#1
So i have a early 90's gibson that i've had for years, and its got some kind of ****ed up finish problem and i suspect its the nitrocelluose finish bubbling up. Anyway. I want to remove the finish and paint and bring it down to just natural wood. maybe leave the headstock black...idk yet. Does have any links/advice/suggestions that would be helpful for this process? Or has anyone done it? I'm not familiar with refinishing or even really working on comestics of a guitar at all. I also need to find some pick ups to replace the SD blackouts that are in it right now. I used to play metal on it. Sold the oringinal pick ups. dumb. Very dumb. Oh well.
-Peavey 6505+
-Bugera 333xl(w/6l6 pt's) -dead
-412 X-pattern loaded w/ WGS veteran30s & HM75s
-Gibson Les Paul, SD Blackouts *being worked on back to stock*
-Jackson DR7, EMGs
-LTD MH417
-Peavey Vyper 75w
#2
You want some type of finish on it. even a tung oil finish would be fine, but don't leave the whole guitar bare because it could cause some serious issues with warping.
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#3
Isn't the LP headstock a plastic veneer of some kind?
Pretty sure mine are, but they're all after 2000.

As for pickups, some idea of what kind of thing you're planning to play would help. 'Not metal' covers quite a lot of ground.
#4
My 94 Standard has what looks like black fiberboard veneer on the headstock, but it is only visible because it's been dinged up and repaired a lot and the paint is coming off. From the factory the veneer would not have been visible. The "Les Paul Model" portion is silkscreened (I think?) onto the gloss paint. The Gibson logo goes down to the veneer. So if you removed the paint you'd likely end up with a matte black veneer that looks similar to what's used on current standards (matte fiberboard, not painted over) minus the gold Les Paul Model writing.

Or you could strip everything and get a reproduction headstock veneer, shouldn't be too hard to make your own with fiberboard or holly (used on the originals & historics) if you want. This guy replaces the whole thing, pearl logo and all, but you get the idea:
http://notrightinthehead.net/2012/02/09/how-to-59-les-paul-head-stock-inlay/

Took a couple of quick pictures, see if any of these help.
http://imgur.com/a/Kb3z6
http://imgur.com/0QdvXt6

My guitar has had a headstock repair which involved repainting the neck and headstock, but I think it was only the back and sides of the headstock. The front and veneer appear to be original.


Stripping all the paint and leaving it with just a sealer would probably look great. Be careful if you have a solid finish, sometimes they used them to cover ugly woods and left the pretty stuff for the transparent finishes. It will probably look fine underneath but if you find a weird mineral streak you'll know why. The binding might look a little strange, you'd usually use black binding with natural wood.
#6
Well my guitar is a 91. Pretty sure the headstock is solid wood. I never knew they made a plastic headstock? Well anyway. Whats the best way to go about this? Remove all the hardware and go at it with some sandpaper? What kind of sandpaper? Heavy grit to fine grit? what kind of finishes can i apply to protect the wood after i get it down to just wood?

Im thinking i'm only going to do the back of the neck and the body and leave the headstock black.

as far as pick ups go yeah not metal is pretty vague aha. I'd be using the guitar for a cover and oringinal not metal songs. Idk know like counting crows, 311, sublime, i have some jazz/blues influence from my metal playing too, newer bar kinda music i guess?. Obvisouly something passive as the actives that are in right now are pretty much a one trick pony.
-Peavey 6505+
-Bugera 333xl(w/6l6 pt's) -dead
-412 X-pattern loaded w/ WGS veteran30s & HM75s
-Gibson Les Paul, SD Blackouts *being worked on back to stock*
-Jackson DR7, EMGs
-LTD MH417
-Peavey Vyper 75w
#7
I had good luck with Tru-Oil as a finish. Easy to apply and looked good even without final sanding.

I'd also recommend the Seymour Duncan Hotrodded Humbucker set (SH4/SH2) pickups.
#8
You might get away with using lacquer thinner to remove the nitro, but it will take a lot of "elbow grease". The advantage is it doesn't effect the binding like a lot of powerful paint strippers will

heat guns can also work well..just don't leave it on one spot for to long and remember nitro is flammable so care is needed


Aircraft stripper is good to (again care around the binding is needed)
#9
Quote by OurRequiem
Well my guitar is a 91. Pretty sure the headstock is solid wood. I never knew they made a plastic headstock? Well anyway. Whats the best way to go about this? Remove all the hardware and go at it with some sandpaper? What kind of sandpaper? Heavy grit to fine grit? what kind of finishes can i apply to protect the wood after i get it down to just wood?

Im thinking i'm only going to do the back of the neck and the body and leave the headstock black.

No, not a plastic heastock. He meant that it had a veneer, not that it was somehow made of thin plastic (though I still don't think that they've ever actually used plastic). The Gibson logo is inlaid into the veneer which is glued to the front of the headstock. If you have a pearl Gibson logo, there is a veneer on the headstock. It's probably fiberboard but it could also be holly depending on the model. I haven't heard of plastic being used but it may have been, or someone may have mistaken the fiberboard for plastic.

Sanding the whole thing down would take forever, especially by hand. If you're taking it down to bare wood you'll want to use lacquer thinner or a similar chemical stripping agent to get it off. I would not suggest a heat gun, the fumes are nasty.
#10
Quote by Roc8995
No, not a plastic heastock. He meant that it had a veneer, not that it was somehow made of thin plastic (though I still don't think that they've ever actually used plastic). The Gibson logo is inlaid into the veneer which is glued to the front of the headstock. If you have a pearl Gibson logo, there is a veneer on the headstock. It's probably fiberboard but it could also be holly depending on the model. I haven't heard of plastic being used but it may have been, or someone may have mistaken the fiberboard for plastic.

Sanding the whole thing down would take forever, especially by hand. If you're taking it down to bare wood you'll want to use lacquer thinner or a similar chemical stripping agent to get it off. I would not suggest a heat gun, the fumes are nasty.

Well, plastic was just a guess. For all I know, it could be Soylent veneer.
#11
Why not start with a guitar that's natural to start with? www.rmolsonguitars.com has a Les Paul type guitar single cutaway in flamed maple as a kit. I've built a couple of his kits with great results. I'd save the Gibson and build a clone as you like it. Think of the sandpaper, time, and Gibson you'd save.
Last edited by Guitbuilder at Feb 8, 2015,
#12
Alright well whatever the gibson logo is laid in, im going to just leave the headstock alone, i kind of like the idea of a black headstock and a natural wood body, seems unique. So what i'm getting here is use laquer thinner and what the paint just wipes off? I've also read that you can use acetone to get the nitro off but what difference does it make when i'm going to go through the nitro and paint straight to the wood. It seems like the the laquer thinner is the best option to keep the binding unaffected or possibly go the simpler route and investing some time and going with sand paper and avoid the chemicals altogether, i mean how long can it actually take? i'm not in a hurry or anything. Anyone have any links to a guide for this type of work i don't really want to just dive in it and ruin my les paul.
-Peavey 6505+
-Bugera 333xl(w/6l6 pt's) -dead
-412 X-pattern loaded w/ WGS veteran30s & HM75s
-Gibson Les Paul, SD Blackouts *being worked on back to stock*
-Jackson DR7, EMGs
-LTD MH417
-Peavey Vyper 75w
Last edited by OurRequiem at Feb 8, 2015,
#13
Quote by OurRequiem
Apossibly go the simpler route and investing some time and going with sand paper and avoid the chemicals altogether, i mean how long can it actually take? i'm not in a hurry or anything. Anyone have any links to a guide for this type of work i don't really want to just dive in it and ruin my les paul.


sanding can also mess with the binding so be Really careful. I used to sand finishes of but it is so much work that I now mainly use chemicals