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Late '55 Les Paul conversion...I've only seen one of these

lpnv59

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.... in this original color. Someone back in '55 may have wanted something like a Gretsch and custom ordered this. I've talked about this guitar for years but never had a pic.
red_top.jpg


In '75 a friend of mine from high school, Ronnie Tuminowski, found this rare Les Paul up in Maine. It was a completely original Les Paul with an opaque Cardinal Red top with a black back. Yellow/white 6 digit serial #starting with a 5 would make sense with the ABR. He brought it into the Harvard Sq guitar shop called the Record Garage where I worked. Once my co worker Greg and band mate at the time decided he would keep it, pretty much immediately, we converted it to accept a set of zebra paf style pickups we had custom wound by Larry Dimarzio. Thats a whole nuther Oprah as my friend Joe Ganz use to say. There was no trace of gold anywhere to be found in those cavities, and the serial number was definitely original. This guitar has made the rounds around Boston and is almost legendary. Many locals have had their eye on it. It, like my '56 gold top conversion was for me, Gregs stepping stone to burstdom. His being the Cathedral burst about a 18 months after. It next went to Bill West, who is now famous for his voice characterizations in animation and where my first burst came from. So incestuous our little scene in NE! After Billy broke the head stock, it was in the hands of punk rocker Billy Cole of the Real Kids, until it was stolen out of a rehearsal complex. Fenced at a Daddy's Junky Music and innocently purchased by a player on the north shore for a decade, and then a few dealers ending up with it to trade off. Eventually a well to do guitar collector kept it stowed away for the last 15-20 years. It went up for sale about 2 years ago and then Billy Cole petitioned for its return and I have heard thru the grapevine, the collector willingly gave it back. Nice ending to the tale of this local unicorn.

Wish I had more pics!
 

markguitar

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Billy, Here are a few more pictures of that guitar. As you know I worked on it and have about 50 large format pictures of it.
1955RedTop.jpg
 

lpnv59

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Thanks Mark. Did the owner keep those pickups?
 

Zoomer

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.... in this original color. Someone back in '55 may have wanted something like a Gretsch and custom ordered this. I've talked about this guitar for years but never had a pic.
red_top.jpg


OMG - Delicious !!!
 

MapleFlame

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Not going to lie, my favorite in all the years on the forum. Longed for this one since I first saw it. Didnt a member have it a while back
 

lpnv59

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Not going to lie, my favorite in all the years on the forum. Longed for this one since I first saw it. Didnt a member have it a while back


Your confusing this original one with a refin a member had. He took the original cardinal red off another Gibson and reprocessed it with thinners and clear nitro IIRC. The whole guitar was sprayed in cardinal red. The one I posted is red/black and had to be a one off custom order. It also has been out of circulation for years.

Here's a pic of the refin;
normal_cardinal-red.jpg
 

sws1

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Now for the stupid question...

Why wouldn't the guy who did the refin simply find some new red paint? Wouldn't it be easy to match something as simple as red? Or is it not?
 

lpnv59

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Now for the stupid question...

Why wouldn't the guy who did the refin simply find some new red paint? Wouldn't it be easy to match something as simple as red? Or is it not?

Maybe he's still here to answer that. I recall he wanted to only use original paint, and probably original clear nitro as well.
 
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That was hogy (then known as "barbarossa," on here).

The thread about that guitar, in this forum, was entitled

  • [*]"Not a 'Burst"


  • [*]
 

MapleFlame

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Your confusing this original one with a refin a member had. He took the original cardinal red off another Gibson and reprocessed it with thinners and clear nitro IIRC. The whole guitar was sprayed in cardinal red. The one I posted is red/black and had to be a one off custom order. It also has been out of circulation for years.

Here's a pic of the refin;
normal_cardinal-red.jpg

I stand Corrected, now there's 2 guitars I want. :salude
 

Zoomer

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Feb 1, 2005
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This makes me want to paint my conversion the runt cardinal red and that double white OMG!!!



:hmm
 

Anje

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Jan 3, 2002
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One of the best looking old LP to me, that old red looks fantastic on the LP!
 

hogy

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Nov 4, 2005
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Now for the stupid question...

Why wouldn't the guy who did the refin simply find some new red paint? Wouldn't it be easy to match something as simple as red? Or is it not?

That's my guitar, I did the refin.

Why did I use the old paint? Because I could.

The guitar is a '56 I bought already converted 25 years ago or so. I knew that I would never get rid of it, as it sounds exactly as I like it. Once I find something that's right, I stick with it and pretty much stop looking.

It had an ugly sunburst refin when I got it, and I wanted to change it.

I run a guitar repair/restoration shop, and one day a guy brought in a smashed '58 ES-225 in original cardinal red. The guitar was in very bad shape and not worth the cost of restoration to the owner. So I bought it, specifically for the paint. Red is my favorite color, you see.

I saw the perfect opportunity to my my Les Paul "right". I did scrape off the paint, reformulate and filter it, then spray the Les Paul with it.

I couldn't be happier with the outcome. Just weeks after I finished it, the paint started checking naturally just like it had on the donor guitar. After six months it smelled like an old guitar.

The color is stunning. A bright fire red in sunlight, indoors it has a very faint hint of blue/purple, and in some lighting conditions it looks almost oxblood. Best of all, it feels like an old finish, hard and slick as glass.

My guitar for life.
 

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Tim

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Looks like the custom shop has made a clone of this guitar. Not affiliated in any way.
 
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