WORKPAGE

11-18-10

Granpa Dwayne's 1955 Gibson Guitar
3/4 scale

FON# W-1125-7

LG-1
August 1942 to 1974 (no production 1943-1945), X-braced and brown finish/mahogany top in 1942, ladder braced spruce top/sunburst finish after WW2.
In 1949 a 3/4 scale (23") LG-2 was introduced, with ladder bracing.
In 1955 larger pickguard with point, 20 frets total, lower braces.
 

  LG-1, LG-2, LG-3 models were all introduced in August 1942. But the LG1 and LG3 stopped production right after introduction (only about 100 of each model was produced in 1942), leaving just the LG-2 as the only model made through WW2. All three models had different top/brace materials. The LG-1 had a mahogany top and chocolate brown top finish, the LG-3 had a blond natural spruce top, and the LG-2 had a spruce sunburst top. So the most common war-time (banner logo) 14.25" Gibson was the sunburst LG-2.

 After WW2 the LG-1 and LG-3 were reintroduced, but now the three models had different features between them (the LG1 for example now had ladder bracing with a spruce top and sunburst finish). In 1958 the LG-0 was introduced as the new low-end flattop model (ladder bracing, mahogany top, brown top finish).
 

Factory Order Numbers with a Letter, 1952 to 1961.
This letter precedes the batch number within the Factory Order Number (FON), and denotes the year of manufacturer. Remember, the batch number is the first 4 digits of the FON, followed by a 1 or 2 digit sequence number (within the batch). This letter should be before the FON batch number. This was used on archtop models (ink stamped inside treble F-hole) and on flat top models (ink stamped on the neck block), from 1952 to 1961:
Year    Letter
----    ------
1952    Z
1953    Y
1954    X
1955    W
1956    V
1957    U
1958    T
1959    S
1960    R
1961    Q



Arrival


Tyler came by and brought in an old Gibson flat top that belonged to his Grandfather.
It had been left to the elements, up in attics, etc. and is in very poor condition
All models are essentially student models with narrow 14 1/8" wide bodies (2" narrower than a J-45, and .5" narrower than an L-00) and are quite plentiful, they are not real collectible (though the script logo LG-2/LG-3 are quite good for their size and some people do collect them)


 


The top is the worst part, having separated and cracked after years of being left on its own as well as the center broken away from the fingerboard


Tyler expressed the wish to try and save it at least to a playing level because Dwayne had expressed many times how he had let that happen to his favorite guitar, so I told him we would look and see.
 

1955 model, from the Build number


It has had work in the past, some ribs are replaced with non correct wood and a couple are missing
You can tell the glue just vanished, the kerfing is perfect for the redo.


It can be stabilized and reused, but do not look for beauty at the end of this project, unless you think beauty is at least a playable instrument.


The back and sides are pretty good


Heavy wear on the fingerboard, you can tell that it really was his favorite for many years


You have to love the homemade buttons.........originals disintegrated as usual!



NECK REMOVAL


Now I am going to have to cut to the chase here, the neck had been reset at some juncture, and the glue used was not proper.
It was so tenacious that steaming, heating with dry heat, several other methods of heat..., nothing would budge it.
It became obvious to us both that we were just ruining a ruined Guitar and went another path before it all fell apart from heating.


I razor cut the neck block out


Then........it took knocking it it all the way apart into pieces to get it from the neck dovetail.
All and all, the worse neckset I have ever seen, but the SOB held up while the body fell apart, what can I say!
I will save that neckblock out of spite mainly :)
All other small pieces i can use I will

Rebuilding the neck block
 


Ready to reinstall


After the block cured in...I added to upright supports, to offset the stress of the missing rib wood in the center


Beginning the cleating and sealing one original crossbrace
 

Using  the bass clampage to double as a crossbar, so I can use a "Go bar" type clamping on the crossbraces
Its ironic, to be inside a Bass, working on a guitar........with a crossbrace being braced on a crossbrace!


Gobars give nice even clamping where it is needed
After I get the braces all in, I will work some pieces into the center rib area


Flipped around to do the bottom brace


The center bottom, has been fabricated from the old center crossbrace from the bass project, its nice to recycle and TJ will like the significance of this.


Profiled for gluing


Clamped down into place.


Top cleaned of all parts and old glues, washed with deionized water
Broken section tacked back into place for cleating


Staying flat while it dries back out
 
 


Making a "Gobar" clamping system deck
Wooden dowels can be used to force pressure right where you want it and this facilitates gluing and retention
Those side dowels are screwed from the underside to keep the deck from lifting


Sometimes a large dowel can be used , like on these 2 cleats


Pressing the crossbraces, 2 were missing and I have cut a new set


top braces have a designed radii built into them, to create upforce on the sound board.
If you made them flat like a back brace, the bridge would sink in under string pressure.


This is how much they curve, and how the gobars place the clampage in the correct areas


Ladder bracing completed, a few cleats to go


I have the bridge backing plate clamped into place with a caul on top for even pressure, as well as the rest of the cleating
  One chip of spruce to add up in the soundhole, and then it will be time to jig up for getting the top back on the body.


The top is now ready to reinstall
I left the binding on it, that will help pull it all back into alignment


I used the very strong binding tape from Stewmac to bind it all down with, this is a good way to get a fast clamping with alot of pressure.
I saw his procedure being used in lieu of clamps on a Techs tip page an decided to go  with it, and I'm glad I did.
It is nice and tight to the ribs
I'll have to finish that bit of wood repair to the top ribbing under the neck before I set the neck.
 
 

I mocked up the neck, bridge and pickguard for a look.
The neck went in fine, and will have the proper angle.
Also, the top does have a nice pronounced arch again, thanks to the radius crossbraces.........live and learn.


I replaced the chip out inside the soundhole with a like grained spruce
 


Filling the missing rib section under the neck with mahogany veneers

I have cleaned the dovetail and prepped it for reinstallation of the neck, and doweled that hole from the lag bolt


Fairing in the edges of the veneer and I have replaced the old missing binding with a small section


Doweled here as well, Ill darken it is all.


Neck has been set and I'll temp it with some tape while I grab clampage


A little pressure here
 
 

And a little more here, it went down nicely, I feel it will work out OK

I have a caul under the bridge plate (unseen) and clamping is good
The tape just helps hold pressure on the tips, since I have no specialized guitar tools.

The squeezeout is good, it is a nice tight fitting

I added a little tobacco brown tint up onto the new wood, and coated that area with some clear.
I will steel wool that to make it satin, and look used
I do not wish it to be too outstanding but the guitar will recieve no refinishing per Tylers instructions, he wants it to have this old beatup look to remember where it came from, so functionality will overstep cosmetic



SETUP
 


No popping and snapping.....always a good sign.


No tension on the strings yet, Ill let it cure another day
I scraped the high spots in the binding, it will re-yellow with age, wipe it in Tung oil 2 times and rubbed the finish
 



FINAL PICS
 


That was the 55th pic, and this is a 1955 guitar, ironic

I want to do a little work on the saddle and bridge pin holes,nut.etc... but it appears to be playable, and I played a few notes to TJ tonite so I think it will be good to go soon.



4-12


Tyler came in to help me with some housework and was able to pick up Grandpas guitar.
It plays out good and has a nice clear tone.
I hadn't really heard it played until now, and was pleased that we could get it this far along, I know Dwayne will be smiling down on him for getting his old box going again.

Thanks for watching,
Vinnie



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