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Serial Number and Date for ES-125

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Hey - i just picked up a Gibson ES-125 that the seller claims to be from 1956.

I am trying to confirm that but not having much luck at all.

 

Here are some details...

 

It looks old.

19 frets

dot inlays

no number stamped on the outside anywhere i can see.

there is a numer w996 stamped in ink that i can see through the hole on the electronics side.

the single p90 looks original

looks like the nut and the tuners have been replaced

 

 

what are some things i can use to date it?

 

the picture makes it look way better than in person - it definitely has some battle scars.

 

thanks! any help would be appreciated.

post-44859-099564500 1340297552_thumb.jpeg

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A Factory Order Number (FON) with the prefix "W" is from 1955.

 

1956 would be "V".

 

Looks like a beauty.

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Nice old ES-125. L5Larry is correct.......FON W996 would = 1955 as the year it was built. It could make sense that it may have been originally purchased in 1956.

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Hey, thanks fellows you helped me identify my Gibson I bought in 1961 as the ES 125 W model and built in 1955. There are two stamps on the inside back. The one on the left back is the (ES 125) and on the right back side is the (W3219 25) stamp....Can anyone tell me what the numbers after the W mean?

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Hey, thanks fellows you helped me identify my Gibson I bought in 1961 as the ES 125 W model and built in 1955. There are two stamps on the inside back. The one on the left back is the (ES 125) and on the right back side is the (W3219 25) stamp....Can anyone tell me what the numbers after the W mean?

Factory Order Numbers with a Letter, 1952 to 1961.

 

This letter preceeds the batch number within the Factory Order Number (FON), and denotes the year of manufacturer. Remember, the batch number is the first 4 digits of the FON, followed by a 1 or 2 digit sequence number (within the batch). This letter should be before the FON batch number. This was used on archtop models (ink stamped inside treble F-hole) and on flat top models (ink stamped on the neck block), from 1952 to 1961:

 

Year Letter

---- ------

1952 Z

1953 Y

1954 X

1955 W

1956 V

1957 U

1958 T

1959 S

1960 R

1961 Q

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Thank you Jim, I did not expect a reply this quickly....Would I be correct in assuming that the 4 digit number following the W is the numbers of this guitar produced at that time and mine would be the three thousand two hundred and nineteenth one produced in that batch? Would there be more than one batch produced in that year? And what meaning has the 2 digit number 25 at the end, and separated from the other numbers?

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Are you Jimmy Carter.....[scared]

 

 

 

No I'm afraid not. Just an old string stretcher from way back.....I'm starting to restore my 1955 125 as best I can and give it to my grandson.

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I have a es-125 I bought in 1966-67 in San Jose, CA.  The serial # is V - 3772 - 9. According to the notes above this is a 1956 guitar - batch 3772 - 9th guitar of the batch.

It is in beautiful shape. 

The question I have is the is the serial number is printed backwards - like you need to read it in a mirror. Was that the norm for these guitars?

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On 7/6/2019 at 6:53 PM, Don Transeth said:

I have a es-125 I bought in 1966-67 in San Jose, CA.

Did you play football at Del Mar and WSU?

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On 3/12/2013 at 8:48 PM, JimR56 said:

Factory Order Numbers with a Letter, 1952 to 1961.

 

This letter preceeds the batch number within the Factory Order Number (FON), and denotes the year of manufacturer. Remember, the batch number is the first 4 digits of the FON, followed by a 1 or 2 digit sequence number (within the batch). This letter should be before the FON batch number. This was used on archtop models (ink stamped inside treble F-hole) and on flat top models (ink stamped on the neck block), from 1952 to 1961:

 

Year Letter

---- ------

1952 Z

1953 Y

1954 X

1955 W

1956 V

1957 U

1958 T

1959 S

1960 R

1961 Q

 

I bought a ES 125 and the owner told me its a 1952, but there is no Z letter in the beginning... no letter at all.

5BB96F88-03AD-4D7E-95D2-3CE90DA73960.jpeg

image.jpg

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On 8/20/2019 at 4:24 AM, JimR56 said:

Hi Emo,

Without a letter prefix, your 8868 FON (factory order number) would fit into the 1951 range (6000's to upper 9000's).  More info here:  http://www.guitarhq.com/gibson.html#serial

That's an absolutely beautiful example of an ES-125!

 

Wow, thank you very much!!! Yes, that's it, 1951. I'm so glad to know it now! Thank you for you help!! 

Yes, it's a beauty and sounds amazing... It hardly gets out of tune and gives me joy every time I play it. Gonna make first recordings with it soon!

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I have an es125T and I’m also trying to date it. The number is hard stamped into the back of the headstock and it’s 282685. Any help in dating the guitar would be greatly appreciated.

regards 

John 

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Hi guys!

 

I got an ES-125 but i don't seem to find any number.

The only thing found is this very faint stamp.

Also the pickups don't seem original but i don't mind.

Any ideas what year is this and what these P90s are?

 

Thanks

Tio

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On 9/8/2019 at 3:45 PM, Jtdoherty said:

I have an es125T and I’m also trying to date it. The number is hard stamped into the back of the headstock and it’s 282685. Any help in dating the guitar would be greatly appreciated.

regards 

John 

John, click on the link I posted just above, in reply to Emo.  Scroll down until you find the serial number range that matches your guitar (hint:  it's in the 1960's)

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Yes it’s an ES-125T (thin body). I don’t have a serial number list in front of me but with that number I would guess 63-64. 

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Hi!

Following my previous post and some research concerning my newly bought ES-125TCD, I figured there is actually a number stamped in the guitar that the seller did not seem to find. The guitar is right now in transit but after checking the pickup shots he sent to me i spotted a number at the edge of one of the F-holes. Looks like a 32, and i'll be able to read the rest of that number when she's here.

Concerning the date of manufacture it should be a 61 or earlier since the FON was used and there is no serial number on the headstock from 1941-1961. Am i right?

What puzzles me though is the Gibson logo. To me it looks like it is silkscreened and not a sticker, but according to (http://www.guitarhq.com/gibson4.html#es125t) the TCD model came out only in 1960, whereas wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_ES-125) says that ES-125TCD (D = Double p90 pickups) versions available starting in 1956 and 1960, respectively. Still both dates do not match a silkscreened logo as they were only used between 1947-1954 according to the following info:

 

Post-war block Gibson logo, Pearl or Gold.
"Post-war" Gibson block logo used 1948-present. The post-war logo has the "G" and the "N" with a tail that drops below the other letters.

    • Gold logo: silkscreened 1947-1954
    • Gold logo: decal 1954-present
    • Pearl logo: open "b" and "o": 1948-1969
    • Pearl logo: "pantograph" style, closed "b" and "o": 1969-1984
    • Pearl logo: open "b" and "o": 1984-present
    • Pearl logo: Dot on "i" connected to "G": 1948-1951
    • Pearl logo: Dot on "i" free from "G": 1951-present

Does that look like a silkscreened logo which puts it before 1954 or is it a decal?

https://imgur.com/a/xyDQhvP Click on the link to see the whole album.

I'm pretty sure the P90s are japanese made and not Gibson as i've seen them before. I already have a late 50s to early 60s P90 and on the hunt for another to restore this beautty. A luthier can touch up the Jordan nonsense too i guess.

Thanks in advance for your comments guys.

 

Tio

 

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Hi Tio, sorry for the delay in responding to your posts.

I followed your link to the Wikipedia page, and noticed how confusingly some of it was written.  So, I edited the information there today.  ES-125TCD's were made from 1960 to 1970.

We can wait and see what FON number you find inside, but it looks like yours is probably from late 1960 to 1961, based on the control knobs (if original), the lack of a serial number on the head, and the brown (rather than reddish) sunburst.  Your gold headstock logo is probably a decal, and looks correct for a low end model such as this.

Your tuners are not original to the guitar, but they are very nice Grover Rotomatics, so not necessarily a bad thing.  Pickups are of course one part that many people like to modify.  I'm not a pickup expert, so I'll leave that question for someone else, but they certainly look the part.

All in all, it's a very nice looking example.  Despite the tuner change and name scratched on the back of the head, the guitar looks to have been well cared for.  Congratulations on getting it, and enjoy it!

Edited by JimR56

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