Gibson Les Paul Standard 1952 – 1957

The Gibson Les Paul Standard, originating in 1952, has undergone substantial transformations throughout its existence, influencing both its playability and appeal to collectors. Here’s an in-depth exploration of its evolution:

Early Models (1952-1953):

The initial goldtop models from 1952 and early 1953 faced criticism for their shallow neckset and a problematic trapeze tailpiece. This design flaw made them less practical for players, as the strings wrapped under the bar, hindering palm muting. Additionally, a knock to the trapeze could throw the entire guitar out of tune. The neck angle further limited customization options. These early Les Paul Standards are often looked down upon by players.

Transition to Wrap-Around Bar (Early 1953):

Recognizing the issues, Gibson adopted the “wrap around bar” tailpiece/bridge combo by early 1953. This improved playability, allowing strings to wrap on top of the tailpiece for effective palm muting. However, accurate intonation became a challenge for many players.

Tune-o-matic Bridge and Stop Tailpiece (Fall 1955):

In fall 1955, the Les Paul Goldtop saw a major upgrade with the adoption of the Tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece, resolving intonation concerns. This configuration, paired with P-90 pickups, became highly praised, making the late 1955 to early 1957 Goldtop a versatile and coveted guitar.

Humbucking Pickups (Early 1957):

A pivotal moment in the Les Paul’s history occurred in early 1957 when Gibson switched from P-90 to humbucking pickups. This change solidified the Les Paul Standard as one of the most popular electric guitars globally. The humbucker goldtop, in particular, became highly sought after.

Visual Changes (1958):

The final significant change in 1958 brought a visual transformation, replacing the “goldtop” finish with a sunburst and changing the back color to cherry red. Despite being identical to the mid-1957 goldtop model, the sunburst Les Paul Standards from mid-1958 to 1960 are considered among the most attractive electric guitars ever produced.

Transition to SG Body Style (Late 1960):

In late 1960, the Les Paul underwent a major design shift with the introduction of the double cutaway SG body style, featuring a sideways vibrato and a thin neck backshape. However, these guitars were criticized for being less playable and are less collectible. The 1963 to 1964 SG Les Pauls saw improvements in vibrato and neck size.

Notable Model Features:

1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop:

  • Carved maple top (two or three pieces)
  • Single cutaway
  • Mahogany back and neck
  • Soapbar P-90 pickups with cream covers
  • Trapeze tailpiece/bridge combo
  • Cream binding on neck and top
  • Pearl logo
  • Goldtop finish
  • Nickel-plated parts

1953 to Early 1955 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop:

  • Stud wrap-around tailpiece/bridge
  • Serial number on back of peghead
  • Increased neck set for better adjustment
  • Curved top case introduced in 1954

Fall 1955 to Early 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop:

  • Tune-o-matic bridge
  • Stud tailpiece moved back to anchor strings
  • Change in knob shape to top-hat (“bonnet”)
  • Transition to Bumblebee tone capacitors

1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop:

  • Introduction of humbucking PAF pickups
  • Some goldtops with dark brown backs
  • Transition from black to cream plastic parts
  • Variation in peghead logo position
  • Rare mahogany-topped goldtops

The Gibson Les Paul Standard, with its rich history and various iterations, remains a timeless and iconic instrument in the world of electric guitars.

Gretsch Model Numbers and Name

6xxx numbers (1949-1971)

6000 Golden Classic Hauser model
6001 Silver Classic Hauser model
6002 Burl Ives Junior flat-top then Folk (sunburst)
6003 Grand Concert flat-top then Jimmie Rogers Singing
then Folk Singing then Folk
6004 Burl Ives flat-top then Folk (mahogany)
6005 Ozark (nylon strings)
6006 Electro Classic
6007 Synchromatic Sierra flat-top
6008 Wayfarer Jumbo flat-top
6009 Jumbo flat-top (sunburst)
6010 Sun Valley flat-top
6014 Synchromatic 100 H/B (sunburst) then Corsair H/B (sunburst)
6015 Synchromatic 100 H/B (natural)
then Corsair H/B (natural)
6016 Corsair H/B (Bordeaux Burgundy)
6020 12-string flat-top
6021 Synchromatic 125F flat-top
then Town and Country flat-top
6022 Rancher
6023 Bikini guitar
6024 Bikini bass
6025 Bikini double neck
6028 Synchromatic 160 (sunburst)
6029 Synchromatic 160 (natural)
6030 Synchromatic 100 with cutaway (sunburst) then Constellation (sunburst)
then Sho-Bro Spanish 6031 Synchromatic 100 with cutaway (natural)
then Constellation (natural)
then Sho-Bro Hawaiian
6036 Synchromatic 300 (sunburst)
6037 Synchromatic 300 (natural)
6038 Synchromatic 300 with cutaway (sunburst)
then Fleetwood (sunburst)
then Eldorado with 17-in. body (sunburst)
6039 Synchromatic 300 with cutaway (natural)
then Fleetwood (natural)
then Eldorado with 17-in. body (natural)
6040 Synchromatic 400 (sunburst)
then Eldorado with 18-in. body (sunburst)
6041 Synchromatic 400 (natural)
then Eldorado with 18-in. body (natural)
6042 Synchromatic 400F flat-top
6050 New Yorker H/B
6070 Electric Bass (long scale/1 PU)
6071 Electric Bass (short scale/1 PU)
6072 Electric Bass (long scale/2 PU)
6073 Electric Bass (short scale/2 PU)
6075 12-string Electric (sunburst)
6076 12-string Electric (natural)
6079 Van Eps 7-string (sunburst) 6080 Van Eps 7-string (walnut)
6081 Van Eps 6-string (sunburst)
6082 Van Eps 6-string (walnut)
6100 Black Hawk (sunburst)
6101 P.O.S. Country Club (sunburst)
then Black Hawk (Jet Black)
6102 P.O.S. Country Club (natural)
then Streamliner (sunburst)
6103 POS. Country Club (Cadillac Green) then Streamliner (Cherry Red)
6104 Rally (Rally Green)
6105 Rally (Bamboo Yellow/Copper Mist)
6106 Princess (all finish)
6109 Twistrant d
6110 Twist (w/vibrato tailpiece)
6111 PO.S. Anniversary (sunburst)
6112 P.O.S. Anniversary (two-tone Smoke Green)
6115 Rambler / scale
6117 Double Anniversary (sunburst) also mid-’60s electrics with cat’s eyes soundholes
6118 Double Anniversary (2-tone Smoke Green) also mid-’60s Anniversary with two-tone tan finish
6119 Chet Atkins Tennessean
6120 Chet Atkins Hollow Body
then Chet Atkins Nashville
6121 Chet Atkins Solid-Body
6122 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman
6123 Monkees Rock’n’Roll model
6124 Anniversary (sunburst)
6125 Anniversary (two-tone Smoke Green)
also mid-’60s Anniversary with two-tone tan finish
6126 Duo Jet 4-string baritone uke then Astro-Jet
6127 Duo Jet 4-string tenor guitar
then Roc Jet (Porsche Pumpkin)
6128 Duo Jet
6129 Silver Jet
6130 Round-Up
then Roc Jet (Mercedes Black)
6131 Jet Fire Bird
6132 Corvette S/B with one pickup (mahogany)
then Corvette S/B with one pickup (red)
6133 Corvette S/B with one pickup (Platinum Grey)
6134 White Penguin
then Corvette S/B with one pickup + vibrato (red)
6135 PO.S. Penguin
then Corvette S/B with two pickups + vibrato
6136 White Falcon (mono)
6137 White Flacon (stereo)
6182 Corvette H/B (sunburst)
6183 Corvette H/B (natural)
6184 Corvette H/B (Jaguar Tan)
6185 Electromatic H/B
6186 Electromatic Spanish Guitar outfit (with amp) then Clipper (sunburst)
6187 Electro II H/B (sunburst)
then Clipper (Lotus Ivory/Metallic Grey)
then Viking (sunburst) 6188 Electro II H/B (natural) then Clipper (natural)
then Viking (natural) 6189 Electromatic H/B (2 PU)
then Streamliner (Bamboo Yellow/Copper Mist)
then Viking (Cadillac Green) 6190 Electromatic H/B (sunburst)
then Streamliner (sunburst)
6191 Electromatic H/B (natural) then Streamliner (natural)
6192 Electro II with cutaway (sunburst) then Country Club (sunburst) 6193 Electro II with cutaway (natural)
then Country Club (natural)
6196 Country Club (Cadillac Green) 6199 Convertible
then Sal Salvador

7xxx numbers (1971-1981)

7495 Electro-Classic
7505 Folk (sunburst)
7506 Folk (natural)
7514 Sun Valley (sunburst)
7515 Sun Valley (natural)
7525 Rancher
7535 Deluxe flat-top
7545 Supreme flat-top
7555 Clipper
7560 Double Anniversary (sunburst)
7565 Streamliner (sunburst)
7566 Streamliner (Cherry Red)
7575 Country Club (sunburst)
7576 Country Club (natural)
7577 Country Club (antique maple)
7580 Van Eps 7-string (sunburst)
7581 Van Eps 7-string (walnut)
7585 Viking (sunburst)
7586 Viking (natural)
7593 White Falcon (single cutaway)
7594 White Falcon (double cutaway)
7609 Broaskaster H/B w/Terminator tailpie Rosewood)
7610 Roc Jet (Black)
7611 Roc Jet (Porsche Pumpkin) then Roc Jet (Jet Black)
7612 Roc Jet (Cherry Red)
7613 Roc Jet (walnut)
7615 Electric Bass S/B
7620 Country Roc
7621 Roc
7623 Corvette S/B with two pickups
7624 TK-300 (Autumn Red)
7625 TK-300 (natural)
7626 TK-300 bass (Autumn Red)
7627 TK-300 bass (natural)
7628 Committee
7629 Committee bass
7632 Deluxe Corvette
7655 Chet Atkins Tennessean
7660 Chet Atkins Nashville
7670 Chet Atkins Country Gentleman
7676 Country Squire
7680 Deluxe Chet (Autumn Red)
then Super Axe (red)
7681 Deluxe Chet (walnut) then Super Axe (ebony)
7682 Super Axe (sunburst)
7685 Atkins Axe (ebony)
7686 Atkins Axe (Rosewood Red)
7690 Super Chet (Autumn Red)
7691 Super Chet (walnut)
7705 Sho-Bro Hawaiian 6-string
7710 Sho-Bro Hawaiian 7-string
7715 Sho-Bro Spanish

8xxx numbers (1979-1981

8210 BST-1000 IPU (mahogany)
0311 OCT 1000 301 (rad)

Gretsch Serial Numbers
Gretsch Electric Model Information
Gretsch Model Numbers and Names
• Tips in Dating a Vintage
Gretsch Model Numbers and Names

Gibson Factory Order Numbers

Gibson used Factory Order Numbers (FON) on some of their guitars from about 1908 to 1961. Many times you will see both a factory order number and serial number. The FON was stamped for each batch in production and each instrument in the batch during the early stages of the build.

The FON can be very helpful dating the instrument as that might be the only marking. They can also be used together with the serial number to more precisely date the instrument.

Gibson used four different patterns of FON’s through out the years.

FON: 1908-1923
The first FON’s are usually ink-stamped on the neck block inside the body and have of a three to five digit number with no suffix

1902-1916 1 – 3650
1917-1923 11000 – 12000
1924-1925 11000A – 11250A
1925-1931 8000 – 9999 1931-1933 1 – 890
1934 1 – 1500
1935 1A – 1520A
1936 1B – 1100B
1937 1C – 1400C
1938 1d – 1000d
1939 1E – 980E
1940-1945 1 – 7900

  • Alphabetical FON: 1935-1942

    1935 A
    1936 B
    1937 C
    1938 D
    1939 E
    1940 F
    FA 1941 E
    1941 G
    1942 H

FON after WW II: 1949-1952
After WW II FON’s were hit or miss and not very good for dating or not present on the guitar. When present they were rubber stamped on neck block or on back of the headstock with numbers from 100 to 9999.

Year Factory Order Number
1941 G
1942 907, 910, 923, 2004, 2005, 7000’s
1942 H
1943 9xx to 22xx
1944 22xx to 29XX
1945 1xx to 10xx
1946 many no fon
1947 700s to 1000s
1948 1100s to 3700s
1949 2000s
1950 3000s to 5000s
1951 6000s to 9000s

Alpha FON: 1952-1961
Around 1952 Gibson went back to the a first letter pattern
The first letter used in
1952 was Z
1953 Y
1954 X
1955 W
1956 V
1957 U
1958 T
1959 S
1960 R
Then lastly Q in 1961 which is very rare to see.

Fender Neck and Body Dates

Unraveling Fender Body Dates:

In the early days of Fender’s iconic models like the Broadcaster and Telecaster, body dates were discreetly tucked under the neck in the neck pocket. However, around 1954-1955, a migration occurred, relocating this date beneath the lead pickup, gaining consistency by 1956. Stratocasters, ever unpredictable, showcased body dates in diverse positions like the rear tremolo cavity or under the middle pickup. Yet, the mid-’60s marked a decline in the use of body dates across all models.

Navigating Fender Neck Chronicles:

From the genesis of solidbody guitars up to 1976, Fender marked their instruments’ temporal journey at the “butt” of the detachable neck. This timeline unfolds as follows:

  • 1950-1954: Handwritten delicately in pencil beneath the truss rod adjustment at the butt, adopting an M-D-YY format and occasionally featuring woodworker initials like TAD” or “TG.”
  • 1954-1959: Penciled by skilled hands beneath the truss rod adjustment at the butt in an M-YY format.
  • Early 1959: A brief hiatus spurred by a customer complaint, resolved by mid-year and marked by the re-emergence of dates like 6-59.
  • Mid-1959 to March 1962: Handwritten finesse continued beneath the truss rod adjustment at the butt, maintaining the M-YY format.
  • March 1962 to 1965: A new era dawned with an ink stamp, donned in dark blue or red below the truss rod adjustment. The format, “XX MMM-YY W,” decoded with “XX” representing the neck type code.
  • 1966: The introduction of a revamped model number stamping system.
  • 1969: Witnessed the adoption of a fresh neck stamp featuring 6, 7, or 8 digits, expressed in vibrant green ink, concurrently running with the prior format.
  • 1972: Welcomed another transformative phase with an 8-digit neck stamp in green or red ink, harmonizing with the existing format until March 1973.
  • April 1973 to 1980: A decisive shift to the exclusive embrace of the new-style 8-digit code.

  • 1976 to Present: Witnessed a pivot with serial numbers now residing in the peghead decal, occasionally accompanied by a date stamp or pencil mark on the neck butt.
  • 1980: A novel chapter unfurled with the introduction of small adhesive labels featuring Month-Day-Year date stamps in various locations.

Fender’s Enigmatic 1962-1968 Neck Stamp Era:

From April 1962, Fender transitioned from the poetic handwriting of neck butt dates to a stamped chronicle, often adorned with a model code preceding the date. This cryptic code system comprised an array of numerical identifiers attributed to different models, making it a unique historical narrative.

Embarking on the 1969-1980 Odyssey:

A thorough investigation of about 150 Fenders created between 1967 and 1980 revealed an intriguing voyage. With less than half offering legible information, a mosaic of stamped codes, and in some cases, a mere proclamation of the model name like “MUSTANG” in green or red ink on the neck butt. The ambiguity surrounding this era urges caution for owners, as the dataset is relatively small and subject to evolution with the emergence of new information.

Cracking the Code: 1969-1971 Neck Stamps Unveiled:

During this period, decoding the neck stamp required an outward-inward approach. For example, a Telecaster Thinline with the code 3320119B unfolded as follows:

  • B = Neck width code
  • 9 = Year (1969)
  • 11 = Month (November)
  • 3 = Model code for Telecaster

Unveiling the 1972-1980 Neck Stamp Riddles:

The 1972-1980 eight-digit code adopted a semblance of its predecessor, unraveling as a meticulous formula. For instance, a Music Master with the code 49002153 decoded into:

  • 49 = Model code (Musicmaster, Mustang, Bronco)
  • 00 = Neck code (rosewood fingerboard)
  • 21 = Week code (week 21)
  • 5 = Year code (1975)
  • 3 = Day of the week code (Wednesday)

In essence, Fender’s serial codes narrate a captivating story, etching the chronicles of guitar craftsmanship across decades.

About All Good Vintage Guitars

Greetings, fellow music enthusiasts! I’m Jim Anderson , and I’m delighted to share my lifelong intrigue with guitars on this page . I’m a semi-retired IT professional who deals in buying and selling vintage guitars, acquiring some of the most coveted guitars the world has to offer.

My journey into the vintage guitar market is fueled by a genuine passion for both the instrument and the rich history it carries, particularly in the heart of America. Over the years, I have been able to purchase some of the most collectible guitars in existence, each one with its unique story and soulful resonance.

Building connections has been key to my guitar business. I’ve established enduring relationships with famous celebrities and fellow collectors, enriching and creating a vibrant community that shares the same love for these wonders.

If you find yourself with a vintage guitar that’s looking for a new home, consider becoming a part of my story. I’m always on the lookout for exceptional pieces with history, character, and a story to tell. Let’s connect, discuss, and potentially add your vintage guitar to All Good Vintage Guitar’s home.

Join me in celebrating the magic of guitars and the unique narratives they carry. Here’s to the melodies, the history, and the guitars that make our hearts sing.

A Guide to Identifying a Vintage Guitar: Unveiling Musical Treasures

Vintage guitars hold significant historical and artistic value for both musicians and collectors alike. They not only serve as instruments for playing classic melodies but also serve as tangible representations of the craftsmanship and dedication that went into their creation. Whether you are a musician seeking that timeless tone or an enthusiast with an affinity for collectibles, it is imperative to possess the expertise required to identify a vintage guitar. In this blog, we shall delve into the methods for discerning these exquisite relics from the past.

  1. Thorough Research and Documentation: Before delving into the intricacies of vintage guitars, the initial step entails gathering comprehensive information and supporting documents. This includes serial numbers, the brand’s historical background, and any authenticity certificates. Exhaustive online research, examination of archival records, and engagement with fellow guitar enthusiasts in online forums are invaluable resources for this purpose.
  2. Examination of the Headstock Logo: The headstock, positioned at the upper part of the guitar, often harbors clues regarding its vintage status. Changes in the logo design or placement, often due to corporate mergers or other factors, can serve as indicators of the guitar’s manufacturing era. Scrutinizing the font, design, and location of the logo can provide insights into its production timeline.
  3. Deciphering Serial Numbers: Serial numbers on a vintage guitar are akin to cryptic codes, revealing details about its birthdate, place of origin, and lineage within the manufacturer’s production history. Consultation of online guides can assist in deciphering these enigmatic numbers and unveil the guitar’s historical context.
  4. Inspection of Hardware and Components: A close examination of components such as tuners, bridges, and the tailpiece is essential, as vintage guitars underwent physical alterations over time. Furthermore, the choice of wood for the body, neck, and fretboard evolved with different eras, leaving distinctive marks on the instrument’s appearance.
  5. Analyzing the Guitar’s Shape: The guitar’s physical form can provide valuable clues about its production period. By comparing its shape to archival photographs and catalogs from the relevant time frame, one can determine if it aligns with the aesthetics of a specific era.
  6. Electrical Components for Electric Guitars: For electric guitars, the internal components, including pickups, wiring, and controls, are of paramount importance. Different decades saw variations in these elements, leading to distinct tonal characteristics. Understanding these electrical nuances is crucial in dating a vintage electric guitar.
  7. Evaluating Paint and Aging: The guitar’s paint finish can offer insights into its age. Vintage guitars often feature unique paint types that age in distinctive ways. The presence of wear, tear, or specific patterns on the guitar’s surface can provide valuable clues to its age and history.
  8. Playability and Sound Quality: In addition to its age, a vintage guitar should still possess exceptional playability and produce a pleasing sound. Factors such as neck shape, fret condition, and overall tactile experience significantly impact the instrument’s desirability. Vintage guitars also boast distinctive tonal qualities that contribute to their allure.
  9. Seek Expert Opinions: When uncertain about a guitar’s vintage status or value, it is advisable to consult experts in the field. Knowledgeable individuals, including guitar makers, vintage guitar sellers, and appraisers, can offer authoritative assessments and guidance.
  10. Determining Market Value: The worth of a vintage guitar varies based on factors such as rarity and condition. Researching online sales platforms, auction results, and consulting price guides can aid in estimating its monetary value.

Acquiring a vintage guitar is akin to embarking on a musical journey through history. It necessitates meticulous research, attention to detail, and a genuine appreciation for these timeless instruments. By scrutinizing logos, serial numbers, materials, shapes, and other critical elements, enthusiasts can uncover the rich history encapsulated within each vintage guitar.

Identifying guitars can be a little tricky at times. For a complete ID, you want to find the maker, model, and the year made. For Martin guitars that have a serial number, this is straight forward. Other makers, however, changed the pattern, and even repeated serial numbers. For example, a Gibson made in 1967 may have the exact same serial number as one made in 1963. With over 100 guitar identification books and thousands of photos, we can usually identify a guitar over the phone in just a few minute. Below you can find information that can be helpful in identifying your guitar. In addition, we also have a large guitar gallery  that may be of help.

Helpful Links Here

Gibson Serial Numbers
Gibson Factory Order Numbers
Gibson Acoustic Flattop Model Information
Gibson Electric Archtop Model Information
Gibson Solid Body Electric Model Information
Gibson Les Paul Standard 1952 – 1957 Breakdown
Gibson Headstock Logos in Pictures

Fender Serial Numbers
• Fender Neck and Body Dates
Fender Solid Body Electric Model Information
Fender Telecaster Pickguards
Fender Stratocaster Headstock Logos
Fender Basses 

Gretsch Serial Numbers
Gretsch Electric Model Information
Gretsch Model Numbers and Names
• Tips in Dating a Vintage
Gretsch Model Numbers and Names

Martin Serial Numbers
Martin Model numbers and Sizes

Rickenbacker Serial Numbers
Rickenbacker Model Information

Rickenbacker late 1950’s and early 1960’s break down

During the late 1950s to early 1960s, Rickenbacker produced several notable electric guitar models that have become highly regarded and sought after by musicians and collectors. Here is a list of some of the key models from that era along with their specifications:

  1. Rickenbacker 325: The 325 model gained fame as the guitar played by John Lennon of The Beatles. It featured a small, symmetrical, double-cutaway body, a 20-fret neck with a rosewood fingerboard, and three “Toaster” single-coil pickups. The guitar had a shorter scale length of 20.75 inches (527 mm) and a distinctive “R” tailpiece.
  2. Rickenbacker 330: The 330 was a semi-hollow body guitar with a double-cutaway design. It had a maple body with a bound body top, back, and fingerboard. The 24-fret neck had a rosewood fingerboard, and it came with either two or three “Toaster” pickups. The 330 model was highly versatile and had a warm, distinctive tone.
  3. Rickenbacker 335: Similar to the 330, the 335 model had a semi-hollow body, but with a single-cutaway design. It featured a 24-fret neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard and either two or three “Toaster” pickups. The 335 offered a broader range of tones compared to the fully hollow 330.
  4. Rickenbacker 360: The 360 was a full-bodied, semi-hollow guitar with a double-cutaway design. It had a 24-fret neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard and two or three “Toaster” pickups. The 360 offered a unique blend of acoustic resonance and electric versatility.
  5. Rickenbacker 4001: The 4001 was a solid-body bass guitar model that gained popularity among bassists of the era. It featured a distinctive “cresting wave” body shape, a 20-fret neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard, and two single-coil pickups. The 4001 was known for its deep, punchy tone and excellent sustain.
  6. Rickenbacker 450: The 450 was a solid-body guitar with a unique “Cresting Wave” body shape and a single-cutaway design. It had a 24-fret neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard and three “Hi-Gain” single-coil pickups. The 450 provided a wide tonal range and was particularly suited for rock and blues.
  7. Rickenbacker 620: Introduced in the late 1960s, the 620 model retained the classic Rickenbacker aesthetic. It had a semi-hollow body with a double-cutaway design, a 21-fret neck with a bound rosewood fingerboard, and two “Hi-Gain” single-coil pickups. The 620 offered enhanced sustain and a brighter, cutting tone.

Please note that specifications and features may vary between different models and years of production. It’s always recommended to consult specific catalogs or reference materials from that era for precise details on each model.

Vintage Gibson Solid Body Guitars: A Nostalgic Journey into Timeless Tones With Photo Gallery

Vintage Gibson solid body guitars are cherished by musicians and collectors alike for their legendary craftsmanship, exceptional tonal characteristics, and historical significance. These instruments, crafted by the renowned Gibson company, have shaped the sound of popular music over several decades. In this blog, we will delve into the fascinating world of vintage Gibson solid body guitars, exploring iconic models and their unique specifications that continue to captivate enthusiasts to this day.

  1. Gibson Les Paul Standard (1952-1960): The Gibson Les Paul Standard, introduced in 1952, is perhaps one of the most iconic vintage solid body guitars ever created. With its single-cutaway mahogany body and carved maple top, it offers a rich and warm tone. Key features of the Les Paul Standard include:
  • Body: Mahogany with a carved maple top
  • Neck: Mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard
  • Pickups: P-90 (1952-1957) or PAF humbuckers (1957-1960)
  • Bridge: Tune-o-matic
  • Controls: Two volume and two tone knobs, three-way pickup selector switch
  • Finish: Goldtop, Sunburst, or Custom colors
  1. Gibson SG Standard (1961-present): Originally called the “Les Paul” when introduced in 1961, the Gibson SG Standard quickly became a favorite among rock guitarists due to its sleek design and aggressive tone. Key features of the SG Standard include:
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard
  • Pickups: PAF humbuckers (early models), Patent Number humbuckers (mid-’60s onwards)
  • Bridge: Tune-o-matic
  • Controls: Two volume and two tone knobs, three-way pickup selector switch
  • Finish: Cherry, Heritage Cherry, Ebony, and more
  1. Gibson Flying V (1958-present): The Gibson Flying V, with its distinctive V-shaped body, broke new ground in guitar design. Although it was not initially embraced by the mainstream, it gained popularity over the years, especially in heavy metal and hard rock genres. Key features of the Flying V include:
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard
  • Pickups: PAF humbuckers (early models), Dirty Fingers humbuckers (1970s onwards)
  • Bridge: Tune-o-matic
  • Controls: Two volume and one tone knob, three-way pickup selector switch
  • Finish: Classic White, Cherry, Ebony, and more
  1. Gibson Explorer (1958-present): Like the Flying V, the Gibson Explorer debuted in 1958 and boasted an unconventional body shape. Initially overlooked, it eventually gained recognition as a go-to instrument for rock and metal guitarists seeking a unique look and powerful sound. Key features of the Explorer include:
  • Body: Mahogany
  • Neck: Mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard
  • Pickups: PAF humbuckers (early models), Dirty Fingers humbuckers (1970s onwards)
  • Bridge: Tune-o-matic
  • Controls: Two volume and one tone knob, three-way pickup selector switch
  • Finish: Antique Natural, Cherry, Ebony, and more

Vintage Gibson solid body guitars are not just instruments; they are cultural artifacts that have played a significant role in shaping the sound of popular music. The Les Paul Standard, SG Standard, Flying V, and Explorer represent a small fraction of the remarkable models created by Gibson over the years. Each guitar exhibits unique tonal characteristics and has its place in music history. Whether you’re a musician, collector

Vintage Fender Solid body Guitars With Photo Gallery

During the 1950s and 1960s, Fender solid-body guitars played a significant role in shaping the landscape of popular music. These iconic instruments revolutionized the electric guitar industry with their innovative designs, impeccable craftsmanship, and unique tonal characteristics. Here is a detailed list and introduction to some of the notable Fender solid-body guitars from that era:

  1. Fender Telecaster (1950): Introduced as the first commercially successful solid-body electric guitar, the Telecaster, also known as the “Tele,” set the standard for simplicity and versatility. With its distinctive single-cutaway ash or alder body, bolt-on maple neck, and two single-coil pickups, the Telecaster became a favorite among country, blues, and rock musicians.
  2. Fender Stratocaster (1954): Building upon the success of the Telecaster, the Stratocaster, or “Strat,” expanded Fender’s innovation with a double-cutaway body design, contoured for enhanced player comfort. The Stratocaster featured three single-coil pickups, a synchronized tremolo system, and a five-way pickup selector, providing a wider range of tones and greater playability. Its timeless design made it a staple in various music genres, including rock, blues, and jazz.
  3. Fender Jazzmaster (1958): Originally designed as Fender’s flagship guitar for jazz musicians, the Jazzmaster found favor among surf rock and alternative rock players in the 1960s. With its offset waist body, dual single-coil pickups, and unique lead/rhythm circuit switching, the Jazzmaster offered a distinct tonal palette and versatile playing experience.
  4. Fender Jaguar (1962): Sharing some design elements with the Jazzmaster, the Jaguar featured a shorter scale length and a unique floating tremolo system. Marketed towards surf and instrumental rock players, it became known for its bright tone, smooth playability, and iconic styling.
  5. Fender Mustang (1964): The Mustang was introduced as a student model, but its compact size and distinctive sound made it popular with alternative rock and punk rock musicians. It featured a short scale length, a dynamic vibrato system, and a versatile switching system with phase and coil-splitting options.

These Fender solid-body guitars from the 1950s and 1960s became synonymous with the golden era of electric guitars. Their enduring designs, craftsmanship, and tonal versatility continue to inspire generations of musicians and make them highly sought after by collectors and players alike.

Gibson Archtop Guitars

Gibson is a name that has become synonymous with quality guitars, and their archtop acoustic models are no exception. These vintage instruments have been a favorite of musicians for decades, and continue to be sought after by collectors and players. Here I have a closer look at some of the most top of the line Gibson archtop acoustic models.

  1. L-5: The Gibson L-5 was first introduced in 1922, and quickly became one of the company’s most iconic instruments. The L-5 was the first guitar to feature f-holes instead of round sound holes, and was also the first Gibson to have a carved top and back. The L-5 was favored by many jazz guitarists, including Wes Montgomery, and is still in production today.

  2. Super 400: The Gibson Super 400 was introduced in 1934 as the company’s top-of-the-line archtop guitar. The Super 400 was a large-bodied instrument, featuring a 18-inch lower bout, and was favored by jazz guitarists such as Freddie Green and Tuck Andress. The Super 400 is still in production today, and is considered by many to be one of the finest archtop guitars ever made.

  3. ES-175: The Gibson ES-175 was introduced in 1949 as a more affordable alternative to the L-5. The ES-175 featured a smaller body size than the L-5, but still had a carved top and back. The ES-175 quickly became popular with jazz guitarists, and was also used by rock and roll pioneers such as Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley.

  4. Johnny Smith: The Gibson Johnny Smith model was introduced in 1961, and was designed in collaboration with jazz guitarist Johnny Smith. The guitar featured a thinner body than previous Gibson archtops, and had a cutaway to allow easier access to the higher frets. The Johnny Smith model was favored by many jazz guitarists, including Pat Metheny and George Benson.

  5. L-7: The Gibson L-7 was introduced in 1932, and was a mid-priced alternative to the L-5. The L-7 had a smaller body than the L-5, but still had a carved top and back. The L-7 was favored by many jazz guitarists, including Charlie Christian and Herb Ellis.

Vintage Gibson archtop acoustic models are some of the most sought-after instruments among collectors and players alike. From the iconic L-5 to the versatile ES-175, these guitars have stood the test of time and continue to inspire musicians around the world. If you’re a fan of jazz or acoustic music, a vintage Gibson archtop is a must-have addition to your collection.

Gibson Transition year of 1964

Around the middle of  1964  major changes occurred. The info below is very useful for dating a Gibson guitar in cases where serial numbers were repeated or unclear.

1. Neck width at the Nut was reduced from 1 11/16 inches to 1 9/16 inches (you will see cases of 1 10/16 inches during this transition year.

2. Most Hardware moved from Nickel plated to Chrome, this included bridges, tuners and tailpieces.

3. Most serial numbers moved from 5 digits to 6 digits.

4.  Kluson Tuners were stamped with 2 lines down the back instead of one line down the center of the back with the words Kluson Deluxe.

5. By 1965 the Stud Tailpiece on the Gibson Es-335, Es-345 and ES-355 were removed and replaced with a Trapeze tailpiece.

There is more information here on the our Guitar identification Page.



Fender Bass break down 1951 to 1969


1951 Fender Precision Bass

The Precision bass was the first production run solid body bass released by Fender in late 1951.  The bass was equipped with a one piece maple fretted neck and one single coil pickup. The production color was Blonde. There are two bridge saddles, and the strings are loaded through  back of the body. The body is made of Ash. 

1954 – 1955

1954 and 1955 Precision Bass

Contours are added to the front and back of the body in 1954 , the body edges are more rounded. The bridge saddles are changed to steel. A sunbrust two tone color was introduced in 1955 and a white pickguard in mid 1954. The serial number was moved from the bridge to the 4 bolt plate on the back of the body.

Fender Stratocaster Headstock Logos thru the years in Pictures

Very helpful to verify the Logo on a Stratocater is original and correct for the era of the body.

1954 – 1964 “Spaghetti Logo” Gold Lettering, thin black outline. No Patent numbers until 1961
1962 – mid 1964 Logo Gold Lettering with 3 Patent numbers, 1961 has two Patent Numbers
1964 – Mid 1968 Modern Script “Transition Logo” Gold Lettering
1969 – 1983 CBS bold Back logo

Gibson Headstock Logos thru the years in Pictures

Very Helpful in Dating a Vintage Guitar when Serial number not present or unclear.

Original Slanted Logo “The Gibson” Logo
Late 1920’s not slanted The Gibson Logo
Mid 1930’s thin Gibson Logo
Late 1930’s Thicker Gibson Logo
Slanted mid 1940’s Gibson Logo
Late 1940’s “i” touches the “G” on “Modern” non cursive/script Gibson Logo
Modern Gibson Logo open “b” and “o”
Late 1960’s Gibson Logo around 1969 with no dot over the “i”
Early 1970’s block shaped no dot over the “i” closed “b” and “o” gibson logo

Sell Your Vintage Guitar Tips

Welcome to my blog, where I’ll be sharing valuable tips to help you successfully sell your vintage guitar. To kick things off, let’s discuss some important considerations when engaging with potential buyers. Stay tuned for more insights!

  1. Seek Transparency: A potential red flag is a buyer who hesitates to share essential information about your vintage guitar, such as its manufacturing date, hardware details, and other specifics crucial for a successful sale.
  2. Caution with Examination Requests: Be wary of buyers who insist on receiving your guitar for examination without providing adequate details upfront. It’s akin to someone asking for your valuables without any commitment, and you covering all the associated costs.
  3. Humorous Dismissal: If a buyer casually mentions having too many guitars and dismisses your offer, it might just be a lighthearted remark. After all, who doesn’t have a collection? However, it’s essential to ensure they are genuinely interested in your vintage piece.
  4. Prompt and Genuine Communication: A reliable buyer should respond promptly and engage in meaningful conversations. If you encounter someone who consistently asks nitpicky questions or seems to be slowing down the process, they might be trying to presell your guitar.
  5. Value Assessment: If a buyer insists on seeing the guitar before providing an estimate of its value, exercise caution. A knowledgeable dealer should be able to offer a reasonable estimate based on information like the maker, year, model, condition, and a brief history of the guitar.
  6. Financial Commitment: If a buyer claims to be low on funds and asks for a lengthy waiting period, it’s essential to assess whether they are genuinely committed to the purchase.
  7. Market Knowledge: Be mindful of buyers who seem uninformed about the vintage guitar market and frequently defer to someone else for guidance. A well-informed buyer can contribute to a smoother and more trustworthy transaction.

Stay tuned for more tips on navigating the vintage guitar selling process!