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The consistency around this stopped during WWII and resumed in the early 1950s.

To complicate matters further, there was sometimes a second letter from 1938 to 1941 indicating the brand (G for Gibson, K for Kalamazoo, W for Recording King) and sometimes even a third letter indicating "Electric" (the letter E).

Early Gibson solidbody electrics received a serial stamp on the back of the headstock, with the first number indicating the year of production.

The serial number on this Les Paul Junior indicates that it was made in 1956.

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.

This makes relying entirely on the physical features of a guitar potentially misleading.

The thickness of the headstock, however, is not as vulnerable to modification or replacement.

Aside from the logos, each era of manufacturing included certain identifying traits such as the hardware (tuners, knobs, plates, etc.), the pickups, the type of finish, and the electronics inside that can give clues as to when an instrument was made. Many older instruments may have reproduction or other non-original parts, including a non-original finish.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.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.

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