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Gibson has used numerous serialization systems over its 100-plus-year history, and a majority of these numbers were used haphazardly—and rarely in consecutive order—until the system was standardized in 1977.Up until the early 1960s, serial numbers were fairly consistent, but for most of the 1960s and 1970s, six-digit numbers were used pretty much at random.This was mainly caused by Gibson trying to keep up with production while attempting to serialize everything accurately, as well.Unfortunately, during extremely busy times, production simply trumped serialization.It usually takes more than just a serial number to accurately identify and date them, and there are numerous other dating systems and tools that I haven’t mentioned here.Some serialization systems only apply to certain guitars, and in some cases the same serial number has been used on multiple guitars!
Most notably, PRODUCTION DATES have been penciled or stamped on the butt end of the heel of the neck of most guitars and basses, although there were periods when this was not consistently done (1973 to 1981, for example) or simply omitted.For many Gibson owners, it’s hard to believe that an individual serial number won’t automatically indicate the year and model of the guitar in question.In fact, without any other information about the guitar, the serial number is essentially worthless.Also note that, in mid-1972, the “Les Paul” signature and “Model” inscription were changed from a silkscreen to a decal.
It appears that your pickups were changed at some point (although the pickup openings seem to be originally cut for full-size humbuckers), the pickguard is absent, and the tip of the pickup switch is missing, as well.
Based on the charts originally compiled from Gibson’s shipping ledgers by author A. Duchossoir, the serial number you provided could have been used on Gibson guitars produced in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, or 1975.