It consisted of numbers that are impressed into the wood.It is also generally known to be the most frustrating and hard to understand system that Gibson has employed. There are several instances where batches of numbers are switched in order, duplicated, not just once, but up to four times, and seem to be randomly assigned, throughout the decade.
Some time in 1953, instruments were ink stamped on the headstock back with 5 or 6 digit numbers, the first indicating the year, the following numbers are production numbers.
The production numbers run in a consecutive order and, aside from a few oddities in the change over years (1961-1962), it is fairly accurate to use them when identifying solid body instruments produced between 19.
Examples of this system: 4 2205 = 1954 614562 = 1956 In 1961 Gibson started a new serial number system that covered all instrument lines.
GIBSON SERIALIZATION Identifying Gibson instruments by serial number is tricky and at sometimes impossible.
The best methods of identifying them is by using a combination of the serial number, the factory order number and any features that are particular to a specific time that changes may have occurred in instrument design (i.e. So far there have been 6 different serial number styles used on Gibson instruments.
The first serial numbers started in 1902 and ran until 1947.The serial numbers started with 100 and went to 99999. In most cases, only the high end instruments were assigned identification numbers.White oval labels were used on instruments from 1902 to 1954, at which time the oval label was changed to an orange color.On instruments with round sound holes, this label is visible directly below it.On f-hole instruments, it is visible through the upper f-hole.The second type of serial numbers used started with an A prefix and ran from 1947 to 1961. When production of solid body guitars began, an entirely new serial number system was developed.