Gibson Vintage Acoustic Restoration: Gibson l-00 1934

This Gibson l-00 dates back to 1934. It has seen a hard life so far.

When it came into the workshop for renovation work it had been set up and used as a slide guitar with a high nut and bridge and a trapeze style tailpiece .

It had also lost its finish (it could have been natural, sunburst or black) and an unknown varnish brushed on. Badly done this had collected layers of dirt over the years

The guitar top is gentle wiped over with spirit. This dissolves the immediate surface and removes most of the dirt build-up.

The Bridge

The guitar was fitted with an adjustable bridge from an arch-top guitar with the adjustable parts removed, the bottom flattened off, the two halves glued together and glued to the soundboard.  It’s doubtful, set up like this, whether the guitar ever played or stayed in-tune.

The easiest and less stressful way (for the soundboard) to remove this bridge is to plane it down to a thin strip. There would then be enough flexibility within the remaining slither to slip a wide-bladed knife under it to pop it off.

A piece of Rosewood is selected for the new bridge.

The new bridge is cut out, shaped, glued to the soundboard and bridge-pin holes drilled.

The back had been damaged years ago.

The repair look like it’s a DIY job. The crack was propped up from the inside and the crack filled with an unknown (possibly epoxy) and the whole of the back painted to match the sides. It had to go!

The Back

A repair had been badly made many years ago. The back was propped up from the inside and the crack filled with an unknown (possibly epoxy) and the whole of the back painted to match the sides. It had to go!

The old back repair propped up from the inside (viewed via a mirror through the soundhole)

Prior to work commencing and during the initial workbench examination it is decided that the old back should be removed and a new back made. Mainly to remove the inside prop bungle and also to remove the ugly repair.

Firstly a temporary cardboard mould is made to prevent the sides losing their shape. The back is removed making repairs to the internal part of the soundboard very simple.

The new back is joined, braced, shaped and stained on the inside to give an aged effect.

Once fitted, a distressed finish is created for the back as befits a guitar of this age

The guitar is set up and strung up with 12 – 54 strings.

It now plays and sound like a guitar that has regained its mojo.

Enlarged photos here…

More on l-00 history here…

Vintage Gibson Heritage Acoustic Bridge Repair

This Gibson Heritage acoustic dates back to the 1960s.

It’s in the workshop for a repair to its bridge, soundboard and bindings

•    The bridge has cracked wide open on its bass wing and lifting from the soundboard
•    The soundboard has a badly repaired split near to its scratchplate
•    The bindings are cracked and loose in places

The bridge is being held in place by two bolts through the bridge and soundboard with washers and nuts on the inside. The two bolts a hidden under two pearl dot inlays. These have to be removed to get to the screws. After attempting a few inlay removal techniques the dots would not yield and, unfortunately, have to be drilled out.

The bridge is easily removed with a wide-blade pallet knife

The bridge is repaired, cleaned and oiled

The area under the bridge is cleaned up

The bridge saddle is adjusted in height and shape

The bridge is re-glued

The Split in the soundboard is clearly visible here. This photo was taken through the soundhole using a mirror image to reveal the split.

The split is sealed on the outside and cleated on the underside of the soundboard

Another Vintage acoustic back in action

Click on the image for more pics