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Geoff Chapman

Date a Les Paul Deluxe Gold top

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Hi, I am trying to date and value my Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop.

 

I have checked the serial number search on the Gibson website but it is not listed there.

 

Serial number is 130091 stamped on the back of the head, with the Made in USA log also stamped.

 

It has mini humbuckers and the only mod I can see is the machine heads have been replaced with Grovers.

 

I have owned it since mid 80's

 

Thanks for your help.

post-53454-079470400 1360532975_thumb.jpg

post-53454-054652700 1360532990_thumb.jpg

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Date it? Hell, that's marriage materiel.

 

What's the reason? you selling or insuring or just curious?

 

There are ways to tell for sure...but just for fun, I'm gonna guess '74 just to see if I am right.

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Geoff, take off the back cover, where the pots are, and see if there's any date on them.

The headstock serial numbers, in the early to mid-70, even up to 1977, were very random...

and in no particular order. At least according to Gibson! If the pots are original, they

should have a date on them, though not always.

 

Gibson's serial numbers listing:

 

http://www.gibson.com/Files/downloads/bluebook/GibsonSERIALNUMBERS.pdf

 

Good Luck!

 

CB

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Date it? Hell, that's marriage materiel.

 

What's the reason? you selling or insuring or just curious?

 

There are ways to tell for sure...but just for fun, I'm gonna guess '74 just to see if I am right.

 

 

LOL...Good one, Stein! [thumbup][biggrin]

 

CB

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Still curious.

 

I'm afraid as CB says, the best way for that guitar is going to be to hope there is a date code on the pots.

 

A couple things obvious, however, is the seriel, while IMPOSSIBLE for that guitar, put's it definitely in the range of about 70 to 75.

 

Also, the neck being mahaogony...Deluxes LOOKED very much like this after, but in around '74 would have been Maple until like '79 or something. In other words more clearly, Hog 3 piece neck also means 70-74. (or maybe '69?)

 

Also, from '69 to about '73, it will have a "Pancake" body. Does it have that? A Pancake body is easy to tell, as it would have a thin maple stripe all the way around, being made from two thinner layers sandwhiching a thim maple sheet between them. If it doesn't, it's at least as new as '73, and still before '75.

 

Just for fun, I'd also like to guess the weight: I'm gonna go with 9.9 pounds.

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Still curious.

 

I'm afraid as CB says, the best way for that guitar is going to be to hope there is a date code on the pots.

 

A couple things obvious, however, is the seriel, while IMPOSSIBLE for that guitar, put's it definitely in the range of about 70 to 75.

 

Also, the neck being mahaogony...Deluxes LOOKED very much like this after, but in around '74 would have been Maple until like '79 or something. In other words more clearly, Hog 3 piece neck also means 70-74. (or maybe '69?)

 

Also, from '69 to about '73, it will have a "Pancake" body. Does it have that? A Pancake body is easy to tell, as it would have a thin maple stripe all the way around, being made from two thinner layers sandwhiching a thim maple sheet between them. If it doesn't, it's at least as new as '73, and still before '75.

 

Just for fun, I'd also like to guess the weight: I'm gonna go with 9.9 pounds.

 

Hi, Thanks for your help.

 

I have tried to attach a further photo but site won't let me.

 

From the back it looks like there is a thin strip around the edge, but only looks like a single strip.

 

I will take the cover of tomorrow and check the pots, and weigh it

 

Cheers!

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...There are ways to tell for sure...but just for fun, I'm gonna guess '74 just to see if I am right.

I'd go along with that, Stein.

 

It seems likely that early '74 would be a good guess as Gibson switched from a 3-piece mahogany neck to a 3-piece maple neck sometime around mid-'74.

That serial number also dates from '74 according to the Ian C. Bishop book (FWIW).

 

But, as has been said, if the pots are the originals they could be a good indicator.

 

Use this;

http://www.guitardaterproject.org/potcodereader.aspx

 

P.

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I'd go along with that, Stein.

 

It seems likely that early '74 would be a good guess as Gibson switched from a 3-piece mahogany neck to a 3-piece maple neck sometime around mid-'74.

That serial number also dates from '74 according to the Ian C. Bishop book (FWIW).

 

But, as has been said, if the pots are the originals they could be a good indicator.

 

Use this;

http://www.guitardaterproject.org/potcodereader.aspx

 

P.

 

I could only read numbers on two of the pots but they don't correspond to the format for the pot code reader.

 

They are 4029 304-7309 and the other is 70-027 13772, so I guess they are not original.

 

And it does have a pancake body.

 

Cheers Geoff

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'76 models, like mine, also had "pancake bodies" (4 layers...maple cap, 2 thicker mahogany pieces, with at thin maple layer, in between the thicker mahogany layers.) It waighs as much, as my '80 Les Paul Custom, as well! [tongue] Very solid, with great tone, and sustain. I did have to have the stock pickups (it still has) wax potted, as they started to have microphonic feedback (after 30 some years)

awhile back, but that was no big deal. And, as you might assume, they sound even better, now! [thumbup]

 

DSC_0008.jpg

 

DSC_0005-1.jpg

 

DSC_0006.jpg

 

CB

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I could only read numbers on two of the pots but they don't correspond to the format for the pot code reader.

 

They are 4029 304-7309 and the other is 70-027 13772, so I guess they are not original.

 

And it does have a pancake body.

 

Cheers Geoff

304-7309 is a Stackpole pot, and that was one of the 'origonal equipment" pots used by Gibby. I think this means 9th week or '73, or 309th day of '77. I'm a little rusty, but if I remember right, most pot codes date on the week rather than the day.

 

The 304, by the way, is Stackpole. Or Centralab. I think Stackpole.

 

137 is the code for CTS, also used by Gibby. Now here, I am going to guess that the REST of the numbers are under solder on this one, because 13772X makes sense, and 13772XX would also make sense. CTS codes almost always read 137 (meaning CTS) followed by the year followed by week. In some cases, one digit for year, and in some cases, 2 digits for year.

 

Now, it isn't all that uncommon for guitars to be made with different brand pots in the same guitar. How common for that period, I don't know. And also, there isn't anything that says one didn't fail and get replaced, and if replaced, date codes are more meaningless because a pot could sit for a long time before being used in a shop. So, like a guy could replace a pot in 1980 with a 1975 pot pretty commonly.

 

Another thing you might do is look at the pots carefully, and note differences, to see if 3 LOOK the same and one different, or 2 pairs, etc. If you have 3 here that look the same, and there are numbers you can't read, you might be able to read some off one pot and other numbers off another. That can put you close.

 

I think Pippy has it right as well, that's it's at least '74 and before, and the seriel works for '74. But, with a Pancake body, I think that means it could also be as early as the earliest date for the seriel number, which I think is '70.

 

Getting closer, eh?

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'76 models, like mine, also had "pancake bodies" (4 layers...maple cap, 2 thicker mahogany pieces, with at thin maple layer, in between the thicker mahogany layers.) It waighs as much, as my '80 Les Paul Custom, as well! [tongue] Very solid, with great tone, and sustain. I did have to have the stock pickups (it still has) wax potted, as they started to have microphonic feedback (after 30 some years)

awhile back, but that was no big deal. And, as you might assume, they sound even better, now! [thumbup]

 

DSC_0008.jpg

 

DSC_0005-1.jpg

 

DSC_0006.jpg

 

CB

Whoa Charlie!

 

Now I'm confused! And I have to know: Is this a Pancake body with a Maple neck? If so, I might be leaning something (or re-learning something, because really, who can remember all this stuff?)

 

Sinse we are heavy on the 007 type mystery investigating, do you have other details handy as in what type of pots, date codes, and seriel for that?

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Geoff, Here is the twin of your deluxe. Mine is a 73. I bought it new in November 1973. 40 years ago, damn I'm old. LOL. The pot codes are from June 1973. Your serial number is before mine. Mine is 173xxx. I don't know if you can go by that because, as everyone said, Gibson was consistent with serial numbers until 1979 or was it 78? I don't know, but its very easy to remove the cover and see the pot codes.

 

 

BTW Charlie, I've commented on yours before, but its a beauty.

 

100_2573.jpg

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Stein...I've had the tone controls replaced, for a more gradual roll off,

as opposed to "nothing" until the last 3 numbers, then "whoa!" LOL BUT...

I still have them, "just in case," I ever want to put it back "stock!"

Their numbers...what I can see anyway, are both identical: 137761 70-134.

The neck is the 3-piece maple version.

 

I bought it "used," in '77...in a shop, in Overland Park, Kansas. I had the

back and neck refinished, as I hated the old "stock" busting, on the back...

especially the neck...and, the back and neck were in bad shape, finish wise

anyway. The front is still "Stock!" I also had the headstock width reduced,

as well. (I never really cared for those "Ping-Pong Paddle" wide headstocks,

that were all too common, at that time!) This, of course, was years before

all this "Vintage" craze, and "collector's value" stuff. I just wanted it,

the way "I" wanted it. Sure, it degraded it's "collectibilty" value...but,

that wasn't even an issue, back then...and, I've never owned a guitar yet,

for that reason, anyway.

 

It also has a flatter fingerboard radius...more like my LP Custom, in that way.

Don't know if that's "stock" for that year, or if the previous owner did it.

I don't think it was altered, though, as it sure didn't seem like it, at the

time. It was only later, after playing several older, and later versions, that

I realized mine was "different," that way.

 

Anyway, that's a bit of it's "history." But, for me...It's a keeper, for sure...

since I've already had it now, for 36 years. LOL

 

Cheers,

CB

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Geoff, Here is the twin of your deluxe. Mine is a 73. I bought it new in November 1973. 40 years ago, damn I'm old. LOL. The pot codes are from June 1973. Your serial number is before mine. Mine is 173xxx. I don't know if you can go by that because, as everyone said, Gibson was consistent with serial numbers until 1979 or was it 78? I don't know, but its very easy to remove the cover and see the pot codes.

 

 

BTW Charlie, I've commented on yours before, but its a beauty.

 

100_2573.jpg

 

NICE! See, your's has a "wider" headstock, but NOT NEARLY as wide, as some did, in

the later years! Mine was obscenely wide (to me, anyway)...so, I had (just) the width

reduced...and, added the Grovers, as well. I still have the stock Kluson "Double-ringed,"

tuners, and...even still have the wood pieces, that were sawed off, to reduce the headstock. LOL

 

I notice, too...that your earlier version, has a more "rounded" horn, whereas later, they were

more "pointed," like mine. No big deal, just "interesting." "Norlin Era" guitars seemed to be

"all over the map," spec wise. [tongue]

 

CB

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NICE! See, your's has a "wider" headstock, but NOT NEARLY as wide, as some did, in

the later years! Mine was obsenely wide (to me, anyway)...so, I had (just) the width

reduced...and, added the Grovers, as well. I still have the stock Kluson "Double-ringed,"

tuners, and...even still have the wood pieces, that were sawed off, to reduce the headstock. LOL

 

I notice, too...that your earlier version, has a more "rounded" horn, whereas later, they were

more "pointed," like mine. No big deal, just "interesting." "Norlin Era" guitars seemed to be

"all over the map," spec wise. [tongue]

 

CB

That's interesting you bring up the horn shape and the headstock shape.

 

I don't know if it has anything to do with it, but the Deluxe model (and a buttload of others) were made at two different factories- both Kalimazoo and Nashville. My understanding is that the Deluxe was made from almost the beginning of the Nashville coming in, but still made in 'Kalimazzo as well at the same time.

 

So, to me, you would think that maybe where it was made would have something to do with the 'radically' different shapes, but I have seen some models that I KNOW were Kalimazzo made with the point and big headstock, and the other way around. If there is a way to tell where it was made looking at it, I don't know what it is.

 

Another thing: I am pretty sure the funky shape differences go all the way back to the beginning of the model, or at least some of them. Again I can't put any rhyme or reason to it.

 

And BTW...you mention the pots you took out as 137761. Doesn't that make them '77?

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That's interesting you bring up the horn shape and the headstock shape.

 

I don't know if it has anything to do with it, but the Deluxe model (and a buttload of others) were made at two different factories- both Kalimazoo and Nashville. My understanding is that the Deluxe was made from almost the beginning of the Nashville coming in, but still made in 'Kalimazzo as well at the same time.

 

So, to me, you would think that maybe where it was made would have something to do with the 'radically' different shapes, but I have seen some models that I KNOW were Kalimazzo made with the point and big headstock, and the other way around. If there is a way to tell where it was made looking at it, I don't know what it is.

 

Another thing: I am pretty sure the funky shape differences go all the way back to the beginning of the model, or at least some of them. Again I can't put any rhyme or reason to it.

 

And BTW...you mention the pots you took out as 137761. Doesn't that make them '77?

 

I only "know" what I was told, when I bought it..."It's an early '76!" And, what I've been told, for years, that "it was, indeed, a '76." Could it be, a '77? I suppose so, but it seems unlikely, given the condition of the back and neck (unless they drug it behind a car), originally...as I bought it, in the late Spring, of '77. So, if it IS, a '77, it was abused, early! Of course, now, you'd never have known that, unless/until I mentioned it, because of the excellent, professional refinish job, the sides, back, neck, and back of the headstock got. It's so well blended, that the decal (on the back of the headstock) looks to have been put on, AFTER the refinish, instead of the refinish paint, and blending, to match what was under the decal. I was thrilled, and amazed, at that level of detail. The refinish wasn't even that expensive, back then! The guy was an ex Gibson service, and repair person. So, he even used the exact paint formulas...and knew where to get them.

 

So, I don't know, Stein...I guess, it "could" be a '77??? Or, maybe the shop, I purchased it in, replace "broken" pots, that year??? Who knows?! [tongue] LOL [biggrin]

 

CB

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NICE! See, your's has a "wider" headstock, but NOT NEARLY as wide, as some did, in

the later years! Mine was obscenely wide (to me, anyway)...so, I had (just) the width

reduced...and, added the Grovers, as well. I still have the stock Kluson "Double-ringed,"

tuners, and...even still have the wood pieces, that were sawed off, to reduce the headstock. LOL

 

I notice, too...that your earlier version, has a more "rounded" horn, whereas later, they were

more "pointed," like mine. No big deal, just "interesting." "Norlin Era" guitars seemed to be

"all over the map," spec wise. [tongue]

 

CB

 

Here it is with Klusons back on. I really don't see a different in the horn shape next to these others. A 79 and an 04. I'm half blind though, so maybe it is.

 

100_2919.jpg

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I only "know" what I was told, when I bought it..."It's an early '76!" And, what I've been told, for years, that "it was, indeed, a '76." Could it be, a '77? I suppose so, but it seems unlikely, given the condition of the back and neck (unless they drug it behind a car), originally...as I bought it, in the late Spring, of '77. So, if it IS, a '77, it was abused, early! Of course, now, you'd never have known that, unless/until I mentioned it, because of the excellent, professional refinish job, the sides, back, neck, and back of the headstock got. It's so well blended, that the decal (on the back of the headstock) looks to have been put on, AFTER the refinish, instead of the refinish paint, and blending, to match what was under the decal. I was thrilled, and amazed, at that level of detail. The refinish wasn't even that expensive, back then! The guy was an ex Gibson service, and repair person. So, he even used the exact paint formulas...and knew where to get them.

 

So, I don't know, Stein...I guess, it "could" be a '77??? Or, maybe the shop, I purchased it in, replace "broken" pots, that year??? Who knows?! [tongue] LOL [biggrin]

 

CB

 

 

BTW, in 76, Gibson start numbering the serial numbers different. 76's have a serial number on a decal, and start with 00. I have two 76's. An es-175, and a B45. This is from the Gibson site:

 

- From 1975-1977 the number is typically found on a decal on the back of the headstock. This should be an 8 digit number that can be dated by the 1st and 2nd digits as follows:

 

99 = 1975

00= 1976

06 = 1977

 

- In 1977, Gibson introduced the serialization method that we primarily use to this day at Gibson USA, Gibson Acoustic, and the Gibson Custom facility in Memphis, TN.

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BTW, in 76, Gibson start numbering the serial numbers different. 76's have a serial number on a decal, and start with 00. I have two 76's. An es-175, and a B45. This is from the Gibson site:

 

- From 1975-1977 the number is typically found on a decal on the back of the headstock. This should be an 8 digit number that can be dated by the 1st and 2nd digits as follows:

 

99 = 1975

00= 1976

06 = 1977

 

- In 1977, Gibson introduced the serialization method that we primarily use to this day at Gibson USA, Gibson Acoustic, and the Gibson Custom facility in Memphis, TN.

 

 

Yeah, the Decal was the main thing people "in the know" used, as a reference...along with the 00's, at

the start of the serial number. So, by just those 2 criteria alone, mine is definitely a '76.

 

Thanks, dponzi! [biggrin]

 

CB

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Here it is with Klusons back on. I really don't see a different in the horn shape next to these others. A 79 and an 04. I'm half blind though, so maybe it is.

 

100_2919.jpg

For some reason, the shadows in the pic make it a little hard to see the complete shape of the Goldtop, but to me, it looks like the "sister" '73 posted in the thread.

 

I think the '79 here, the body outline resembles what CB is referring too...notice the horn is a little more pointy at the end, and also notice the cutaway seems like it has a softer radius, and the horn seems to point out and away a little more.

 

SOME I have seen, though, it's a lot more obvious.

 

Of corse, another thing that makes it harder to see in person is you really have to bend down and see them, because you can't hold these guitars up with your arms long enough to get a good look.

 

I like these, I have a thing for Gibby's of this era. Mostly, because when I was younger and getting out and discovering the world, these were what was in shops and what everyone had. I have a real soft spot for a Pancake bodied Goldtop, that soft gold paint topping all those pieces of hogony, and the way the strings seem to flaot right on the frets. It's really a dream that I never fullfilled.

 

That must be a really stiff couch, because I can still see the bottoms of them.

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Yeah, the Decal was the main thing people "in the know" used, as a reference...along with the 00's, at

the start of the serial number. So, by just those 2 criteria alone, mine is definitely a '76.

 

Thanks, dponzi! [biggrin]

 

CB

So..definitely a '76. Or at least, what we might CALL a '76.

 

I'm starting to wonder though, that even though it has a '76 seriel number, if it still wasn't at the factory getting '77 pots. Doesn't seem an outragious claim. I wonder if we don't have a similer situation as with Fenders had with the headstock decal numbers...such as the '79 numbers being used into '81.

 

Or, maybe I just got my pot dating all mixed up again.

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So..definitely a '76. Or at least, what we might CALL a '76.

 

I'm starting to wonder though, that even though it has a '76 seriel number, if it still wasn't at the factory getting '77 pots. Doesn't seem an outragious claim. I wonder if we don't have a similer situation as with Fenders had with the headstock decal numbers...such as the '79 numbers being used into '81.

 

Or, maybe I just got my pot dating all mixed up again.

 

Well, anything's possible. Especially, from the "Norlin Era!" :P [biggrin]

 

CB

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Hi, I was searching for info on my Gold Top Les Paul Deluxe and found this topic on the Forum. 
I bought this very  guitar from Geoff back in November 2015.

I’ve checked out the pots with a magnifier and 3 of them ( matching ) show 1972 date codes, the 4th ( stackpole ) pot shows a 1973 date code.

given the pancake body, mini humbuckers, small volute, serial 130091 and MADE IN U.S.A. stamp, would it point towards 1973 manufacture ? Or 1972 with replacement pot ?
any advice appreciated !

 

Edited by brianconnarty
Missed information

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