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This Article is designed to assist in dating and/or identifying instruments manufactured or distributed by Gibson Guitar Corp.
Please note that most of this information relates to serial numbers used from 1975 to present.
Chinese counterfeiters are starting to improve their fakes to the point where it's almost impossible for a beginner to know whether a Gibson is made by Gibson USA or some factory in China! Only the newer ones have the year on them so it's not necessarily a fake if it's not there.
First of all, if anyone, especially a seller based in China is selling a Gibson Les Paul for an alarmingly low price, you probably want to pass. Fakes usually have the serial number either engraved too deep into the wood or inked (with too much ink).
Located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Gibson founded the company to make mandolin-family instruments.
Below are some checklist items to determine if yours is real. It doesn't have the Mother of Pearl "Gibson" or crown inlay. It should also have "Made in USA" underneath the serial number.
In recent years, counterfeit versions of the popular guitar ave surfaced. Next, check for the serial number on the back of the headstock. Modern numbers are 9 digits but older/vintage Gibson guitars are much shorter.
If it is an LSLP, within thirty seconds you will know what era it came from and a general shipping date.Keep in mind, Gibson never inked serial numbers on the Gibson Les Paul Standard but they did ink the custom shop series and some Les Paul Classics. On the real one, you can see the binding actually rides up, just a little, on the fret. Another thing to look for is whether the numbers are too close. The fake one on the right has no serial number at all. You can search for your serial number at The Guitar Dater Project. There are two sections to this page: First, I have compiled information from hundreds of guitars to create a timeline/graph of 19.This should answer the vast majority of your questions regarding when your guitar was produced.