Back in the 1950s, if you bought a brand new Les Paul Standard your guitar would have been equipped with a Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard. The original specification of many Gibson guitars back the day called for the Brazilian species of Rosewood; it was considered ideal for guitar making. What’s the difference? Rosewood is Rosewood, right? Not exactly. Brazilian Rosewood is often darker, with chocolate-y streaks in the grain. Also, because it can be slightly denser and harder than other types of Rosewood, might provide a little extra sonic “punch” compared with other, softer varieties. Since 1991, Brazilian Rosewood has been listed as an endangered species and has therefore been used sparingly by guitar makers.
However, there have been some small runs here and there of Gibson guitars that do have Brazilian fingerboards, particularly during 2001-2003. In ’03 Gibson released the revamped Historic Reissues and for a few months only, all the guitars had Brazilian. The guitars that Gibson has verified, using a serial number range, as having these Brazilian boards have enjoyed a substantial price bump in the marketplace, so knowing if yours is truly Brazilian, Gibson verified, can prove useful. Follow the jump to see the complete serial number guide.
The following information is posted on Gibson’s Forum, by the Gibson administrator:
Brazilian Rosewood Serial Number Guide
2001: there was a run of Brazilian R9s in the range 91203-91250 (91201 and 91202 only come up as Les Paul Classics for me). within this range, the following numbers do NOT have Brazilian Rosewood according to my info: 91236, 91230, 91220, 91217, 91215, 91214, 91210, 91209, 91207, 91206.
Also, 911007 comes up as an R9 with brazilian.
2002: 8 R9s, in the range 92038-92045
1954 Reissue, ranging from 43001-43150
-within this range of numbers, 37 are ’54 Black Beautys
-43001-43006 are 1-pickup ’54 Goldtops that went to Dave’s Guitar in WI. i am assuming these got BR
1956 Reissue, ranging from 63001-63148
-the only exception here is that number 63126 does not exist as far as i can tell
1957 Reissue, ranging from 73010-73707
-numbers below 73010 either have 2002 specs (73001, 73005, 73006, 73007), are prototypes (R7:73004; LP Junior: 73002, 73003) or do not exist
-within this range, 231 are 2 or 3 pickup ’57 Black Beautys
-26 are LP Juniors
-73431-73438 do not exist
1958 Reissue, ranging from 83001-83256
-83001-83008 are prototypes (83001-83004, 83007, 83008), and 2 of these are LP Juniors (83005, 83006). 83009 is a quilt top R8 that went to Guitar Center
-within this range 29 are LP Juniors
-1 is a korina explorer
-83046, 83047, and 83087 do not exist
1959 Reissue, ranging from 93001-93674
-93001-93006 are prototypes
-93008 has 2002 specs
-3 are korina Flying Vs
1960 Reissue, ranging from 03001-03163
-03001-03010 are prototypes (except for 03007 (not a proto) and 03002 (2002 specs)), and 2 of these are LP Specials
-it appears that 03007 DOES have BR
-within this range, 21 are LP Specials
-48 are non-Historic GC ’60 LPs, none of which have BR
Gary Rossington SG
-13001-13075 have Brazilian Rosewood