As one of the oldest and most widely recognized brands in music, Gibson has crafted some of the most cherished and valuable instruments of all time.
Determining exactly when your Gibson specimen was made can have high stakes attached to it. A difference of only one year - sometimes even several months - can mean a four-figure difference in value.
Our hope is to make the dating process and, in turn, the valuation as easy, accurate and transparent as possible. You should be able to use this guide to determine the year of your instrument and then consult the Reverb Price Guide to find its value, all for free.
Methods For Dating a Gibson Instrument
For many vintage instruments, determining the date of manufacture involves little more than running the serial number through a reference guide.
Whereas Martin guitars have been using a single, consistent numbering system since the 19th century, Gibson has used several different serial number formats since its inception in 1902, meaning that some formats and numbers overlap across decades.
This makes it especially important to first identify the general era during which your instrument was made before pinning down the exact date of manufacture with a serial number.
If you know the backstory around when the instrument was purchased, this can provide some rough clues about its era. The most general physical piece of evidence on the instrument, however, is going to be the logo on the headstock.
Gibson Headstock Logos Through The Decades
Here's a look at the different logos Gibson used during each major era of manufacturing.