Good day gentlemen,
I am a Roberto-venn certified luthier and i have been performing repairs and building fretted and non-fretted stringed instruments For the last 4 years.
I have a tech friend who lost 120 guitars during the 2010 Nashville Floods. When we last met he offered me 4 Gibson Les Pauls And one taylor acoustic (i believe it is a 600 series) that had been destroyed in the flood. On the Les Pauls the Maple joinery has let go on every one from small to large gaps and in some cases the maple has let go of the mahogany to some degree. The ebony head laminates have come off. And there are some water stains in the maple ranging from 2-10 ( 10 being the worst). All the hardware had been removed before they came into my possession. I am looking at these instruments as an opportunity for some experience.i may have to dis-assemble and re-assemble, sand, I will have to paint/dye/stain, setup, level crown and polish frets, install electronics ext...
So i feel like i have a few options as far as restorations go and i am looking for some insight before i get started. It seems like i will be able to A) keep a few of the les pauls as close to les pauls as possible if getting the top rejoined and bleaching out the water stains goes over without any problems or B) Have a few les pauls that are not (visually) les pauls any more (dramatic color choices translucent or opaque) odd binding selections and maybe even a strip of wood to cover the small joinery gap if i choose not to dis-assemble.
As far as the Joinery goes. I feel like i have two options. Option 1) I can Heat up the tops and use a spreader to push the two pieces apart and off the mahogany AND THEN rejoin them. As you can imagine this offers up a bit of a problem. Depending on the amount of material i remove during the joinery process i may lose an acceptable tolerance for the hardware insert spacing. I thought i could possibly find a piece of wood or attractive binding scheme that wouldn't look awful in between the two pieces of maple to make up for the lost material....or maintain the tolerance if there is any and on top of that keeping the maple from warping terribly.
Also i would have to make custom binding to reach the outside edge of the mahogany...Or i can install regular binding and rout/sound the small remaining edge of mahogany down to it's new edge.
My main issue is that it feels like no matter which way i go i am going to be doing MORE HARM.
Option 2) I can simply plug/fill/dropfill/ the gaps of the joinery and then paint them as gold tops or opaque colors, pearls or flakes.i also considered routing a strip down the center and using an attractive piece of wood to fill it and using the same wood as the new binding. (might look nice) It just seems like such a tragedy to cover up these wonderful maple tops.
So if anyone has any suggestions or warnings i would love to hear them. I Wouldn't mind coming up with a few les pauls that were just radically different from the average with custom paint jobs and such but with the maple under them i don't know if i can call them legitimate restorations or just repairs for instruments that were devastatingly ruined.
Bob & Rod,
I remember when these were being produced by S&T in Memphis. I wanted one sooooooooooo badly. I eventually got an Ibanez Artist 2618 in 1978 which was the closest looking guitar to the LPStd. It was actually a much better instrument than the LP's being made at that time. The late '70's/early '80's were the golden era for MIJ Ibanez electrics.
Here's the only (as far as I can tell) info on S&T conversion history. Hope it answers some of your questions.
Have a great rest-o-the weekend, guys :)
Well would you look at that!!! I used to be a die hard ELP fan when i was a pre teen. Still pop them in at least 10 times a year for a couple days. I can say this is a worthy option....( gears a turnin) Thanks Paul!!
Dang Paul...Good eye! I like your idea and am beginning to 'salivate' over the photo after your description... :-p...Ha!
Hey guy's i posted a new link for the restoration process...It's got some really gruesome images so be warned!!!....hah...number 2 and the oxalic acid are next and then on to the lp's that require only shimming. talk to you soon.