The attached photo is of my 1936 ES150. It is all original but as you can see quite played (not by me). You will notice several top cracks repaired and cleated for me some years ago by a luthier. They are solid but you can see and feel them. I would like to someday have the top (and rest of instrument) restored (yikes I said it) to a somewhat less distressed appearance.
I would be interested in hearing your advice and opinions on this taboo subject. Thanks.
N.B. - A noted luthier suggested that French Polishing would renew the finish.

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Taboo, yes. But, you are the instrument's owner and boss, so you can call the shots. The way the current collectible market is working these days, pretty much any finish restoration can reduce value, unless the instrument had been completely stripped and refinished before.

With that in mind, you can make a (for me, at least) simple choice. Would it please YOU more to restore it to a better looking condition, or to preserve its potential $$ on the market? My answer for my own instrument was to make it look better. And, as it turned out some 30 years later, it could cost me thousands on resale. But, I bought it in 1971, and I ain't selling, so what's the beef?
My advice is the same as Franks .Do you want to sell it or play it ? That is up to you.Bill.""""""""
I say that it's better to buy a new instrument that meets your requirements ( looks, feel, sound etc.) and let this one be. The day will come when one in the condition yours is in will be one of the finest original examples available if you leave it alone now. Touching up finish and repairing cracks are plusses since they will preserve the instrument, but don't do something your children will regret ( and I'll regret ). Best of luck
Thanks to all. I was hoping Frank would respond and I value all of the advice. Yes, I feel the guitar deserves to look better - and of course original. The guitar is quite playable. and my intent with "restoral" is to touchup, reflow, or rub in,- not to refinish.
I am unclear on the compatibility of a French polish type of application upon a lacquer finish - which is what a very highly regarded luthier suggested, and actualy began to rub up a spot on the upper bout. It appears to produce a nice finish. Should I continue with that approach? If so, I will need additional guidance - or make the decision to turn it over to a pro. The issue with the somewhat raised feel of the solidly repaired cracks also requires a thoughtful approach. Thanks,
I'd clean the dirt off, make sure the cracks are stabilized and leave it alone. The war scars are character. If it plays good and sounds good, I appreciate it just like it is, warts and all.


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