´50s Les Paul conversion

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by acicuecalo, May 20, 2008.

  1. acicuecalo

    acicuecalo Member

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    Hi all,
    I have a 54 Les paul with changed electronics that was refinished sometime ago (before I was the owner) It is a resonant guitar and sounds good, but I have been thinking lately that maybe I could try to send it somewhere so that they can do a 59 conversion, as this is not a vintage collectable guitar as is, and I would love to have the closest thing to a 59 Les Paul I can afford.
    Do you think this is a good idea?
    Where/who would you send it to?
    Anyone has done something like this? How did the result turn out?
    thanks for your help
     
  2. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    Chris Mirabella,possibly...he's done a few.
    Terry Mueller
    Tom Murphy
    Johan Gustavvson
    Dave Johnson
    Scott Lentz
    did I leave anyone who's good at this off the list?
     
  3. Robertito

    Robertito Member

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    If it were me I'd take a look at the Les Paul Forum. The members there have several conversions, and they seem to know who to take it to in order to have it done. You might have some luck, if you can manage to register (I couldn't).
     
  4. Navigator

    Navigator Supporting Member

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    +1 on the lespaulforum.com. There's a whole lot of Les Paul info there on conversions and others. Mirabella is one name, Dave Johnson is another, but I think there are a number of guys who have reputations for doing this kind of work well. There are a number of threads on conversions you can check out over there with pics of the guitars. If you have any trouble signing up, let me/us know. I'd be happy to start a thread asking the question for you, and you could always check out the responses. You're lucky to have the '54. Best of luck with the conversion!
     
  5. paulg

    paulg Supporting Member

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    Yuk! Don't do it. Restore it to original. Buy a reissue if you want a sunburst LP. I'm serious, why do conversions somehow pass as an acceptable reason to bastardize an old Les Paul? I saw some photos of LP Specials being converted into carved top standards? WTF!!
     
  6. dunara

    dunara Member

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    What he said!

    Leave it alone and get yourself an R9 :nono
     
  7. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    ...but it's already been bastardized
     
  8. stark

    stark Supporting Member

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    Refin is not a bastardization. Routing pickups and tailpieces, broken headstocks, these are true F'ups. Send it to Murphy and you will have a very valuable vintage instrument which will look and play as good as anything. I'd invest in a good fret job.

    Adam Stark
     
  9. acicuecalo

    acicuecalo Member

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    I should add that the guitar is a Les Paul Jr that already was modified when I got it (tunomatic bridge plus stop tailpiece, changed pickups, tuner, and pickguard).
    I have seen conversion guitars prices and they too look to me as valuable guitars. Don´t they hold their value in the vintage market? Anyway I have no clue as to how much I will have to invest to have the conversion. How much do you think it will cost?

    I am really looking for a player. I am looking for sound and feel, and I thought that the conversion would get me closer than a R9 After another thread I started I have been trying all different kinds of reissues (R9, signatures, heritage, VOS, historics) and although some of them really look spectacular and a couple of those feel great, none had the vibe and sound of a real vintage guitar (at least to me...).
     
  10. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    Talk to HeeBGB, he had his junior done at Lays ( I think that's the name) and is came out great, that guitar was BuTcHeRED really bad prior to them restoring it.
    He also has a 59 conversion going on and that thing was a nightmare of a guitar.

    Don't rush into this one, do your homework. A conversion done properly can be worth a lot of coin.
     
  11. Jagsound

    Jagsound Member

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    If you need a set of late 50's PAFs they will cost you upwards of $5k and you can get an R9 for that price!

    There was a very good set of PAFs on the bay with an opening bid of $12k recently, don't know if they sold or not. But I did also see some for around $5k that were a bit hashed out, put some aged covers on them and assuming they sounded good they would have looked the part.

    A good way to get 50's PAFs is from an ES-175 or something like that, then you can put some boutique pickups in the ES and re-sell it, maybe get a fair bit of the purchase price back (maybe).

    Conversion prices are high because people want that late 50's magical wood and pickups, and they cost a lot to make!
     
  12. dtube

    dtube Member

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    What all is involved in a conversion? Being a Tele/Strat guy, I'm not up on Les Paul stuff at all (although I'm starting to get the itch for a Custom in Wine Red).
    -Darren
     
  13. pinefd

    pinefd Member

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    Whether you have it restored to original specs, or do a '59 conversion, I'd go with Dave Johnson in a heartbeat. It will take a while, because he's got quite a backlog right now, but there's a good reason for that...he's the best (IMO). Good luck, and keep us posted!
     
  14. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    You might look up Brian Monte outside Montreal, also. Dave Johnson is certainly supposed to be good. Don't think Scott Lentz is doing that sort of work anymore, but you can always ask.
    There is a lot of work ($$) involved in converting a Junior to a Burst, and it's arguable if you are ever going to get it right (i.e. a convincing replica).
    I would skip the PAF's and just stick in some good modern equivalents, unless you know of a set that sounds great and is for sale. Most PAF's up for sale are so-so, IMO.
     
  15. shuie

    shuie Member

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    Its worth your time to register at the Les Paul Forum. IMHO, its absolutely not worth converting a guitar like this to '57-'60 spec unless you have the right pickups and parts. The pickups not less than half of the magic of these guitars and while some of the boutique guys make nice sounding stuff, there is no modern equivalent to a PAF or early patent sticker pickup that I have ever heard. There are plenty of these conversions out there that are already completed that you could look into buying also.
     
  16. George Johnson

    George Johnson Member

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    Why would one do a '59 conversion on a Junior?
     
  17. shuie

    shuie Member

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    Thats going to be a tough one. I've seen a special converted, and honestly, Im not sure how the luthier pulled that off. I guess it could be done, but there is probably a better way. I'd sell the junior and buy a completed conversion.
     
  18. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    A special is less work than a Junior. The logo is already there, the silkscreening can be rubbed off or redone. Binding on neck is already there on a Special. The control cavity on a Special is mostly there on a Special, whereas the Junior has to be redone.
    There are still "issues" on a Special, but less than on a Junior.
     
  19. shuie

    shuie Member

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    The body is also a lot thinner once you thickness sand the radius off of the top. I've seen this compensated for with a thicker maple top, but its still not enough to make it look right. The thing I couldnt figure out on the special conversion is how the luthier ever got the neck joint area in the cutaway to look right. A Junior would have the same issue. Something has to be moved, or shaved down so that its all flush, and I cant see how it could be cleanly without either a new neck or a different body. People have done it, I just never figured out how.
     
  20. HurricaneJesus

    HurricaneJesus Member

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    Honestly, there'll be so much new wood and new paint how could it really have this 'vintage vibe' the kids tell me about? I'd say have it restored or sell it as-is to fund your next zany scheme.
     

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