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legalbeagle12

Newbie Questions about LG-1 (1965)

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Hello,

My father recently passed away and, right around that same time,  he surprised me with this LG-1 from 1965. It has significant checking and a tiny crack on top/bass-side of the sound hole. 

My ignorant questions, if anyone can help:

  1. Other than proper storage, can anything be done to help mitigate against checking and/or repair it?
  2. Is it best to ignore the hairline crack and not fuss with it at this point? It doesn't appear to be growing or causing any issues?
  3. Is it worth an overhaul of certain items (pins, etc.)?
  4. I noticed that the there is a basic strap button currently inserted in the bottom...is it best to just leave this in? I've read some online posts that suggest to leave any type of pin or button out, if possible?

 

Thanks so much! I really enjoy this forum and I'm interested in learning more about this awesome instrument.

I've attached some photos if that helps or if anyone is interested.

 

IMG_4998.jp2 IMG_5001.jp2 IMG_4999.jp2

Edited by legalbeagle12

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Crazing and checking is part of the natural life cycle of any guitar but yes controlling environment helps.  What tends to be the biggest problems are swings in humidity and temperature.  But unless you are going to go take on the expense of having a museum quality HVAC installed, or are willing to deal with silica gel and such  there is not a whole lot you can do to stop the process other than to take normal precautions. .  Regarding the crack.  I cannot pull up your photos and a lot will depend on where it is.   Hairlines cracks can remain stable for long periods of time but their natural tendency is to spread until they hit some fixed point.  They also, of course, represent a weak spot in the wood.  Crack repair, however,  is a fairly easy and not very expensive.   As far as bridge pins and such, unless the parts are worn or or need to be replaced as part of a set up, it will come down to your personal reference.  Bone saddles and pins though have certainly become the default for most repair places.  So if you do not specify something  different such  as repro hard plastic pins (which is what I prefer) , bone is what you will get.  

Edited by zombywoof
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47 minutes ago, Dave F said:

Where's the crack?

 

It's hard to see in the photograph -- on the top, bass-side of the sound hole. It's about 3-4 inches and runs parallel to the strings. When I feel inside, I can trace the feel of it from the other side.

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Sorry to hear about your father. The guitar can be part of his legacy.

As has been mentioned, finish checking is just part of the deal with owning a vintage Gibson. It adds to their allure, frankly. As far as the crack goes, that's something a competent repair person should take a look at. It is generally not a difficult repair. Most Repair people charge for crack repairs by the inch. Strap button? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Leave the pin in.

The issue that would concern me (and you haven't mentioned it) is the bridge. That's the era Gibson was using plastic bridges on its LGs. (Hey, plastic was all the rage in the mid-'60's....) Generally, the plastic bridges on LGs from that era have not aged well. Replacing the plastic bridge with a rosewood (or ebony) one is a fairly routine modification on these guitars, and 99 times out of 100 the guitar will sound better afterwards. I'm not aware of any ready-made bridges that have the LG-1 string spacing, so it is something your repair person will probably have to fabricate.

Yes, such a modification changes the original nature of the guitar. But if you're going to be playing the guitar, it is something to look into.

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13 minutes ago, dhanners623 said:

Yes, such a modification changes the original nature of the guitar. But if you're going to be playing the guitar, it is something to look into.

 

Wow, thanks for the advice! I’ll definitely follow up with a reputable company in Chicago to get this done. Also, thanks for the kind words about my Dad. 

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I own a 1965 Gibson LG1 in my collection.  Mine looks quite similar only it’s a bit more faded cherry sunburst, though yours might be too, but just not picked up in the photo as faded cherry sunburst often doesn’t replicate well in a photo.  Mine had the original plastic bridge changed before I acquired it in circa 1990.  Others covered chequing.  They all cheque.  No worries.  I had an original plastic bridge on a 1965 Epiphone FT30 Caballero, which was made side by side in the old Gibson Kalamazoo, Michigan plant next to Gibson LG-0s, the model below your LG-1 at the time.  I kept the original plastic bridge on my 65 Caballero until it broke in its own, which all over time seem to do.  That was back in circa 1990, also.  Once it broke I had a new wooden bridge put on that looks like every other wood replacement one for broken plastic bridges.  I’d recommend just waiting until it breaks before thinking about changing it.  It may never break, too if it’s lasted this long.  These are small guitars, so major changes do not really have that much effect on them.  They will always still be small guitars.   But, I will say that somehow/someway, the break in period for 1965 LG1s remarkably is about 50 years.  Meaning at about 50 years old, they suddenly get louder, more mellower, and a lot more looser feeling to play.  At least mine way opened up about 4-5 years ago.  With the removable sound hole pickup I use on it when I gig , my 1965 LG-1 is now my second favorite guitar and my backup gigging guitar (with the soundhole pickup on it)  for my 2006 Gibson Custom Shop J-45 1964 Reissue.  It’s also a real attention grabber at gigs.  I never would have thought that could be possible with the LG1’s ladder bracing inside rather than the more popular X bracing on most Gibson models.  (Plus, my J-45 is X braced).  But, my LG-1 has now opened up to be my number two gigging guitar.   Prior to 5 years ago I would have no way will it ever be,  Aging can help a guitar and did on my LG-1.

By the way, I’m Chicagoland, Babin Guitars is an authorized Gibson repairer in Hampshire, IL.  Look them up on the Internet.  Guitar Gallery in Highland Park, IL though not an authorized Gibson dealer, has a great reputation for repairing Gibsons.  Evanston, Illinois still has Hogeye Music and the Sound Post, both with long term excellent reputations if they are still there.  And, of course, the Chicago Music Exchange must have some in house repairers as they buy up tons of used Gibsons  at the Villa Park, Illinois guitar shows when they have been there and have a great reputation.

Hope this helps.  Enjoy the LG-1 and the great heritage it has and is continuing in your family

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

 

Edited by QuestionMark
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19 minutes ago, QuestionMark said:

Hope this helps.  Enjoy the LG-1 and the great heritage it has and is continuing in your family

 

 

Thanks, Jeff! What you’re saying makes sense and I’ll try to simply slow down and just enjoy it for what it is, with what it’s already got! I may connect with Babin about getting a professional to simply look it over—have you heard anything about Chicago fret works (positive or negative)?

Thanks again. Nice of you to take the time and provide insight. 

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You’re welcome!  Regarding Chicago Fret Works, I am not familiar with them, but just checked their reviews on Yelp and people seem to like them a lot.   

Sounds like you have quite a choice of luthiers.

BTW, if you call Marc Babin, tell him Jazzman Jeff Justman referred you to him.  He has done my guitars for years and is no BS.  If it doesn’t need a repair he will tell you.  He usually picks up guitars from music stores who outsource them to him for repairs.  The music stores then double his wholesale repair price he charges the stores, when they charge the customer for the repair.  If he lets you bring the guitar directly to him, he only charges the wholesale repair price he charges the music stores.   If you mention my referral, he may let you get the guitar directly to him or tell you to bring it to his rounds of stores, but as a direct repair with him not as a store repair.  He has let me bring my guitars directly to him for about 30 years.

But, feel free to bring the guitar to whom ever you feel most comfortable with after speaking with each.

Keep us posted.

QM aka “ Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome Aboard.   My son has my '64 LG1. It is identical to yours, except for the bridge pins - yours look like after-market, and the pick guard.  Bought it new - after a couple of decades, the pick guard fell off; after the 2nd time, I decided I liked the sound better with it off.   The guy I had work on it - 10 years ago, said the bridge was in OK shape and that I should leave it 'original'.  He said if he replaced that, he'd want to replace the scrap wood bridge plate underneath, which was a bigger deal - but both would help true up the tone.  I left it alone. 

I never worried about humidity or temperature - but it was always in the closet or under the bed. South Florida summers, New England winters. Strings slightly loosened in the off months I knew I wouldn't be playing it.  My 'luthier' said it looked like it had been cared for very well. I didn't take credit for being lucky.  A small amount of crazing had just shown up  earlier - the reason I took it to him.  All he did was level the frets. 

You have a great guitar. Looks like your Dad loved it and took good care of it.  I'm sure you will too. G'Luck. 

Edited by fortyearspickn

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I don't really have anything to add other than condolences on your loss and congratulations on the guitar...those plastic bridges are timebombs waiting to go off so, yaeh, look into getting it replaced./..here's to many years playing it!

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As well as agreeing with the recommendation to lose the plastic bridge, I  am pretty sure ladder braced  Gibsons built in the 1960s also had spruce bridge plates.  I would check  to make sure the ball ends of the strings have not chewed it to pieces.  Even if not I would replace it with a traditional maple one.

Edited by zombywoof

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I messaged a friend of mine who is a vintage Gibson owner in Chicago and asked him his recommendations for Gibson-savvy repair options there, and this was his reply:

Here's 3 options:

Chicago Music Exchange - It's a big shop. They do a lot of repairs. But I don't know who in the shop you'd get to do the work. They're on North Lincoln Avenue. They are the people who started Reverb.com. 


Bruce Roper - Bruce does all the repair work for Old Town School of Folk Music. He also teaches Lutherie. www.chicagoluthiers.com/ He's the guy that built my Nick Lucas replica. Cool guy. He repaired Michael Smith's old D28. Bruce's home and studio are a block away from Chicago Music Exchange on School St. 


Guitar Works in Evanston - This is the best place in the North suburbs. They handle a lot of vintage and new guitars and do a lot of repairs.

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On 8/25/2019 at 6:42 PM, QuestionMark said:

BTW, if you call Marc Babin, tell him Jazzman Jeff Justman referred you to him.

 

20 hours ago, dhanners623 said:

I messaged a friend of mine who is a vintage Gibson owner in Chicago and asked him his recommendations for Gibson-savvy repair options there, and this was his reply

 

On 8/26/2019 at 3:36 AM, Cabarone said:

here's to many years playing it!

 

On 8/25/2019 at 7:36 PM, fortyearspickn said:

You have a great guitar.

 

I just wanted to take a moment and say that I really, really appreciate all of the responses to this thread and they've been both incredibly kind but also very helpful. I have so much more information now and I'm in a more comfortable place as I begin to take care of this very meaningful guitar.

Thank all very much, again. It's a great community.

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44 minutes ago, legalbeagle12 said:

 

 

 

 

I just wanted to take a moment and say that I really, really appreciate all of the responses to this thread and they've been both incredibly kind but also very helpful. I have so much more information now and I'm in a more comfortable place as I begin to take care of this very meaningful guitar.

Thank all very much, again. It's a great community.

 

If it was me.  I would not restore  the body   Just get it checked out and get the braces and cracks if any tended to.  No refinish work.   Get the buttons for the machine heads and a good set up. And enjoy it.  

 

Nice guitar.  

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2 hours ago, legalbeagle12 said:

 

 

 

 

I just wanted to take a moment and say that I really, really appreciate all of the responses to this thread and they've been both incredibly kind but also very helpful. I have so much more information now and I'm in a more comfortable place as I begin to take care of this very meaningful guitar.

Thank all very much, again. It's a great community.

 

You have a guitar that is not just meaningful, but is (or can be) a darn-nice guitar with a powerful vibe. Besides, we're always happy to help other people spend their money.

There's no need to rebuild the thing, so no competent repair person will suggest that.  There are, however, things you can do that'll keep the guitar in good enough shape so one day you can pass it along to your kids....

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