How to Identify a Gibson SG Standard by Year

Written by michael black
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How to Identify a Gibson SG Standard by Year
The Gibson SG Standard is an iconic guitar design. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

The Gibson SG Standard was introduced in 1961 as part of the Les Paul guitar line. However, Les Paul did not approve of the guitar's design, and the SG Standard was shelved until 1963 when Gibson reintroduced the guitar as a part of its own guitar line. Vintage Gibson SG Standards are highly collectable instruments that can be worth a great deal of money.To ascertain the value of your guitar, you have to know how old it is. The best way to date a Gibson SG Standard is to locate its serial number.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Read any original booklets or certificates that came with the guitar if you have them. The paperwork often states the year in which your guitar was manufactured.

  2. 2

    Examine the Gibson SG Standard's headstock and neck joint for a serial number, which is a five- to eight-digit number. Some models also included letters with the numbers.

  3. 3

    Read the serial number. If the serial number is an eight-digit number, it was made in 1977 or later. The first and the fifth number represent the last two digits of the year in which the guitar was built. The three middle numbers represent the day of the year, and the last three digits represent the production number. For example, if the serial number is 12361001, the guitar was the first guitar made on the 236th day of 2011.

  4. 4

    Visit Gibson's website for help in reading older serial numbers. In general, the lower the number, the older the guitar, but Gibson reused a few number schemes in the late '60s, making these serial numbers quite confusing.

  5. 5

    Send Gibson an e-mail with detailed pictures of your guitar if the serial number is one of the reused numbers from the late '60s. The company should be able to help you accurately date your guitar.

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