Gibson potentiometer dating
The best way to assign a year of manufacture to a guitar is to date each part individually then see how the guitar as a whole lines up to established dates.
The potentiometers, or variable resistors that are turned to vary the volume or tone, have codes on the back that indicate the week and year they were manufactured.
Fender used at least four different serializing schemes from 1950 to 1980.
Gibson used countless schemes and also reused numbers at least three times within the span of 20 years!
“1376542” reads 137 (CTS brand), 65 (1965) and 42 (42nd week of the year).
It’s interesting that the potentiometer code on this bass guitar indicates the 42nd week of 1965 but the neck stamp is April of 1965.
The pot above that one seems to indicate “13767xx” indicating 1967.
The bottom right pot has the numbers “1376xxx” visible.The four digit codes will have two digits for the last two numbers of the year and two digits for the week of the year.One problem with potentiometer date codes is that they are often covered up with solder!Let’s look at the control cavity of this 1967 Gibson Melody Maker D.Here we can see the braided leads coming from the pickups, an output jack, two orange ceramic disk capacitors, and four round metallic things with codes on the back.