Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

I am now (kind of) a Les Paul player


Recommended Posts

A few days ago, a local store put an ad on Craigslist for a 1983 Gibson Spirit... they had listed it before, and I had checked it out, and decided it wasn't worth what I would have to pay to have it fixed up. I was feeling a bit more confident in my abilities this time around, and decided it would be a good summer project to refinish and repair... in the end, I'd have a perfectly playable guitar (theoretically) for around $400.


So I went to the store and I bought, for $310 plus tax, a 1983 Gibson Spirit, heavily modified and spray-painted, with an Epiphone hardshell case.


It plays great... it might be the best-feeling guitar I've ever played. The body rings - unplugged - in a way that I've only seen my friend's SG Special Faded ring. The only thing ruining how it feels is the spray-paint finish.


The modifications include the spray paint, an additional volume knob (it started as a Spirit II, so one volume and two tone), re-routed for P-90s, and some Ping tuners. It has Seymour Duncan Hot P-90s in it, according to the store, and they sounded good enough to me.


My intentions are as follows:


Remove all hardware and strip the paint off down to the bare wood

Fill holes (they added a crappy-looking pickguard) and the extra space in the pickup cavities

Use Stew-Mac's spray lacquer to refinish... I'm debating between Vintage Amber, Cherry, or a burst. Since it's my first attempt, I think I'll stick with a solid colour. I'll do the top coat in satin.

Depending on how my patchwork comes out, I may or may not put a Les Paul Special-style pickguard on. It also needs a better control cavity cover.


After that, I re-install everything. I may install a more adjustable bridge (it has a wraparound) and some keystone tuners when I have a bit more money, but what it has is suitable for now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm home for Easter, and left my camera at school... I can get some tomorrow, I imagine. I looked for the Craigslist ad, but it was taken down.


For what it's worth...


The Spirit started out as an Epiphone USA model made in Kalamazoo. It didn't sell well, so the leftover stock was re-branded as a Gibson model, and was then manufactured in Nashville as a Gibson. It was essentially a double-cutaway Les Paul Junior or Les Paul Special, with humbuckers. The Spirit had a single humbucker in the bridge, the Spirit II had two humbuckers. Both had binding, but not on all examples. It was more common on the Spirit II.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the most costly part will be the replacement pickguard and control cover... since neither are standard-sized, they both need to be custom made.


Now, y'all need to convince me as to what colour to do... from Stew-Mac's selection of spray lacquer. Your choices are Vintage Amber, Cherry, Tobacco Brown, or Red Mahogany.


Samples here:




If you want to post some pictures of similar-coloured Les Paul Specials, feel free...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because my hand feels sticky when I'm done. When I say it's a spray paint finish, that's not hyperbole... as far as I can tell, it is actually spray paint.


The good news (for me, anyway) is that the paint is chipping off along the back edge, and it is bare wood underneath. It looks like there won't be much sanding at this point, because I can scrap it off (slowly) with a guitar pick. A rubber spatula should handle most of it, I'm hoping.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...