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how to clean a very dirty Les Paul?


boosh

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Yesterday one of my bandmembers and longtime friends came to my house to tell me he is moving to Portugal forever.

He brought me a farewell gift. One of his babies,...a 1974 20th anniversary Gibson Les Paul Custom.... Man I allmost cried when he handed it over to me and so did he.

Now I promissed him I'd never sell it and take good care of it forever.

I took of the knobs and hardware for a start because I want to clean it as good as possible.

The guitar used to be white but after 30 years it turned a piss yellow awfull color. I really have no idea how to get it white again without sandpapering it,..It looks like the lacque on it just turned yellow,..

Does anyone have any ideas what to do about this?

http://www.frantic-nutbush.com/front1.jpghttp://www.frantic-nutbush.com/front2.jpg

http://www.frantic-nutbush.com/back1.jpghttp://www.frantic-nutbush.com/back2.jpg

Fan, nu pissar jag taggtråd igen. Jag skulle inte satt på räpan.

http://www.bushcollectors.com

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Do NOT - repeat - DO NOT - sandpaper it!!!

 

First of all, you'll kill the value of the guitar. Second, you'll probably need to refinish it afterwards too.

 

Deal with the yellowing - it's a natural part of the aging process, and any attempt to change the color will kill the vintage value and general "vibe" of the guitar.

 

Get some Gibson (or Martin) pump spray guitar polish and polish it up with a soft cloth. If the fretboard is gunky, you can use some 0000 steel wool to LIGHTLY clean it, but normally, I recommend just using the spray polish and some rags, Q-Tips and elbow grease to get it clean... and a little lemon oil for conditioning of the fretboard after you get it cleaned - go easy on the lemon oil too.

 

Congratulations on a BEAUTIFUL guitar - and sorry to hear you're losing your bandmate. Remember him by caring for that guitar well - clean it, but do NOT refinish it or attempt to change the yellowing. You'll be very sorry if you do!

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No, once it "ambers", to use the Gibson explantion of the lacquer changing color with age, it's gonna stay that way unless you refinish it, which would be a shame. Oddly enough, the yellowing is a mark of quality. It only happens with nitrocellulose lacquer, which is a more expensive finish. And, nitrocellulose arguably allows even solid body guitars to resonate better than acrylic lacquers and/or polyurethane. Those finishes are really just coating the instrument with plastic.

 

You got a cool guitar, have mucho fun playing it.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Boosh, I don't know if it helps any, but there are a lot of mad keen LP Custom lovers (like me!) who love that old yellowed colour. I'm sure you'll grow to appreciate it too over time.

 

Oh, one last thing....is it a heavy guitar, over 4.5 kilos? My main one (with 3 pickups, admittedly) weighs closer to 5 :eek:

J. Eliot Howe (Chief Gear-Pimp)

 

Guitaravenue L.L.C.

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Originally posted by Geetar:

Boosh, I don't know if it helps any, but there are a lot of mad keen LP Custom lovers (like me!) who love that old yellowed colour. I'm sure you'll grow to appreciate it too over time.

 

Oh, one last thing....is it a heavy guitar, over 4.5 kilos? My main one (with 3 pickups, admittedly) weighs closer to 5 :eek:

I removed the pickguard and the two things on the back to clean the potmeters,..took all the hardware off to clean everything.

It's 4.6 kilos without all that so I guess it would go to up 5 kilos when everything is back on.

 

It came to live in my house just yesterday(12 hours ago) But I'm allready loving it. I don't mind the color anymore and the cracks and bruises it has. It gives a nice character to the lady.

 

This guitar was made three years after I was born.Funny,..it's allmost my age....

 

My friend allways knew my dream was to own a Les Paul once but never had the finances to afford one.Other things were more important. This is the greatest gift I ever got from someone,...well except for my 9 month old son offcourse.

Fan, nu pissar jag taggtråd igen. Jag skulle inte satt på räpan.

http://www.bushcollectors.com

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Originally posted by boosh:

I took of the knobs and hardware for a start because I want to clean it as good as possible.

The guitar used to be white but after 30 years it turned a piss yellow awfull color. I really have no idea how to get it white again without sandpapering it,..It looks like the lacque on it just turned yellow,..

Does anyone have any ideas what to do about this?

Gibson sells a Vintage/Reissue Restoration Kit. It comes with three bottles (Low Abrasion Metal Cleaner, Premium Fretboard Conditioner (lemon oil), and Cream Guitar Polish) and a little brush. Anyone have any experience with this stuff?

 

I have a late 90's ES-335. I've taken pretty good care of it. In fact, I only take it out to non-smoking gigs where I know there will be plenty of room on stage. I baby it. The metal finish on the pick-ups, tuners and bridge has become very dull. Any ideas on how to make it shine again? Should I just give up?

Thanks!

vc

Vinny Cervoni

vcbluzman@hotmail.com

www.bluzberrypi.com

www.42ndstband.com

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I hate lacquer on guitars all together. Why do we destroy beautiful wood by putting that crap on there? Don't give it to me because I'd sand that sucker right now to the wood grain and use a gloss-oil varnish for a finish.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Originally posted by WolfZan:

nice axe Boosh. love the aged white. it does have character!

I've been working on it all day and yeah that yellow /ivory grows on me.

I cleaned it thoroughly now and brought the hardware to my friend who's gonna take care of that. Next weekend I'm gonna remount everything and give the baby a test drive,...If it sounds as good as it looks than I'll superglue it to my hands and won't stop playing it till I die.

Fan, nu pissar jag taggtråd igen. Jag skulle inte satt på räpan.

http://www.bushcollectors.com

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I was in a friend's music store a few years ago when a guy brought in the exact same model LP to sell. Mint condition except for the yellowing which, as everybody else has said, is the mojo. He'd bought it new and needed cash - and yeah, he was crying on his way out of the store.

 

Your buddy must think a lot of you to make you such a gift.

 

 

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I was in a friend's music store a few years ago when a guy brought in the exact same model LP to sell. Mint condition except for the yellowing which, as everybody else has said, is the mojo. He'd bought it new and needed cash - and yeah, he was crying on his way out of the store.

 

Your buddy must think a lot of you to make you such a gift.

 

 

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Originally posted by chad:

I was in a friend's music store a few years ago when a guy brought in the exact same model LP to sell. Mint condition except for the yellowing which, as everybody else has said, is the mojo. He'd bought it new and needed cash - and yeah, he was crying on his way out of the store.

 

Your buddy must think a lot of you to make you such a gift.

I met my friend Alex three years ago when I was asked to be the leadsinger of his band.

He's 47 now and I'm 33. He instantly adopted me as a son and is the godfather of my 9 months old son. He saved me from a serious drug addiction I had and we've been soulmates ever since. He's going to leave the country now due to personal reasons and his heart is breaking when he thinks of leaving us here. Every sunday he is at our house where we record and have a wonderful time. I am honoured that I can take care of one of his babies and He knows I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

I love the guy and that will allways be the thing ;)

Fan, nu pissar jag taggtråd igen. Jag skulle inte satt på räpan.

http://www.bushcollectors.com

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Yes indeed you are one lucky bastard.

 

... all of the advice on leaving it and enjoying what you have the way it is is perfect. Give it some non-silicon polish to drink. It can seal finish cracks and moderate environment effects to a small degree. I use a razor blade to clean gunk off the fretboard by just dragging it away from the frets and then polishing it up a little.

 

This is a beautiful guitar and you must keep and play it for the rest of your natural life.

 

Mind you there was that nasty bit of trading a long time friend to the government of Portugal in return for the guitar...

 

I'll have to find somebody to trade. :D

I still think guitars are like shoes, but louder.

 

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Originally posted by Satanic Monkey:

Nice AXE! Wow it looks awesome too, welcome to the LP club :)

Which axe are you talking about, boosh's or Dead Man Walking's? :D

 

I was going to offer to try and "fix" it for boosh if he would send it to me :D BUT, after I read the story that came with it :cool: I can't even say that in jest :freak:

 

Absolutely awesome axe :thu::thu::thu:

Gotta' geetar... got the amp. There must be SOMEthing else I... "need".
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Thankzz you guys for all the tips you gave me.

I'm a vocalist myself and only started playing acoustic guitar 7 years ago. 5 years ago I had a Les Paul Studio for three weks because a bandmember went on a holiday and from that moment on I knew there was only 1 guitar I ever wanted to own and that was an LP.

2 years later my friends gave me a Yamaha Strat clone for my birthday and I never learned to play it well. The neck is too small and the strings are too close to eachother. I have an '76 strat here and a '65 telecaster but those fenders well they just are not my cup of tea.

 

I've been looking at this Les Paul Custom beauty for about 2 days now and the more I feel it,the more I see it ,the more I love it! I haven't had a chance to re-string her because the knobs and bridge etc are at my friends house,..he's cleaning every part thoroughly.

 

I can't wait till he comes over to my house sunday morning so we can assemble her and give her a test run,.... I wanna make her sing!

 

I named her Alexandra by the way,..after my friend Alex who gave her to me....

Fan, nu pissar jag taggtråd igen. Jag skulle inte satt på räpan.

http://www.bushcollectors.com

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I'd love to have a piss yellow Les Paul of that vintage. I played in a band with a fellow who had one, and it was a wonderful instrument.

 

Do not do anything to it to 'clean' it. But you can actually wipe the dirt and goo off of it, with anything non-abrasive and water-based.

 

You can polish the guitar with car wax if you like, but I wouldn't. Just keep it clean.

 

Then you might consider getting a bottle of lemmon oil and an a old toothbrush. Wipe a light coating of lemon oil on the fretboard, let it sit for 15/20 minutes. Then use the toothbrush to scrub the goo and dirt off of the fretboard. Another coat of oil, andother scrub. Wipe it down. Put another thin (THIN!!!) coat of oil on, let in soak in over night. Wipe it off very very well with a soft cloth, buffing up the fretboard while you do it.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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