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Historic Makeovers: R7 -> R9

brandall10

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Joined
Jun 26, 2022
Messages
38
Hey everyone, just starting up a build thread here for an R7 that was sent to HM earlier this year.

Purchased this guitar new back in 2005 from the late great Center City Music in San Diego. It was the best of 13 R8/R7s I tried out that day and R9'esque in weight and neck dimensions (8.6 and .89/.98). After owning it for a bit noticed a couple other odds things... a tiny bit of red mist on the neck binding (possibly an aborted cherry spray?) and a ton of flame in the control cavity.

Over the years the finish sunk and it appeared to be flamey all over. Around 10 years ago began researching refinish options. Then the 2013s were announced and in a rash decision got a pretty nicely flamed R8 from Daves that I've enjoyed for years which put doing this to the back of my mind.

After a recent consolidation of guitars, selling/trading about 15, I was faced with nearly trading this guitar off while holding onto that R8, but playing them back to back just couldn't do it. They're both excellent guitars and I have unfinished business with this one.

Without further ado, here's some initial progress photos from original gold -> bare -> ice tea. Posted a thread on the other forum a week before the burst photos came in... a few folks thought it would be too barbecue due to the cross grain and would be better to reshoot in gold. Happy with my decision now we have the first photos of it painted. Def a western top when my preference is for wavy eastern tops w/ plenty of movement and flecks, but I'm happy with my choice. Kim thinks "It looks killer🙌". :)

Screen Shot 2022-06-21 at 12.17.06 PM.jpg Screen Shot 2022-06-21 at 12.17.30 PM.jpg Screen Shot 2022-06-27 at 12.20.21 PM.jpg
Screen Shot 2022-06-27 at 11.53.24 AM.jpg
 
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corpse

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Jun 9, 2007
Messages
4,494
Very handsome. Don't let the mobs' thoughts about cross grain make wee-wee on the makeover. I love the tight flame.
Get a stinger on there- you need a stinger!
 

brandall10

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Joined
Jun 26, 2022
Messages
38
Love the grain.

Never seen a BBQ with that strong a vertical going on there.

AND I LOVE IT!

I can see the concern with the bare wood, it looks 'etched', but I know from past build threads dye brings the flame out and pushes the grain back. Still came out better than expected though.
 
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Dr. Green

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Dec 12, 2018
Messages
618
Center City music back in the day - hell yes !

I was buying Historics back then from Saul too ...... one in 2003 and another in 2007

Sure wish I would have bought the Rossington with display case or one of the Brazilians he begged me to buy ..........
 

brandall10

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2022
Messages
38
Center City music back in the day - hell yes !

I was buying Historics back then from Saul too ...... one in 2003 and another in 2007

Sure wish I would have bought the Rossington with display case or one of the Brazilians he begged me to buy ..........
Nice. I was fortunate to live half a mile away in downtown San Diego. Pure coincidence, I knew who they were from online chatter and was lucky to find they were right down the street. Tiny shop in a sketch area w/ a pawnshop next door... filled to the brim w/ Historics and high-end PRSs.

Saul was awesome, he put me in a soundproof room w/ a hand-wired bluesbreaker and hand fed me Les Pauls for 4 hours. Every single one that came off the wall went on a scale on the counter.

I almost left as none of the R7s/R8s in the main area quite put me over the edge. This particular R7 was pulled from the backroom and he unboxed it in front of me; I was the first non-Gibson employee to play it. There was one other R7 boxed up as well but as soon as I plugged it in I knew it was the one.
 
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fernieite

Active member
Joined
Jan 3, 2010
Messages
495
Nice. I was fortunate to live half a mile away in downtown San Diego. Pure coincidence, I knew who they were from online chatter and was lucky to find they were right down the street. Tiny shop in a sketch area w/ a pawnshop next door... filled to the brim w/ Historics and high-end PRSs.

Saul was awesome, he put me in a soundproof room w/ a hand-wired bluesbreaker and hand fed me Les Pauls for 4 hours. Every single one that came off the wall went on a scale on the counter.

I almost left as none of the guitars quite put me over the edge. This particular R7 was pulled from the backroom and he unboxed it in front of me; I was the first non-Gibson employee to play it. He had one other R7 boxed up as well but as soon as I plugged it in I knew it was the one.
Sounds like an awesome shop! Congrats on the R9. ;)
Looking forward to seeing it completed.
 

Dr. Green

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Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
618
funny thing about Saul ,,,,,, he owned one of the best Historic shops in the USA and had the best prices - was surrounded by them 8 hours a day - but he could not play a note at all - I think he could maybe make an E chord if he struggled.- that was it .

His playing skills I would classify as " absolute beginner "
 

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
3,253
Center City music back in the day - hell yes !

I was buying Historics back then from Saul too ...... one in 2003 and another in 2007

Sure wish I would have bought the Rossington with display case or one of the Brazilians he begged me to buy ..........

Likewise!
 

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
3,253
Nice. I was fortunate to live half a mile away in downtown San Diego. Pure coincidence, I knew who they were from online chatter and was lucky to find they were right down the street. Tiny shop in a sketch area w/ a pawnshop next door... filled to the brim w/ Historics and high-end PRSs.

Saul was awesome, he put me in a soundproof room w/ a hand-wired bluesbreaker and hand fed me Les Pauls for 4 hours. Every single one that came off the wall went on a scale on the counter.

I almost left as none of the R7s/R8s in the main area quite put me over the edge. This particular R7 was pulled from the backroom and he unboxed it in front of me; I was the first non-Gibson employee to play it. There was one other R7 boxed up as well but as soon as I plugged it in I knew it was the one.

Saul was, if nothing else, a master enabler.

Fortunately he was also a really good dealer and willing to listen, talk, and deal. And most importantly find and order great stuff!

Sad and too bad he went under when HJ banned the internet sales and killed the Mom & Pops.
 

jb_abides

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Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
3,253
funny thing about Saul ,,,,,, he owned one of the best Historic shops in the USA and had the best prices - was surrounded by them 8 hours a day - but he could not play a note at all - I think he could maybe make an E chord if he struggled.- that was it .

His playing skills I would classify as " absolute beginner "

Yup. But he had some helpers that were top stuff, and once he called me saying that his top guitar pro found an amazing Lefty VOS SG and I got first dibs. And it was righteous. Still the best overall guitar I acquired sight unseen and untouched.
 

jb_abides

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Apr 6, 2005
Messages
3,253
Kim thinks "It looks killer🙌". :)

View attachment 18570

Amen: JB thinks it looks KILLER!

Seriously, when I first started reading your post I wasn't overly concerned with cross-grain, I was more crestfallen: 'bummer, another gold top bites the dust' ... yet I must say this makes for a very good makeover!

Now, I've got another refrain: 'Another angel gets its wings'
 

brandall10

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Joined
Jun 26, 2022
Messages
38
Saul was, if nothing else, a master enabler.

Fortunately he was also a really good dealer and willing to listen, talk, and deal. And most importantly find and order great stuff!

Sad and too bad he went under when HJ banned the internet sales and killed the Mom & Pops.
Oh wow, I tuned out from online forums for several years and had no idea what happened. Routinely drove past that store as it's on a major street in downtown San Diego, and one day (late '00s?) noticed it was gone.

So I guess this was a temporary state of affairs as online sales are obviously still very much a thing?
 

brandall10

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Jun 26, 2022
Messages
38
His playing skills I would classify as " absolute beginner "

Apparently Leo Fender couldn't play at all. And I recall some notable acoustic luthier out there who could barely play a chord in some demos.

It does strike me as weird, but some folks are just really good at what they do (business/design/craftmanship) and have no direct interest in doing the thing they actually work on.
 

brandall10

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Joined
Jun 26, 2022
Messages
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Amen: JB thinks it looks KILLER!

Seriously, when I first started reading your post I wasn't overly concerned with cross-grain, I was more crestfallen: 'bummer, another gold top bites the dust' ... yet I must say this makes for a very good makeover!

Now, I've got another refrain: 'Another angel gets its wings'
I know, there's certainly a thing LP folks have about gold tops turning into bursts. Of course that's generally directed toward 50s examples being converted. I get it, unless those are damaged player grade guitars, you're essentially destroying bits of history. The shade of gold Gibson used on this guitar is pretty far from original and an HM with their deep greenish tinged gold w/ a dark back would look killer....

But according to Kim, it seems there are a healthy amount of R7s that at an early point in construction were intended to be R9s - he says he's seen quite a few of these - paint mishaps or just silly things like older ones with too many mineral streaks 20 years back when that wasn't en vogue (though it was on actual bursts!). Although there's no way to know for absolute certain mine was one - don't see any evidence that an R9 stamp was in the control cavity - I'm dying on that sword due to that tiny bit of red mist on the binding. So the way I look at it, I've freed it from its opaque gilded cage to be what it was always meant to be.

Once it's back in my hands, I'll be apologizing profusely for not doing this much sooner.

Today it will be getting its clear coat. Apparently it will be finished up and shipped out sometime next week.
 
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Dr. Green

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Dec 12, 2018
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618
it dawned on me that I had forgot my most interesting point !

The 2007 goldtop I bought from Saul was also converted to a Burst !

I believe thats because I got a ridiculous deal on it and then remorse set in that I could not see the Maple

So the top only was refinished and the great part was that it was a ( 1 ) piece

it was amazing looking - not quite as good as the quartersawn in the OP - but damn nice non the less

I did a trick also - you can sometimes shine a light at an angle and see the grain under the finish which I did so knew before hand it probably was going to be a great top

so if you have a Goldtop watch this video and tell us what amazing maple you have underneath !

 

gmann

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May 26, 2003
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5,972
If it left the factory as an R7 it’s still an R7. Great looking guitar btw.
 

brandall10

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Jun 26, 2022
Messages
38
If it left the factory as an R7 it’s still an R7. Great looking guitar btw.
Technically, yes. Just saying there are a number of guitars that Gibson had intended to be R9s that only became R7s because of a painting goof and it was more expedient to cover it up.

I don't have any qualms ethically calling this an HM '59 if time comes to sell it. I see little difference in stating that vs. saying something is a 50s conversion - it's now something different and HM is its own branded experience. Yes, I will state it started as an R7.
 
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