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Apr 15

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, 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

10 Responses to “Handy Gibson Guitars Brazilian Rosewood Guide”

  1. gonzalo says:

    Hi i buy a gibson 2003 R8 the serial is 83525, it dosent look as indian or ebony. Do you think can maybe be brazilian

  2. Dalas MacDonald says:

    Above reads ‘1957 Reissue, ranging from 73010-73707’ are Brazillian. Mine is just a few over 73707. Fretboard is dark with a really dark (almost black) snake like streak all the way along the fretboard just to one side. Could there be another 30 to 40 after 73707 that could be Braz?


  3. Jim B says:

    I have a 1999 Gibson Les Paul Standard. It’s finger board is rosewood of course but is a lighter shade of brown with highlights. Any details on this?

  4. Jiya says:

    I have a 1988 Gibson Les Paul Pre-historic Reissue 1959. How can I know if it is Brazilian?

    Thank you!

  5. John says:

    I have a 60 93001-93006 that Gibson verifies is Brazilian. There is a misnomer out there that all prototypes are not Brazilian and that is not true. It was the 57′ prototypes that Gibson doesn’t verify, but its been spread that all the Brazilian models that are prototypes are not Brazilian which is not true and verifiable by Gibson. So 58, 59, 60 that are prototypes Gibson will verify that most are Brazilian and usually have dark straighter grain Brazilian like what Gibson would choice in the ole days as top quality. The earlier the number the darker straighter grain the Brazilian is.

  6. BRIAN says:

    The1999 Les Paul standard has an Indian rosewood board..

  7. JC GUARY says:

    Hi, I own two 2003 LP réissues : one R 9 # 9 3849 and a R 7 Goldtop #
    7 31496.
    The both seems have brazilian fretboard to me (even if it’s not certified on the R9, which I think is a 2004)) I’m CERTAIN that the R7 have a Brazilian one! (it comes from a limited “aged” run ! ) and the aspect of woods grain don’t lie !

  8. JC GUARY says:

    In fact, it’s very possible that what is called “non confirmed brazilian rosewood” could be “amazonian rosewood” which have the same specs as “true” brazilian ! Even, it is more easy to work and more stable, but it depends too from the tree-part of the piece of wood, which determinate it “figures” and density, the type of cut and how much is aged the wood !!! But ” chocolated” colour with black stripes is typical from amazonian …

  9. […] from which year please? 2003 or 2013? the seller wouild like to sell it like 2013 R7. But, here: Handy Gibson Guitars Brazilian Rosewood Guide We can see the same number for a R7 from 2003! Do you have any idea how to explain it? […]

  10. seo says:

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