To restore or not to restore....?

cmjohnson

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I have come into possession of a 1959 Gibson Melody Maker, in sunburst finish, which unfortunately has been hacked out by an idiot with a dremel tool, to fit two humbuckers into it, quite a few years ago.

The "routing" is as bad as you can imagine.

The guitar currently has no pickups of any kind.

Aside from the hacked-in pickup routs, the condition of the guitar is overall very good.

It does include its original brown alligator skin patterned case complete with Gibson bronze stamped badge on the cover for the accessory pocket
inside the case. The case is in very good shape indeed, and seems to have substantial value by itself.

I'm faced with tthree choices to make:

1: Restore it to be as close to original as possible. I'm absolutely able to cut out the pickup routs to precision dimensions, lay in exactly fitted plugs made of grain matching mahogany, and re-route for its original pickup configuration and I'm confident I can do a nice job matching up the finish in the patched area. Then sell it.

2: Sell it as is. Let the next person make the "to restore or not to restore" question his own to answer.


3: Reinstall humbuckers in it and sell it as a player rather than a collector's piece.

It's not a type of guitar that I personally would get a lot of use out of. And there are additional reasons why selling it is the sensible choice.

I know you want to see pictures. I'll get some posted tomorrow.
 

LuthierVandross

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If you are already on the fence about resto or not, but aren’t going to get a lot of use out of it, why bother? Why not take that time, effort and energy to put toward something you want and will keep for awhile?
 

cmjohnson

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I'm trying to figure out if it'll be worth my effort to do the restoration work myself.

It has a certain value "as is".

How will my repair/restoration work affect that value?

I'm not worried about charging myself for my time. I would ENJOY the restoration work, if I decide to do it.

I'm just trying to figure out if by doing so I add value to it. Or if I should leave it alone for someone else to make that decision.

I respect old guitars like this. I don't want to do any additional harm to it.
 

cmjohnson

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I'll get some pictures posted tomorrow. Literally can't do it tonight.
 

warprider

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If I were in your shoes I'd either rat rod it and put a pickup/pickups in leaving it as is but playable. It'd be disappointing to take that away after whatever the hell it's been through.

If I was on the fence about keeping it I wouldnt put the work in. I'd pass that to the buyer, which if I was I'd purchase it as is. I prob wouldn't look at a restoration if I was in the market.

Pics please.
 

Dark Horse

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If it doesn't have any sentimental value to you and you aren't going to play it then just save yourself the time and money and sell it as is. Unless of course you think you can make more by selling it after doing the work on it.

Sounds like installing humbuckers would be the easiest option and selling it as a player rather than a collectors piece. I am guessing a collector would notice the repair work anyway if you installed pick ups and filled the gaps.
 

Caretaker

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Either take on the project as a hobby and enjoy the process and re evaluate when completed(keep or sell).
OR, get 2 humbucker from hell or Phat Cat pickups and set it up as a player.
 

bfglp

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Sell it to someone who wants restoration project or hotrod
 

mdittman

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I recently had the same thing except it looked like the person used a full pocket knife instead of a Dremel. They also expanded the control cavity. I had a new larger pickguard made an put in a pair of black label mini humbuckers I had laying around and now it fantastic. Don't sell it short. It can be a great guitar.
IMG_20201017_145022627_copy_1159x2447.jpg
 

Bobby Mahogany

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Life is short.
If there would be pleasure and satisfaction for you to restore it and at least get a small profit
from your hours of work, do it. It's cool that you have what it takes to bring that guitar back.

If it's more of a "meh..." feeling, sell it as is. No point in installing pickups and making it
more expensive for someone who would prefer different pickups or would look to restore it.
:thumb:

Oh... and pics aren't loading...
:rofl:
 

efstop

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A lot of the '59s were modified with a different pickup, as the original pickup wasn't much, and neither was the one in the 2007 reissue. It was a cheap guitar, a Gibson best seller, worth modding, and an original '59 is likely the cheapest old Gibson solid body you can buy, maybe $3600-ish (Reverb.)

I can't say what a rebuilt one might be worth, but it's only original once.

That said, I like my 2007 reissue, and like it more since I replaced the slug half of a humbucker with a lipstick pickup. It's very close to a '59 in construction.
 

cmjohnson

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Actually it's a '60 by the serial number. Two pickups originally. Overall condition is amazing other than the butchery done to it.

I am waiting for my phone picture upload to show up in my email....
 

cmjohnson

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The back...clearly the finish is in great shape overall. Not a lot of wear on this one.

The routed hacks are really a shame considering the condition of it otherwise.

IMG_3620_sm.jpg
 


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