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1976 Les Paul Standard with twisted neck

cheers12

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Joined
Dec 5, 2022
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9
So I posted something similar in another Les Paul forum and I received some good advice from people who know a whole lot more than I ever will. That being said, I'm still trying to gather opinions as to what to do with my guitar. I'm an old dude and really haven't played in 30 years. I have a 1976 Les Paul Standard which I purchased in 1977 and have had ever since. The guitar is original except for 3 things. Neck pickup is original, but bridge pickup is Gibson 498T. Tuners are Grover. Capacitors are original value ( .022 uf) but not the original ones. The guitar is nice cosmetically, virtually no scratches, no belt buckle rash, frets in good shape, etc. However, there is a MAJOR flaw! This guitar has a serious twist in the neck. I attached 2 pictures which show how bad it is. I've never adjusted the trust rod and would be afraid to as I know nothing about working on guitars. So I have a pretty guitar that sounds good and believe it or not plays ok, even with the twist. But I would like to sell this guitar and have no idea which way to go with this. Would someone buy a guitar like this as a project? Should I take it to a shop and see if they can fix the twist? I guess if someone puts a new neck on you end up losing the serial number on the back and therefore, the value. This forum says Historic Les Paul District so I'm guessing some knowledgeable people hang out here. Anyone care to share an opinion? I do appreciate any input.
 

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guitplayer

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Mar 8, 2008
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1,992
That can be fixed with the right repairman. I don`t think it would
hurt to loosen the truss rod with the strings on. Counter clockwise.
 

G650

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2022
Messages
42
Wow, that is a big twist. I don't have any helpful advice unfortunately other than I have a 77 that looks identical minus the neck twist, so I feel for you!
 

J.D.

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Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
9,939
I'd like to hear what the best solution is for this from the repair guys.

I had one years ago like this, but not nearly as extreme. I chalked it up to a previous owner having it strung with unusually heavy bass side strings vs treble side for a very long time (or perhaps leaving it strung with a broken high E string).

What I did was made an ad-hoc fixture to hold the body while putting a fair amount of counter-torsion on the headstock. Enough to flex the wood but not cause any damage. I left it in the fixture for, sheesh, a good 4-6 months. It helped tremendously; enough to string it and set it up to play ok.

There's certainly more invasive options to correct this.
 

J.D.

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May 24, 2006
Messages
9,939
How would loosening the truss rod and treble side strings help correct this? That'd probably compound the problem.
 

J.D.

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May 24, 2006
Messages
9,939
Remember the truss rod pulls back against the (upward) string tension. All but one twisted Gibson neck I've seen (I've seen dozens) twist as shown here, on the bass side. This is due to the action being higher and string tension being higher on the bass side. Over many many years this slight bass vs treble side cumulative difference causes the neck to twist.
 

charliechitlins

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Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
619
The truss rod will have no effect on this.
That's the worst twist I've seen... but I have seen a few, like yours, that (shockingly) play just fine.
I think it's so glaring a flaw, that it probably makes the guitar worth about 25% of what it would if it were in good condition, despite the fact that it plays well.
I think it's possible it could be repaired, but probably not permanently.
If that's where the wood wants to be, it will always return there...but maybe very slowly.
I THINK, the key to repairing it would be using enough heat would help the wood move AND soften the glue between the neck and fingerboard while straightening, to allow everything to find where it wants to be.
Of course this would loosen the neck/body joint, so it would probably be best to take the neck off to begin with.
It still might not work.
I have a '36 National Duolian with a badly bowed neck that I sent off to the National guru, Mark Schoenberger.
He removes the neck, slowly heats it, clamps it, and tweaks it over the course of several weeks.
He sent mine back with a very nice note explaining how, every once in a great while, it just doesn't work...and mine was to one that didn't.
It's an organic substance...nature follows its own rules.
 

cheers12

New member
Joined
Dec 5, 2022
Messages
9
The truss rod will have no effect on this.
That's the worst twist I've seen... but I have seen a few, like yours, that (shockingly) play just fine.
I think it's so glaring a flaw, that it probably makes the guitar worth about 25% of what it would if it were in good condition, despite the fact that it plays well.
I think it's possible it could be repaired, but probably not permanently.
If that's where the wood wants to be, it will always return there...but maybe very slowly.
I THINK, the key to repairing it would be using enough heat would help the wood move AND soften the glue between the neck and fingerboard while straightening, to allow everything to find where it wants to be.
Of course this would loosen the neck/body joint, so it would probably be best to take the neck off to begin with.
It still might not work.
I have a '36 National Duolian with a badly bowed neck that I sent off to the National guru, Mark Schoenberger.
He removes the neck, slowly heats it, clamps it, and tweaks it over the course of several weeks.
He sent mine back with a very nice note explaining how, every once in a great while, it just doesn't work...and mine was to one that didn't.
It's an organic substance...nature follows its own rules.
Thanks. This is one of those, "it is what it is " situations. Looks like for sale to someone who wants a project.
 

charliechitlins

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Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
619
If I was in your shoes, I'd be looking for a kid who dreams about owning a Les Paul he/she can afford, and is willing to live with the neck.
I'm a sucker, though.
I remember what it was like to be a teenager with a dream and have lost a few bucks because of it.
Last time it was an SG II that was playable, but needed a neck that I practically gave away to a wide-eyed kid.
 

bursty

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Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
224
@cheers12 I believe you have some options to address the twisted neck situation but all of those options will involve $spening dollar$ that will likely make you think twice before making any choice to pursue any of those pricey options.
My first question: Is the neck lumber maple?
 

cheers12

New member
Joined
Dec 5, 2022
Messages
9
@cheers12 I believe you have some options to address the twisted neck situation but all of those options will involve $spening dollar$ that will likely make you think twice before making any choice to pursue any of those pricey options.
My first question: Is the neck lumber maple?
I'm not the most knowledgeable person but yes, I believe it's a maple neck
 
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