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Repair Or Replace


ES355EB2 Matched Pair

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Hey, everyone! I have a '57 Les Paul Special on which the plastic tuning knobs are disintegrating.

 

My question is whether to replace the Kluson Deluxe tuner strips entirely or to buy new plastic knobs (they seem to be pressed onto square-ended pins).

 

This is no pristine closet queen (it used to be a workingman's guitar), but I'd like to keep it as close to original as possible. Your advice?

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Originally posted by ES355+EB2 Matched Pair:

Hey, everyone! I have a '57 Les Paul Special on which the plastic tuning knobs are disintegrating.

 

My question is whether to replace the Kluson Deluxe tuner strips entirely or to buy new plastic knobs (they seem to be pressed onto square-ended pins).

 

This is no pristine closet queen (it used to be a workingman's guitar), but I'd like to keep it as close to original as possible. Your advice?

i recall Dan Erlewhine using super glue to restore the structural integrity of old kluson tuners that were crumbling.

i am unsure if it was in one of his columns in GP or if it is in the repair guide he has in print.

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Originally posted by Guitarzan:

Originally posted by ES355+EB2 Matched Pair:

Hey, everyone! I have a '57 Les Paul Special on which the plastic tuning knobs are disintegrating.

 

My question is whether to replace the Kluson Deluxe tuner strips entirely or to buy new plastic knobs (they seem to be pressed onto square-ended pins).

 

This is no pristine closet queen (it used to be a workingman's guitar), but I'd like to keep it as close to original as possible. Your advice?

i recall Dan Erlewhine using super glue to restore the structural integrity of old kluson tuners that were crumbling.

i am unsure if it was in one of his columns in GP or if it is in the repair guide he has in print.

Yeah I know Zan he did that BUT.. like he said this is a player guitar... no closet queen and the last thing you need on a gig is problems with those keys ..I mean I have had those before and its like the disentragation starts around the knurled stub and goes out. The glueing holds at the stub again but the rest of the knobs are just as weak due to the ultraviolet problem.. I don't know if I would trust those again ..not on a gigging instrument?
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I've heard that they have excellent replacement knobs that are identical to the originals. The thing about a '57 LP Special is that it is a very valuable guitar at this point!! If it's cherry stained, it's worth about $11,000 in "low" condition. If it's TV yellow, it's worth about $12,000 in "low" condition.

 

Personally, I'd just replace the plastic knobs. And save the originals, even if they are only dust!! Keep them in a baggie, in the case.

 

Hey ES-335....WELCOME TO THE FORUM :wave::wave:

 

Can you post some photos of your Special??

 

Good luck with it, and let us know what you do.

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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Here's a link to check out some replacement vintage tuner knobs on StewMac;

 

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Knobs/Tuner_knobs/Vintage-style_Replacement_Tuner_Knobs.html

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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Zan....lmao!!...well, I am into vintage instruments and amps. I won't mention the "other" magazine that I reed cover to cover each month....I am constantly checking certain old axes out on eBay, and literally wear out my Vintage Guitar Price Guide each year looking up "stuff". Another great source text for vintage guitars is George Gruhn and Walter Carter's book, Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars.

 

I also am lucky to have two great friends who each are really vintage experts. They've helped me come up to speed on all things vintage.

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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By the way, Elwood's point is a good one....if you are going to play out with this axe....i.e. if it is to be a working man's axe, then you might consider total replacement of the tuners, particularly if the old ones aren't working well. But, if it's a hobbiest's axe, and a collector, then you DO NOT want to put any holes in it, or replace anything if you can help it.

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks, guys! I really appreciate the comments. About half of the tuner knobs are beyond the Erlewine repair suggested. I just ordered replacement tuner knobs from Stewart-MacDonald (thanks for the URL), and we'll see how those work first. It's surprising, but these '57 original Kluson's hold tune better than the Grovers that I put on my ES-335 some time in the 60s.

 

Also, now that I finally have the digital camera that I bought three years ago out of the box, I CAN take some photos, if someone will tell me HOW to add them to a post!

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Originally posted by mdrs:

Zan....lmao!!...well, I am into vintage instruments and amps. I won't mention the "other" magazine that I reed cover to cover each month....I am constantly checking certain old axes out on eBay, and literally wear out my Vintage Guitar Price Guide each year looking up "stuff". Another great source text for vintage guitars is George Gruhn and Walter Carter's book, Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars.

 

I also am lucky to have two great friends who each are really vintage experts. They've helped me come up to speed on all things vintage.

I have a friend that valued instruments for that magazine if it is the one that I think you are talking about. He worked for them for like 5 or 6 years.
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Originally posted by ES355+EB2 Matched Pair:

Thanks, guys! I really appreciate the comments. About half of the tuner knobs are beyond the Erlewine repair suggested. I just ordered replacement tuner knobs from Stewart-MacDonald (thanks for the URL), and we'll see how those work first. It's surprising, but these '57 original Kluson's hold tune better than the Grovers that I put on my ES-335 some time in the 60s.

 

Also, now that I finally have the digital camera that I bought three years ago out of the box, I CAN take some photos, if someone will tell me HOW to add them to a post!

So, you put the replacement knobs on?? Tell us how it worked out. Was it an easy repair? Photos would be great!! Here's how to post photos;

 

Take the photos, and have them on your computer. Go to WWW.photobucket.com, I think you set up an account (it's free). Then you upload your photos to photobucket. Once they are on photobucket, you copy the "IMG Code" under the photo you want to post here, then past that IMG Code on your post here, and "wa lah" your photo will show up here.

 

Let me know if you have any problems.

 

Congrats, and I'm anxious to see your special!!

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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I thought we were going to get into one of those "to bag it or not to bad it" things again.

 

The HotStuff (cynoacrylate) thing works gooder than good because you literally soak them until all the porous areas are filled and it actually dries harder than the original material. so to speak...

 

But... the replacements are a great option and come colored to effectively match the age of the guitar. I bought some a while back and they were perfect matches.

 

Take them off the guitar before heating the stem with a soldering iron. Those older Weller gun type models can crank up the heat quickly and work best. clamp the rest of the machine in a metal vice so as not to damage the surface but hold it and act as a heat sink preventing any discoloration of the gear housing.

 

These things just press on and typically are not drilled because that just mean there'd be a pocket of air instead of a solid fit.

The plastic just rolls out to the side as you push it on and it can easily be trimmed off with a utility knife.

I took some fine sanding paper and took off the polish and ridges from the molding process.

 

Be extra careful when you fit them so that they are all perfectly aligned. It might not seem very important but when they're installed it exaggerates any sloppy fitting.

 

It's interesting how (as you might have found) they're just gripping that key with those two little pinch marks and no gnarling or extravagant shaping on the stem.

 

Good luck with that.

I still think guitars are like shoes, but louder.

 

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If this piece has the value Doc suggests, I would NOT gig with it very much. Too many things can go wrong at the wrong gig. I'd look into a workhorse, and keep this axe as original as possible.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Originally posted by Ol' Boy Rivers:

Confucius say... If knob break, Tuner broke too. " I say, Find the closest thing you can to that tuner ( I think they make vintage tuners to that spec ) And replace them.

Sorry, but if Confucius says that, HE IS WRONG!! The plastic on some of these old axes literally disintegrates over time. Often you can also see a dramatic discoloration associated with the deterioration of the plastic. The breakdown of the plastic is a well documented thing. It's an inherant problem with the plastic, and has nothing to do with the tuner. As ES said, the tuners hold their tune fine.

 

You are likely saying that a "stiff" tuner will put more pressure on the knob, because it's hard to turn the tuner gears. This is true, but does not cause the plastic breakdown that we're talking about. If a tuner is stiff, it should be throughly cleaned out and properly lubricated.

 

ES is doing the right thing here....the replacements should work well, and look fine.

 

By the way, if you are looking for a "workhorse" LP Jr or Special, they can be had for reasonable cost, both new, and also check out eBay for some good deals. These simple guitars really rock!!

 

Ask Leslie West!! :thu::cool:

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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Originally posted by Guitars are like shoes. But louder.:

I thought we were going to get into one of those "to bag it or not to bad it" things again.

:D

 

I'm happy to see another guy with a vintage piece that is not afraid to gig with it (for fear of theft)...and is doing the right thing maintaining/repair it. :thu:

 

Of course...maybe the plastic "dust" from the old tuners should still get "bagged" for the resale value! :P

 

;) Just funnin with you guys.

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Originally posted by miroslav:

Originally posted by Guitars are like shoes. But louder.:

I thought we were going to get into one of those "to bag it or not to bad it" things again.

:D

 

I'm happy to see another guy with a vintage piece that is not afraid to gig with it (for fear of theft)...and is doing the right thing maintaining/repair it. :thu:

 

Of course...maybe the plastic "dust" from the old tuners should still get "bagged" for the resale value! :P

 

;) Just funnin with you guys.

I have extras somewhere in the shop so that should be enough to keep us all going well into the next millenium. :thu:

 

1957 Special (would be TV if original) didn't come out with cherry until 59 if I'm not mistaken. And I'm not. My book's last years model and it came in at $6k-7.5k but the actual amount they are moving at is here. Anything higher is hanging still. It's a solid guitar, designed and sold to be a utility device. There are scads of Specials & Juniors out there from this period. Workhorse guitar.

 

It's important to never lubricate tuners. The little hole was likely thought up by a machinist but certainly not a luthier of woodworker.

 

Oil or grease turns wood into mush and screw holes become soft and useless. It lifts and destroys the finish and color.

Most (if not all) older machines have brass which is a self lubricating soft metal as are the bushing often found. anything else that developes the need to lubricant can likely be corrected by a few minutes with a power winder. If not... replace it because it's broke.

 

oh ya... don't forget to bag those parts :D

I still think guitars are like shoes, but louder.

 

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Great info about oil, shoes....thanks..

 

Old specials don't seem to get quite the attention that old Jr.'s do......?they don't look as cool?? They don't have someone like Leslie West that championed them??? Who knows....

Don

 

"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."

 

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=574296

 

http://www.myspace.com/imdrs

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