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1980 Gibson Les Paul KM repair

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I recently started playing again and was planning to clean up/restore my old Gibson Les Paul. I never really knew much about it, so I did a little research. Turns out it’s a 1980 KM model - apparently somewhat rare. It’s in playable shape, with some minor damage consisting of a crack by the toggle and the input jack jammed in after a strap broke. Also, the previous owner swapped out the original bridge. Other than that, it’s really just dirty.


My question is, how should I progress? Just visit a local luthier? Never having done that, is it straightforward, or do you get multiple opinions?


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Hello and welcome on here..  

Just before I get going I just have to say..  Its not dead, its just stunned   😄

But yes.. Find a reputable luthier let them look over it and they will tell you what your options are. With cracks in the guitar.. Well if they dont effect the playability or the stability of the guitar  then you dont really need to fix them.. Its an old guitar and thats what happens over time, honest play and wear and tear..  People pay good money to have brand new guitars beaten up to look old like that  🙂 

I think.  And someone can correct me on this that if its a 1980 thats still what they call the Norlin era.....  You can look that up. One of the things that I do know about LPs from then is that they are often very very heavy. Hard to really tell you much else from the picture.



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Appreciate the welcome. Yeah, the thing weighs a freakin’ ton. Pretty sure the mafia tied these to bodies to sink them in the Hudson.

I was actually looking at that exact Reverb page last night. Seeing what those were going for had me rethinking my approach. Initially, I was going to just get it serviced, maybe try to do some of the work myself, and then back to normal use. After seeing what some of those are going for, I was wondering if it would be better to get a full professional restoration as close to original spec as possible and treat it more as a collector piece that I lightly play on occasion. 

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That will probably be rather expensive... Depends on what it means to you.  If its something you may want to pass down one day it may be nice to get it all done up and restored. 

Guitars can be a bit odd in what appeals to specific people or not,  and it can be very specific..  Personally I doubt I would pay that for an old LP.. Rather get a new custom historic or something like that BUT there are people who for one reason or another will really want an early 80s one like that.. If it were a late 50s early 60s model, that would be more my thing.

The Norlin era is something that people seem to love or hate.. Pancake bodies, volutes weird electronics...... But those KM ones were meant to be more like the original 59 models but werent really anything like them.

Edited by Rabs
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Definitely get someone that you know isn't going to hack that thing up.  Nothing worse than repairing a bad repair...  And my opinion is that if the neck can be made straight and truss rod works to assist in this, you have something worth slavaging.  Frets, electronics, hardware, even finish stuff to a certain extent  - all affordable to correct.  A neck issue is what you worry about the most.  Sort of like a soundboard crack or pin block issue with a piano - why I would be hesitant to bring some piano for free that has been sitting in a basement for how many years...  unattended...  Costs a lot to pay someone to bring in your place and not easily moved around a home - they are hundreds of pounds and will KILL your body if you try to move it around.  I know from experience...  I digress, just don't get some jack hole to do their bidding to that nice guitar you got there. 

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