My 1952 altered and tortured Goldtop

pinefd

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Judging from the toggle switch cavity, it had a gold back originally.

Your pickups look like early 60's Gibson Patent number, so that guitar should sound terrific!

I would tidy it up a bit if I were you. reinstall the PU rings accurately, plug the hole in the top, reinstall Kluson tuners, correct truss rod cover, install a pickguard, old knobs, nickel hardware.

Live with that awhile, and THEN decide if you want to take it any further. :thumb:

Congrats, I love guitars with a history!

-eric
Great guitar! And I agree with Eric completely. I also think yours originally had a gold back, judging by the gold paint I see in the toggle switch cavity. It seems that when Gibson shot the gold on the backs of some of those early guitars, they did so over a sealed and lacquered natural finish. This makes it quite easy to remove the gold, leaving a natural looking back that looks original to the guitar (because it is). Here is a photo of the back of a '53 that I recently purchased, after gently stripping off the gold paint:



And here's the back of the neck, complete with headstock break. In fact, the back of the neck and headstock had already been re-painted once, and yet the original natural finish underneath is still mostly intact.




If I had your guitar, I'd do all the things Eric suggested above, except I'd take it quite a bit further. I'd also plug and re-drill for the tailpiece inserts, putting them in a more vintage accurate position. And I'd also have the guitar restored to a goldtop, which would put the finishing touches on on a nice '52/'57 conversion.

And for reference, check out the restoration of my '55: http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/vintage-les-pauls/157292-naked-no-more-55-goldtop-restoration-dj.html


Best of luck!


Frank
 

Ducati

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I am pretty sure not all. 1952 goldtops were all gold. Weren't two wood combinations available? Weren't the all gold boies a different wood combination? I was told something like that by someone.
Right, not all of them had the all gold finish. Most had natural backs but all gold finish shows up until at least 1956 on some Les Pauls. Very few Les Pauls were made without a maple top (all mahogany) but that was never a catalog option and I don't think there is any relation to the all gold finish.

A couple pictures of the control cavity will give us more info on your guitar.
 

jimi55lp

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No serial# were on any 1952 GTs. Can you post a photo of the inside of your rear control cavity from a couple of angles to show where the wires enter and exit? Can you take an accurate measurement of the distance between the neck binding and the screw hole for the pickguards mount, this is different for a 1952 model? Can we see a photo of the side end of the body at the strap button to see the trapeze mounts and ground wire channel? It would also be a very nice candidate for a total restoration?
 

Thermionik

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I would play her like I stole her..... :dude:
.....shortly after I stole her from you. :laugh2:
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Thermionik

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And if you want to go trapeze, I can recommend this:-






From MojoAxe - I was a doubter until I fitted it.....
 

1959lespaul

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Personally I would do a full blown restoration. I'm all for originality. Although I do absolutely LOVE the guitar the way it is. Must be an absolute killer of a guitar.
 

mapleflame

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Judging from the toggle switch cavity, it had a gold back originally.

Your pickups look like early 60's Gibson Patent number, so that guitar should sound terrific!

I would tidy it up a bit if I were you. reinstall the PU rings accurately, plug the hole in the top, reinstall Kluson tuners, correct truss rod cover, install a pickguard, old knobs, nickel hardware.

Live with that awhile, and THEN decide if you want to take it any further. :thumb:

Congrats, I love guitars with a history!

-eric
I concur. Doing a restoration on the guitar will cost a lot of money. It appears to have decent string height, but could be lower. Installing larger frets would help in that area. I can help you with suggestions on aftermarket parts. Actually they aren't cheap either. great guitar to work with.
 

jimi55lp

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The measurement between the neck binding and the screw hole for the pickguard mount will tell it all?
 

Droog

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Great story. If the guitar plays great maybe tidy it up plug the hole, get a professional refinish done if you're ambitious, but I'd leave it as is, just I'd plug the hole.
 

d1m1

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i bet that piece of wood sounds kick a$$!!!:thumb:
 

libtech

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That thingies sweet, if it were me I'd get it refined and get some good quality repro plastics, make it look like a nice 57 :)

Hows the neck angle and string height?
 

sikoniko

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do you have any pics with the fantasia paintjob? I'd love to see it!
 

rialcnis

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here I am...still contemplating my guitar. haven't done a thing to it yet. there is a well know luthier nearby...planning to visit him at least to fix the obvious.

Around the same time I wrote the op, my elderly mother broke her leg and I became 27/7 caregiver, she is still alive and kicking and 96 yrs old. I am playing it more than I was when I first posted.

reread all the comments again and considering options.

thx
 
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rialcnis

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do you have any pics with the fantasia paintjob? I'd love to see it!
do you have any pics with the fantasia paintjob? I'd love to see it!
I think I have one in a Tupperware box...I have so many storage boxes I hope it turns up. The fantasia scene was like the scene in fantasia when Goddess Diana in the dark blue sky on a field of stars. she shoots an arrow. the guitar looked so incredible with the gold hardware. no pick guard...

let's see, my op was 6 yrs ago?...funny how time flies.
 

dwagar

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Lots of good advice in this thread.

First up I'd get the binding repaired, and a refret if the frets are toast.
Then everything Eric listed.
I'd get the top refinished to a GT.

And be happy you never sold this guitar over the years.
 

lpfan1980

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Tell me what you think. The back and neck are original. Over the years people have advised me to do this and that to it and of course people have tried to buy it from me, usually to convert it etc.
Thanks for sharing this well loved piece of history dont let anyone convert it its perfect the way it is. :thumb:
 

lpfan1980

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I'd do this. If you're going to get new gold hardware, I'd look for vintage correct reproduction pieces or even real vintage. Only things I would change would be the tailpiece, bridge, and studs. But if you like how your guitar sounds now, I wouldn't bother changing it unless the look bothered you. Besides, you may have some real old vintage stuff installed there already since it rings so well. If the tuners are working fine I'd leave those alone as well.

Definitely paint it how it was, and get your wiring set up just how you like it. Besides what you're planning, I'd get three screws for the pick up rings two for the neck, one for the bridge, and a toggle switch back plate (three additional screws needed) and be done.

I'm not a fan of having fret work done or cleaning the fret board, but if it's bothering your playing I'd get some fret dressing done. If tuning issues are becoming a problem your nut or bridge saddles may need to be tended to. Otherwise keep playing it mate.

Some people here are obsessed with having to have every guitar vintage correct in every aspect and restored to its original glory. You don't seem to fit that style of thinking so be wary, it's your guitar. Also, don't sell it.
Spuruce it up if needed but keep it and enjoy it.
 


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