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Gibson LG-2 without a headstock veneer or painted headstock


Z526
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Gooday from Austrialia. 

A local pawn shop has for sale what is supposedly a Gibson LG-2 of unknown year but allegedly at least 1960s at a very reasonable price due to it having a crack in the top(several actually and i can only assume loose braces as a result), the neck having a slight wobble due to the impact that caused the top issues having caused the glue to fail and a few other issues such the frets being worn/filed down flat as pancakes.  

All of this is fixable and not what bothers me. What is bothering me about it is that it has no label inside with a serial number, no serial number on the headstock either and the kicker that makes me suspicious is the clear finish on the headstock with Gibson silk screened in gold along with wings glued on instead of a one piece headstock, granted, these features  do appear on some Gibson models for example I have found some B25s with this but for the life of me I cannot find any LG-2s with this clear finish deal. They all seem to have a black veneered or painted headstock. I've measured up the body and the dimensions all check out. The bridge is the correct style for an LG-2 as well.

I am yet to be given the chance to rip the strings off and examine inside for any numbers which may be stamped on the neck block or measure the bracing as this can also provide a clue to when it was produced but can anyone provide an opinon on the headstock issue?

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Welcome!  If you post a few pictures of the guitar, in particular the front of the body & the headstock, it should be possible to help determine the guitar's origin.  Without photos, the possibilities are rather endless, but your skepticism is certainly warranted at this point.

What I can tell you, and most likely others will chime in, is that an early '60s LG-2 would have had a black-fronted headstock.  Headstock wings are standard for virtually all Gibsons & can typically be seen easily from the back of the headstock - but in that era (late '50s to early '60s), a natural finished headstock (front) would not normally be the way an LG-2 left the factory.  

Edited by bobouz
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21 minutes ago, bobouz said:

Welcome!  If you post a few pictures of the guitar, in particular the front of the body & the headstock, it should be possible to help determine the guitar's origin.  Without photos, the possibilities are rather endless, but your skepticism is certainly warranted at this point.

What I can tell you, and most likely others will chime in, is that an early '60s LG-2 would have had a black-fronted headstock.  Headstock wings are standard for virtually all Gibsons & can typically be seen easily from the back of the headstock - but in that era (late '50s to early '60s), a natural finished headstock (front) would not normally be the way an LG-2 left the factory.  

I'll swing by the store tomorrow and get some photos for everyone.  Glad to know I'm not mad in being suspicious of it. 

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31 minutes ago, jedzep said:

Don't forget the perfunctory peek to make sure there's Xbracing behind the mask, if you haven't already covered that base.

I can see that it has x bracing, just can't get a hand in to feel how chunky/tall it is which can be a sign of age but I'll try get access tomorrow, been trying to persuade them of the merits of taking the strings off or at least not tuning it to pitch to prevent further damage but some people can't be told. 

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All you need to do is look through the soundhole to see if the guitar has a center back strip or not to determine whether it is X braced..

I have always associated the "naked" headstock with ca. 1970 guitars.  This, of course, would make it a B25 rather than an LG-2 with the model designation changing sometime around late-1962.  If there s nothing on the guitar identifying the model,  check the binding to see whether it is white or a multi-ply w/b/w.   Always be mindful though, that there is often a carry over of older specs when Gibson was changing things around.

Edited by zombywoof
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Here is the offending headstock, I should correct myself and say no x brace so not an LG-2, my memory of last time I saw it played tricks on me so sorry for that misinformation. It has a straight ladder brace visible just south of the sound hole. 

The binding is single ply, not w/b/w. 

The tuners are a sore point to me as again I can't find another example, now they may have been replaced however if this was the case I'd expect to see  evidence of this in the form of the finish being less blemished where the old ones sat or there being holes for their attachment at least some of which wouldn't be covered by the new ones. The truss rod cover is also a bit suspect looking to my untrained eye, however this to may be a replacement or may be something I've simply not found another example of yet. 

There is to the very best of my ability to find it no numbers stamped on the neck block. The heal of the neck is nicely rounded not pointed if that helps, and the neck is not what I'd call thick. 

Apologies for the lack of further photos the store is a bit funny about them being taken, which makes me all the more auspicious. 

Thoughts on its identity are welcomed

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Ladder bracing is always a deal killer in my book, with apologies to all those who own/like them and know how to make them sound OK.  I could never understand why Gibson would put the effort and materials together for a stellar small bod and then dull it down with a few ill-placed braces.

Your observation re: the neck having a 'slight wobble' would have killed it for me, unless it was being offered for a 'yard sale' price. I already see several hundred dollars in restoration looming, including popping off the back and re-fitting it with Xbracing, which is also a gamble. Tuners could be correct Kluson machines, but a pic of the back of the peghead would be necessary to tell.  Given the other issues, it wouldn't be that  costly to find different period-true machines.

The incorrect model designation by the shop owner might also make me suspicious as to their integrity.

Edited by jedzep
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12 minutes ago, jedzep said:

Ladder bracing is always a deal killer in my book, with apologies to all those who own/like them and know how to make them sound OK.  I could never understand why Gibson would put the effort and materials together for a stellar small bod and then dull it down with a few ill-placed braces.

Your observation re: the neck having a 'slight wobble' would have killed it for me, unless it was being offered for a 'yard sale' price. I already see several hundred dollars in restoration looming, including popping off the back and re-fitting it with Xbracing, which is also a gamble.

The incorrect model designation by the shop owner might also make me suspicious as to their integrity.

$700US is what they want(1000 australian) 

Knowing they don't have it identified right givws me either an advantage or disadvantage as they will be keen to either get rid of it or find out what it is before selling. 

In terms a costly restoration, yes, if done commercially but I have the skills and time to do it myself so this additional cost isn't a deciding factor for me. Its more that the instrument is what it claims to be (which its not) or that I can put an identity to it in order to know what I'm likely to get out of it if I move it on after restoring and playing it for a while.  

With regards to replacing the bracing, its not impossible but it would probably devalue it even further as while improving it the originality would be gone. 

The neck wobble is not really a bother, neck resets are not all that complex if you consider that 99% of the work is already done compared to building one from scratch 

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Pickguard looks right, tuners obviously not.  Bridge looks wood,  if it's ladder brace - it would/could  be an LG1. I believe most Gibsons back then had plastic bridges.  Should have a serial number somewhere somehow visible on the back of the headstock. Should be an ink stamped model number visible inside the sound hole on the back.  If tuners are not kosher, headstock might have been replaced.  The gold "Gibson" logo looks too pristine.  Bottom line - it sounds like it has cracks, loose bracing and a wobbly neck.  Additionally, it is NOT what the pawn shop says it is - an LG2.  If they are too 'protective' of it being photoed - the $700 USD  is about 4x what I'd pay.  You can find authentic, original LG1s in great condition here for that. 

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There should be a serial number stamped on the back of the headstock.  In the one photo it looks like the brace below the soundhole is running straight across which would make it an LG1.  That model designation hung around a lot longer than that of the LG2.  I agree that the headstock most likely has been stripped and the tuners obviously changed.   I am not sure about the bridge.  With what appears to be a lot of modifications originality does not really come into the picture.  So I would think you could modify whatever the heck you like and not really hurt much of anything.  

Edited by zombywoof
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16 minutes ago, fortyearspickn said:

Pickguard looks right, tuners obviously not.  Bridge looks wood,  if it's ladder brace - it would/could  be an LG1. I believe most Gibsons back then had plastic bridges.  Should have a serial number somewhere somehow visible on the back of the headstock. Should be an ink stamped model number visible inside the sound hole on the back.  If tuners are not kosher, headstock might have been replaced.  The gold "Gibson" logo looks too pristine.  Bottom line - it sounds like it has cracks, loose bracing and a wobbly neck.  Additionally, it is NOT what the pawn shop says it is - an LG2.  If they are too 'protective' of it being photoed - the $700 USD  is about 4x what I'd pay.  You can find authentic, original LG1s in great condition here for that.

 

No serial numbers anywhere, no sign of a replaced headstock unless we view the wobbly neck as a symptom of a poor job done replacing the entire neck. 

Its marked down from 1200 Australian already, I suspect its going to prove to be a bad purchase for them as a pawn shop. Their musical instrument "expert" is back at work on thursday so I'll pay him a visit and try not to ruin his day too hard by breaking all this news to him and making him a low ball offer. 

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From the little information to go on, to me, this looks like a B-25 of some sort in Cherry Sunburst. The finish here doesn't look stripped, not sure though. Some of them had a headstock just like this without the usual black veneer. The top has a clearly visible crack along the upper edge of the pickguard.

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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With ladder bracing, it’s an LG -1.  The rectangular bridge would be correct through 1961.  It changed to a belly-up bridge in 1962.

Problems:  For a late ‘50s - early ‘60s model, an original & period correct LG-1 should have a dark teardrop sunburst, rather than the light full body burst as shown.  Also, the rosette would have been fully exposed, as opposed to being partially covered by the pickguard.  The black peghead being sanded down & a new logo applied is a possibility, but it’s still problematic.  Structurally, the large body crack near the fretboard is clearly not a good sign.

Fwiw:  LG-1s appear on Kalamazoo shipping records through 1968.  Even if this guitar was manufactured around 1960, the inconsistencies & problems it displays tend to make it a less than stellar prospect in terms of resale value.

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1 hour ago, bobouz said:

With ladder bracing, it’s an LG -1.  The rectangular bridge would be correct through 1961.  It changed to a belly-up bridge in 1962.

Problems:  For a late ‘50s - early ‘60s model, an original & period correct LG-1 should have a dark teardrop sunburst, rather than the light full body burst as shown.  Also, the rosette would have been fully exposed, as opposed to being partially covered by the pickguard.  The black peghead being sanded down & a new logo applied is a possibility, but it’s still problematic.  Structurally, the large body crack near the fretboard is clearly not a good sign.

Fwiw:  LG-1s appear on Kalamazoo shipping records through 1968.  Even if this guitar was manufactured around 1960, the inconsistencies & problems it displays tend to make it a less than stellar prospect in terms of resale value.

I think I read some where 1974 was the last time for the LG1.  So the non black face headstock might be right.  They did that on a few models J45 and 50 deluxe as well.  

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31 minutes ago, slimt said:

It has nice tuners on it.  

If I keep the tuners then chuck the rest in the trash and build a new guitar Gibson logo, fake serial number and all. Thats still a restored Gibson right? Cause it has those tuners from a real Gibson 😉

 

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25 minutes ago, slimt said:

I think I read some where 1974 was the last time for the LG1.  So the non black face headstock might be right.  They did that on a few models J45 and 50 deluxe as well.  

The last LG-1s were supposedly shipped in 1968.   They were replaced by a spruce top version of the LG-0.

Edited by zombywoof
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On 7/18/2020 at 11:04 PM, Z526 said:

Gooday from Austrialia. 

A local pawn shop has for sale what is supposedly a Gibson LG-2 of unknown year but allegedly at least 1960s at a very reasonable price due to it having a crack in the top(several actually and i can only assume loose braces as a result), the neck having a slight wobble due to the impact that caused the top issues having caused the glue to fail and a few other issues such the frets being worn/filed down flat as pancakes.  

All of this is fixable and not what bothers me. What is bothering me about it is that it has no label inside with a serial number, no serial number on the headstock either and the kicker that makes me suspicious is the clear finish on the headstock with Gibson silk screened in gold along with wings glued on instead of a one piece headstock, granted, these features  do appear on some Gibson models for example I have found some B25s with this but for the life of me I cannot find any LG-2s with this clear finish deal. They all seem to have a black veneered or painted headstock. I've measured up the body and the dimensions all check out. The bridge is the correct style for an LG-2 as well.

I am yet to be given the chance to rip the strings off and examine inside for any numbers which may be stamped on the neck block or measure the bracing as this can also provide a clue to when it was produced but can anyone provide an opinon on the headstock 

I know this is a minor point, because after all, this is a musical instrument. But after 18 posts on everything from the bracing to the tuners, did no one think to ask how it sounds?

Here goes. How does it sound? 

RBSinTo

 

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2 minutes ago, RBSinTo said:

I know this is a minor point, because after all, this is a musical instrument. But after 18 posts on everything from the bracing to the tuners, did no one think to ask how it sounds?

Here goes. How does it sound? 

RBSinTo

 

 

The gist of the original post was about originality and to some extent the lack thereof on value.  But have I and probably others maybe  paid a bit more than we should have for a guitar because we liked the way it sounded.  You betcha.  

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40 minutes ago, Z526 said:

If I keep the tuners then chuck the rest in the trash and build a new guitar Gibson logo, fake serial number and all. Thats still a restored Gibson right? Cause it has those tuners from a real Gibson 😉

 

If I had a chance to buy it.. I probably would enjoy playing it.. there a pretty good guitar..  but those tuners are better than what would of been on it.

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1 hour ago, RBSinTo said:

I know this is a minor point, because after all, this is a musical instrument. But after 18 posts on everything from the bracing to the tuners, did no one think to ask how it sounds?

Here goes. How does it sound? 

RBSinTo

 

The foundations of a good sound are there, with a rattly background noise from the loose parts vibrating against each other and a healthy amount of fret buzz, like a guitar with a broken top and loose braces in bad need of a fret job/refret should posses. Won't properly know how it sounds until these issues are fixed but its only going to improve it really.

With regards to the suggested replacement of the ladder bracing with x bracing, this has been done on an LG-0

https://grahamparkerluthier.com/tag/gibson/

Scroll down to see it happen and read a brief report of the results.

 

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It's been done to a lot of ladder braced guitars, probably with mixed results. The amount of work this guitar needs, as I tried to infer, makes the price pretty much out of bounds for ever having adequate value, but I know that availability in Australia ain't what we gringos here in the US are spoiled by, so the opportunity has to be analyzed from that point somewhat.

As you say, you can do most repair work, and you would pretty much have to to make it even a fun project. The thing that most screams out to me is the term you use 'wobbly neck', though I'm not sure what you mean by that. Is it actually loose, or just wonky. At any rate, it'll need a reset right off. Is that something you think you can do?


I'd go back to him with my 'yard sale' offer, as I named it before, a couple hundred bucks, but only if I was really looking for a project to play with.  You can find a usable LG-1 online for less than a thousand dollars, and avoid long days in your shop trying to pull this one together.

I wish you good hunting.

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