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Corpblues

Help Identify this Vintage Guitar

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Good morning everyone,

I am a newbie guitar player but coming along.   I love vintage gear but no knowledge of it.  

Yesterday I bought what a local luthier thinks is a beat up 50's LG1.   I have no way to know what it really is.   He said it was a guitar  he bought for the parts.  He had harvested the pickguard and trussrod cover.   He thought the top might be Adirondack red spruce which would make it even older.   He put a bridge and some tuners on it and strung it up for me.   Super nice guy!

The headstock has been butchered.  Someone cut a v notch into the top edge.

I was going to pass but when I played it, it sounds really good.   I mean is sounded good to the point I could not pass it up and I could never afford a good condition gibson.    

Looking inside I can see 8 2180 on the bottom of the neck block. 

Regardless what it actually is, it sounds great and I'm happy with it for what I paid.   But it would be nice to determine what model it is.

 

 

 

FCEFAC54-042C-4877-82F5-1AF51716C697_1_201_a.jpeg

Edited by Corpblues
adding image

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I am looking for help in dating this guitar and confiming the model please.

Does  8 2180 on the bottom of the neck block, mean it is a 58'?

 It may look poor condition but been playing it for a few days and LOVE how it plays.

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They numbered solid body Gibson's like that from 1953 till sometime in 1961,

All solid bodies including lap steel guitars

That is not how they numbered acoustics. I do not Know how they numbered acoustics but someone will chime in.

Edited by Cam in alberta
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Maybe, but it is probably older. It appears to be an LG-3 or stripped-finish LG-2 (headstock appears to have been stripped) with a mangled headstock. The bridge style, with slot-through saddle, plus pickguard shape suggest earlier than 1955. The top has fairly wide grain for Sitka. The tuners are not original, and the headstock has been cut down.

LG's seem to have more of a mix of features than other models in that era.

Could you please take a photo of the number stamped on the neckblock?  These are not always easy to read correctly.

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Here is a picture of the neckblock.

Yes the tuners had been harvested also.    

p.s.  How do I get larger size quota for uploading pictures?   I had to make this image small to be able to attach it. 

14AAA6ED-7133-42B0-873B-32F1517AD1D6_1_201_a.jpeg

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This is a mystery to me. Every characteristic of that guitar says pre-1955. The FON itself, as best I can tell, is not properly formatted for that period at all.

There were 8-prefix numbers in 1958, but those were theoretically on solid-body electrics, as has been pointed out. Plus  '58 would have a different pickguard, a different bridge, and almost certainly 20 frets. And the number would have been stamped on the back of the headstock (which is cut off).

If the number were  2180 8, it would be a 1949, which would be my guess based on the characteristics. I'm almost wondering if the person stamping didn't have a brainfade.  When you set the stamp up (it's a roller-wheel ink stamp) you are looking at the numbers reversed, and it is possible someone just screwed up. It's all I can think.

If you can, look inside at the top bracing, using a mirror and flashlight. The primary brace should be a large X, with its apex just below the soundhole and just forward of the bridge. The tops of the "arms" of that X  that extend towards the bridge and tail of the guitar should be partially scooped  out in the middle , as should the tops of the middle two long soundbars that branch of from one of those X-brace  legs.

If the top is not X-braced, but has braces that go straight across the top parallel to each other, it is an LG-1. Otherwise it's an LG-2 or LG-3. I suspect it is X-braced because of the centerline back reinforcing strip, but I could be wrong.

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It has straight across the top braces, so must be an  LG-1 by your comments.  Maybe a 1949 LG-1?   

I am just a newbie playing chords at this point, but this guitar sounds better and much louder than several others I have.   Hope to check up my skils playing with my skills of buying guitars.  

Looking inside it appears to be missing one brace on the back across the middle.   Not sure it makes sense to invest more putting back to all orignal, as it serves my needs very well.   This one might have put me on a path of much more expense vintage Gibson guitars... 

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From your description, it is an LG-1 which was Gibson's entry-level flat top in 1949 or so. In really good original condition, it would be worth maybe $1200 or so. As it is, not more than a couple of hundred dollars at most. Because of the indignities it has suffered, you don't want to put much money into it, because you won't get it back if you sell it.

While missing a back brace is not a good thing, it would probably cost $100-$150 to replace the missing one. If it is missing, there should be a glue line on the inside back of the guitar showing where it went. It would cost a similar amount to repair the headstock, but it could be done  fairly easily. Once gain, it probably isn't worth doing, just because of the condition and model of the guitar

Keep light (.012-.053) strings on it, and it may be OK for now.  A new set of tuners similar to the originals would be about $40 at Stewmac. A reproduction pickguard would be another $40. A trussrod cover is about $10. You can get all those at stewmac.com

One  way to check the age would be to check the thickness of the headstock, despite the fact that the top has been cut out. Check the thickness of the headstock at the top of the V. It should be either about 1/2" or 9/16" plus.

Compare that to the thickness  just below the E tuners, and post the numbers.

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The thickenss of the headstock at the top is just shy of 1/2" and at the E string tuner bearly over 9/16".

I paid $400 cash for it.   Price was $300,  but seller thought he undershot price after he strung it up and it played so well.  I was going to pass after he raised the price by $100, but after playing it could not stop myself from buying  it.   I may have overpaid but I'm okay with it.   Would like to have a nicer vintage Gibson but I'll have to save up for that day.   

He did give me a piece of material for making a new pick guard.  But might be easier to just buy one already cut to fix.  I'll check out stewmac.com.

There is a glue line on the inside back showing where the  missing brace went.   I might take it to a professional luthier shop to get an estimate on making it stable for long term use.

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12 hours ago, Corpblues said:

The thickenss of the headstock at the top is just shy of 1/2" and at the E string tuner bearly over 9/16".

I paid $400 cash for it.   Price was $300,  but seller thought he undershot price after he strung it up and it played so well.  I was going to pass after he raised the price by $100, but after playing it could not stop myself from buying  it.   I may have overpaid but I'm okay with it.   Would like to have a nicer vintage Gibson but I'll have to save up for that day.   

He did give me a piece of material for making a new pick guard.  But might be easier to just buy one already cut to fix.  I'll check out stewmac.com.

There is a glue line on the inside back showing where the  missing brace went.   I might take it to a professional luthier shop to get an estimate on making it stable for long term use.

From those dimensions, it appears to be a tapered headstock, which makes is pre-1954. There is about 1/8" of thickness taper in the tapered headstocks, by my measurements.

Stewmac appears to only sell the materials, but there are other sites the sell pre-cut pickguards.

Here's one:

J-45 pickguard

This is the right shape and should be dimensionally correct if you want to make it yourself.  Otherwise order one of Terrapin's pre-cut ones, with adhesive sheet attached. Check the dimensions on that template against the footprint of the missing pickguard on the top of your guitar to verify the pre-made pickguard is right. Better yet, print out the template (verify the scale), cut it out, and see how well it fits on your guitar.

The thin gloss tortoise celluloid is the right material, with a beveled edge. At .028" thick, it is just a tiny bit thicker than the original would have been.

The standard radius on the soundhole side of the pre-made pickguard may or may not be exactly correct. I measure the radius on my stock 1950 J-45 as 2.375 from outside to outside of the white soundhole rosette ring, slightly larger than their standard radius, but not very much. That is close enough to correct with sandpaper on the pickguard if it is not exactly right. My guess is that it is pretty close.

Since that one brace fell out, you should really have the inside of the guitar inspected to see if the other braces are tight. It is rare that only a single brace is loose, and very common that several are.

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I cut out the pick guard template on paper and it appears to be an almost exact match.   I have one piece of material, so I'll give it a try and if it does not work out, order a precut one.

I'll also order the truss rod cover.  I think this is the proper one.   https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Truss_Rod_Covers/Gibson_Accessories_Truss_Rod_Cover.html

 

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12 hours ago, Corpblues said:

I cut out the pick guard template on paper and it appears to be an almost exact match.   I have one piece of material, so I'll give it a try and if it does not work out, order a precut one.

I'll also order the truss rod cover.  I think this is the proper one.   https://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and_Parts/Truss_Rod_Covers/Gibson_Accessories_Truss_Rod_Cover.html

 

Yes, the blank trussrod cover is the proper one. Be aware that the tiny screws they are held on by can shear easily, so tighten with a small screwdriver, and don't over-tighten

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I would be interested in any recommendations for a luther in Dallas area to replace the missing brace and secure a crack above the missing pickguard.

I'm already upside down on this guitar but I'm open to spend a little to stablize it for the next generation.

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