The binding on the neck of my 1978 Les Paul Custom extends underneath the fingerboard about 1/8th of an inch (just eyeballing it) and you can see it in the cleaned-out fret slots. Out of curiosity, I searched the Internet on how one would replace that type of binding, but I've come up empty. Wouldn't that be a real pain?

Mike Fields

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It's not difficult. The old binding requires no special tricks to remove, other than to avoid finish damage on the edge of the neck as much as possible. The bigger question is why would you replace the binding in the first place? Are there portions missing? Has it rotted? Can it be saved? Assuming the guitar is mainly intact, it's a far better option to save what's on it (unless a large percentage, say 35% or more is un-saveable) Pics would help. :)

Oh, not looking to replace it anytime soon. It's in decent shape, just some hairline cracking where the ebony has shrunk and the fret tangs have put some pressure on it. I had a couple of small chunks break off when I was cleaning out the fret slots, but I glued them back in, no problem.

I was just wondering why Gibson did it that way. And if it did need replacing, would one replace the the plastic underneath the fingerboard, cut it flush, then put on regular binding? I'll try to get a picture tonight. Thanks.

Mike Fields

Are you certain the binding is UNDER the fingerboard?

Gibson used a solvent glue that ordinarily caused the binding to flow into the fret slots when it was glued on.  Frets went in first, then the binding was pasted on with a lot of sloppy glue that would mel the binding and  fill the slots under the frets for a short distance.   Then the board was glued to the neck, and binding sanded and scraped flush all around.

I think you may dealing with T shaped binding? Please see attached shot of an LP Custom that I re-fretted. I believe it was from that same era. There is a channel on the sides of the fretboard that receives the T.

Excuse the low quality phone photo.


Here's the photo file:

(... stupid java script.) 


Yeah, Tom, it's T-shaped binding. I'll try to attach a couple of pics.

Mike Fields

The t-shaped binding is difficult to remove.

It also seems to readily crack and break out pieces at the frets end.

Yep, I have lots of little hair-line cracks at the fret ends.

I don't see a reason to replace the bindings at all. You can secure the cracks with CA, clean the slots and refret the neck.

Oh, no, I'm not going to replace the binding. I was just curious how it's done, as I not be able to find any videos or any on how to do it. Hopefully, this weekend, I'll have time to go over the cracks with some thin CA. Thanks for the tips.

Mike Fields


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