1961 Les Paul Standard Restoration

Discussion in 'Vintage SG' started by crashbelt, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. crashbelt

    crashbelt Member

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    20200911_150658.jpg
    Here's a pic of my SGs. 63 Junior 61 Standard and 62 Special.

    Way back in December 17 I posted about having inherited the Standard from my sadly demised brother-in-law.

    It had been 'customised' in the 80s by UK luthier John Birch who did nasty things to vintage guitars on instructions of his clients. This 61 had been refinished in thick poly green to black-burst. About 3mm of poly entombed the whole guitar - even the fretboard. He put in a 70s Gibson fine tuning tailpiece, way too low and other bad mods.

    But amazingly the PAFs were still there and most of the hardware and plastics. So JKG guitars in London did a major restoration job with a brilliant aged Polaris White nitro finish to cover the wood repairs. Great also that when Joe stripped it there were no hidden breaks or repairs - made sure we got some pics.

    I replaced the tuners and bridge with quality repro parts, and with great help from Dan at Mojoaxe fashioned one of the Gibson repro nickel sideways vibrolas to fit with one of Dan's vibrostop blocks to replace the useless sideways mechanism.

    It's now done and looks about as cool as a 61 can. I did find images online of 3 Polaris White Standards done by Gibson as custom orders.

    Absolute tone monster, I'm convinced the vibrostop makes a huge difference to tone, sustain and tuning stability.

    So it took the best part of 3 years but was worth the waiting.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
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  2. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    Super nice vintage collection you have there.
     
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  3. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    YEAH, what CG said
     
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  4. zhivago

    zhivago New Member

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    Fantastic looking guitar, and indeed, Dan's Vibrostop works wonders, I have one on my early '63.
     
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  5. Didds

    Didds Well-Known Member

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    Oh my god. I'd kill for that collection
     
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  6. Pointyfan

    Pointyfan New Member

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    Great save, Crashbelt! The SG world thanks you. Sorry for the loss of your brother-in-law...
     
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  7. Herbie74w

    Herbie74w Active Member

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    More pictures please!
     
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  8. J.H.

    J.H. New Member

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    Definitely would like more pictures.
     
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  9. J.H.

    J.H. New Member

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    Can I ask where you got the repro tuners? I've been looking for some decent ones, because I don't want to spend $600+ for a set of originals for my '63.
     
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  10. biggarfish

    biggarfish New Member

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    Very nice
    I had these for years.
    ‘62, ‘61, ‘62
    F106DD46-9ACE-4A49-B43E-874EB90DE620.jpeg
     
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  11. crashbelt

    crashbelt Member

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    Thanks for the great comments. So here's some more pics. Note the colour and tailpiece before restoration. You can't see how thick and plastic the poly finish was or how it covered the fretboard! I know someone's gonna say they prefer it as it was:naughty:.

    The white refin by JKG was just right, with the amount of distressing matching the wear on the original plastics, pup covers etc.

    The sideways vibrola was the biggest challenge as there wasn't one, and genuine originals nearly $1000. So it's made up mostly from parts from an original gold sideways vibrola (I wanted the triangular string retainer part original, as repros are inferior quality metal) a Mojoaxe vibrostop to replace the POS original sideways mechanism, and cover and arm from a Gibson 2015 reissue. As the reissue arm doesn't fit the older parts Dan at Mojoaxe tapped his block to fit - talk about going the extra mile for the project!! I then used PCB etchant (Ferric Chloride) to age the parts.

    The aged nickel tuners and bridge came from Crazyparts in Germany. I wasn't bothered about exact authenticity so the tuners are single ring/no line and the bridge is wired. But they look cool.

    Very nerdy stuff but as this was my brother in laws guitar I wanted to put the effort into it. Can't wait for gigs to resume - it's the most acoustically resonant guitar I have and a tone monster through a cranked amp. 20200917_065053.jpg

    First one is pre-restoration. 20200728_152534.jpg 20200609_202746.jpg
     
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  12. Darryl Fisher

    Darryl Fisher New Member

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    I am truly sorry for the loss of your brother-in-law...
    Your gain seems somewhat bittersweet.
    Very nice guitars...very nice!
    I Have a weird question of you and the crew here (nothing derogatory meant here)...you mention '61 in accordance with the SG...weren't the '61s and '62s Les Paul's? Clear me up on this. I know some LPs were released during the first SG years...
     
  13. jbat

    jbat New Member

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    Beautiful. I love white SG's. I wish Gibson made more of them.
     
  14. crashbelt

    crashbelt Member

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    My understanding of the Les Paul designation of early SGs is that Juniors Standards and Customs were called LPs from 61 (and the few rare ones shipped in late 60) to some time in 63.

    Standards have 'Les Paul' on the truss rod cover, and Juniors have 'Les Paul Junior' script on the headstock as mine does.

    I think Customs said 'Les Paul' on the tenon cover plate.

    Specials never had the designation.

    I'm happy to be corrected if that's wrong!!

    Thanks for the kind words about my late brother in law. A fine Scottish pro musician. It's been a privilege to restore and gig his 61.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020 at 6:02 AM
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  15. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

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