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Anthony252

Gibson LG1 real or fake?

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Hello, I was looking to buy this guitar and I have questions around if it is real or not. I only see one marking on the inside but I do not see a serial number anywhere. Do you guys think this is real or fake? I would love to hear your thoughts before investing money into it. I know it does have some damage on the bridge and some wear. The guitar does appear to be straight on the neck but I think it has some light warping where the bridge is. Also the finish has crackling. If this is real do you think it’s worth getting? Unsure repair costs on something like that. Would love some help. Thank you so much for your time.

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Edited by Anthony252
Updated description

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Hi Anthony.  It's a decent looking LG1, that at first needs to have the plastic bridge removed and a period correct one installed to replace it.  This could cost you  $1-2 hundred bucks.  The next issue, not so easy to describe or assess from photos, is the way the neck aligns with the body and allows strings to track low to the frets along the length to the bridge, which affects the ease of fretting for your fingers.  This 'playability' is very important, and if it isn't correct to specs , or at least near it, will frustrate you as a player and cost a few hundred to correct.  You'll need a qualified luthier to deal with both issues.  Numbers may be behind the yellow sticker.

Like when you go to buy a used car, it's wise to have a mechanic look it over to estimate cost of repairs you might need, just as wise in the case of a guitar like this.  If the neck is not correctly aligned (needs a reset), I would not consider spending more than $350.  An LG1 in good condition is right around or just under a $1,000 these days.

I don't like the tone of the LG1 because of the internal bracing, but others do.  In the $1000 range you can do better, in my opinion.

Edited by jedzep
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Good advice there, JedZep- hope you have a guitar repair shop that specializes in working with vintage guitars... this is not a job for GuitarCenter.

Anthony-  the ladder braced tone is not for everybody, though some enjoy the unique sound, just a been there, done that, thing for me. (#onetrickpony).

Another thing common for ladder braced guitars is their tendency to distort the top with time, due to the bracing design. Could this have played a part in cracking the bridge? Dunno, but the crack in the area of the fretboard extension is a clue that something has moved. At least the guitar is (frighteningly?) original. And oh yes, it's real. Love the music shop sticker on the back of the headstock. But you could easily match what you pay for this guitar into repairs.

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The answer for why there is no batch or serial number on the guitar  is pretty simple.  The last full year Gibson stamped an FON on the neck block was 1960.  So your guitar being built later will have a serial number stamped into the back of the headstock which the store label is covering.

The bridge, pickguard, logo (with the dot of the "i" touching the "G")  and tuners all look spot on for a 1962-1965 Gibson.

Edited by zombywoof
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I really appreciate everyone’s advice. I think I can get this guitar for around $250 as it is at a local auction where it gets no traffic at all. I do think there is a small bit of warping near the bridge and I think that may be why it cracked. So I’m assuming if I can get it between $250-$300 it would be well worth it even if having to have some repairs done? It’s a beautiful guitar and I really appreciate everyone’s time on helping. The neck appears straight to the naked eye. And there is obvious crackling in the finish and the bridge is cracked. I can’t even believe I didn’t think to look behind the sticker.  Thanks a lot!

Edited by Anthony252
fixed my reply

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$900-1,000ish resale value AFTER vintage restoration by a pro.  $250. is a good working number for it's current state.  If by some good grace it doesn't need the neck reset you've done very well at $250.   Interior top braces might need to be tightened up to settle what you call warping.  It will be hard to measure the neck angle with the broken bridge but here's a casual representation of the correct angle with a straight edge laid on the frets.  Below, you can see how you can get a general idea of the neck's usability.

http://www.co-bw.com/Audio_guitar_setup.htm

Edited by jedzep
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It quite possibly was just pressure from the strings that cracked the plastic bridge.  As opposed to the adjustable plastic bridges from this period that utilized a metal framework for the saddle to rest on (somewhat akin to an archtop bridge), the LG-1’s saddle was inserted directly into a slot in the hollow plastic bridge.

This particular bridge’s design was a killer both to tone & structural integrity.

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Hey Anthony!

First off, welcome to the forum. You're in the best possible place for advice. This lot is a treasure trove of experience and knowledge.

I will only add two generic nuggets. It's a good thing that plastic bridge is cracked, now it HAS to be replaced. And, I've always hated it when a shop puts their sticker over the serial numbers...

I'd grab it up and make a project out of it. Good luck!

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I could not tell from the photos if  what I was looking was a crack running off the edge of the fingerboard or a  shadow.  If it is a crack, as 62burst noted it likely means something has shifted.  And that something tends to be the neck block.  if it is a  crack  just check to see if it has gone all the way through the wood.  The other thing I  would consider is the bridge plates in the LG-1s were made with spruce.  If you are going to replace the bridge I would go ahead and have it replaced with a traditional maple plate.  At an initial $250 investment though i I would not hesitate to snag it.

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It appears to be all-original, and as others have said here, I would not pay more than $250, even if we can see everything that is wrong with it.

The checking in the finish is normal for a guitar of that age. The plastic bridge is original, but was not one of Gibson's best ideas. 

It is not playable until that bridge is replaced, and if you get it, you should de-tune it to relieve stress on the top. The bridge is normally a structural component of the top, but this one is doing nothing, and string tension will only make matters worse.

If you get it, it needs to go to someone who know what he/she is doing, and set a budget for repairs.  Let us know what part of the country you are in, and we may be able to point you to a suitable repair person.

The problem is that the same repair pretty much costs the same thing on a $250 guitar as it does on a $2500 guitar, so you can easily get upside down on repairs to a cheaper guitar.

Having said that, it looks like a nice example of a late 1950's  or so LG1

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If you're only having to put out $250,  it  is definitely worth the gamble that repairs will be less than $750. It is in very good cosmetic/play/wear shape. The finish crazing is nothing. The good ol' fat frets are not worn, no divots I could see in the fretboard. Very little yellowing on the inlays. The photo from the bridge pins looking north up the neck  indicates the neck and action are not visibly out of whack. Tuners appear in good shape - no rust or tarnish, so guitar was probably stored in a reasonably good way for most of its life.  The tuners can be taken off and cleaned and oiled, with the buttons replaced if desired.  The surface dirt, including the 50 year old sticker, can be safely removed by the luthier after he replaces the bridge and bridge plate.  This looks like the street urchin sister of the one I had for half a century.  Sound/tone is unique and an acquired taste. But - if you have a different taste - you have to buy a different flavor.  This one will never sound like a J-45, even though it resembles one in passing. It was Gibson's entry level guitar back in the day.  Over the years, prices have kept pace with other used Gibson acoustics.  Difference is, once you've had a qualified luthier (not a guitar technician) bring it up to speed - you'll have an excellent guitar, which might not be what you would get if you spent $1,000 on one in 'great' condition at Guitar Center.

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Bobouz got the year close enough..  Hopefully the next owner of the guitar will be a good steward of that instrument, and will leave the music shop sticker on there.

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