Dating vintage martin ukulele
Whereas Martin guitars have been using a single, consistent numbering system since the 19th century, Gibson has used several different serial number formats since its inception in 1902, meaning that some formats and numbers overlap across decades.This makes it especially important to first identify the general era during which your instrument was made before pinning down the exact date of manufacture with a serial number.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.
These will generally date an instrument earlier than the serial number, as they were typically applied in the early stages of assembly.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.Before mid-1950, most Gibson headstocks were thinner at the top when looked at from a side profile. Gibson has historically used two different alpha-numerical formats to catalog its instruments: serial numbers and FONs (Factory Order Numbers).Instruments will generally have one or both of these numbers stamped or written either inside the body (generally the case on earlier models) or on the back of the headstock.
If you know the backstory around when the instrument was purchased, this can provide some rough clues about its era.