Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fixing someone else's mistake - An Epiphone Les Paul disaster

   Every once in awhile, a repairman is presented with a dilemma. What do you do with an instrument that has had poor work done in it's past? Poor repair work can make corrective work more expensive and can negatively effect the quality of your work. The end result will have YOUR name on it, regardless of it's past history. Many times, it's better to pass on such a guitar. This lefty Epiphone Les Paul came in with the poorest

tuner installation I've ever seen. Making matters worse,the customer told me this work was done by an alleged "professional" at a reputable store. We can see,in our first picture,the original Kluson style tuners have been removed and some Sperzel locking tuners have been installed. For unknown reasons,the original screw holes have been enlarged. It looks like some sort of blunt object was used to make the holes bigger,because they sure aren't round! To fill in these holes,it would appear toothpicks were crammed in the holes,then just snapped off. The Sperzel tuners use a pin on their underside instead of a screw and the hole for the pin was made with equal lack of finesse.  The original tuners required a vintage size 1/4" hole. To make the holes bigger to accommodate the 10mm hole required by the Sperzels the "blunt object" technique was again brought into service.

One of the holes has been drilled right through the top! What?! If you have a drill,why do the holes look  so ragged? If you don't have a drill,how do you go right through the top?
For some reason,the nut has been removed,then improperly re-installed. Check out that gap under the nut!
The challenge from the customer? Can I make this guitar look presentable in a way that I can feel good about,professionally, but that also makes financial sense? With a full restoration implausible,here's how I went about my task:

Our holes for the mounting pins will be covered by the tuner so they don't need to be pretty,just structurally sound. Toothpicks are actually a legitimate technique in this situation,they just need to be glued in and cut flush! The tuner  pin drill jig from Stewart MacDonald get the hole drilled accurately.
Those awful original holes will be visible so here I took the extra step of cutting plugs. The glue line will still be visible and they''ll just get a dab of cherry red stain,no finish,but we'll be seeing some grain going in the right direction instead of end grain.
Here's our tuners,properly installed. This one won't be winning any beauty contests but it looks...acceptable.
Here's our boy from the front. Just a minimum of time to make the drill hole through the front less obvious and a new,properly fitted bone nut.
There you have it folks. Not my proudest moment but there's another functional guitar in a players hands and sometimes,that's all you can ask.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Uhm, general question about those tuners, why the heck were they installed like that? I mean if he would have switched the ones on the left and right he could have reused the original holes by the looks of it. So the whole thing you had to repair there is one big wtf at the previous "professional".