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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.There were minute changes to which letters were connected in the font between 1961 to 1981, but the main logo had the same look.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.
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.Some earlier specimens from 1903 to 1907 did not slant the logo, or went without a logo entirely.Specimens built before 1902 had a star inlay or crescent in place of a logo.The original logo featured the words "The Gibson" inlaid in pearl at a slant, with an almost hand-written cursive font.This is sometimes referred to as the slanted script logo.