This is a 1914 Gibson L-1 archtop.  The celluloid tieblock on the original tailpiece decomposed, leaving the dark blotch.  The owner has asked if it can be reversed or removed.  This is a shellac finish, and I don't think it can be fixed, short of stripping the area and trying to blend in new finish- which I don't think is a good idea(best leave it alone).  Do others have experience successfully fixing this type of damage?

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Have you a pic with the tailpiece on? I am having a hard time picturing this. Unfortunately, I have no advice on your question too....

No, the original tailpiece was decomposed/ corroded/ broken, and off the guitar when I received it. A new, custom made replacement is in the pipeline.

Kerry, There's a picture of a Gibson with one of these tail pieces on Paul H.'s site here. It's about half way down the page. It always struck me as a fairly odd way to do it, since it's essentially a celluloid pin bridge on a bracket. 

Yeah celluloid when it starts breaking down can do that as well as corrode metal parts.

I don't see this as something that can easily be fixed without refinishing the top and possibly removing some top wood too if the stains permeated the top.

Instead I would be more inclined to have that discussion with the client about how refinishing a vintage instrument can make it lose up to 50% of it's value right out of the gate.  And/or that this is part of the provenance of the instrument, it's history and as such since it does not impact functionality in the least why not leave it.

Looks like old Adi too, very cool!

Hesh, you summed up my feeling about this kind of damage, and I plan to explain it, as you have , to the owner.

I'm itchin' to mount the new tailpiece, string it up, and hear how it sounds!

Let us know how she sounds Dave - these are very cool old guitars!

Well, the only upside that I can see to this , is that the tailpiece could be covering up the majority of this damage if it's big enough...

I bought one of these about ten years ago. It had been in the wars and needed a little TLC. She sounds fantastic but only comes out occasionally. Beautiful warm rich tones, even the way I play it! Didn't have the tail piece problem, she'd been loved and  looked after though the heads had been replaced at some time. Looking on a well known internet auction site these are really picking up in price. Writing this is making me want to go upstairs and play her.

BTW I wouldn't touch the finish, it's part of the instruments history.

I agree - leave it alone. Otherwise there would be less stories to tell..


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