#1
I have a Conrad LP guitar that I am restoring. (Albeit slowly) I have a few major problems, that I don't know about. I want some honest and truthful answers. Here goes.

1. I'm upgrading the hardware (i.e. Tuners, Pots, Pups, Jack, Bridge and Stop Bar). I need to know, I was told any regular Gibson parts, will fit. I'm looking at replacing all of it, though only if need be. I salvaged a pickup off a guitar that was given to me. Sounds good, for what it came off of. (Needless to say, I got it off a guitar I would NEVER buy). I need to know what things I'm looking for. I found a wraparound stop bar on 'Frank Montags' guitar editor site. I need to know, am I good to go, so long as they fit? Also, on that note. I know what kind of tuners I want, nothing special, just something that matches the screw holes. The pots in it are 500k and work, but the volume for the bridge is a little loose. I have a replacement for it and I need to know, will there be any conflicts in the two? Can't think that there would be.

2. I am going to repaint it, (I know diminishes value, but I'm not going to resell it) and it's old. From the 70's, lawsuit era, and there are issues. It looks to have been dropped, from a good height, and then suffered water damage as the wood has swollen and bubbled. It cracked all the way through the binding and the previous owner repaired it with JB Weld.... I know, not what's good for it.... The acid has visibly eaten the wood, paint, and binding. I'm going to sand it back down to bare bones, and I need to know. While I am not worried about its appearance, as it's on the back side of the body, is it safe to sand it off and repair it with some wood replacement putty? Also, it looks as though when it was 'repaired' the JB Weld was injected down into the crack. Like resin, or glue, and when I sand it down, I plan to remove it, as the paint will not adhere to it. Can I just sand it down, and file out the crack and just refill it with putty, or do I want to leave it alone?

3. I love the feel of the neck, it's old, worn, and smooth, but the frets have divots and dents from years of string wear. Should I replace them, and just suck it up, or are they okay to stay? When the guitar is set up, there is no buzz, or anything wrong. I just don't know the proper time to replace the frets.

3 1/2. The fret board has seen years of humidity, heat, and weather change and has acquired a texture, none of said 'texture' sticks up above any fret, or anywhere close for that matter. I, personally, like the feel, but I don't know if this will become a problem, later. So I ask, do I need to plane the frets back down to flat?

4. The inlays (I believe them to be genuine pearl, or at least they don't look like MOP) and they have aged, as well. And have made gaps between the edge of the inlay, and the fret board. Should I seal them, or am I safe leaving them open? I really don't want to mess with the neck, any more than painting. At least not do any intense work on it. It's not something I am ready, or able, to spend a lot of money on, at the moment. And I want to get it looking good, and working right, for now. I will, more than likely, do some more in depth 'restoration' work on it, later.

My Conrad is my baby, and I am wanting to fix her back up, so that she lasts. She has no issues with sound, the only thing about that, that I'm changing, is that I'm going to trade out the pups for a set that more closely matches my sound needs.

If anyone has any wisdom, advice, or recommendations please speak up. I really want to keep this guitar alive. She looks, plays, and sounds like a beauty. She just needs some work done. If anyone has any hints or anything, I would love to hear it. Even if it's wild, or DIY, I just want to get her to where I don't have to worry about it.

Thank you.

Caleb (a.k.a. Heartless Interest)
#2
Clarification:

1. I need someone with the knowledge to help me look for what will suit my needs.

2. I plan on repainting it, and resealing it. I did some research and found that the most used paint is automotive spray paint. I haven't found out which sealer to use, and would like to know. Obviously nothing overly expensive. On that, what kind of putty/repair, resin/putty/clay/anything else, do I need?

3 & 3 1/2 & 4. Do I need to worry about anything on the neck/fretboard? I can describe how they look, or get pictures of it, but I would like to get it to where it's going to last. I really don't want to get rid of this guitar. On that, the mounting threads for the bridge and tailpiece, can I remove those (safely) and replace them, or am I stuck?

I really just need someone to tell me, in their truthful and honest opinion, which direction I should go. As I am relatively new to playing guitar, I'm even less seasoned on repairing/restoring, them. I don't need it to look showroom floor, good. Just need it to be good and ready, when I need it to be.
#3
MOP = Mother of Pearl = Pearl inlays.

It's "pearloid" that's plastic crap (used on Gibson LPs). Real MOP/Pearl won't change over time, but pearloid will shrink, outgas, embrittle, change color and warp.

You're going to want to go through the "newsletters" and other bits of advice on StewMac (www.stewmac.com) and you'll probably spend a lot of time there. The edges of the inlays can be filled (and should be). It's actually possible for you to pull the frets yourself, sand down (smooth) the fretboard and then put in new frets (be sure to glue them; don't just press them in). It's a bit of a process, but you'll be rewarded with better playability for a long time. While it's *possible* to do that, it may not be *necessary*, depending on the amount of wear that you have on the frets now. You can have the frets leveled and crowned (which will get them smooth and playable again, but which will also reduce their height) or you can look them over and see if most of the wear is in the first five frets or so. Often you can have just those frets replaced, then have the entire board leveled. I like a tech for this kind of work, but you CAN do it yourself.