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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:22 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:13 pm
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First name: Chris
Hi,

Great forum, i have to say! This is my first post.

A customer came in with a ‘75 Gibson les paul custom with a
maple cap coming loose on one side and warping. It’s pretty bad
and i wonder if this repair is going to be possible without taking the whole cap off and replacing it.
Here’s some pictures.
Maybe you can help with some suggestions on how to approach this thing.

Thanks!!


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Last edited by loaweb on Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:37 am 
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Holy cow! Have never seen THAT in 40 plus years at the bench.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:35 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Chris Pile wrote:
Holy cow! Have never seen THAT in 40 plus years at the bench.


Yes, that's a new one on me. Especially since I see no other signs of fire damage.... which is the only time I have seen separation like this.

I typically try to figure out why something like this happened before I formulate a repair strategy. We have two goals here to re-glue what is loos and to stop it from happening again at another place. Knowing the cause helps with the second part and that helps us figure out how to repair.

Being a 68 this should be a pancake body with a 1/8" layer of maple laminated between two layers of mahogany for the slab of the body. Being as the same glue was used on all these joints they should be examined very carefully for any signs of movement of loosening of the joints. These tops were often 3 piece with a joint running through the control cavity, this will need examined closely as it will bear a lot of stress when you try to put the top back in place and may open up or even split. These joints over the cavity are problematic in their own when the top is still glued down and are prone to separation under normal circumstances.

I would need to make a hands on inspection to say anymore about the best path forward to restore this guitar.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:46 am 
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Walnut
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Yeah, haven’t seen it this bad either.
The top has warped up so much that when i apply pressure
to push it back together it just gives a little,
But I’m afraid it’s gonna crack somewhere around
the control cavity.
The customer told me that it has been sitting in the case
for years. Never near a heating device or anything, no floods or water damage. I suspect
it’s a humidity issue and that that wood’s been working itself loose
gradually for years. Also, no signs or traces of glue can be detected inside
the crack.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:13 am 
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Walnut
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First name: Chris
Also, the customer is mistaking that this is a ‘68 LP,
i checked the original pots and wiring, it all points to a ‘75 LP.
But yeah, still a pancake body. Other seam looks fine and solid.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:14 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Wowza! Never seen that before either. I would have to be holding that one in my hands to come up with any recommendations. That's a unique problem right there. I'd imagine the top would crack if you just clamped it back in place but you may be able to coax it back with clamping pressure over time.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:34 pm 
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Okay - I put on my thinking cap for this one.... Was the guitar in the case laying flat, or sitting on its edge? I'm gonna guess it DID get water damage (however slight), and moisture wicked into the edge and softened the glue enough for the joint to open. As the water was absorbed, it curled the maple away from the mahogany. Have you checked to be sure the fingerboard is still glued on tightly? Is there any damage to the electronics?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:40 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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It's a retop and a huge, complicated job also involving refinishing the thing.

I doubt that the ROI is there for anyone concerned including the steward if the work is done by someone who is not a hack, is a professional shop and quotes and bills honestly (for all...).

We wouldn't touch it, far too busy and these guitars were some of the worst Les Pauls made and not valuable (as we can see an example of why in the pics...).

Can it be done? Sure. When business and even client concerns are placed before ego though this one is danger Will Robinson. You could be looking at costs beyond replacing the entire guitar for this to be done well AND the instrument likely has other issues that require attention too.



These users thanked the author Hesh for the post: Clinchriver (Fri May 17, 2019 1:32 pm)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:44 am 
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Old Growth Brazilian Rosewood
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PS: Add and ABR-1 bridge replacement to the quote too this one has lost it's radius and I can't tell from the photo if the metal is good enough to pound it back into submission or the cheap stuff that you can't bend back.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:33 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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The top may be able to be saved....I save lot's of lost cause guitars, it's a big part of my business model. But it will require almost total disassembly. But that would be needed to replace the top too.
The finger board and neck will need removed and then the cap can be removed the rest of the way and perhaps flattened out with heat and a bit of steam.

Definitely not a quick job or a cheap one. But I do disagree with the assertion the instrument is not worth the work. Black is a rare finish for the era and though sales price data has been fluctuating on 70's LP's a complete and well done restoration should bring $2500-$3000 based on price guides and sales data at the current moment. 9 months to a year from now when the job is done? well that's anyone's guess because this market does fluctuate wildly... I would estimate restoration to run about $2000 maybe a bit under in my shop if the top can be saved and another $500 if we make a new one. So while there would be no money to be made fixing and flipping, for an owner with a connection to the guitar or a collector who had to have a black mid 70's Lester it could be worthwhile.

Of course not many shops can do this job well enough to be undetectable (and that is the only way to get the figures I quoted for resale) and a lot of those would likely decline as pulling necks from LP's is a true PITA!

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http://www.brianhowardguitars.com
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:10 am 
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Cocobolo
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If it belonged to me I would fix it this way: I would plan on taking about two months to slowly bend that cap down without cracking the wood or the finish. The top bent up slowly and it would have to be bent back slowly. You would have to build some plywood cauls to distribute the clamping force. The caul would be cut away so the pressure was put on the edge, not the arched part of the top. I wouldn't take the top off.

If the instrument belonged to a customer, I would be scared. They would have to understand that if the finish blows up it will cost much more. If you end up having to remove the top that would cost a lot more. There would have to be some honest talking and trust going on. Me, I might offer to buy the guitar in its present condition, or send the business to B. Howard who has experience in the business of extreme repairs.
There are probably some business traps involved that I have never dreamed of.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:35 am 
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Walnut
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philosofriend wrote:
If it belonged to me I would fix it this way: I would plan on taking about two months to slowly bend that cap down without cracking the wood or the finish. The top bent up slowly and it would have to be bent back slowly. You would have to build some plywood cauls to distribute the clamping force. The caul would be cut away so the pressure was put on the edge, not the arched part of the top. I wouldn't take the top off.

If the instrument belonged to a customer, I would be scared. They would have to understand that if the finish blows up it will cost much more. If you end up having to remove the top that would cost a lot more. There would have to be some honest talking and trust going on. Me, I might offer to buy the guitar in its present condition, or send the business to B. Howard who has experience in the business of extreme repairs.
There are probably some business traps involved that I have never dreamed of.



Yeah, that was my plan too. But after talking to the customer and being totally upfront
about everything we decided that he should try this luthier in our area who has done a lot of
these kind of extreme jobs for Gibson in the past.

Holding and seeing this guitar really feels like this is gonna need a
new top..
Thanks guys. Keep ya posted what happens with it, cuz he said he was gonna
let me know after the repair.


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