Hey Guys,

I have a customer who's brought in a 1957 Gibson J-45 with extensive damage. He's wanting to have it restored. I took some pictures of it and the damage to ask you guys what you would do. He would like to have it refinished , new frets, new bridge, and resurfacing of the fretboard. The top has damage from using a pick and a soundhole pickup. Also there's a hole in the side where an input jack was installed. And there's extensive damage to the back of the neck in the finish. My question to you guys is, what is the best option to keep the value of the instrument as high as possible. He's not intersted in selling it after I do the work. Also, I wonder what you guys would charge to completely restore the guitar including refinishing the whole thing. After I added up what I thought it would cost at my rate of service, it was really high. I don't want to rip the guy off. Any help would be appreciated. There are some pics below.

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Yep, sorry Howard, I am building a smaller soapbox as I speak.

Thanks Howard! Some of the most reasonable and logical words spoken on this topic! It has definitely gone 'political and crazy' since the original post. Yes, the guitar owner has a right to do... or have done to his guitar what he wishes.

 With money on the table....there is usually a 'whore' to take it and do the bidding of the payee. It's human and societal nature!

 If not a 'paid whore' he could always 'ass' it up himself. Plenty of 'that' going on in the world too!

Jeez guys...I never meant to start a war.....
i only wanted to do what was best for the customer, as he's not even a guitar player, just inherited it....go figure...he just wanted my advice on what to do really.


As you undoubtedly know; it's just the normal cut and thrust, challenge,  vilify, reach consensus, kiss and make-up that goes on when you put a bunch of  passionate, work loving artisans in the same confined space - in the end I reckon everyone learns and grows from this remarkable forum - definitely a one of a kind place this.

 I don't particularly like the idea of "desirable" instruments going into collections with "value" inflated far beyond the intrinsic  but I also can't help but wonder how much of the repair industry is supported on the overflow of that value. 


If this Gibson was only worth a couple of hundred dollars, the chances are that it would not be worth the cost of repair and the general trend would be to toss it and buy another guitar, most likely one that is not too expensive. . As it stands, there is plenty of chatter on these pages about the issue of cheaply made and sold guitars and how to go about actually making any money from their repair. In the end the value of any given instrument is in the eyes of the buyer and I don't think the instrument repair industry really has much influence on that. From where I sit I think eBay has a more powerful influence on the pricing of guitars than just about any other single source. The listings are divide between those that mostly sell (auctions) and those that mostly don't sell ( buy it now) with the "don't sell" pricing being closer to what is found with concrete vendors.  The world is full of people that won't purchase a cell phone without a test drive but will plop down hundreds of dollars on a box of wood on a sellers description and a hand full of pictures. 


I guess I would sum up with the thought that I think repairman have an obligation to be square with their clients and that should include their thoughts on the potential increase or decrease in value the instrument may take with a given repair. As I said, the value is really in the eyes of the buyer. 

You can go on with your soapbox philosophy all you want, I just don't agree. 

Bottom line with the guitar presented in this thread is, "it does not need a refinish", period. If you refinish it a number of things happen, it may thin the top some and change the tone, reduce its structural stability, and reduce its value. Why would an owner want to reduce the value? Just so it looks better?

I think instrument repair people have the right to refuse or accept a job, dependent upon there repair philosophy, and wanting to do the right thing for the instrument.

I don't advocate keeping an instrument all original just for the sake of originality, it needs to do what it's intended to do, play music, and play the best it possibly can. The finish is only to do with appearance, not tone or playability.




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