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  #1  
Old 10-05-2016, 04:21 AM
andocommando andocommando is offline
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Default Removing finish on vintage Gibson L30

So I bought a 1936 or possibly 1937 Gibson L30. Lady's late husband was a luthier and was going to repair the guitar before passing away. The top and sides are original and and have been stripped of about 85% of the original finish. Sides have a reminat of pink staining. The top has it around the edges. I removed the back because it was cheap plywood. Saved the braces as best I could. Going to put on a new back eventually.
So what's the best was to remove the rest of the left over finish? Acetone? Sanding?
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Old 10-05-2016, 07:35 AM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I'd ask the mods to repost this in the Build & Repair Forum - you're more likely to get the right advice over there...
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Old 10-05-2016, 01:53 PM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Given that it's not going to be a L30 after you are done historic correctness becomes less important that ending up with a good instrument, so what I would do is use chemical means to remove as much as possible, then sand carefully trying to remove as little wood as possible. I would carve a new back, probably of mahogany as it is actually a great tone wood for the back of an archtop, and I would revoice the top to match the back (different tap tones being key). I would close the box and refinish with modern techniques, probably fairly dark to even out blotches in the top and how it takes up new stain, maybe even an opaque finish. If you take care in how you tune the top and new back you stand a great chance of having a great sounding acoustic instrument. As long as you are up-front and proud about the modifications, no harm done.

Brian
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Old 10-05-2016, 03:17 PM
andocommando andocommando is offline
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Thank you for the response. I bought a new book matched maple back last night, mainly b/c it's what originally came with the guitar. The guy who put the plywood back on ages ago did a really good job, with really sub par wood :-(. I'll continue working on cleaning up the top and sides. I got a quote to fix the top cracks and kurfling, new braces, and install the back and new binding....grand total estimated at $2000. Yikes! So this will have to just be a diy project.
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Old 10-06-2016, 05:34 AM
MC5C MC5C is offline
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Good luck, I assume you are going with a flat back, which is indeed what they came with. I was actually pretty sure that they came with laminated mahogany backs and sides, not solid, but I've never seen a picture of one with maple. If the rims and linings are in good shape bracing and installing a flat back should be pretty easy, the hard part is finishing.

Brian
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Brian Evans
1935 Dobro model 25 resonator
1943 Paramount (made by Kay) mandolin
1946 Epiphone Zephyr electric archtop
1957 Hofner Senator archtop
1962 Gibson Melody Maker electric
1963 National Dynamic lap steel
1996 Landola jumbo
1998 Godin Artisan TC electric
1998 Epiphone SG electric
2010 GoldTone PBR-CA resonator
2015 Evans electric archtop
2016 Evans archtop
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  #6  
Old 10-06-2016, 10:59 AM
Hot Vibrato Hot Vibrato is offline
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I've got (what I believe to be) an L-37, which is sunburst, and has back binding. I LOVE that guitar. It sounds wonderful! I thought the L-30 was the black archtop without back binding. Pretty much the same guitar otherwise. All the examples I've seen have been hard maple with flat backs. A black one (L-30?) just left my shop after having its back removed, several braces reglued, and tons of back cracks glued and cleated. I think it might have been easier just to replace the back, but this way, it's all original.

Most of these have flat-sawn unfigured hard maple backs and sides. I think because they're flatsawn, the backs are more prone to distorting and cracking. Therefore, many examples of these guitars have back cracks and loose braces.

I think I would use a scraper for most of the finish removal to preserve as much of the sides' thickness as possible.
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  #7  
Old 10-06-2016, 03:44 PM
andocommando andocommando is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Vibrato View Post
I've got (what I believe to be) an L-37, which is sunburst, and has back binding. I LOVE that guitar. It sounds wonderful! I thought the L-30 was the black archtop without back binding. Pretty much the same guitar otherwise. All the examples I've seen have been hard maple with flat backs. A black one (L-30?) just left my shop after having its back removed, several braces reglued, and tons of back cracks glued and cleated. I think it might have been easier just to replace the back, but this way, it's all original.

Most of these have flat-sawn unfigured hard maple backs and sides. I think because they're flatsawn, the backs are more prone to distorting and cracking. Therefore, many examples of these guitars have back cracks and loose braces.

I think I would use a scraper for most of the finish removal to preserve as much of the sides' thickness as possible.
Thanks for the response. From what I know, which is limited, the L30 was all black from r the first few years. I think from 1935-1937. Sometime in 37' they started doing bursts. The l-37 was essentially an L30 with a nicer burst and bound pickguard. This one was originally a burst finish, didn't come with any hardware: no tuners, bridge, tailpiece. So it could have been an L37. No way of knowing really. No serial stamped in the headstock, so it's pre-1938. Tried to find a plain maple back but I got a great deal on a book matched 5a maple back. Most of the finish that's left is deep in the grain. I took most of the lacquer off already. So now it's going to be a lot of fine sanding.
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2019 Fender Paramount pm-te all hog
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