All models made during WW2. The post-war logo has the "G" and the "N" with a tail that drops below the other letters. Dot on "i" connected to "G": Dot on "i" free from "G": Gibson always used nitrocellulose lacquer for all instruments from to present.
Some other special order custom colors were available. Prior to , Gibson used mostly spirit varnish. This is very similar to Behlen's Violin Varnish still available today. This spirit varnish produces a eggshell crazing patina. Around is when Gibson started experimenting with Nitrocellulose laquer, and by all models were using lacquer. In the lacquer experimentation process began on less expensive models like the opaque white top A3, L3, and Sheraton Brown "A" models.
Note that all staining was done with water based aniline dyes directly on the wood. As for binding, all bindings were scraped clean of varnish and stain at the end of the finishing process. Early on, this left the binding "raw". Then with the advent of sprayed lacquer, after the binding was scraped, a clear top coat were applied over the entire instrument including the scraped binding.
For example some Lloyd Loar mandolins had this finish. This was short lived though. A faded sunburst on a Les Paul Standard. With the pickguard removed we can see how much brighter the original red was in the sunburst under the pickguard. This is particularly noticable by the neck pickup pickguard attachment point. During the late 's, the red ainline used in their sunburst finishes often faded. This problem was fixed by mid, though sometimes you see it on later 's models.
Oval white label as used from spring to January Orange label as used from January to The to orange labels are identical, except for the added text "union made". Orange "union made" label as used from to Note the "union made" designation to the left of the "Gibson" insignia.
When Gibson was bought by Norlin in , thousands of these labels were discarded and replaced with white and purple "Norlin" labels. These blank unused labels were snatched up by many guitar dealers, and are still available today. White label used from to This particular label is from a L-4 model. Seen through this f-hole is the "Norlin" white rectangle label with purple and black triangles , used from to Labels hollowbody models only. Rectangular label, no serial number or model name on label, photo of Orville Gibson and lyre-mandolin on label, date sometimes penciled under top: Oval label with serial number, no model name, photo of Orville Gibson and lyre-mandolin: White label with number and model name, number range to Hand ink or penciled some overlap with previous style: White label with number and model name Ink stamped: White oval label with number preceded by "A-": Note white label numbers A to A were not used.
Orange oval label with number preceded by an "A": Jan to Note the "-" after the "A" was dropped for the orange labels. Orange oval label with number matching number on back of headstock number range to Don't read too much into a label that has or does not have "union made", as both label types were used throughout the s. White rectangle "Norlin" label with black and purple triangles: Before WW2, tops on electric archtops are solid spruce.
Before WW2, back and sides are solid maple. From to , all models including the above use laminated maple back and sides. Also note the "made in USA" stamp. Neck Shape Spanish models. Prior to WW2, many models have a distinctive "V" shape.
Known as "baseball bats" due to the large back size. The era necks are often considered the best of this era; large and comfortable without being huge. Thin neck back shape, even compared to today's standards these necks don't have much wood behind the fingerboard and feel very thin. Larger neck shape, but still smaller than the 's "baseball bat" style.
Most models have nut width dramatically reduced making the neck feel very small. Back shape is about the same as the era, but the narrow nut width makes these necks feel like "pencil necks". Volute added to back of neck behind the nut. Nylon, a thermoplastic material, was invented in by Wallace Carothers at DuPont. Bridge, flat top models.
Retangular bridge, most models: Martin-type belly bridge, some banner-logo examples: Upper belly bridge above bridge pins: Plastic bridge, most models below SJ: Indian Rosewood used instead of Brazilian: Lower belly bridge below bridge pins: Option on J, J, SJ: Standard on most models: In , it changed to a "compensated" style unit with "stairsteps" for each string.
Tunematic bridges started showing up on many Gibson models in Used on some models ES and ES until This tailpiece was used until the 's on some models including the SG Junior. This was an important change on wrap around tailpieces, because it stopped the wrap-around from leaning forward and cracking the body wood often seen on Les Paul Juniors and Specials.
Tunematic bridge "no wire", stamped underneath "ABR-1", metal saddles and stop tailpiece. Many electric archtop models also converted to the tunematic bridge. Stud wraparound tailpiece unit as used only on the lower-end models like the SG Junior at this point now have compensated "stair steps" cast into the unit. Tunematic bridge "with wire" still stamped "ABR-1" on bottom. The wire goes over the six saddle screw heads to prevent the saddles from popping out during string changes.
Tunematic bridge uses white nylon saddles instead of nickel plated brass saddles. Tunematic bridge now chrome plated, no longer stamped "ABR-1" on bottom replaced by casted patent number. Stop tailpiece now chrome plated too, and replaced on many models like the ES with a trapeze tailpiece.
Metal saddles replace the nylon saddles on the tunematic bridge. P pickup, Alino pickup, Humbucking pickup, "double white" humbucking pickup with metal cover removed. P pickup top and a P. Two variations, one almost 6" long extending diagonally from the bridge to almost the neck, the other shorter and more conventional looking and mounted at less of an angle.
Both seen on ES model: First cataloged as a "conversion" pickup. Volume and tone controls and pickup integrated into the pickguard. Available with 1 or 2 pickups. Also known as the "McCarty" pickup system. Available for acoustic archtops such as the L-7, L-5 and Super Non-adjustable pole P pickup, single coil, 6 magnet slugs down center, black "dog ear" pickup cover: Same as fixed pole P, except now has adjustable slot-head poles: Looks like a P soapbar pickup, except has "staple" poles with adjusting screws next to the poles.
Used on upper line models: A late "P. A mid's "Patent No. One row of 6 adjustable slot-head poles off-center: