Les Paul Recording 1974 refin or not?

ritchieburns

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I have a '74 LP Recording. However, the laquer on the body and back has yellowed horribly, and the neck laquer has worn spots.. (The neck laquer is thick and the worn spots are very noticeable when playing)

The neck always feels sticky, and drags, as if the cellulose? laquer is irrepairably breaking down over the years. Polishing doesn't change it. (might car paint cutter polish fix it?)

I've changed the lo-imp pickups to hi-imp, c/o a set that Kent Armstrong made me (dual stacked humbuckers) using molds taken from the original pickups (which I've kept)...
(I'm installing an Epi Varitone (in mono) and in true Les Paul 'I'll do anything to make this wonderful geetar sound and play better' fashion..) thinking about installing a TP6 in chrome.

Is it a big mistake to do a refin over the mahogany body, back, and neck (after masking, and sanding and grain filler obviously)
Or will it devalue the geetar terribly?
I realise that nothing is selling in this terrible down-market, at least not in Europe. However, I want to make a good-looking and sounding geetar out of something I very rarely play, due to the draggy neck and the dismal state of the body..
 

ritchieburns

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Pics enclosed... It doesn't look too bad in the pix, but in reality, the mahogany is very yellowed. I've ordered a TP6 in chrome, and a proper Epi wiring harness and Epi Varitone. I shall possibly fit an ABR bridge, but certainly not the original 'harmonica' bridge. I noticed a huge difference in tone just changing the bridge to one with much less mass.

I recently bought an Epi BB King, and fitted it with Entwistle AFG Nemesys pickups, and I love the sounds, especially compared to the original wax-potted Epi alnico's, which were far too clinical and sterile for me... The Epi Varitone really works for me (but only with aftermarket pickups)

The tele-type' tone' lever switch on the LPR does nothing at the moment , but I shall probably wire the dual humbuckers to select either single coils or humbucking. (or one of each) Maybe have to change the switch.

The original LPR phase switch is wired via the neck pickup and is probably a far too 'thin' a sound with a Varitone, and probably a bit excessive, except maybe with the Varitone in full bypass mode, for Peter Green sounds. We shall see. I think the refurb without a refin will be fine, especially for a 46 year-old geetar.
 
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strayedstrater

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I love that and wouldn't refinish.

Except for that one spot on the neck. It looks like it would feel annoying. Maybe spot fill that.

For the feel of the neck finish, after spot fill and smoothing, give the neck a really good buffing/polishing. That might improve the feel. If not then scuff sand the finish to a satin feel.

Try all that before thinking of refinishing the neck.

But the body has tons of character and charisma.
 

mudface

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Personally I would have kept it all original..... it’s your guitar.... do what thou wilt.....
 

ritchieburns

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Personally I would have kept it all original..... it’s your guitar.... do what thou wilt.....
Mmmm..
The original Gibby low impedance electrics were horrible and the tones virtually useless IMO.
I have very many geetars and just want something that's a joy to play instead of just living in its case forever, out of sight, out of mind, and never played..
It's a nice Gibson IMO and new, it cost more originally than a Black Beauty, (not that that makes it a great guitar) but I think as I don't want to sell it, I should give it a new lease of life and play it, and hopefully love it.

Also, I have the original Low-impedance wiring harness, switches, knobs, caps and filters, pickups and harmonica bridge.
Easy to convert it back to original condition with an afternoon's work, ( and the horrible original character-less sound :) if i wanted.. )
 
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ritchieburns

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I love that and wouldn't refinish.

Except for that one spot on the neck. It looks like it would feel annoying. Maybe spot fill that.

For the feel of the neck finish, after spot fill and smoothing, give the neck a really good buffing/polishing. That might improve the feel. If not then scuff sand the finish to a satin feel.

Try all that before thinking of refinishing the neck.

But the body has tons of character and charisma.
Thanks for the encouragement, and the pointers.. Much appreciated.
 
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truckermde

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I love that and wouldn't refinish.

Except for that one spot on the neck. It looks like it would feel annoying. Maybe spot fill that.

For the feel of the neck finish, after spot fill and smoothing, give the neck a really good buffing/polishing. That might improve the feel. If not then scuff sand the finish to a satin feel.

Try all that before thinking of refinishing the neck.

But the body has tons of character and charisma.
I'm with this guy :thumb:
 

mudface

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Mmmm..
The original Gibby low impedance electrics were horrible and the tones virtually useless IMO.
I have very many geetars and just want something that's a joy to play instead of just living in its case forever, out of sight, out of mind, and never played..
It's a nice Gibson IMO and cost more originally than a Black Beauty, (not that that makes it a great guitar) but I think as I don't want to sell it, I should give it a new lease of life and play it, and hopefully love it.

Also, I have the original Low-impedance wiring harness, switches, knobs, caps and filters, pickups and harmonica bridge.
Easy to convert it back to original condition with an afternoon's work, ( and the horrible original character-less sound :) if i wanted.. )
That is where me and you differ..... and it's absolutely fine.

I would never purchase a guitar that i found that had horrible and virtually useless tone..... then gut it and replace it's innards with stuff to make it sound like all my other guitars.

It's like buying a vintage Corvette and rebuilding it to be a Porsche because the vintage Vette doesn't handle like a Porsche. I find that just as confusing and hotrodders do it all the time:dunno:

Though the difference is you can restore your guitar back to original...... it's no longer untampered original..... it's restored.

But i will not knock you for committing to what you like...... like i said.... it's your guitar amigo.
 

ritchieburns

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Thanks for your comments.
I bought the LPR for around UK pounds 250, long ago, when I collected Gibsons, so I could hardly say no. (they were very unpopular then ) I immediately got it refretted by a luthier at Patrick Eggle's workshop as the frets were non-existent.
Previously I had a Santana-esque L6s for a while, and thought it a little similar, with the rear body -cutaway/chamfer etc. and similarly not very interesting Bill Lawrence pickups.

I bought the LPR , intentionally to make a different -sounding guitar out of it. (plus , it was also great price, even 25 or so years ago, when the UK pound was worth something)

I think that even with an Epi Varitone fitted, it will sound nothing like my Epi BB King. (the stacked humbuckers are very different to the Entwistles that I installed in the BB Epi) And really, notch filters and a choke are not much different sonically to Lester's 'Decade ' lo-imp circuit.

Really, with all of my guitars I want versatility, and none of them sound similar at all.
I want maybe BB King tones, and then Duane Allman or Duane Eddy, or Elvin Bishop or Clapton or Peter Green sounds, and then maybe Chet Atkins filtertron Gretschy-type sounds, and also full rhythm sounds..

I find that mixing and matching pickups and wiring and caps gives me that. I don't try to make much different guitars out of what I have, I try to keep them cosmetically virtually identical to original, but sonically much more versatile. I think that apart from solder joints, the guitar can easily be as original, (if I want it to be), and spend a few hours on it.))
 
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bum

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Leave it as it is, you can sell it and get something more to your liking. The ' horrible original character-less sound' is part of the guitar, someone else would love it and extract awesomeness out of it.
It's like complaining that a Tele sounds thin and trebly them putting humbuckers in it, well, congrats you now own a Gibson Sonex lol
 

mudface

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Leave it as it is, you can sell it and get something more to your liking. The ' horrible original character-less sound' is part of the guitar, someone else would love it and extract awesomeness out of it.
It's like complaining that a Tele sounds thin and trebly them putting humbuckers in it, well, congrats you now own a Gibson Sonex lol
I agree... there is musician for every instrument,... that instrument could have been could have been the ticket for a player who would of loved it's original factory tone.
 
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ritchieburns

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Leave it as it is, you can sell it and get something more to your liking. The ' horrible original character-less sound' is part of the guitar, someone else would love it and extract awesomeness out of it.
It's like complaining that a Tele sounds thin and trebly them putting humbuckers in it, well, congrats you now own a Gibson Sonex lol

I intend not to sell it, although my kids might want to when they inherit my collection..
I wonder why so few people play them then ( LPR's (say compared to the cheaper Black Beauty or Standard LP) (new prices in the 70's)) ? I think that the original IMO quite lifeless sounds are a pointer.

Tele with humbuckers? Ask Jeff Beck. That's why he swapped his Broadcaster with Seymour Duncan, I imagine. I have standard teles, and love the sounds, no problem. None have humbuckers just now, although some I've owned did once.
And I think that Les Paul would have had no problems either, severely modding the electrics. That's what he did for most of his life.


I can get all those sounds (above) , and more, ( and better sounds IMO) but in hi-impedance, and without the Shure mic-impedance changer, which was (is) a much better ' in line' transformer than the original LPR slide switch and cheaper impedance transformer..
I have little interest in plugging it into any of my desks, for the most part, and like pedals generally...

Similarly, I have no problems with owners who change their wiring to '50's specs, or if they want to, install different tone or bleed caps or push-pull phase switches, or install Jimmy Page selector switches, or de- wax potted humbuckers, or change their pickups.

They all (IMO) should make any LP-style guitar (or other) either much more versatile, or/and sound better. C'est la vie.
And the geetar can still look the same as original if I want it to.
What's 'under the hood' makes no difference to me at all, as long as I think it's an improvement.

I would also point out that my 'Gibson' pickups are not original. They are stacked hi-impedance humbuckers. (and excellent, which is why I had them made) and yes, I want to have the possibility of switching to single coils and P90-type sounds. (if I want to)
My aim is not much different to Les Paul's, except that for me, hi-impedance is the way to go.
 
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bum

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Sounds like you've got it all figured out then
 


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