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  1. #41
    Formerly dmartinez rufes's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by loufed52 View Post
    I wouldn't retop it. No matter what, the old wood is gone from the top.
    I am with you. No problem with refinishes but I don't like retops

    However it is his guitar and he is doing a great job on it
    Old guitars please

  2. #42
    Les Paul Forum Member VintageWoodWorkshop's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    I admit I cringed when I saw that you were re-topping it but it will definitely be an amazing guitar when finished with your skill level and tools. I would have liked to see you patch it back up and do a 52/57 with goldtop (although I know the gold paint is another layer of complexity in its own right). Regardless, it will great to see how this progresses....keep posting and thanks!

  3. #43
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by TW59 View Post
    Are you going to retop the 60 next?
    And convert it to a 52' GT, that's the ticket! " Be the first one on your block to have your son sent home in a box "

  4. #44
    Formerly Lefty Elmo Steve Craw's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Electric Lloyd View Post
    Boogie on Guitar,
    I think you're doing the LPF an honor by sharing this project. And it takes a set of balls to keep sharing, in spite of the nay-sayers. It's your guitar. Many of us can tell by your impressive skills, that the choice you have made "with YOUR guitar" will come out fantastic. Good luck & please keep us posted! It's looking absolutely killer!
    +1 ! He's not taking a pristine museum piece and changing it, he's converting an already boogered guitar, that belong to HIM. I find this thread interesting for the display of woodworking talent involved, but if I were the OP, I'd tell the lot of you to kiss off!(I'm being polite)

  5. #45
    loufed52
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Anyone that's been here longer than 2 minutes knows that this type of repair work will polarize the membership.

    I'm sure that the OP knows it too, and probably expected some difference of opinion.

    Will it be a great guitar? Maybe.

    But is it really a vintage LP now?

    You decide.

  6. #46
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by loufed52 View Post
    Anyone that's been here longer than 2 minutes knows that this type of repair work will polarize the membership.

    I'm sure that the OP knows it too, and probably expected some difference of opinion.

    Will it be a great guitar? Maybe.

    But is it really a vintage LP now?

    You decide.
    IMO the OP's 1952 Les Paul ceased being a collectable vintage guitar when it was re-necked with a 1970's Norlin neck. That repair took beyond the point of no return for most collectors. Essentially all that was left was a chopped up Goldtop body of questionable value. So where is the big loss to the pool of collectable vintage guitars?

  7. #47
    loufed52
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    IMO the OP's 1952 Les Paul ceased being a collectable vintage guitar when it was re-necked with a 1970's Norlin neck. That repair took beyond the point of no return for most collectors. Essentially all that was left was a chopped up Goldtop body of questionable value. So where is the big loss to the pool of collectable vintage guitars?
    I don't see anyone saying that it's collectible.

    I don't see it as being a "conversion" either, not as I would define it, and there are others here that see it that way too.

    As I pointed out, there will be differences of opinion when old wood is being removed, especially since he's putting a vintage neck on it.

    Why put a vintage neck on it if authenticity isn't an issue?

  8. #48

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    I understand the feelings of the anti-retop brigade, but the subject has been discussed to death and there's no going back now. With this in mind, can't we just sit back and watch the OP do his work?

    He has explained in pretty straightforward terms why he is doing what he is doing (in his previous thread I believe), and the negative comments are serving no further purpose except to dissuade the OP from sharing the experience any further. The guitar was only half a 50's goldtop before Boogie started, and was a million miles from being in collectible condition. The reasons for not restoring it to '52 specs have also been discussed.

    Bottom line is, it's the OP's guitar and he can do what he likes with it. If anyone else wanted to "save" this guitar they should have ponied up at auction time, not waited 'til now to dictate what should and shouldn't be done with it. Rant over folks, peace!

  9. #49

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    [quote=loufed52;2201915]I don't see it as being a "conversion" either, not as I would define it, and there are others here that see it that way too.[quote]

    What does it matter if it can or can't be called a "conversion". It's going to be the guitar that the OP wants, and he can call it anything he likes, no?

  10. #50

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by loufed52 View Post
    Will it be a great guitar?
    Have you seen his previous work? That would suggest an affirmative answer to that question. (Sorry Lou, I'm not picking on you in particular)

  11. #51

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Electric Lloyd View Post
    Boogie on Guitar,
    it takes a set of balls to keep sharing, in spite of the nay-sayers.
    It doesn't bother me, I have thick skin.

    Quote Originally Posted by loufed52 View Post

    Will it be a great guitar? Maybe.

    But is it really a vintage LP now?
    Yes, I'm planning on making this a great player guitar.

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    IMO the OP's 1952 Les Paul ceased being a collectable vintage guitar when it was re-necked with a 1970's Norlin neck. That repair took beyond the point of no return for most collectors. Essentially all that was left was a chopped up Goldtop body of questionable value. So where is the big loss to the pool of collectable vintage guitars?
    This is exactly my position on the guitar and I couldn't have stated it any better! Here is my take and why I bought the guitar. I love old wood and this will be my 8th conversion (or variation). I have had renecks/veneer top/retop/stock 50's with TOM & stop tail/plug P90's & route out for PAF's. I look at the stupid money ($18K) people have paid for the Pearly Gates LP's. IMOP they are nothing but a glorified reissue built with wrong woods, glues, inlays ...... I paid $3,200. for this guitar, sold $800. of existing parts. I now have $2,400. plus $200. for a 50's neck I have been keeping for just the right project. For $2,600. I will now have a 50's body, 50's Lifton case, 50's neck with original Brazilian fingerboard and inlays. I use hide glue for all of the construction like Gibson did in the 50's. To top off the old wood I have a killer vintage looking Michigan flame maple top. Gibson also used Michigan grown maple in the 50's LP's. If nothing else it should be a great guitar to gig with and for under $3K. What's not to love about this?

  12. #52
    Les Paul Forum Member J.D.'s Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Nice work.

    My first impression, honest question and not meant to be disrespectful, is why not just make an entire guitar from scratch? Seems like an awful lot of work to save a Mahogany back. JMHO.

  13. #53
    Les Paul Forum Member pinefd's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by J.D. View Post
    Nice work.

    My first impression, honest question and not meant to be disrespectful, is why not just make an entire guitar from scratch? JMHO.
    Who says he hasn't?


    Frank

  14. #54
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Thanks for taking the time to post the pics and progress reports. Goodness knows you're not oblidged to.

    I tinker on projects of much smaller scales but seeing these builds/conversions provides motivation and many tips! Thansk again, and looking great!
    Otherwise known as Grant.

  15. #55
    Les Paul Forum Member J.D.'s Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by pinefd View Post
    Who says he hasn't?


    Frank
    Nobody.

    Point is the guitar as-is had value, and there is a considerable amount of lost value and labor to get that body free of the rest of the guitar. Slabs of lightweight Mahogany are available to start a build from scratch.

    I know it's his guitar blah blah blah so please don't waste your time with that response

  16. #56
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Is there any reasonable way to remove the old top and save it?
    Could be used to restore or patch another?
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

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  17. #57

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by TW59 View Post
    Is there any reasonable way to remove the old top and save it?
    Could be used to restore or patch another?
    I have asked several guys who have been in the business 35 years plus and nobody says it can be done. I thought about making a jig and then using a .032 bandsaw blade and cut it off. It would have to be a large band saw that can cut up to 14". One slip and you could loose both the body and top.

    Here is how I make a bookmatched top. Grab a chunk of 6/4 Michigan flame maple.


    Cut it to 20" and run it thru my bandsaw. I made a jig that holds it steady at 90 degrees and the saw curf is .032


    Run each half thru my router table to straight line and remove the saw curf.


    Glue up the two pieces.


    Run the top blanks thru a drum sander and finish it to 11/16". You now have a booked matched top ready to use.

  18. #58
    loufed52
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Boogie, Jim I believe your name is, it seems that I'm getting flamed more than you are, which is fine with me.

    I don't really care if anyone likes what I have to say in this context, and it seems that you don't either, which I respect.

    I also respect your obvious skills, and your right to do your project as you see fit.

    I've restored some excellent guitars for some ridiculously cheap money too, so we're on the same wavelength there.

    I just can't reconcile (in my mind) removing old wood from a vintage Gibson for the purpose of improving the cosmetics.

    My approach would have been different; I would have put on the vintage neck and decided if I liked the tone and feel of it before doing anything so radical.

    Now there's no way to know if the guitar is tonally better or worse than what you would have had with the vintage neck on it.

    Good luck to you, and I hope that you are satisfied with the results.

  19. #59

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by TW59 View Post
    Is there any reasonable way to remove the old top and save it?
    Could be used to restore or patch another?
    A restorer could do it I bet. Take the binding off, hold the body in a jig, make a fixture to hold enough infra red lamps to evenly heat the top. Hook the fixture up to a variac, get a long thin piece of robust of steel the width of the body like a long hack saw blade with the teeth ground off. Heat the top up slowly and evenly, start an edge up with a thin parting knife and work the blade under the top. Once you get enough heat stored up in the body it would likely come off. It would take time and patience but most people would probably say f$&@ it after a half hour and sand the top off.

    I never tried it though. Maybe the large surface area is too much to draw a knife through? But it seems like it could be done.

  20. #60
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by boogieongtr View Post
    I have asked several guys who have been in the business 35 years plus and nobody says it can be done. I thought about making a jig and then using a .032 bandsaw blade and cut it off. It would have to be a large band saw that can cut up to 14". One slip and you could loose both the body and top.
    Thanks. I assumed that was the case.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
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  21. #61
    Les Paul Forum Member MikeScalf's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Just wondering.....is this now a part Gibson/Part Replica Les Paul?
    -


    I'm not a pessimist, I'm an optimist with a reality check!

  22. #62
    Les Paul Forum Member JP'59's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    boogieongtr - your skill set is incredible. I like what you have done and envy your talent with wood. can't wait to see the end results!

  23. #63
    Les Paul Forum Member MapleFlame's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by loufed52 View Post
    Boogie, Jim I believe your name is, it seems that I'm getting flamed more than you are, which is fine with me.

    I don't really care if anyone likes what I have to say in this context, and it seems that you don't either, which I respect.

    I also respect your obvious skills, and your right to do your project as you see fit.

    I've restored some excellent guitars for some ridiculously cheap money too, so we're on the same wavelength there.

    I just can't reconcile (in my mind) removing old wood from a vintage Gibson for the purpose of improving the cosmetics.

    My approach would have been different; I would have put on the vintage neck and decided if I liked the tone and feel of it before doing anything so radical.

    Now there's no way to know if the guitar is tonally better or worse than what you would have had with the vintage neck on it.

    Good luck to you, and I hope that you are satisfied with the results.
    I agree with you to the tee. There is no way anyone can convince me that the new top will sound as good as the old one.
    Top carves are sexy

  24. #64

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Today I will do the neck tenon . I have a sled that I use with my OH pin router for all of my milling applications. I use several templates that I attach to the bottom of the sled. All templates are indexed with the two dowl pins. I'll attach the template for the neck tenon.



    The sled is set level.


    I shim up the body so the neck angle is at zero and clamp it down.


    I lined up the body so when I routed out the new neck pocket it would be close to the old one. I did OK, you can see I split the holes I drilled to steam out the old 70's neck.


    Job completed, a perfect 4 degree neck angle.

  25. #65

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by MapleFlame View Post
    There is no way anyone can convince me that the new top will sound as good as the old one.
    Steve, I wish you lived closer so you could hear for your self how great a retop sounds. Until you hear one you'll never know and are just making a logical assumption.

  26. #66
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    I'd be willing to believe that a retop could sound better, but the odds are likely in favor of the original top. Good hide glue, very dry piece of the right maple could do it--and you get the added bonus of a good looking center seam.

    Is this one of those pre-carved tops from up north?

  27. #67
    Les Paul Forum Member MapleFlame's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by boogieongtr View Post
    Steve, I wish you lived closer so you could hear for your self how great a retop sounds. Until you hear one you'll never know and are just making a logical assumption.
    I have on many occasions both on 50's LP's and 68's. It's not just that, it's the people at Gibson that did the work during those times that I want to be kept alive. Not just about the wood for me, it's more than that.
    Top carves are sexy

  28. #68
    Les Paul Forum Member MapleFlame's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    I'd be willing to believe that a retop could sound better, but the odds are likely in favor of the original top. Good hide glue, very dry piece of the right maple could do it--and you get the added bonus of a good looking center seam.

    Is this one of those pre-carved tops from up north?
    No he does the recarve himself. That's why we are all complimenting him with all the setup he has, I may not like the retop, but I am impressed with all the research and work that has been done to achieve the process.
    Top carves are sexy

  29. #69
    Les Paul Forum Member keef's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Do I see SEVEN unfinished Les Paul bodies in one of the photos? You must be a full time luthier.

    Man - I can't even glue two pieces of paper together. Your skills are amazing.

  30. #70
    Les Paul Forum Member sapi's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Can't wait to see the finished project... all hail to boogie!
    ~ Shanti ~

    "Without the buzz and the feel, we can go to sleep..."

  31. #71
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    I'd be willing to believe that a retop could sound better, but the odds are likely in favor of the original top. Good hide glue, very dry piece of the right maple could do it--and you get the added bonus of a good looking center seam.

    Is this one of those pre-carved tops from up north?

    I agree and also add that by starting with a "clean" precision crafted body with accurate routes and neck set angle, the guitar restoration process avoids the pitfalls of using an old mangled body in poor condition, which most likely would require substantial neck pocket work, plugs, and shims. An analogy would be something like renovating an old house with a poor foundation. If you don't correct the faulty foundation properly, the remaining restoration work above the foundation will never be satisfactory. The two are intrinsically linked.

    It stands to reason that the final product will possess a much tighter neck fit, superior neck/body coupling, and proper angle to the body, than you could achieve by using the old mangled body, requiring substantial neck joint prep and shims. I believe these factors and other intangibles will contribute to outstanding tone in the final analysis.

  32. #72
    Les Paul Forum Member Otto 57's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Wait you lost me. In those pics the body is not the old '52 body. Where is the old body with the new top?

  33. #73

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    what this boils down to IMO is finding a piece of '50s mahogany and building a guitar with it using an old neck.

    Interesting no doubt, but painful to see those pics of an intact '50s les paul body going into that planer and coming out beheaded.

    youch!

    I guess the fact that you already have a burst makes you think a little different.

  34. #74
    Formerly dmartinez rufes's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Otto 57 View Post
    Wait you lost me. In those pics the body is not the old '52 body. Where is the old body with the new top?
    The body is out. Finally he's just keeping the strings






    Sorry, could not resist
    Last edited by rufes; 10-28-10 at 10:23 AM.
    Old guitars please

  35. #75
    Les Paul Forum Member Raw Materials's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Great Job Boogie!!!

    "Cutting the man down for retopping?? PUH-lease!! He already has at least one burst and a 1957 GT, I think he knows what is best for HIS guitars people!!

    Of course your getting flamed more than he is! Geez.

    Pretty soon the "sour grapes brigade" will begin posting again because your excellent skills are garnering more attention than they are!!

    Thank you for not only SAVING that vintage axe, but for showing us how you go about your wonderful restorations!

    BRAVO!!!


  36. #76

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Thank you everyone for the encouragement and kind words. Next up is to bore the control holes. How do you get them vintage correct in placement? First I made a dummy blank control back plate for my 57 Goldtop. I removed a tone & volume pot, screwed the dummy plate to the guitar and then bored thru the dummy plate from the top of my 57 Goldtop.


    I do the same process for all 4 pots. Now I have a template to use for boring the control holes.


    Next I took the dummy control plate and screwed it the the 52 body.


    I attached a 1/2" piece of wood to my drill press and with a 3/8" bit I drill into the wood. I then use a 3/8" rod and place it into the hole.


    With the template screwed to the 52 body I use the centering pin and then bore all 4 control holes.

  37. #77
    Les Paul Forum Member DHBucker's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    I had a twinge of pain when I saw the top come off too, but from what I see from your photos and your owning a burst, you know what you are doing and I won't dare second guess your project. I wish you luck and hope that your guitar is everything you want. To second guess a person with your skill and that knows how a real burst behaves,feels,is built,etc is just armchair quarterbacking IMHO. Please continue to show us your work as you go along. I for one wish I had your skill,tools, and a real burst.

    "On a good day (I know it ain't everyday), we can part the sea. On a bad day (I know it's not everyday), glory beyond our reach."

    "If you can't dig on Esther well you'd better leave town, cause if you think she's bad you oughta see her sister."
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  38. #78
    loufed52
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    Quote Originally Posted by Raw Materials View Post
    Great Job Boogie!!!

    "Cutting the man down for retopping?? PUH-lease!! He already has at least one burst and a 1957 GT, I think he knows what is best for HIS guitars people!!

    Of course your getting flamed more than he is! Geez.

    Pretty soon the "sour grapes brigade" will begin posting again because your excellent skills are garnering more attention than they are!!

    Thank you for not only SAVING that vintage axe, but for showing us how you go about your wonderful restorations!

    BRAVO!!!

    Yes, attention from guys like you is really important to us dissenters.


  39. #79
    Les Paul Forum Member Billy Porter's Avatar
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    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    I’m not getting involved in any arguments regarding the re-top

    I’m just pleased he’s sharing the process with us and revel at the guys amazing skills.
    You’re never alone with a schizophrenic

  40. #80

    Re: 52-59 Burst Conversion

    All I can say to all of those who are flaming the OP, why don't you collectively take that energy and go after those who rape perfectly good guitars for their parts. That is more of a crime than what the OP is doing to a guitar that was already fingerfucked.

    If I recall correctly, the OP noted that he was using air dried Michigan Maple and that in and of itself is worthy wood for any guitar!

    Yo Mapleflame, wasn't it you on another forum that was panning this guitar when it was on eBay? You could have easily stepped in and rescued it and restrored it to your hearts content. I'm sure there were other guitar restorers who saw the listing and contemplated taking her on.

    I'm glad that it landed in competent hands and that it is going to be a restored/converted 50's Les Paul. Not to say that Mapleflame or someone else would have not done a great job on it.

    As one poster noted, the way the OP is doing this, there will be a more precise neck pocket with proper neck angle that will translate into better sustain and resonance.

    I admire both sides of the debate, but at the end of the day it is the OP's guitar.
    You can play a Les Paul, but you can't play a Van Gogh!

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