Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my Les Paul was last seen languishing in its hard case, subjected to all the multifarious atmospheric conditions that plague our basement, most of them involving moisture.
Years of neglect led to this:
She was in bad shape. I had purchased her used in 1984. It is an Ibanez Les Paul copy, (as you can tell by the headstock, post-lawsuit). At one point, I had sent a letter to Ibanez asking how old she was. They replied it was a 1978, although now, researching on the internet, the serial number seems to indicate it was made in early 1977.
Her sound was never quite right to my ears, although now I realize that probably had as much to do with my Peavey Backstage Plus amp as it did the pickups. It just didn’t seem to give the low end punch I wanted from a Les Paul.
There were other issues also. A buzz. Not a fret buzz, but an annoying vibration from the neck pickup. Being stupid about guitars at the time, I made the assumption it was those ugly metal pickup covers causing the vibration.
So instead of seeking professional assistance (this was in the days before the internet) I took a screw driver and pried them off!
Luckily, I didn’t do any serious damage to either the pickups or the finish. But the vibration persisted until I wedged a folded piece of cardboard into the space next to the pickup. Problem sort of solved, but it didn’t improve the sound or her appearance.
So I stopped playing her, got a new guitar, and stored her away. Until recently. I pulled her out and like Linus looking at Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, I said, “she’s not really such a bad looking guitar. All she needs is a little tender loving care and some new parts.”
Over a period of a few weeks, I ordered a new Treble/Rhythm ring (the words were completely worn away), a new 3-way switch (the old one crackled when moved and didn’t work in the Treble position), new humbucker pickups, a new bridge and tail piece (the old ones were really grungy and corroded), a new pick guard (not that there was anything wrong with the original. It’s just plastic, but the mounting hardware was rusted and corroded), and some tuner ring bushings (also corroded and one was missing). I’d have replaced the tuners themselves, but I couldn’t find an exact match and would have had to drill new mounting holes.
And over about a three week period in June, I worked on her a little bit when time permitted.
Last night, I finally finished, put new strings on, and tuned her up.
Tomorrow, I’ll do the reveal.