The Canadian Guitar Forum banner
1 - 20 of 110 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This poor thing was on kijiji here in Ottawa at $1000 a few weeks back, then it was $600 or trades - I offered my trade expecting to have to add some cash - nope, trade accept with a direct swap! I met the guy the next day - great guy that really loved the guitar I was trading. I had a good look at the LPJ and he explained that he was told it was a Gold Top Studio, but he called Gibson with the S/N and they said sorry, its and LPJ. I hate it when people get ripped off like that... It was 'refinished' and relic'd when he got it, but he sanded the neck down to get rid of the sticky finish. more on that later...
I figured if the 61 Zebra pickups are OK, then I'm doing OK with this trade. I'm a terrible bargainer but I'm into this for about $350 so not a bad trade...

I knew what I was getting into - I could see it had been painted at least 3 times - silver, blue and then gold, all over the original finish. It looked rough with even a quick look, so I knew it needed to be fully stripped down to really get it back being a half decent guitar. I've refinished lots of furniture in my time, so I know how to do that fairly well.

So, once I got the guitar home and had a really good look at, well, I think the trade was pretty fair after all. It was over sanded on the sides and edges so badly the sides are not straight anymore and the maple top edge leans and rolls over in many spots. To top it off, the 'aging' was poorly done and left clear sanding marks into the maple. I'm not sure when all the sanding was done, but it was done extremely poorly. Taking the original nitro finish off shouldn't have been that hard.

The good part is that it sounds fine - to me at least it's better than the guitar I traded. The 'Zebra 61' pickups, as Gibson calls them, are fine. The hardware, although a bit off looking form being badly 'aged', is decent quality and overall the setup was good and neck and frets are OK. It feels like a Les Paul, which it should..

So, I'm into the first day of striping all that crap off and getting it into something with a decent finish on it, and maybe the right shape.
I'm hoping the pictures turn out OK...
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Some of the major boo boos are with the over sanded neck heel, and the rolled in edges on the front and back. Now maybe the rolled in edge is a 'feature' but I think a Les Paul should have sides that are 90 degrees to the back, and a slight round over to the back. And nice edge at the maple. This is over the top in bad sanding...

and, the fretboard has a little 'woops' in it where it meets the body near the cut away - let this be a warning to all those neck-sanders out there to put the 80 grit paper away and unplug that Ryobi!!
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I started with the Circa 1850 stripper this morning. Paint it on and scrape it off. repeat. Usually each colour coat comes off on it own, which it did here. Gold, then silver, then blue.
After gently scraping, use steel wool wetted with stripper on it, then stripper rubbed off with a cloth. Then sand lightly. By hand.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Here's where it sits now. Mostly stripped of the finish, but the residual stain from the factory is really in that maple and it's not coming out. The factory "LPJ14" can be seen again in the bridge route, confirming that it is an LPJ. Neck route says "HY" ?

My plan to make this a clear maple top is gone- I think I'll have to use a dark stain to even out the color on the top and on the neck. No plain maple neck either. :-( Originally it may have been a black or dark brown because what's left in the maple is purplish hue that is not coming out without a lot of sanding, as the guy who did the neck found out.... So I'll try to do something like a transparent black front, with a reddish brown back. Not a dark back, I really don't like that. The plan is to use the Emtec EM6000 water based lacquer from Lee Valley:
Emtech™ Water-Based Lacquer - Lee Valley Tools

If anyone has tips or pointers on this stuff, I'm all ears. My plan forward is shellac sealer, pore filler, shellac again then sand back. Then let it sit and think about what's next...
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Man, they trashed that poor guitar
Yup. But IT'S A LES PAUL with BURSTBUCKERS... hard for a sucker like me to pass up.

It hits the spindle sander tomorrow night to get the sides a bit straighter. I'm hoping that makes it looks a bit better and that it's still shaped like a Les Paul afterwords...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,155 Posts
Nice! Are you sure that those are Burstbuckers though? I had an LPJ and the p/u's were uncovered (like yours) and they were not BB's. My Studio Faded has BB's and they are a lot milder than the p/u's in my old LPJ. Great deal for you though! Have you considered making it a gold top again (but properly) and maybe with a dark back? That would look sweet!!! And since it's probably a heavy guitar anyway, what about a Bigsby? Or maybe a bridge with Piezo's for an acoustic sound? Since it's already been had at, I think it's a great candidate for something interesting like that...!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Nice! Are you sure that those are Burstbuckers though? I had an LPJ and the p/u's were uncovered (like yours) and they were not BB's. My Studio Faded has BB's and they are a lot milder than the p/u's in my old LPJ. Great deal for you though! Have you considered making it a gold top again (but properly) and maybe with a dark back? That would look sweet!!! And since it's probably a heavy guitar anyway, what about a Bigsby? Or maybe a bridge with Piezo's for an acoustic sound? Since it's already been had at, I think it's a great candidate for something interesting like that...!
The 2013s had the plastic covered 490R and T, the 2014 are BBs according to Gibson.
1961 Humbucker: A Classic Reborn

Construction looks the same as the BB1 and 2 I have on a shelf, except for the 4 wire cable, and the black/white bobbins. PAF sticker, and the lain looking white sticker with dates on it. And someone put covers on these at one point and soldered right next to the sticker, turning it black! Then they were taken off... not sure what the blue felt markings are...
I'm undecided about putting the Z61s back in , or the BB1 and 2. I essentially bought this guitar to put the BB1 and 2s into!!

It's actually not that heavy as these have the swiss cheese holes - my friends 2007 LP Classic was slightly heavier, but a much better guitar! This thing is now about a half pound lighter with all that paint taken off.

No gold top for me - the maple grain is a nice symmetric pattern you get when flat sawn, and the seam is right down the center. The back is 3 pieces and they look pretty nice. I was hoping for a 2000s Raw Power Standard look (there was one for sale here a few months back and I loved how it looked), but with that stain that's soaked into the maple it's going to be a transparent black instead. The back gets a clear finish.

Nice ideas with the Bigsby and all, but no trems for me.. I'm and 'old' man beginner player.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,362 Posts
Here's where it sits now. Mostly stripped of the finish, but the residual stain from the factory is really in that maple and it's not coming out. The factory "LPJ14" can be seen again in the bridge route, confirming that it is an LPJ. Neck route says "HY" ?

My plan to make this a clear maple top is gone- I think I'll have to use a dark stain to even out the color on the top and on the neck. No plain maple neck either. :-( Originally it may have been a black or dark brown because what's left in the maple is purplish hue that is not coming out without a lot of sanding, as the guy who did the neck found out.... So I'll try to do something like a transparent black front, with a reddish brown back. Not a dark back, I really don't like that. The plan is to use the Emtec EM6000 water based lacquer from Lee Valley:
Emtech™ Water-Based Lacquer - Lee Valley Tools

If anyone has tips or pointers on this stuff, I'm all ears. My plan forward is shellac sealer, pore filler, shellac again then sand back. Then let it sit and think about what's next...
The laquer is awesome, you cant really go wrong.
Excellent burn in.

Ive been spraying it with a cheapo critter sprayer from lee valley and getting acceptable results.
Watch the humidity lately, It seemed to take a long time to skin off- but the humidity around here was pushing 90%.

You could try a hand rubbed style burst on the front
Gibson's classic sunburst
You could hide a fair amount of sins with that.
Or stain it dark, that would actually look pretty cool.

Great job so far!
You've got your work cut out for you!

Nathan
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,931 Posts
I have an lpj that I gutted the pcb and put a different set of pickups in and it's the guitar I leave in the living room and probabaly play most often for some reason.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The laquer is awesome, you cant really go wrong.
Excellent burn in.

Ive been spraying it with a cheapo critter sprayer from lee valley and getting acceptable results.
Watch the humidity lately, It seemed to take a long time to skin off- but the humidity around here was pushing 90%.

You could try a hand rubbed style burst on the front
Gibson's classic sunburst
You could hide a fair amount of sins with that.
Or stain it dark, that would actually look pretty cool.

Great job so far!
You've got your work cut out for you!

Nathan
You mean the $25 plant bug sprayer?? If that works I'm doing it. My plan was to brush and wipe on which takes time but also leaves brush marks that have to be sanded out.

I found an excellent write up on that water based lacquer and it sounds like it's ideal for this application. Having each coat melt or chemically burn into the previous is absolutely needed. Thanks for the tip!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok I’m so wrong! Lee Valley actually has a spray gun called Critter... sells for $60.
They also sell a small HVLP gun for $130.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,107 Posts
Here's where it sits now. Mostly stripped of the finish, but the residual stain from the factory is really in that maple and it's not coming out. The factory "LPJ14" can be seen again in the bridge route, confirming that it is an LPJ. Neck route says "HY" ?

My plan to make this a clear maple top is gone- I think I'll have to use a dark stain to even out the color on the top and on the neck. No plain maple neck either. :-( Originally it may have been a black or dark brown because what's left in the maple is purplish hue that is not coming out without a lot of sanding, as the guy who did the neck found out.... So I'll try to do something like a transparent black front, with a reddish brown back. Not a dark back, I really don't like that. The plan is to use the Emtec EM6000 water based lacquer from Lee Valley:
Emtech™ Water-Based Lacquer - Lee Valley Tools

If anyone has tips or pointers on this stuff, I'm all ears. My plan forward is shellac sealer, pore filler, shellac again then sand back. Then let it sit and think about what's next...

This is like animal rescue and i’m wondering where to donate...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So I was googling about what finish the LPJ has and how to refinish it and I came across this:


I'm certain that it's the same guitar that I now have. So it had a matte nitro brown back and neck, that got sanded off and replaced with thick brown Varathane???

At 4 minutes in he starts sanding off the blue and silver and you can see how that turns out. so sad.
it's 3 parts!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
18,779 Posts
Thanks for a great thread with so many pics.
I'll try and watch the first part of 3 ...but I hate sad endings.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
So I got it onto the sander.. It's still shaped by a Les paul, just a mm or so smaller all around. OK, maybe 2 mm in a few spots. It was so roughly sanded before that that I had to sand until I got to the edge of the maple where it meets the mahogany, but I cannot sand to meet the top of the maple. In a few spots that was almost 5 or 6mm in from the sides. I need to round off the back and feather in the top edge of the maple. I also need to keep it shaped like a Les Paul.
I worked it on the sander in long even movements never sitting in one spot for long at all.
The bit near the neck is left..this would be much easier with the neck off. I swear that it's harder to refinish these then it to make them...but I cannot really say because I've never made one.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,485 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
All the unsanded parts that look all crazy wavy are left because it rolls in there way too much. I need to make the rollover uniform along the bottom edge and on the maple top, then those should go away. I hope...

I took some measurement to see where it sits relative to posted measurements for a "Les Paul" It's still close - smaller then a vintage correct body but looks to be in line with LPs from the 90s. The last pic is with the camera on zoom from about feet away. Does it still look like a Les Paul?

lowest wide point is 322mm
narrow waist is 181 mm
top wide point (switch to horn) is 238mm
end of fretboard to bottom 356mm
and 438mm longest point along the back

I ordered the Bartlett plans too - came across them searching for numbers and I can't believe this guy is a) in Canada b)really good at building guitars, c) sells full size prints for only $20 or so. I went to Staples few years ago and they wanted something like $45 to print out a Strat plans (I walked away..)

I also spent wayyy too much time lately reading through the Preeb LP build on TDPRI and the Barlett build on mylespaul… very inspiring, and lots of little tricks to learn from these experts.
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 110 Posts
Top