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  1. #1

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    Under the impression it was a 1970. I put serial number in all those sites and pops up 66-69. But it has Made in the USA stamped on the back of the headstock, implying 1970, but has no volute. It does have the original wood bridge in the case, as a tune-o-matic was swapped years ago. No matter really. Not sure if it's a desirable year or model or whatever. It plays and sounds wonderful. Serial # is 760103. Thanks for any info.

    Dating my Gibson ES-175D-gibson-175-jpg

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  3. #2

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    Here's a site to aid in determining the age by serial number.

    How To Verify Authentic Gibson Serial Numbers

    Now what's up with the second toggle switch on the lower bout??

  4. #3

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    That site looks to be for guitars 75 and beyond, unless I'm missing something. Original owner put toggle switch in. It had long since been undone, whatever it did, when I bought 23 years ago and is a dead switch.

  5. #4

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    The guitar in the picture has the larger headstock, the parallelogram tailpiece, and the embossed pickups typical of the early 1970’s. I believe the embossed pickup covers were produced around 1970-72. Also, if you look at the serial number listing in the link below, the 700,000’s were used 1970-72. Your guitar was made in that timeframe.
    Vintage Guitars Info - Gibson collecting vintage gibson guitars
    Keith

  6. #5

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    I have owned a bunch of Gibsons over the years. Dating Gibsons from the early to mid-70's can be difficult as the factory used the same numbers over again from the 60's.

    You can check the pot codes. If the pots date to 1971 or 1972, it is probably a 1972.

    I had a 1970 ES-175 (I was the second owner) and it had an orange label, but I have seen some 1970 ES-175's with the purple label. I have never seen the embossed pickup covers on a 1970. I would bet your guitar is a 1972. And IMO, they are equally desirable from that era. Some are great, some are good and some are dogs.

    If it was a 69, it would have the zig-zag tailpiece, an orange label and no embossing on the pickup covers. And possibly a 1 9/16 nut (they went back to the 1 11/16 nut in mid 1969)

  7. #6

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    What if it's older, would you still date it?

  8. #7

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    Keith and SS have it right, the embossed covers are circa '72 , a big tipoff to Gibsons of that era.

  9. #8

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    It has the orange label. I guess not having a volute threw me too, as I thought 1970 and beyond did. I'll just call it an early 70s. Appreciate the info. Sounds like this, along with my 33 Rik Frypan https://marcmuller.bandcamp.com/trac...-i-was-in-love

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmuller
    It has the orange label. I guess not having a volute threw me too, as I thought 1970 and beyond did. I'll just call it an early 70s. Appreciate the info. Sounds like this, along with my 33 Rik Frypan https://marcmuller.bandcamp.com/trac...-i-was-in-love
    IIRC, volutes first appeared on the ES-175 in 1976. They appeared earlier on the Les Paul.

    Embossed covers and an orange label together seems odd, but pickups (and pickup covers) do get swapped.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmuller
    Under the impression it was a 1970. I put serial number in all those sites and pops up 66-69. But it has Made in the USA stamped on the back of the headstock, implying 1970, but has no volute. It does have the original wood bridge in the case, as a tune-o-matic was swapped years ago. No matter really. Not sure if it's a desirable year or model or whatever. It plays and sounds wonderful. Serial # is 760103. Thanks for any info.
    I have pretty much the same guitar in both looks and natural finish - with the exception of the added toggle switch - and it is from '76. I know this because it is written in pencil inside the guitar which is kinda cool. Is it possible yours is as well?

    Lyle - Jazz Guitar Life

  12. #11

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    Guitar tech guy just noticed that the bridge pickup was put back in backwards, possibly whenever that extra toggle switch was added or unwired. I'm going to take it off and turn it around and I'll poke around inside as well as check pot numbers. Doesn't matter. I don't know value and not selling. Just curious.

  13. #12

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    I bought a '72, in '72, and it's a fabulous guitar. Enjoy it, and play it with all the life force and juice you can give it!

    Cheers!

    Steve

  14. #13

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    "Marc, just let it be" I said to myself when I was told bridge pickup is upside down. Took apart, turned it around, started restringing and I notice the pickup holders are contoured to the top. Maybe I should be taking out the actual pickup and leaving base the way it has been?

    Anyway, no real secrets when I put some light and a mirror inside body. No secret messages, dates, etc. I couldn't really see numbers on the pots, though I know they're there. Will figure out, reassemble and play my 70 something guitar, hopefully till I'm 80 something.

    Oh, in fact a purple label. Pat # on pickup, if that indicates anything.

    Dating my Gibson ES-175D-20210505_142104-jpgDating my Gibson ES-175D-20210505_142916-jpgDating my Gibson ES-175D-20210505_144334-jpgDating my Gibson ES-175D-20210505_144342-jpg

  15. #14

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    I would bet money that your guitar is a 72. Those patent sticker pickups are early T-tops and are becoming very valuable (please leave your guitar unmolested aside from the added toggle switch!). It sounds like you have a great guitar there Marc. May she inspire your playing for many years to come.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmuller
    Not sure if it's a desirable year or model or whatever. It plays and sounds wonderful.
    That would make it 'desirable' in my book.
    The only way I could date my early 1970s Gibsons is by the date codes on the potentiometers.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by icr
    That would make it 'desirable' in my book.
    The only way I could date my early 1970s Gibsons is by the date codes on the potentiometers.
    Had the pickup off and put a mirror down there to try to see. Couldn't see clearly. Where are the numbers? On the backs or on the sides? Really, if it takes much more disassembly I'm just going to put it back together. I'll just break something.

  18. #17

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    Probably not worth the effort if you can't easily see the numbers. Unless you are a dealer, I don't know what difference the exact date makes.

    On my "1972" Les Paul Custom I owned since 1986, I was curious in 2013, so I had to remove the solder from the pots to see (the solder covered the date codes on all 4).
    Low and behold, it is a 1974! Thing is, the guitar still sounds the same as when I thought it was the "more desirable" 1972....

    Dating my Gibson ES-175D-1974-control-cavity-les-paul-jpg
    Dating my Gibson ES-175D-1974-jpg

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by icr
    Probably not worth the effort if you can't easily see the numbers. Unless you are a dealer, I don't know what difference the exact date makes.

    On my "1972" Les Paul Custom I owned since 1986, I was curious in 2013, so I had to remove the solder from the pots to see (the solder covered the date codes on all 4).
    Low and behold, it is a 1974! Thing is, the guitar still sounds the same as when I thought it was the "more desirable" 1972....

    Dating my Gibson ES-175D-1974-control-cavity-les-paul-jpg
    Dating my Gibson ES-175D-1974-jpg
    It's a beauty!

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmuller
    I notice the pickup holders are contoured to the top.

    Dating my Gibson ES-175D-20210505_144342-jpgDating my Gibson ES-175D-20210505_144334-jpg
    Sigh. I can't un-see this. Now I think that my neck pickup holder is, in fact, backwards, thought the PUP itself is positioned correctly. Are these PUP holders positioned correctly? i.e. the thicker side of the "wedge" towards between the two PUPs.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    IIRC, volutes first appeared on the ES-175 in 1976. They appeared earlier on the Les Paul.

    Embossed covers and an orange label together seems odd, but pickups (and pickup covers) do get swapped.
    My 1972 ES-175D has a volute, non-embossed T-Top pickups, and a purple label. The serial number is 967xxx. I haven’t been able to see a date code on the pots and I’m not motivated enough to take them out right now.

    My 1972 Les Paul Custom, that I got in 1974, also has a volute and embossed T-Tops.

    That’s the thing you have to love about older Gibsons. Their primary consistency is their inconsistency.

    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    Sigh. I can't un-see this. Now I think that my neck pickup holder is, in fact, backwards, thought the PUP itself is positioned correctly. Are these PUP holders positioned correctly? i.e. the thicker side of the "wedge" towards between the two PUPs.

    Your neck pickup ring is the same as mine but the bridge pickup ring is backwards. Mine has the thicker end towards the bridge on both pickups. Fixing it is just a matter of removing the pickup from the ring and using enough bad language to get it remounted into the ring in the proper orientation.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    Sigh. I can't un-see this. Now I think that my neck pickup holder is, in fact, backwards, thought the PUP itself is positioned correctly. Are these PUP holders positioned correctly? i.e. the thicker side of the "wedge" towards between the two PUPs.
    What's pictured here, yes, the bridge pickup ring is backwards. Fixed today. It was recently pointed out to me that the pickup poles were on the wrong side. I thought I could just turn whole thing back around, PUP holder and all. Then noticed the contour and took the picture. Living and learning. Please feel free to unsee.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by icr
    Probably not worth the effort if you can't easily see the numbers. Unless you are a dealer, I don't know what difference the exact date makes.

    On my "1972" Les Paul Custom I owned since 1986, I was curious in 2013, so I had to remove the solder from the pots to see (the solder covered the date codes on all 4).
    Low and behold, it is a 1974! Thing is, the guitar still sounds the same as when I thought it was the "more desirable" 1972....

    Dating my Gibson ES-175D-1974-jpg
    What are the two spots between the knobs. We’re there extra switches mounted there at some point?

    Your guitar looks very similar to mine but mine is the “Fretless Wonder” with the tiny frets, and the gold hardware on yours is in MUCH better shape than mine. I think the original owner of mine used to dip his hands in acid before playing it.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmuller
    Please feel free to unsee.
    I had the bright idea to look on the interwebs for pictures of pickup rings and OMG most of the pics and discussion was right here on JGO!!!! An actual debate on the topic of correct PUP ring positioning has raged more than once before!

    Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?

    the tilted gibson neck pickup question

    A theory about the Gibson ES-175 Neck Pickup

    And there.... are... MORE!

    Apologies to all for kicking the sleeping zombie thread. Never mind! I didn't ask!

    :-)

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    I had the bright idea to look on the interwebs for pictures of pickup rings and OMG most of the pics and discussion was right here on JGO!!!! An actual debate on the topic of correct PUP ring positioning has raged more than once before!

    Gibson ES-175 Shape - Normal or Unholy?

    the tilted gibson neck pickup question

    A theory about the Gibson ES-175 Neck Pickup

    And there.... are... MORE!

    Apologies to all for kicking the sleeping zombie thread. Never mind! I didn't ask!

    :-)
    Good read. Indeed, the only reason I brought this to a guitar guy is that it seemed to have developed a rattle acoustically. Plugged in you couldn't hear it. Was worried there was a crack somewhere, although it sounded metallic. Seemed to have narrowed it down to this bridge pickup, as it had some float back and forth in it. The neck pickup didn't. We figured the buzz came from the bridge pickup assembly. Then they noticed the word Gibson was upside down as well as the poles. That's where the journey began, after being set up this way since way before I bought it in 1998. Pickup is now flipped where it should be and ring is positioned correctly. Still has the slight (annoying) rattle and wonder why that pickup has so much play in it as opposed to the neck.
    Good times....

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by coryB
    My 1972 ES-175D has a volute, non-embossed T-Top pickups, and a purple label. The serial number is 967xxx. I haven’t been able to see a date code on the pots and I’m not motivated enough to take them out right now.

    My 1972 Les Paul Custom, that I got in 1974, also has a volute and embossed T-Tops.

    That’s the thing you have to love about older Gibsons. Their primary consistency is their inconsistency.


    While I would bet that your LPC is a 72 for sure, I would also bet that your 175 is probably a late 75 or a 76. The pot codes will answer that (assuming original pots). Gibson serial numbers from the early 70's cannot be relied upon. That said, pulling the pots on a 175 is a major pain. Unless you are selling the guitar and want to be totally accurate in your representations or something is wrong with the pots, don't do it!

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    While I would bet that your LPC is a 72 for sure, I would also bet that your 175 is probably a late 75 or a 76. The pot codes will answer that (assuming original pots). Gibson serial numbers from the early 70's cannot be relied upon. That said, pulling the pots on a 175 is a major pain. Unless you are selling the guitar and want to be totally accurate in your representations or something is wrong with the pots, don't do it!
    Here is a link to a 1974 ES-175 that was for sale. Notice that it does not have a volute:

    Gibson ES-175 1974 Sunburst | Distinguished Collection | Reverb

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    While I would bet that your LPC is a 72 for sure, I would also bet that your 175 is probably a late 75 or a 76. The pot codes will answer that (assuming original pots). Gibson serial numbers from the early 70's cannot be relied upon. That said, pulling the pots on a 175 is a major pain. Unless you are selling the guitar and want to be totally accurate in your representations or something is wrong with the pots, don't do it!
    I know the LP is a ‘72 as I bought it from the original owner. Well, he said it was a 1972, and I’ve had that in my mind since 1974, so to me, it’s a ‘72 no matter what.

    It seems I was told the wrong year by the vendor when I bought my ES-175 then. It was sold to me as being a 1972, which I wanted so it would match my Les Paul. Oh well, I graduated from high school in 1976 so it’s still a significant year for me.

    I actually pulled the pots tonight and they have the metal cans around them. I’m not going to desolder one just to check.

    Looking at ES specs, mine has the volute and the 3 piece maple neck which indicates a 1976. It also has a wooden bridge, which was earlier but is easy to change. The pickups have the patent number stamped into the back, but no inked date on them, which would be consistent with being a ‘76.

    But what still throws me off is that it is a 6-digit serial number and doesn’t follow the pattern that Gibson says it should. Their site says a 1975 should start with 99 and a 1976 should start with 00. Mine starts with 96. So what are your thoughts on that?

  29. #28

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    I’m not dating my LeGrande, we’re just getting together late at night.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by coryB
    I know the LP is a ‘72 as I bought it from the original owner. Well, he said it was a 1972, and I’ve had that in my mind since 1974, so to me, it’s a ‘72 no matter what.

    It seems I was told the wrong year by the vendor when I bought my ES-175 then. It was sold to me as being a 1972, which I wanted so it would match my Les Paul. Oh well, I graduated from high school in 1976 so it’s still a significant year for me.

    I actually pulled the pots tonight and they have the metal cans around them. I’m not going to desolder one just to check.

    Looking at ES specs, mine has the volute and the 3 piece maple neck which indicates a 1976. It also has a wooden bridge, which was earlier but is easy to change. The pickups have the patent number stamped into the back, but no inked date on them, which would be consistent with being a ‘76.

    But what still throws me off is that it is a 6-digit serial number and doesn’t follow the pattern that Gibson says it should. Their site says a 1975 should start with 99 and a 1976 should start with 00. Mine starts with 96. So what are your thoughts on that?
    It is my understanding that Gibson reused a lot of serial numbers in the mid 70's and that you can find 6 digit serialization along with 8 digit serialization in the same year. Don't believe anyone's website as being certain. In the 70's, Gibson serialization is almost always approximate until the late 70's when things got standardized. I have also found that Gibson makes changes at various times. When January 1 happens, the guitars do not all of a sudden change. Sometimes the change has to wait until older materials/parts are used up.

    I had a 1982 ES-175 that had single ring plastic tuners, no volute, a mahogany neck and maple sides and back. Most 82's had either the features of mine with mahogany sides and back or they were like the late 70's examples with the three piece maple neck, metal tuners and a volute. Mine was clearly a transitional example (and I regret selling her to this day).

    Gibson abandoned the wooden bridge saddles in early 1976, used three piece maple necks and patent stamp, T-top pickups (a 72 would have patent sticker T-tops). It sounds to me like yours is an early 1976, and I have played some fine examples from that year (I had a 1977 that I regret selling myself). May she continue to inspire your playing for many years to come!

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    I’m not dating my LeGrande, we’re just getting together late at night.
    I think I speak for everyone here when I say that I hope you are being gentle with her.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Here is a link to a 1974 ES-175 that was for sale. Notice that it does not have a volute:

    Gibson ES-175 1974 Sunburst | Distinguished Collection | Reverb
    That one looks identical to mine which I believe is from late 1969 or early 1970 based on the research I've done. Same sunburst, no volute, 1 11/16 neck, orange label, no embossing on pickups, 6XXXXX serial number.

    Notice the title says 1974, but the text says it's a 1969. Looks like a great deal!

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieAG
    That one looks identical to mine which I believe is from late 1969 or early 1970 based on the research I've done. Same sunburst, no volute, 1 11/16 neck, orange label, no embossing on pickups, 6XXXXX serial number.

    Notice the title says 1974, but the text says it's a 1969. Looks like a great deal!
    I had an early 1970 ES-175 with that same cherry sunburst, another guitar that I regret selling.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by starjasmine
    Sigh. I can't un-see this. Now I think that my neck pickup holder is, in fact, backwards, thought the PUP itself is positioned correctly. Are these PUP holders positioned correctly? i.e. the thicker side of the "wedge" towards between the two PUPs.
    This comes up periodically, and I think nearly every ES-175 owner notices this sooner or later. I had a '70s model with a volute, and that's what they looked like. I have an '04 that looks like that. I rotated the pickup rings to get the pickups more level, purely to satisfy my notions of correctness. I needn't have done so; vinnyv1k has discussed this with the Gibson guys and they maintain that the pups are arranged that way on purpose, and I believe them. It stands to reason that if the pups are tilted, the sound of the pickup will favor the sound of the coils closer to the strings, giving almost a single-coil sound, or at least nudge it in that direction. The result is a bit more clarity -not a P-90, exactly, just a tad more upper-mids maybe. I'd let it be, and I'm going to return my'06 to its original state when I can.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    This comes up periodically, and I think nearly every ES-175 owner notices this sooner or later. I had a '70s model with a volute, and that's what they looked like. I have an '04 that looks like that. I rotated the pickup rings to get the pickups more level, purely to satisfy my notions of correctness. I needn't have done so; vinnyv1k has discussed this with the Gibson guys and they maintain that the pups are arranged that way on purpose, and I believe them. It stands to reason that if the pups are tilted, the sound of the pickup will favor the sound of the coils closer to the strings, giving almost a single-coil sound, or at least nudge it in that direction. The result is a bit more clarity -not a P-90, exactly, just a tad more upper-mids maybe. I'd let it be, and I'm going to return my'06 to its original state when I can.
    OK, this is the guitar as I bought in 98. Was only pointed out to me now that bridge pickup is upside down, which precipitated this thread. You saying it was set up this way at the factory?
    Dating my Gibson ES-175D-175-jpg

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmuller
    OK, this is the guitar as I bought in 98. Was only pointed out to me now that bridge pickup is upside down, which precipitated this thread. You saying it was set up this way at the factory?
    Dating my Gibson ES-175D-175-jpg
    He was referring to the pickup surrounds, not the pickups themselves. Your bridge pickup is backwards.

  37. #36

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    Fixed. thanks