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


Results are only viewable after voting.

asteksonus

Member
Joined
May 21, 2011
Messages
36
Reaction score
60
The broken headstock and lack of serial number for a start will make it player grade whatever you do to it and the bad routing will make it easier to go to a Humbucker conversion. I would not go for real PAFs – there are plenty of good non-original PAFs or rewinds available which will be a fraction of the cost and just as good since you are never going to reach originality on this guitar. A set of period PAFs could cost as much as the whole conversion job.

Also, there is no point converting it back to a 52 which is generally considered an unplayable guitar unless you are into an upside-down ES225 trapeze. But why convert it to a ’57 spec.?- A 54/55 spec with a stoptail bridge would be much more sympathetic to this guitar (wood age - Honduras mahogany and non book-matched maple top, age, gold finish, thick neck profile).

Keep as much of the gold finish as possible, re-plug the post holes and re-locate the stoptail at the position of the last ‘55 models where the posts are slightly further from the bridge pickup. Keep as much of the finish as possible including all the aging on the goldtop, back & neck. Add to that, a re-fret, new bone nut, neck binding refinish, clean up the headstock break and tuners and refinish the plug-hole and repaired routs as invisibly as possible.

It goes without saying that all that work has to be done by an expert luthier. References here are to HM but – but the are a few guys around who will do a careful and respectful job and will increase the value. I had my 60 Special fixed by Dan Erlewine a few years ago if he is still up for this kind of work.

The result will be a 54/55 stoptail with humbuckers – not a totally unknown combination – ‘54s were already being converted by Gibson to humbuckers back then– see Jeff Beck’s oxblood model.

Many players prefer stoptails to tuneomatics because they give better sound transmission to the body and feel more natural to palm mute. IMHO - the real reason for tunomatics was that Gibson were competing in the market with the Fender Strat which had individual intonation – but it is not really necessary on a Les Paul or even a Tele without a wammy for that matter.

Personally, I would also go for a neck re-set as well. It is not such a radical job as you may think – assuming you have a luthier who is up to the task. The advantage of ‘52 neck tenons with hide glue joints is that they can be unglued. After that is done you may be able to get it set up to the 3° or so angle which will make sure the bridge does not have to be screwed down hard and allows for proper action adjustment.

Cost and benefit

Costs - you will need to get some quotes but I would estimate in the ballpark of 3k$ to do all the conversion work. (any of you pros out there shoot me down if I am way out).

Resale – considering a good ’52 is in 15k$ ballpark and a ’54 30 k$. While a re-issue ‘54 is ballpark 4 k$. After spending 3k$ you will probably double the value of this guitar from say 3.5 k$ to 7 k$. More or less getting back what you spent.

On the plus side – this guitar will sound magical due to the materials it is made out of and incomparably good compared to a re-issue so it must always be worth more.
 

asteksonus

Member
Joined
May 21, 2011
Messages
36
Reaction score
60
Hi RevWille, I stand corrected.
Not a Gibson option - but a 54 is not at all bad with humbuckers. I would prefer P90s but this project has already gone past that from what I can see from size of the PU routing.
 

Cozmik Cowboy

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2013
Messages
3,498
Reaction score
3,218
....I'd clean up the routs, fill them completely with a mahogany/maple plug, and re-route them properly. Then, send it to Kim.
This. But be sure you re-route them properly - and that means for P-90s!
 

asteksonus

Member
Joined
May 21, 2011
Messages
36
Reaction score
60
This. But be sure you re-route them properly - and that means for P-90s!
Sure, P90s are preferred but re-routing properly - because the bridge route is so badly massacred – that will probably mean replacing and refinishing the maple top in the area between the pickups - then you take away some more of the originality. I would give it to the expert to match templates for both P90 & Humbucker routes - then choose.
 

rialcnis

Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2013
Messages
79
Reaction score
149
You might want to read this thread. Lots of advice from others...and my years of flip-flopping as what to do.

 

Michael Matyas

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2020
Messages
461
Reaction score
462
A lot depends on the maple under that gold paint. And the only way to find out is to strip the top. It might be a three-piece mismatched dog or quilt to die for. Good luck, whatever you choose!
 

jwinger

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2008
Messages
2,505
Reaction score
1,306
I'm normally against conversion but given that's all had one pickup routed I'd def go 57 rather than have to plug again for p90
 

Oleynior

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
270
Reaction score
632
Thanks for your feedback guys! I wish this LP was playable and universal, so I decided to converted it to the 1957 specs.
 

JMP

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
855
Reaction score
1,066
Thanks for your feedback guys! I wish this LP was playable and universal, so I decided to converted it to the 1957 specs.
Has the restoration been completed? We need an update!
 

treatb

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2009
Messages
482
Reaction score
104
you people don't deserve these guitars... you just ruin them. bunch of wannabees. go buy a cheap epiphone if you want a project to ruin.
 

treatb

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2009
Messages
482
Reaction score
104
why do you think there are so many forums and threads on how the bursts sound so great and why? because YOU DON'T KNOW... STOP PLAYING PRETEND AND GO GET A GUITAR AT YOUR LEVEL, N LET THE REAL GUYS HAVE THE GOOD GEAR SO WE CAN PROTECT THE HISTORY WE LOVE.
 

treatb

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2009
Messages
482
Reaction score
104
someone should restore your brains, to the baby mode you once had. a big brick will do the job.
 


Latest Threads



Top