A friend found his father's Gibson acoustic in the attic and would like me to somewhat restore it. It has been subjected to lots of temperature changes. I am posting photo of the guitar. This guitar is probably 50 years old, it's not a high dollar one, I don't think. Being somewhat of a novice this will give lots of experience in repairs and restoring.

As you can see from the photos the top is in terrible shape. The bridge was broken, the other piece was lost. The bridge plate is chewed up much worse than my photo show. All of the back braces are loose and one fell out when I touched it. Other than the bridge plate the top braces seem to be in good shape.

I plan to do the following unless led differently:
- A good cleaning and further checking
- New bridge
- New bridge plate
- Reglue back braces
- Refret
- Refinish

Would you handle differently? What would you do? I appreciate your help.

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Looks like an old LG-O. Very neat! I am in agreement with you on everything with the exception of the refinish and possibly the refret. Perhaps you should look into this link.
It is a great alternative to a complete refinish. Also, about the re-fret, are the frets worn down pretty bad? If it is just some rust, or whatever, just give the fretboard a good rub with fine steal wool and condition with lemon oil, it will look brand new and if the frerts are still good, it will save you lots of time.
Thanks man! I'll research this further and give it whirl! Where do find Cellosolve? As far as the frets, I'll check further after I clean up.

Thanks again!

And, I am no expert, all I can do is speak from my own experiences, but it seems a little strage that the back braces are so loose and the top braces aren't loose at all. Make sure you are checking real close because it would really be a disappointment to string her up and find that there is more work to do. I have worked on 2 'attic' guitars and found the glue failure to be pretty much throughout the body, from the kerfed lining to the neck/tail blocks.Some spots weren't really loose, but the glue was very fragile. I could be wrong here, and for your sake, I hope I am, but just a friendly heads up. Oh yes, don't forget to oil those tuners...
I agree, I do plan to give a complete check. But other than back the other glue joints look good, but I agree I don't want to string up with out checking completely. The tuners will be oil, Frank got that one stuck in my head.

I'll use naptha for cleaning fretboad unless you or someone else has a better suggestion.

Thanks again!

Not sure if I interprete the pictures correctly, But
the top surface has not exactly the pattern of an old cellulose lacquer.

It seems more like the guitar has been exposed to some aggresive dust.

If it has been laying down on the back, that could explain why top braces
are not affected equally bad.

This thought might be confirmed if the bottom lacquer shows less damage.
Have you got a close up on it?
You're right! The back is in much better shape than the top.

Then I believe the top finish should be remade.
Probably detrimental to tone, as is.

I would take the back off for inspection and glueing of the ribs.
Check its kerfing - maybe it will easily come apart.....?
I like those guitars a lot. Just to satisfy my curiosity, will you take the back off?
I don't know if I'll take back off or not! Have to do some research on doing that. Any suggestions?

Well, there's no question about the bridge - it has to go. Bridgeplate should get a nice solid maple overlay - it looks like the original is spruce. (I prefer to have the grain parallel to t he top grain and the pull of the strings for extra rigidity.) Clearly all loose braces should be reglued.

Frets are a matter of playability. If they are worn or the neck is uneven, then refretting sounds like best option.

Finish is a cosmetic issue, and for some, refinishing is less desirable than "maintaining" the original. I don't take a hard line on that, except to say that for marketability, refinishing hardly ever is a good idea these days. I'd talk it over with the owner.
I had one a few years ago that was in a hot place and it looked good but on closer inspection the back was loose . The side binding was glued to the back but was loose all around the sides. It popped off and all braces were loose. The fingerboard was unglued with a little help .
The whole guitar needed to be unglued and re made.

Some one talked me into selling it to him as is for what it was worth after it was fixed so down the road it went.

I sure would take it apart in every joint because sure as the world when strung up later it would give up and you would be the bum for not fixing it right.

Good luck


You're right, I had decided to remove the back and as I examined the joint I noticed a loose area where I placed a spatula and the back almost popped off. The ends are fairly tight but should come loose with my spatula. This gives me a real opportunity to examine the inside and take care of all the loose joints. I guess I should remove the neck also, probably not much holding it either.

Thanks for everyone's help, any other comments are welcome. I'll post further photos if you're interested.



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