Sell My Vintage Gibson Guitar

I LOVE Vintage Gibson guitars! Growing up playing guitar, many of my music heroes played vintage Gibson guitars, and I grew to really love them. I am a cash buyer for vintage Les Pauls, SGs, ES-335s, ES-330s, Super 400s, L7s and much more! If you’re looking for someone to buy your Gibson guitar , you’ve come to the right place! I will make you a fair cash offer for your treasured instrument, and will treasure and play it, or make sure that it goes to someone who will. I can help you with questions like: “what is my Gibson guitar worth?” If you have a vintage Gibson guitar you’d like to sell, please call or text me at (602) 900 6635 or email me at joesvintageguitars94@gmail.com. You can also click the “Contact Me” button at the bottom right of your screen.


I am constantly traveling as part of my business and I buy guitars all over the U.S. I can likely arrange to see your instrument(s) in person. If meeting to pick up the instrument(s) is not possible, I can arrange and pay for a professional prepaid packing and shipping service


Here are a few photos of some vintage Gibson guitars that I’ve purchased over the last year or so. I was thrilled to be able to acquire these wonderful pieces of history, and the owners were thrilled to receive a fair market price for their guitars.

Vintage 1962 Gibson ES-330 Cherry Guitar
Vintage Gibson J-45 Acoustic Guitar

How to Date a Vintage Gibson Guitar

Gibson used several different methods of serialization to date their instruments. While serial numbers & factory order numbers are not the most foolproof way to date a Gibson guitar, they can often be fairly accurate, especially on later model instruments.

Factory Order Numbers

While not every vintage Gibson guitar has a serial number, nearly every Gibson has “factory order number”. Factory order numbers are typically written or stamped inside the body of the instrument.

From 1902-1945, Gibson used a sequential factory order number which consisted of a 3, 4, or 5-digit number sometimes followed by one or two other numbers. Only the first 3, 4, or 5 digit number is used in dating the instrument.

FONs were reused for certain years, so they are not 100% accurate by themselves, but when combining them with an instrument’s features, it is possible to ascertain the production year. If not, it can at least be used as a guide to approximate the era in which the instrument was built. A suffix was sometimes included when reusing serial numbers during these years, but this is not always the case.

Below is an example of a Gibson ink stamp factory order number. Stamp locations vary inside of the body of the guitar. If you have any trouble finding the FON, feel free to contact me!

Gibson ink stamp factory order number or guitar serial number

FONs from 1902-1945 and their corresponding years are as follows:

  • Years 1902 – 1916: 1 to 3650
  • Years 1917 – 1923: 11000 to 12000
  • Years 1924 – 1925: 11000A to 11250A (a suffix is not always present)
  • Years 1925 – 1931: 8000 to 9999
  • Years 1931 – 1933: 1 to 890
  • 1934: 1 to 1500
  • 1935: 1A to 1520A
  • 1936: 1B to 1100B
  • 1937: 1C to 1400C
  • 1938: 1D to 1000D
  • 1939: 1E to 980E
  • Years 1940 – 1945: 1 to 7900 (Letters can be present in FONs from this period.)

From 1935-1942, factory order numbers often included an alphabetical suffix (a letter at the end of the number). These suffixes can help us find the year of manufacture. Many FONs from this era have several letters in the suffix. The FIRST number in the alphabetical suffix indicates the year. Subsequent letters indicate model and manufacturing specifications and are NOT used in dating the instrument.

Letter suffixes from 1935-1942 and their corresponding years are as follows:

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

FONs from 1942-1951 were very inconsistent and many guitars didn’t even have FONs. That being said, there are many guitars from this era that can be dated by their FON.

FONS from 1942-1951 and their corresponding years are as follows:

  • 1942: 907, 910, 923, 2004, 2005, 7000s
  • 1943: 900-2200
  • 1944: 2200-2900
  • 1945: 100-1000
  • 1947: 700-1000 (FONs are not very reliable from 45′-47′)
  • 1948: 1100-3700
  • 1949: 2000-2999
  • 1950: 3000-5999
  • 1951: 6000-9999

Thankfully, from 1952-1961 FONs became much more reliable and consistent. Gibson used an alphabetical PREFIX during this time (a letter before the number). These can be used to date the instrument very reliably (woohoo!)

FON Prefixes from 1952-1961 and their corresponding years are as follows:

  • 1952: Z
  • 1953: Y
  • 1954: X
  • 1955: W
  • 1956: V
  • 1957: U
  • 1958: T
  • 1959: S
  • 1960: R
  • 1961: Q

Serial Numbers

Gibson serial numbers are located on the back of the headstock (the part with the tuners on it.) or on a label inside of the guitar. Many older Gibson instruments do not have serial numbers.

​Below is an example of Gibson serial numbers on the back of the headstock and on the inside label. Serial numbers on the back of the headstock can be stamped into the wood, or stamped with ink.

FON Prefixes from 1952-1961 and their corresponding years are as follows:

  • 1952: Z
  • 1953: Y
  • 1954: X
  • 1955: W
  • 1956: V
  • 1957: U
  • 1958: T
  • 1959: S
  • 1960: R
  • 1961: Q

Serial Numbers

Gibson serial numbers are located on the back of the headstock (the part with the tuners on it.) or on a label inside of the guitar. Many older Gibson instruments do not have serial numbers.

​Below is an example of Gibson serial numbers on the back of the headstock and on the inside label. Serial numbers on the back of the headstock can be stamped into the wood, or stamped with ink.

FON Prefixes from 1952-1961 and their corresponding years are as follows:

  • 1952: Z
  • 1953: Y
  • 1954: X
  • 1955: W
  • 1956: V
  • 1957: U
  • 1958: T
  • 1959: S
  • 1960: R
  • 1961: Q

Serial Numbers

Gibson serial numbers are located on the back of the headstock (the part with the tuners on it.) or on a label inside of the guitar. Many older Gibson instruments do not have serial numbers.

​Below is an example of Gibson serial numbers on the back of the headstock and on the inside label. Serial numbers on the back of the headstock can be stamped into the wood, or stamped with ink.

Style J-200 Gibson guitar number A 28974 is hereby GUARANTEED against faulty workmanship and materials
Gibson Guitar serial number 871952

Serial numbers from 1902-1947 and their corresponding years are as follows:

Note: The numbers that correspond to each year are the LAST serial number for that given year.

1903: 1150

1904: 1850

1905: 2550

1906: 3350

1907: 4250

1908: 5450

1909: 6950

1910: 8750

1911: 10850

1912: 13350

1913: 16100

1914: 20150

1915: 25150

1916: 32000

1917: 39500

1918: 47900

1919: 53800

1920: 62200

1921: 69300

1922: 71400

1923: 74900

1924: 80300

1925: 82700

1926: 83600

1927: 85400

1928: 87300

1929: 89750

1930: 90200

1931: 90450

1932: 90700

1933: 91400

1934: 92300

1935: 92800

1936: 94100

1937: 95200

1938: 96050

1940: 96600

1941: 97400

1942: 97700

1943: 97850

1944: 98250

1945: 98650

1946: 99300

1947: 999999

Serial numbers from 1947-1961 and their corresponding years are as follows:

1947: A 1305

1948: A 2665

1949: A 4410

1950: A 6596

1951: A 9420

1952: A 12460

1953: A 17435

1954: A 18665

1955: A 21910

1956: A 24755

1957: A 26820

1958: A 28880

1959: A 32285

1960: A 34645

Serial Numbers on Solid Body Electric Guitars

Solid body electrics made between 1952 and 1961 received a stamp on the back of the headstock. For these years only, the first number indicates the year of manufacture. (For example, a serial number that reads “65341” would indicate a guitar manufactured in 1956.

Serial Numbers from 1961-1976

Serial numbers from 1961-1976 are very unreliable and were reused, out of order, and inconsistent. Reverb.com offers good information on these years in their Gibson serial number guide, but generally, for instruments manufactured during this time period, it is best to consult with an expert.

Vintage Fender Guitars Buying Process

My Buying Process

Accurate Identification: My years of experience will allow me to accurately date and identify your guitar. I’m always happy to geek out over a guitar and explain to the owner when it was made, what makes it special, and what it is worth.

A Caring Home For Your Cherished Guitar: I’ve purchased many family heirlooms and prized guitars that simply were not being used or played. My guarantee is that the guitar you sell me will go on to do exactly what it was meant to do: be cared for, cherished, and PLAYED!

Fair Cash Offer: I’m always ready to pay top dollar for great quality vintage instruments. I strive to be the top vintage guitar buyer around, and so my cash offers on collectible vintage Fenders are the highest around. If you want to sell your Fender guitar, please, don’t hesitate to contact me

(602) 900-6635 – joesvintageguitars94@gmail.com

Another useful informational link for dating Gibson guitars is this page on Reverb.com!

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