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The old switcheroo


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Didn't want to derail the thread of Juan Carlos, his lefty leanings, or possibly the losing of his (Gibson) religion, but BluesKing777 brings up a good question, and at a good time:


What is required to change a guitar from right-handed to lefty, and vice versa? If it were just a matter of nut, saddle, and saddle slot, this old J-35 sans rectangle bridge could probably be had for under $3K:


Craigs Link




Currently too deep in the Rosewoods right now to consider this one personally, but if someone wanted to explore some ~eighty year-old Gibson tone, and was brazen enough to commit the sacrilege of altering what may very well be an original made-to-order lefty (pick guard seems to have sunk in nicely, and no visible shadow from a rectangle bridge), then this might have some appeal.


However : as these "Henkograms" reveal, what's going on under the hood might be a factor in rendering the R->L conversion a complete success:




Ah, the tone bars. A top's bracing is considered to be one of the greatest influences on the sound of a guitar, but why are the tone bars attached to the treble side of the cross brace? The treble side of the top would seem to have the least amount of stress of the approximately 165 lbs of pull a light gauge set imparts on a guitar bridge/top, yet that's where the tone bars tie in.


Could it be as straight forward as just changing out nut, saddle, saddle slot (re-routing), and pickguard?

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I'd want better pictures plus the body dimensions on that one before jumping to the conclusion that it's a J-35. Early L-50 models featured a smaller slope-should body (just under 15" lower bout), a round soundhole, a trap tail, and floating bridge.


They were also slightly arch-topped, which can't be judged from any of the photos. From one of the other full-frontal picture, the body looks smaller than a full-size slope-J body.


I'm guessing this is actually a 1932 (first year) L-50. Totally different animal.

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The direction of the tone bars makes a big difference in tone.


In a classic story from the 70s, the main recording engineer in Nashville at that time would now allow D-28s in the studio -- he made the guitar players us some kind of small guitar he kept for the purpose.


Long story short, he collaborated with Randy Wood to make a better large guitar for recording -- more balanced. The guitar turned out to have reversed tone bars -- which gave it the desired properties. Randy uses that designed still.





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