1953/59 Les Paul Conversion - The Best Ever?

Discussion in '"Vintage" Instruments' started by jumping@shadows, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. jumping@shadows

    jumping@shadows Member

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    [​IMG]

    Hi all, some of you may know my custom restoration work on issues vintage Gibson’s, with a particular focus on Burst Conversions, and may even follow me on Instagram under ‘playergradevintage’ :)

    I thought I’d share my most recent completed conversion as it’s arguably the best original flame top example I’ve been ever seen or heard of, and comfortably in ‘Uber Burst’ territory rivalling the absolute best of original ‘58-‘60 Sunburst LP Standards.

    I found this as a poorly refinished husk with a litany of apparently random screw holes and wood damage, no parts and completely non functioning.

    I’ll buy pretty much any ‘50s/‘60s issues Gibson, so this was a no brainer as a boogered but unbroken Les Paul, but what immediately caught my eye was the tantalising suggestion of a heavily flamed two piece top rippling beneath the crappy refin:

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    Needless to say, I had high hopes for what I might discover upon stripping..

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    But nothing prepared me for what was revealed:

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    This is flat out the most eye popping original two piece flame top EVER, and just off the chart in depth, variation and chatoyance and it was obvious this was destined to be the absolute poster child of conversions.

    After some pretty challenging cosmetic wood repairs, I set about the conversion/finishing process as follows:

    Plugging the P90 cavities ready for humbucker routes:

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    Humbucker routes complete, and various holes filled, and prep sanded ready for pore filling and sanding sealer coats:

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    Quick mock up with parts:

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    Sanding sealer complete, ready for polishing out for colour coats:

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    Anline Yellow base coat, ready for bursting:

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    Aniline sunburst shot:

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    Mocked up before amber coats:

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    Amber coats complete, and polished out- and it’s ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!

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    Fully assembled:

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    To me this has every bit the visual impact and excitement as any original ‘59 ‘Uber Burst’, and to know it came from such humble beginnings is even more gratifying, and I hope some of you have enjoyed the process :)
     

    Attached Files:

  2. 67blackcherry

    67blackcherry Supporting Member

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    The “Like” button just isn’t enough for that....
    The top, the fact that it’s factory and the surprise when you uncovered it, and last but not least your workmanship.

    How surprised were you when you saw that top?!??
     
    Rod, EarleG, secndshft and 1 other person like this.
  3. simonm

    simonm Member

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    Your work is impressive, but as a P90+wraptail lover, this is where you left me.
     
  4. 67blackcherry

    67blackcherry Supporting Member

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    I see both sides of the coin, but that top.....

    OP - hypothetical question....if you were just planning on restoring this back to a P90 wraptail and you saw that top, would that change your mind about a conversion?

    Also - what if it was a client’s, would you advise going the conversion route?
     
    massacre and cmatthes like this.
  5. Jaguarguy

    Jaguarguy Supporting Member

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    Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for bringing this guitar back for another 70 years!
     
  6. asintoras

    asintoras Member

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    Ha! Same here... Incredible top, but as an architect, I just find extremely irritating that the center seam is not exactly at the center!

    What about the sound? I presume you changed the neck angle?
     
    skisquash likes this.
  7. cjp54

    cjp54 Member

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    Wow! Stunning and the right decision in my opinion!!
     
    jumping@shadows and pepedede like this.
  8. beezer

    beezer Member

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    Absolutely gorgeous !
     
    jumping@shadows likes this.
  9. GAD

    GAD Wubbalubbadubdub

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    That is smokin'!
     
    jumping@shadows likes this.
  10. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    Where do you find these?
     
    deech54, jiml and 67blackcherry like this.
  11. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

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    I would normally prefer an early gold top to a Burst, but that top... Great work as always!
     
  12. jumping@shadows

    jumping@shadows Member

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    Many ‘60 Bursts have ‘centre’ seams running almost as far off as the G string, so it has historical precedent ;-)

    I’m yet to get into pickup selection, and need to refret, but it’s lightweight and dry as a bone, so have very expectation it’ll sound very good indeed
     
    Peppy likes this.
  13. zhivago

    zhivago Member

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    It looks amazing, Yuuki! Another work of art! :)
     
  14. Blix

    Blix Supporting Member

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    Damn! The only vintage Les Paul I've tried was a 54/59 conversion, it was unreal.
     
  15. Gilky

    Gilky Gold Supporting Member

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    A stunning piece of wood, well done.
     
  16. drewl

    drewl Member

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    Damn, another beaut!
     
  17. scotticus

    scotticus Supporting Member

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    Wow, gorgeous! Thanks for posting.
     
  18. drewl

    drewl Member

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    So the P90 cut outs are actually in a different spot and in some places larger than that for the humbuckers, hmm.

    What did you use to get the original finish off.
    I guess you know what to look for in terms of what the original wood would look like, if it would be that nice.

    The way it looks when it was stripped before painting, is hard to believe it's the same guitar.
     
  19. jiml

    jiml Supporting Member

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  20. Cody

    Cody Well, look who’s undead! Silver Supporting Member

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    Fantastic top, fantastic color!

    :dude
     

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