1959 Gibson Les Paul Special: A restoration journey

treatb

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when are people going to realize... when you get a vintage guitar like this. leave it as original as possible........... you want to have a project, or something to ruin or pretend you are an artist or craftsman... go build a guitar.
 

treatb

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leave it to real luthiers and people like me that know what we are doing, that won't ruin another vintage guitar.
 

none2low

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I know that the original colors are Cherry or TV yellow and I'm not sure which would be a better option for this build. From the control cavity, it seems that it was TV to start its life and has had multiple paint jobs and since the serial number is gone I understand and accept that I will not get my money back from this build. It's more sentimental than anything and that's alright with me. With that in mind, I have seen some people finish Les Paul Juniors/Specials in other colors and wanted to get peoples opinion of other finishes for this build.
If future resale value is of any concern I would stick with TV Yellow. On the other hand, if you have no concern about what happens once you or your heirs decide to part ways with it, then go with whatever color makes you happy.

Think of it this way - It is always going to be a refinished '59 Special which is going to reduce the resale value. Restoring to as close to original will always bring the most return on your investment, but either way you have a great guitar and a piece of Gibson history to enjoy. :)
 

ThePanda

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@ED3 The grain is really nice. Can't go wrong with TV Yellow or Cherry. I would say just see if the grain can pop out through the finish somehow.
 
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ED3

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I think I will stock with the original TV Yellow finish. Kim at HM recommended the cherry finish for some reason. He said that aging the TV yellow could be to much of a process? I was a little unclear about what he meant, but I feel that I would either trust Historic Makeovers or BCR to handle this restoration. Also I cannot recommend MojoAxe and Cremetone enough for reproduction parts (Historic Makeovers as well obviously) The parts I received are going to be fantastic once they are on the guitar. pics are coming!
 

ThePanda

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...He said that aging the TV yellow could be to much of a process? I was a little unclear about what he meant, ...
Maybe he thought you wanted to relic it?

Can't wait to see it! Subscribed!
 

kakerlak

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With the various cracks/fills and staining, I think this is going to make best sense as either TV or an opaque color. But, if you're getting it into the hands of a professional refinisher, they can advise you on what the options are, given whatever state it's in. You could run into some issues getting the brown grain fill paint to grab evenly on a TV job if some of the pores in that are clogged with other finish/paint/repairs.
 

ED3

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Well, I finally got some parts in today. I am waiting on a pickup to be ordered and I will be going through Throbak. I was leaning towards a fralin p90 in the bridge, but I feel that the Throbak has a slightly more correct sound that I am looking for. After I get the bridge pickup, I should be all set to send it off somewhere. Thanks to people's opinions and some phone calls, I believe the Greg at BCR is going to end up being my guy for this project. I really enjoyed his work and I think he would be a great guy to bring this back to life.



IMG_6403.jpg
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IMG_6404.jpg
 

stilwel

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You’re going to love this once you get it restored. I have my grandfather’s ’59 Special and it’s truly amazing. I put a Mojoaxe bridge on it a few years ago. Completely stock otherwise. Original bridge is in the case btw...

I also have a ‘74 Special singlecut that i have a Music City bridge installed on and I like it as well. Just seemed to work better on that guitar due to the angle of the bridge relative to the pickup.

Are those Creamtone aged tophat knobs? I also have those on my ‘74. Great choice.

Looking forward to seeing how this all turns out!

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stilwel

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If you still need appropriate plate tuners.

 

stilwel

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And I also like the Creamtone aged tophat knobs.


here they are on my ‘74.
4ACDAC12-DDF5-4D9A-878E-8371A8BAF4EB.jpeg
 

T Willis

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You’re going to love this once you get it restored. I have my grandfather’s ’59 Special and it’s truly amazing. I put a Mojoaxe bridge on it a few years ago. Completely stock otherwise. Original bridge us in the case btw...

I also have a ‘74 Special singlecut that i have a Music City bridge installed on and I like it as well. Just seemed to work better on that guitar due to the angle of the bridge relative to the pickup.

Are those Creamtone aged tophat knobs? I also have those on my ‘74. Great choice.

Looking forward to seeing how this all turns out!

View attachment 504053 View attachment 504054 View attachment 504055 View attachment 504056
Did the Mojoaxe make a big difference on the ‘59?
 

stilwel

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Did the Mojoaxe make a big difference on the ‘59?
Definitely helped it intonate better. Particularly the G/B strings.

Here’s a comparison of the 59 with MojoAxe vs the 74 with Music City.

F627AB90-1093-47A5-8325-7D3986D3066A.jpeg
 

ED3

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The only reason I am holding out on purchasing the tuners from cremetone is I am not sure if they would fit due to the previous owner putting Schaller's in and potentially drilling them out to be larger.But I ABSOLUTELY would love to put those in. I would also love (when its back in stock unless someone else has any advice)

 

ED3

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The knobs I received from Gord Miller at GM vintage restorations in Canada. They look very similar to the cremetone ones
 
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none2low

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Since you plan to have someone else do all the restoration work for you here's what I'd do.

Grab some Kluson 3 on a Plate Single Line Nickel - Kluson Ebay

You can easily age these to preference with vinegar fumes and Greg or whomever ends up doing the refin can plug and re-drilled the old tuner holes if necessary.

As for the pots and caps.

While the Creamtone harness is neat, I don't personally see any benefit to it. If it were me I'd grab some quality 500k CTS audio taper pots and a set of Luxe bumblebee caps.

I've been happy with these pots - CTS TAOT 5%

Here's the Luxe Capacitors - Luxe .022 Bumblebee

No need to spend a bunch of extra money on these last few things when the linked items will get you the same result for much less.
 
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ED3

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If anyone can weigh in on this:

When I talked to Kim from Historic Makeovers, he made it sound like too much of a chore to plug and re-drill the holes. he quoted me at about $1000 just to get the headstock back to original specs. He said to put some grovers in there and call it a day. Would you say this is accurate or that he didn't seem interested in doing this kind of work to my les paul?
 

ED3

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Or getting one of these kits from Stewmac and buying the capacitors?



I see stewmac has a lot of options and might be better cost wise to get a kit from them and buy my capacitors separately? I feel this would be a better option and more importantly, keep cost down
 
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SASouth

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If anyone can weigh in on this:

When I talked to Kim from Historic Makeovers, he made it sound like too much of a chore to plug and re-drill the holes. he quoted me at about $1000 just to get the headstock back to original specs. He said to put some grovers in there and call it a day. Would you say this is accurate or that he didn't seem interested in doing this kind of work to my les paul?
It sounds to me like he doesn’t want to do the job. I’d look elsewhere.
 


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