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1965 Firebird II

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This 1965 Gibson Firebird II belonged to a co-worker's father. It's been sitting in it's case under a bed since her father died in 1975! She told me about it and I offered to clean it up for her. So, she brought it in to work...wow.


This is what it looked like when she brought it in:
















And look what I found in the case:



Is that cool stuff or what?


Initially I thought I would replace the pickguard (which was sticking up over the body by about 2" on the upper "horn" area and covered in mildew, and source a replacement knob since one of them is clearly not original. I was also planning on removing all the hardware and polishing it (and the frets) until it looked brand new. Plus, the guitar was dead as a hammer - plug it in and nothing happened - so I figured I'd root around in the electrics and see what was up.

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Then I got hold of myself and calmed down. I was wondering if by doing these things I was actually going to be harming it instead of helping it. So, I wussed out and just cleaned it up a little bit. I didn't even change out the strings - I thought maybe the more I left it alone the more favors I would be doing it. So, here's what I wound up with:


I did clean up the pickguard and got it a little bit flatter. Put some oil on the fretboard and cleaned the body up some. Plus, I realized that the problem with the electronics was the switch. I blew it out a little and got it "sort of" working.


Here you go:






Still plenty of string munge left because I left the string in place and opted not to clean the metal.



And I guess, this firebird is a true phoenix because the old girl can still sing!



I know that sucked, but those are some dead, moldy, crusty old strings. Plus, I can't play my way out of a paper bag. They were literally so gross they were grabbing my fingers and stopping me from moving up and down the fretboard!


But, I took it back to the owner and she was thrilled that it's working now, and a little bit cleaner than it was.


Also, I should point out that I couldn't find the video camera so I wound up using my iPhone. Not really top notch quality sound or video-wise.

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Nice! You probably did the right amount of cleaning without getting to invasive. Once you find out what her 'ultimate goal' is for the guitar you could possibly do more. I know it has a lot of sentimental value.

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Yeah, this old bird was definitely a "player" as is evidenced by the buckle rash on the back. Looks like it got ridden pretty hard. It's still a beautiful guitar, though. It has that glorious sort of inner glow that you see on pieces of old, fine furniture.

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