Dating les paul guitars
When the plates were stamped the spray filled in the numbers making them illegible.Sometimes the bridge or plate was defective and unsuitable for use.In other cases on the "Black Crackle" finish plates, the number was stamped before spraying.Prefixes are as follows: "B" bass, "G" Guitar, "BC" Broadcaster.All systems incorporate a seven-digit sequence i.e. While designating serial numbers to instruments, not all numbers were used.The prefix "CL" and "CLF" stand for "Clarence Leo" and "Clarence Leo Fender", respectively. The George Fullerton model, which when changed to 4-bolt neck attachment, continued with serial numbers using the prefix "GF", for "George Fullerton" until discontinued.
ABOUT THIS SECTION The information in the table and text below the horizontal bar was compiled by Paul Bechtoldt, columnist for Vintage Guitar Magazine, and is included in his book G&L: Leo's Legacy.
While the serial number information below refers only to instruments produced through 1992, a significant change in serialization of instruments occurred in 1997, with the advent of 4-bolt neck guitars.
The serial numbers on guitars and basses started at #500, reserving prior numbers for special instruments or presentation.
Guitars and Basses had their own numbering system, the only other instrument to receive its own system was the Broadcaster.
The 4-bolt neck guitars and 6-bolt basses changed to serial numbers beginning with "CL".
About one year later, the numbers changed to a "CLF" prefix.