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Gibson Repair and Restoration Department - Experiences?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Matt G, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    Hello, folks

    In 2016 I'm finally going to break down and pay what it takes to repair my 1972 Gibson Gold Crest, which has been waiting patiently under the bed for the last 25 years. The obvious place to go is the Gibson Repair and Restoration Department. Catch is, they're an ocean and a continent away from where I'm located, which means I'm already taking a big risk in sending the old girl away, and my past experiences trying to deal with Gibson have already been very poor.

    Do any of you have direct experience of working with the Gibson Repair and Restoration crew?

    Thanks

    Matt
     
  2. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    Just an opinion and I've no personal experience of the Gibson repair dept, but if it were me I would look for someone in Australia who is experienced in working on vintage instruments and work with them rather than risk dealing with someone a continent away.

    One really important thing in top of any questions surrounding how best to repair, those Crests have a lot of Brazilian Rosewood in them, so to do it by the book you would need to apply for permits going into and leaving the US and possibly seperate permits for the Australian end. You'd need to do some reading up on it but there are guys that hang out in the Vintage Corner at the UMGF who would be able to give you information about CITES and the implications moving guitars with Brazilian Rosewood between countries.

    Out of curiosity, what needs doing to it?
     
  3. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for those insights about the US customs angle. I'd completely forgotten about that stuff.

    I need four things done with the guitar:

    1) most importantly, replace the tailpiece, which is broken beyond repair

    2) fix the wooden inset in the tailpiece (broken by the cretins in the Australian customs agency)

    3) reset the binding in the f-holes

    4) fix one of the volume knobs (pretty sure it's just a loose wire inside the body)

    Really, it's just some very basic maintenance, although I would need Gibson's help to source or make a replacement tailpiece.
     
  4. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    There's got to be someone local (at least on the same continent) that can do that work for you. The tailpiece might have to be outsourced, but everything else can be done by a competent repair person. Maybe a good metal smith could make a duplicate tailpiece. From looking at some pictures, it looks like the tailpiece is a standard L-5 style with the wooden bit attached. That shouldn't be hard to do.

    Gibson would be the last place I'd send a guitar unless it was under warranty. And even then I'd try to get the local authorized service center to do the work, since I know them and their standards of quality.

    BTW, David Crosby's Alembic 12 string started out as a Gibson Crest.
     

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  5. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    All of that sounds achievable with a decent local luthier. The tailpiece as Paul says should be directly replaceable with an L5 one and either the old insert fitted to that or a replacement made from scratch. Beyond that the binding shouldn't be a big deal and electronics no problem at all.

    Is there a vintage guitar dealer anywhere near you with a reasonable reputation? One possibility might be to have a chat with them and see if they can recommend a repairer who routinely works on vintage instruments. None of the work sounds that challenging to me but it's a rare guitar so better be safe than sorry.
     
  6. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, I can't believe that Down Under is bereft of any luthiers qualified to do your repairs. There's gotta be someone you can trust.
     
  7. LongLiveRock54

    LongLiveRock54 Tele-Holic

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    "Catch is, they're an ocean and a continent away from where I'm located,..."


    That would make me very, very nervous......
     
  8. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    In point of fact, that's why this guitar has spent so long under the bed. I couldn't get a response out of Gibson, much less an answer on repair under warranty. Which is a long story of a different kind.

    Turning to other comments, I did some research and although the L5 tailpiece is a different creature, the ES-175 / Tal Farlow / Venetian models all seem to use the same trapeze tailpiece, among current production models. In fact, I'd say the Tal Farlow is probably the inspiration for the Crest (ie with the same style of wood insert in the tailpiece).

    Anyway, I took a much closer look and I think I've got less work and worry than I once thought. The cosmetic stuff and electronics work I can surely get done here in Australia, and I may be able to find a workaround on the original tailpiece after all. Barring that, there would surely be a way to get the part directly from Gibson or from an after-market supplier.

    So I'll start with the easy approach and see how I go.

    Thanks very much for the helpful advice, fellows. You have probably saved me a small fortune and some pain in the bargain.
     
  9. ME262

    ME262 Tele-Holic

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    Funny, I was going to post something earlier to the tune of "good luck getting an answer from them" but thought the better of it thinking they may have mended their ways. I too tried to get hold of them to no avail. Interestingly they have something on their website called "talk to us" which is aptly named, since it differs from "talk with us" - you may thus talk to them all you want, it's just that they won't talk to you... Seriously, what kind of buffoons sell guitars at those prices and then don't bother responding to customers that actually bought their products? Outrageous!
     
  10. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not surprised to hear about the troubles you've had, and I certainly agree with your sentiment.

    One thing I did learn this morning (thank you, internet!) has solved the mystery about how the tailpiece was broken. If anyone's curious, try looking up "ES-175 broken tailpiece". Turns out that Gibson buyers have had decades of problems with the hinges on vintage ES-175 type trapezoid tailpieces. One day you open your guitar case and find that string tension alone was enough to break the tailpiece in two. Not sure if it's defective design or, more likely, defective manufacture of the parts from time to time.

    Anyway, now I know I'm not the only who's had this problem, and there's a solution in sight. Not a perfect solution, but something I should be able to live with.
     
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