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Discussion in 'Vintage Les Pauls' started by Jumping@shadows, May 20, 2017.
The '55/'59 was a commission job, but I did end up brokering it quite early on in the process.
Nice refinish, but why the H**L would you replace vintage P-90's for Humbuckers, even if they are PAF??? Vintage P-90's are far better sounding that HB's!! Ask any real knowledgeable musician - ask Tom Petty, Harrison and Lennon preferred their P-90 Epi Casino's for recordings, Pete Townsend on his favorite SG's, Wes Montgomery, Carlos Santana (on 3 albums), Neil Young (his Old Blackie), Mick Jones (Clash), Tony Iommi, Bob Marley, Rivers Cuomo (STP), Leslie West, and the guitarist who ought to know - Les Paul. PAF's are great, vintage P-09's are even better.
At the beginning of my playing career in 1962 I bought this '58 LP Jr. used, and it was my primary instrument throughout until I retired (arthritis) in the late 90's. I also have a 61 and 73 Les Paul Special's with P-90's and I have a 61 Les Paul Custom SG with orig PAF (my Ikon picture) and a 81 LP Std with vintage PAF's replacing the orig non-PAF's to compare. Just my 2 cents, P-90's sound better in a LP.
The reason why these have PAFs/humbuckers is because they're Burst conversions- if you want a P90 Les Paul, play a P90 Les Paul...it's not a contest! I fully appreciate the brilliance of P90s, and have had scores of Jnrs, Specials, 330's etc, and scores of PAF guitars too, and it's all good...no need to sermonise
Thanks for your "sermon".
What a beautiful and unusual looking guitar. How does it sound?
I hate conversion threads... they always get me wondering what finish is under my '55 all-gold. The number of times I've tried to see if there's any top-side checking that suggests flame. (Now need to look for checking that suggest blister figuring.)
Would love to see before, during and after pics. Stunning job
It sounds fabulous! Fat, clear and muscular- every bit the Burst tone imo.
Let me ask you, do you know where I can find instructions for doing a gold top?
It's like anything else really- learn the basics, then shoot loads of scrap until you're happy with the result
But why do Burst conversions in the first place?
Y'know keeps me occupied Also puts guitars that have been amateurly hacked up/abused and occasionally abandoned for years back into circulation, to the rapture and delight of the new owners, who always assumed a real '50s Les Paul was a distant fantasy- plus they also destroy any TH RI, replica or otherwise I've compared them too- is that good enough for you?
I think you've asked the wrong question. The question is "Why buy Burst conversions in the first place?"
And the answer to that is obvious, no? The scarcity and tone of the Burst is unattainable for most guitarists, and the closest you can get is a conversion made in the same factory, in the same way, from the same materials and updated for 100% the same tone. Add a bit of burst beauty, and it's a compelling proposition.
So the real reason to do them, and to do them so well, is to satisfy that demand.
It's not the answer for everyone. I almost bought a conversion from Japan, one that Max had done many years ago. But he explained it to me, and I decided not to proceed. (Not all conversions are up to the standard of this one!)
Thanks for your more level headed response
I'm able to offer a far superior, more vintage accurate Burst than anyone out there, as these are guitars made of exactly the same materials, built with the same methods, by the same people in the same location as the hallowed '58-'60 Bursts, and converted using a real '59 Burst to spec all cavity dims/hardware locations from, with vintage correct finishing methods that Gibson cannot even approach, and era correct electrics and parts.
You could buy 3-4 fancy off the shelf 'reissues', or have a guitar that is inarguably 'the real deal' in looks, feel and tone, and as someone who fell into this on my quest to get into the 'Burst zone' on a mortals budget, and having handled more real bursts on a daily basis for many years than most, this is the only truly compelling route I've found.
It seems to me, though, that (assuming you aren't starting with a wrecked carcase), that what you are doing is removing from the world a vintage Goldtop, of which there are a finite number, and replacing it with a fake Burst, of which the number is potentially infinite.
Reminds me a little of the brothel in LA Confidential, where they put the hookers through plastic surgery to make them look like famous movie stars.
But, that's not what j@s is doing. This guitar, and others, was near to being a trainwreck, poorly treated, hacked, amateurishly routed, etc. And, he's returned it to a desirable, and usable, form. Not the original Goldtop, but a desirable instrument. Putting it back into circulation. I don't see anything approaching an issue here; he's not starting with a 1954 in good condition.
I'll give him a big thumbs up. Maybe that's just me.
Well, as I said, "assuming you aren't starting with a wrecked carcase." Because far too many conversions did start with perfectly intact Goldtops.
Brother,he stated that clearly in the opener....and yes they did,however,thats not the case here.
All that matters is the music we make with these old bits of wood and wire. If P90 goldtop tone doesn't move you, but PAF Burst tone does, do what you've got to do. If you want that tone and look, I'm not going to blame you for getting there by the most cost-effective route (sic) possible.
(And I say this as the owner of a lovely '55 goldtop. It is a lovely old guitar, but I'm under no illusions about it.)
We all know a prominent US luthier who takes clean, original finish '50s Goldtops, strips them of all original parts and paint, then resets the necks and fits Reissue parts....then asks for $$$$ more than an unmolested example- this to me is madness of the highest order, and makes zero sense.
ALL my guitars are wrecks previously buggered up by hacks over the years, to the point it makes no sense for the owners to pay high five figures and wait 2-3 years to have them rebuilt, and I know for a fact many others pass over them as too far gone to bother with- what's more, I don't know of anyone who shoots a better aniline sunburst than I do (certainly in the UK), as I spent many years trying to find such a person and failed, nor has such a deep respect, appreciation and daily hands-on experience of sunburst '50s Les Paul's. so I'm pretty confident both in my mission and results