrument is so far gone that all bets are off. Those stories are enjoyable as well. That 'line' is not clearly defined and subjective, but when a guitar is damaged to the point where it might not be cost effective to restore in the traditional sense, it an be a chance to repurpose or modernize. The guys at Music Villa did just that:

 

 

It would have been much easier to take if they had shown photos of the 'before' condition, but according to the video, it was rough. Assuming that to be the case, I applaud them giving a new lease on life to fine old instrument.

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We've learned a lot in 30 years though. Many repairs that took place 30+ years ago would not happen now. We owe it to the instruments to take great pains with repairs that will be as true to the original construction as possible.

 

Sometimes that line gets crossed where an older instrument is so far gone that all bets are off. Those stories are enjoyable as well.

 

 

I have one of those stories as well. I had a early (probably 1870's) Martin "New Yorker" that needed substantial repairs back in the early 1970's. It was pretty much in pieces, but it was all there. I hand-delivered it to Martin in Nazareth for repair when we were on our way back to New York, after having picked it up during a coffeehouse tour in the midwest. They even sent someone down to the plant on a Sunday to receive it, and gave us an abbreviated walk-around.

 

Martin returned it to me as "beyond repair". Instead, I took it to a local luthier (and he was a brilliant restoration specialist) who did a staggering restoration, including some 30 almost-invisible splices in the highly-figured Brazilian back and sides.

 

If you have the will and the means, you can save almost anything. Our own Pfox (Paul Fox) has done some pretty amazing restorations of basket cases.

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Again, it is tough to slap a value on the guitar because of all of the alterations. Also, at the moment the market is really erratic. If you look you will find late 1940s LG-1s being offered anywhere from $1500 up to the high $2,000s (which I think is totally unrealistic).

 

While the Price Guide is a good place to start if you want to know what folks are willing to pay for a guitar you need to do something like check completed listings on eBay.

 

The first thing you need to do is determine whether the guitar is an LG-1 or LG-2/3. Just look inside the soundhole, If you see a strip of wood on the back running down the length of the guitar than you have an LG-2 or LG-3 (with the refinish it will impossible to tell which you have). If there is no strip then you have an LG-1. You need to know simply because an X braced LG-2 will sell for more than the ladder braced LG-1.

 

You also need to know whether the top has bee refinished or replaced as this will have a big impact on value. If you have a reliable guitar store in the area I would have them look at it. In either case though, because the work was done by Gibson you will probably not take as big a hit as if it were done by somebody else. They also might be able to give you an idea as to value.

 

If it is an LG-1 and the top has just been refinished, just a quick search shows late 1940s LG-1s can be had in the $1500 to $2000 range. Taking the high figure, with all of the alterations that have been done I would think you would have to knock that figure down by 50% 60% so I think you would be looking at selling it in the $800 to $1000 range. If it is an LG-2, you might be looking at a value in the $1,250 range.

 

Please keep in mind that these are just ballpark figures and my opinion. Alot will depend on the market where you are. The buyer you are looking for is the guy who really wants a vintage LG but ain't got a fat enough wallet or is looking for a "beach" guitar.

 

Again, if it were me, unless I desperately needed the cash, I would keep it in the family.

 

Good Luck

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Thanks again everyone for the input and advice. I have no intention of ever selling this guitar. I would just like to know some some history on it, which I have thanks to everyone here, and I'd like to know the value just for the sake of knowing it.

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