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1968 Blue Ridge period correct machine heads?

75 Hummingbird

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After looking at a bunch of photos online, all you can say is that they could be original, but may or may not be original. Most of the photos of '68 models I can find show either three-on-a-plate closed-back Klusons  with standard white oval buttons, or individual Kluson closed-backs with oval plastic buttons.

Slightly later models appear to show individual closed-backs with either metal keystones, or plastic keystones similar to the ones on your guitar.

You can get some idea by pulling off the tuners on one or both sides the next time you change strings.  Just remove the screws, and pop them off. The mounting screw pattern for three-on-a-plates is different from the screw hole pattern for individual tuners.

If there is only one set of holes in the back of the headstock, and those are the ones  for your current tuners, you can reasonably assume the guitar has always had individual tuners. What you can't say is if they had plastic or metal buttons.

Sometimes, if the tuners have never been off, there will be bits of finish residue stuck to the back of the base of the tuners, which should correspond to areas of finish missing on the back of he headstock. That, coupled with a single screw hole pattern, would suggest that these may well be the original tuners.

In your case, both the tuners and the buttons look to be in exceptional condition, particularly given the obvious finish deterioration on the back of the headstock. I would expect to see some surface corrosion on the metal parts of the tuners, particularly the gear covers, as well as some signs of cracking or crazing on the tuner buttons.

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I like the look of double rings, but it sort of takes a fancy headstock to make them look right. 

I only have one guitar with tulips--my cherry-red '59 Historic ES-335--and those are single rings.

That's a nice-looking set you've got there. They would clean up real nice, while still showing their age. The keys are in really nice shape.

The steel base metal rusts through the nickel plating, but Flitz metal polish removes the surface rust and puts enough of a protective coating on that it doesn't come back for a long time. Restoring tuners like these is a bit of a hobby for me. You can almost always make them function well and look good.

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Those could be original, not sure. My 1974 J-50 Deluxe original tuners said "Gibson Deluxe" instead of "Kluson Deluxe", but the original tuners on my 1965 J-50 said "Kluson". Gibson makes a set of "Vintage" tuners like yours, but they also say "Gibson". I used these to replace my original 1974 J-50 tuners.


But I didn't realize there was a better choice of Kluson repros available from WD Music at the time. They bought Kluson and offer improved versions of their old catalog now. I have these on my 1965 J-50 and 2008 J-50 now and they're terrific.


These look like the exact same thing you have






Edited by Boyd
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Here are a few more pics of the 1968 .

Single x brace ,mahogany kerfing , laminated maple and  Brazilian Rosewood back and sides . has  large  mahogany bit under fret board tongue .

I bought this guitar the last time the crap was hitting the fan 2008 -09 ,not sure what kind of capo the previous owner was using but it was a destructive bit of kit ! 

The bridge is a very, shall i say crudely  shaped  ,i have seen this in pictures on Gibsons of this era  ,any one with info on this shape or lack of refinement ?  

I switched out the rosewood saddle for Tusc ...not sure if  enhanced the tone but ... 1.70 nut width  ,neck shape is like an electric ,very comfy .

This guitar likes to be played with a soft touch and has a mellow full voice .


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You can buy a bone saddle to fit the Gibson ADJ bridges.   I snagged one for my '61 B45-12.

The switch from Double Line Kluson Deluxe to Double Line Gibson Deluxe supposedly came about in 1969.  But as I have said before it is not like Gibson or any other builder changed specs at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1.  So you have to take all of this stuff with a grain of salt as more often as not you will run across guitars which  vary from what is considered the "norm.".   Possibly your Blueridge was built very late in '68,  I have a 1942 Harmony with bent tab rivested Kluson tuners which were not supposed to have come into common use until 1943. But the guitar is date stamped showing it was built in the second half of 1942 so no doubt as to when it left the factory.  My'42 J50 on the other hand as the screw cog Kluson bent tabs which is what you would expect it to have,

Edited by zombywoof
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