1952 Gibson LP Gold Top - To Restore or To Convert?

Which option will be more desirable, more valuable and easier to sell:

  • 1952 restoration

  • 1957 conversion


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charlie chitlins

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It is a guitar, not the Mona Lisa. Do whatever will allow you to enjoy it the most.
If you could never sell it or make money off it, what would you rather own, a 52 Les Paul, or the Mona Lisa?
Now...is it JUST a guitar?
 

redcoats1976

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im not a pro,but id get some vintage looking humbuckers,the correct aged repro tailpiece for a 57,get the neck reset if needed and rock it as is.it has some good mojo going and would probably be a killer player.
 

pamoffa

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Obvious answer, if the paint is all original which I might have missed that in your post. Leave the finish alone and leave everything original alone. Change it to make it a nice player and save any old parts. Don't modify anything on it other than, I know some mods have been done. Make it a Player without continuing the irreversible changes
 

bblooz

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A lot more work and $ to convert to '57, but since it's already buggered up, might as well. It will be a great player, so fix it up and enjoy it!
 

pblanton

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The restoration ship has sailed due to the F***ed up routing. Do the '57 mod, and I agree with Denelectro; I'd clean up the routs, fill them completely with a mahogany/maple plug, and re-route them properly. Then, send it to Kim.
 

Chef Greg

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Send it to Kim and HistoricMakeovers ... ‘57 style or wrap tail with humbuckers
 

Qam

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The problem is the same with real 17th century-era Stradivarii: is a real Cremonese instrument worth more unplayable in its unmodified neck angle - or less if its done by the best luthier possible?

I say: worth more with the modern-angled neck resetting.

So consider my opinion... Do a 59/60 conversion because the top is already in deformed condition.

Correct the neck angle, shave the top and recap it with sunburst 5AAAAAA fiddleback flame maple.

Plug all holes rerout and redrill the top.

Then reshape the neck as thin as possible.

Burst. Or. Die!
 

oldflame

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I've restored several guitars. My advice would be to go maybe '57 gold top or a burst. Bottom line is, your gold op is a player. I have a couple too and they are great.

Check out my videos to get an idea of what can be achieved if you use the right people :

 

judson

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slap some hardware on that bitch and play the hell out of it....if not contact me and i will ..wtf is wrong with you guys!!! :run:

:facepalm:

all kidding aside do you mind telling me what you paid for that...i would love to find a husk like that...

last one i saw was asking $10k....and someone grabbed it before me
 
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PeteNJ75

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IMO, the thing has already been hacked and routed for humbuckers so restoring it to ‘52 specs doesn’t make as much sense. Restoring it to ‘57 specs would certainly keep with the goldtop theme, but if you’re going to refin anyway, why not convert to ‘59 specs? There’s no major difference in effort it requires to do that vs. a ‘57 conversion, right? And a ‘59 conversion would make it even more valuable. I know I’d pay more for a ‘59 conversion over a ‘57.
 

Chakalawaka

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I wouldn't touch the finish on this, it's way too beautiful... I would route out the pickup cavities clean and make a "plug" to support humbuckers, get a pair of BK Mules, put a bridge/tailpiece duo, find a replacement tuner for the G string and here you go :) But I would most likely keep it.
 

1981 LPC

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A 57 conversion will be more desirable, more valuable and easier to sell.

But restored to original condition is much cooler in my eyes, as long as the neck angle doesn't pose an insurmountable problem.

Either way I'd be happy to see it refinished to goldtop.
 

edouglaspratt

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It will always be a 52.
If you weld fins on a 54 Chevy, it's just a fake 57.
Honor the fact that it's a piece of our heritage and restore it to it's former glory.
Your option of converting your '52 to a '56 is actually a good reason to do a vintage correct '52 restoration, Oleynior...

Gotta admit, I'm a romantic. My heart & soul, balanced with my modest understanding of vintage guitars, tells me to honor the heritage. Correctly restored, this '52 will always have a niche market even though the less-playable trapeze will usually sell for less. My local shop, Righteous Guitars, in Atlanta has a correct '52 selling for $32,000 (not sure what parts might be new). $32K is nothing to sneeze at.

But here's the deal...as time goes on, more '52's will be restored to '56 specs, some poorly. Or they will be restored, some poorly, to original '52 specs. So being a steward of a correctly, well-restored '52 becomes more important. IMHO, vintage correct '52s will become more rare and increase in value as more people convert them over time.

Seriously, I can appreciate your dilemma; the more playable converted guitar will usually be worth more cash than the vintage correct restoration. You don't seem to be a serious collector; it seems you expect to sell the guitar at some point down the road. So consider that you'll always get good money for the correct '52. And you'll feel the pride of being a respectful steward for this increasingly rare piece of our heritage. That's priceless.

Doug Pratt, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
 

Oleynior

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Thank you for all suggestions and advice! I'll let you know what I'll decide.
 

brashboy

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If it was me, I would restore.

BUT... since value seems uppermost in your mind (nothing wrong with that at all, and it will be worth a great deal more converted than restored) and because it has ALREADY been converted, I think the decision really makes itself - - convert.

Heck, what's under that gold paint?
 

VictorB

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If it’s the original finish, I would just clean up the routes and 57 it. I don’t think it even needs a refin!
 
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