Friday, 28 April 2017


here's the happier post!

Coincidentally, during the time experiencing and recovering from the flood, I got to restore an old Gibson who's damage far exceeded any of the flooded guitars I have seen so far. Oh, except one...does plywood really do that when it is saturated?

 A few weeks before the flood I received an old Gibson that was in bad shape. Actually, it was in truly awful shape. It was a quite rare, early 1970s Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, finished in the rare (and collectible) "Blue Sparkle" finish. When it came in to the shop there was only the barest hint that it was blue. Not only was it perhaps the dirtiest guitar I had seen, it was maybe the dirtiest THING I had seen! Muddy, grubby, covered in that inexplicable scum that guitars sometimes get from our lovely clean fingers. It is the first guitar that I have seen in almost 40 years that had lichen growing on it.

It had also previously had possibly the worst broken-headstock repair I have seen that was still holding; a cavalier fret-dress that had reduced the frets to slivers; gangster contour-carvings of the body (a-la-Strat); Bunnings hooks as, I have to stop now.

The chap that currently owns the guitar inherited it from the fellow who did most of the weird mods. He was a dear friend of the current owner and we decide to leave as much of the "character" of his repairs and modifications as we could. So, I restored all of the playing surfaces (fingerboard, re-fret, new nut, new bridge) to make it play and intonated well. The original pickups tested fine (as did the original Switchcraft switch!), but all of the pots were missing, so I rewired the entire loom. It all worked fine.

I ignored the rough, hand-cut contour at he back of the body, ignored the big chunk of mahogany missing from the inside of the horn, moved on by the very sloppy headstock repair (which seems solid and hasn't moved), strung the guitar up with D'addario 10s, tuned it, and played it.

I've played zillions of guitars, thousands of Gibsons, countless Les Pauls, and this little survivor is one of the best-sounding Les Pauls I can remember. Certainly one of the best Deluxes (and I've owned a few mini-humbucker Deluxes over the years).

My restoration stuff is professionally done, and should have no real bearing in the value. The weird amateur modifications and carvings here will de-value this guitar 100% - 150%.

This poor guy is horribly compromised as a collector "piece", but sings like a bird.

And that's the eternal mystery of the vintage guitar thing. I'd own this guitar at the drop of a hat. I've seen "mint" pristine versions that, while fine, didn't ring any bells for me.

Attached are a few photos.

I will try to write  more regularly from now on. About guitars. The first few might still be a little pre-occupied with the flood though...