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The Gibson LG1 was a ladder-braced 'student-grade' model. Though it doesn't command the respect of the cross-braced LG2 and LG3, many of the 1950s models are surprisingly loud, with good separation, and good build quality - nice tops, and bridges and fingerboards are Brazilian rosewood. They make excellent players and are increasingly sought after as other vintage Gibson acoustics get more and more expensive. They're miles better that the 60s versions, which featured skinny necks, plastic bridges and other such horrors.
This guitar demonstrated all the classic problems of 50s Gibson acoustics - crazed lacquer, disintegrating tuners, pickguard and other cracks and loose or missing braces. The lacquer is best left alone - refinishing or even overspraying is a last resort with vintage instruments, although butyl retarder can be used in some cases to make loose lacquer soften and re-attach. But the other problems all needed tackling.
The tuners were buffed to remove the rust, leaving them looking 'aged' but not neglected. The buttons disintegrated at a touch, which is typical of some 40s and 50s plastics. The shafts were cleaned up and fitted with a set of replacement buttons from Stewart Macdonald. If desired, they can be aged with some strong tea, which will colour almost any plastic if left long enough! The pickguard cracks are common features.
Gibson and Martin used to lacquer over the scratchplate, and as the plastic shrank a crack often developed alongside the scratchplate. This needs repairing and cleating, and the pickguard can then be reinstalled over the finish to avoid any repetition. There were also a number of old, repaired cracks on the back to fix and cleat, and several of the braces were loose or missing. Although this is common on Gibsons, in this case the guitar had probably got wet at some time, to judge from the water stains inside. It was easiest to remove the back to do all the work. Once the back had been replaced, it was time for a new bone nut and saddle and a refret, and this vintage LG1 was ready to go.