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My 52 (convert or to convert 2)

brandtkronholm

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Dec 3, 2006
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2,217
So, how many, of the 1716 built in '52, do you think have been converted? 500, 700 or more?

For 1952: Maybe 100? Not much more than that. But this is just a guess.
I've seen many, many more original trapeze tail-piece Les Pauls than conversions. In my experience, neck re-sets and/or full conversion to '57 or 'Burst specs are quite rare. Refinishes are less rare. Fully original condition is by far the most common state that I've seen ANY '50s Les Paul in. Even original tuners. Yes, some were modified in the '70s, but by no means was it the majority.
 

Jeggz

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Jul 29, 2017
Messages
108
The least invasive mod I’ve ever seen on a 52/53 Trap guitar was, they steamed off the fretboard, added a wedge that went from the height necessary for a 4 degree pitch to nil, then glued that to the neck shaft, then glued back the fretboard.

Then drilled for Abr and Tail.
 

DutchRay

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Mar 15, 2015
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The least invasive mod I’ve ever seen on a 52/53 Trap guitar was, they steamed off the fretboard, added a wedge that went from the height necessary for a 4 degree pitch to nil, then glued that to the neck shaft, then glued back the fretboard.

Then drilled for Abr and Tail.
I think replacing the bridge with a mojotone/glazer bridge is far less invasive...
 

Jeggz

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I think replacing the bridge with a mojotone/glazer bridge is far less invasive...
Less invasive, yes, and great products that made pretty much conversation pieces playable, but they ain’t magic, you play hard, they move.

They have their place for pristine 52/53’s, but aside from that? Do the deal, you’ll have a much better guitar, and if you paid “player grade money” for the guitar, it’s more likely a net positive if you need to sell.
 

barsinister

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Sep 17, 2018
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Less invasive, yes, and great products that made pretty much conversation pieces playable, but they ain’t magic, you play hard, they move.

They have their place for pristine 52/53’s, but aside from that? Do the deal, you’ll have a much better guitar, and if you paid “player grade money” for the guitar, it’s more likely a net positive if you need to sell.
only my opinion but keep the wrap,wraptails rule!!! mc carty got it right the 2nd time...
 

DutchRay

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Mar 15, 2015
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355
For 1952: Maybe 100? Not much more than that. But this is just a guess.
I've seen many, many more original trapeze tail-piece Les Pauls than conversions. In my experience, neck re-sets and/or full conversion to '57 or 'Burst specs are quite rare. Refinishes are less rare. Fully original condition is by far the most common state that I've seen ANY '50s Les Paul in. Even original tuners. Yes, some were modified in the '70s, but by no means was it the majority.
Maybe, I've seen dozens of conversion threads on different forums over the past 20 years. In the past 3 months alone we saw at least 3 conversion threads. So I think we're way past 100...

I'm not against converting a damaged guitar, I own one myself and am very happy with it but once a guitar is converted, you can never go back. Today the burst is all we want but who's to say that's still the case in 40 years? Who knows, maybe the new 'Hendrix' will play a unmolested '52 goldtop and they'll be all the rage in 2061?...
 

mdubya

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Mar 31, 2010
Messages
855
I don’t see how a shim in the neck done by HM who are sensitive with the finish, shimming the pups and installing a wrap is butchery. It will sound and play a million times better than a stock 52.

It’s an instrument to be played and heard, not to be hoarded, it’s not even mint, nowhere near. Enjoy it. I’d do it any day

But this one plays and sound great already. 🤔 o_O
 

chuck dale

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Feb 16, 2003
Messages
284
I would look for another guitar to convert.... An all original Les Paul ( even a 1952! lol) should be left alone!
 

brandtkronholm

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Dec 3, 2006
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2,217
In my experience, and contrary to what one might expect, the most frequently "converted" '50s Les Pauls are the wrap-tail and tune-o-matic Gold tops from 1953-1956/7.
While still a great effort, here's much less work involved. No neck re-set/shim required! This has been going on since the early 1970s - and even in the '60s!
Converting a '52 is complicated and unprofitable.

Back on topic: The OP's '52 is player grade with a neck break. I think it's a prime candidate for an upgrade to '56 specs - especially if it is going to be played! I wouldn't touch that mojo soaked finish!
 

Jeggz

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Jul 29, 2017
Messages
108
Back on topic: The OP's '52 is player grade with a neck break. I think it's a prime candidate for an upgrade to '56 specs - especially if it is going to be played! I wouldn't touch that mojo soaked finish!
Exactly.
 

thin sissy

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Jan 2, 2006
Messages
2,549
In my experience, and contrary to what one might expect, the most frequently "converted" '50s Les Pauls are the wrap-tail and tune-o-matic Gold tops from 1953-1956/7.
While still a great effort, here's much less work involved. No neck re-set/shim required! This has been going on since the early 1970s - and even in the '60s!
Converting a '52 is complicated and unprofitable.

Back on topic: The OP's '52 is player grade with a neck break. I think it's a prime candidate for an upgrade to '56 specs - especially if it is going to be played! I wouldn't touch that mojo soaked finish!
I also have this experience (from hanging round at forums for years mind you, might not be correct). The thought that someone would play a 50's wraptail guitar and think "I should route this and/or refinish it" is pretty much insane IMHO, as they are the most consistently good guitars I've come across.

For some reason Teles rarely dissapoint me either, I don't know why that is. But that's a different question
 

Patek

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Dec 4, 2015
Messages
406
Maybe, I've seen dozens of conversion threads on different forums over the past 20 years. In the past 3 months alone we saw at least 3 conversion threads. So I think we're way past 100...

I'm not against converting a damaged guitar, I own one myself and am very happy with it but once a guitar is converted, you can never go back. Today the burst is all we want but who's to say that's still the case in 40 years? Who knows, maybe the new 'Hendrix' will play a unmolested '52 goldtop and they'll be all the rage in 2061?...
No one will say an original unplayable flappy trap LP is better than a equivalent condition 52 which has had a sensitive neck/fretboard reset and wrap bridge sensitively installed, in 40 years, or 400 years.

has anyone ever tried to convert a 52-to-54 or 52-to-56 etc Back to a stock 52 ? I’ve never heard of one

edit:- although mint / time capsule condition 52s I agree should be left 100% as is, unplayable as they are, as pieces of rock and roll history and the beginning of the LP.
 
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BSeneca

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Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
I apologize -its your guitar and you are perfectly in your right to do whatever you want.and its none of my buisiness -..I have a thing for old goldtops -p90s and wraps--and i have seen so many turned into "bursts" They didnt make many goldtops -52-54 and how many are left? To me a burst is a "snob" guitar and a beat up old goldtop is a working mans or womans guitar...The best thing the USA ever did is rock n roll blues country jazz and these guitars and amps..that is Americas greatest art. so I should have been more careful in my response..
I didnt take any offense to your response. I am 50 years old and didnt grow up with safe places and things like that. I dont have a thin skin. No need for an apology my friend
 

BSeneca

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Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
So, how many, of the 1716 built in '52, do you think have been converted? 500, 700 or more?
good question. it didnt become a thing until more recently. 500 may even be on the high side. taking into consideration how many were damaged or destroyed initially.
 

BSeneca

Member
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Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
But this one plays and sound great already. 🤔 o_O
I absolutely does! I start drinking and watching YouTube videos on bursts and start gassing. I heavily leaning towards converting to 54 spec. My trapeze actually does not move around. And I gig it and record with it. I dont baby it.
 

barsinister

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Sep 17, 2018
Messages
22
Thanks- seneca-you are a gentleman. I have a '54 wrap-57 special and a 55 special (restored from a trashed one that had a neck shave and refin..)

I think a wrap is good idea--where I would draw the line is Humbuckers-and sunburst..my opinion is that these p90 goldtops are their own significant thing-seprate from bursts..im 62 and have been an obscure working musician on guitar and upright bass,playing every day since 68 and playing out since 73..still surviving at muisc even these days thanks to teaching on line..also 2 cats guilty of chopping goldtops...Frank Zappa-and Ted Greene (otherwise heroes of mine) with prices these days..and CS costs i doubt im in the market for anything but strings and repairs..
some of the wraps were put in the wrong spot and wont play in tune.. obviously anyone can do what they want with their ax .. I dont want a burst..but its sad for me..like Dolly Parton getting a gender reassignment.
 
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mdubya

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Mar 31, 2010
Messages
855
I absolutely does! I start drinking and watching YouTube videos on bursts and start gassing. I heavily leaning towards converting to 54 spec. My trapeze actually does not move around. And I gig it and record with it. I dont baby it.

It seems like a low profile wraparound wouldn't even require a neck re-set.

I think it has so much character, as is, I couldn't imagine messing with it. But that is JMHO. (y)
 

BSeneca

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
It seems like a low profile wraparound wouldn't even require a neck re-set.

I think it has so much character, as is, I couldn't imagine messing with it. But that is JMHO. (y)
If thats the case I wont do anything. There is NO WAY i am messing with the original finish!
 
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