Vaughn Horton's (country music hall of fame) grand-daughter asked me to restore his old Gibson EM-150 mandolin. Unfortunately, it has been living in a barn attic for decades and it looks it. I'm going to try to restore the tuners, but if that fails, can anyone suggest a legitimate replacement? The P-90 pickup innards are rotten and will need replacing. It looks like the neckblock has issues (separating from the body on one side and back.) Does anyone know how Gibson attached 1949 EM-150 mandolin necks back then? It would help to know in advance before I try and remove either the fingerboard or the back. (Something has to be removed anyway in order to replace the electronics.) The cracks should be straightforward to fix, and I may just leave the cracked finish alone. The repairs are getting pretty pricey at this point.
Wow, for a second I thought those machines were engraved. The Stew Mac golden age might look right-ish but I don't know about the spacing. The best replacements might be the ones that fit.
You do not need to do surgery to remove the "electronics". Remove the nuts holding the pots and the output jack and everything will come out the pick up hole. If it were me, I'd send the pick up to Curtis Novak for repair. He's the man.
You can also use the pick up hole to get a good idea of what's going on inside. Also handy for clamping up loose braces, etc.
Those knobs are fantastic.
I ran an endoscope inside and looked around. Blocks, seams, linings, and braces all looked ok. A few bug carcasses, cobwebs, and a small amount of black mold. Thanks for the tip on removing electronics and for the reference to Curtis Novak; that will save me a lot of hunting around. I've only worked on acoustics up until this point :-).