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To Convert or not Convert

BSeneca

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
Hi folks, been a member here for many years and have thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning from the posts. I have a 1952 all gold Les Paul. A good friend of mine had 2 52’s and a 53. He sold me mine for an incredible price as we’ve been friends for 20+ years and knows I will appreciate i. I’ve gigged it and recorded with it. It has an old headstock repair and I refretted it because the tiny frets were horrible and I never plan on parting with it. My Question: Should I save the money to buy PAF’s and convert it to 57 spec? It’s sounds AMAZING as is, but every time I see a burst video it gets me going. Additional questions: do I have to refin the top? Because I do not want to. The checking and greening are bad ass. I know it needs a neck re set. Burst guys. Is it worth it? I’ve played a handful of bursts. 3 were REALLY great (not enough so to be worth more than my house) 2 were just eh?
I know PAF’s vary and it’s probably a crap shoot. Please talk me off the ledge or give a good reason to JUMP! Thanks in advance, Brian
 

fernieite

Active member
Joined
Jan 3, 2010
Messages
424
Yeah, why not just leave it alone and buy a previously converted one; or put PAFs in an Historic?

Vintage P-90 Les Paul's are fantastic guitars in their own right! ( Assuming your 52 already has one of the Mojotone trapeze upgrades. )
 
Last edited:

DutchRay

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 15, 2015
Messages
369
my 2 cents

A. It will never be a burst, whatever you do to it.
B. It already is a burst for the most parts. Remember PAF's are just hum cancelling P90's ( :) )

Save yourself a lot of money and get a nice conversion bridge by glaser or faber or whoever makes them and leave the guitar as close to original as possible. If you can't deal with the p90's try to find an already converted 52 and sell yours, there is no good reason to rebuild yours to '57 spec, unless it is already badly damaged.
I own a '55 to '57 conversion/restoration and while it reduced my GAS it certainly hasn't cured it, I still lust for an all gold '52 or Eelco Gelling's 1960 for example.
 

BSeneca

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
Thanks for the response guys. I know you are right which is why I probably havent done it. Being a broken headstock I know the value goes down already. So it was an idea
 

Ed A

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2001
Messages
4,613
Looks like I will be the first here to say convert it if YOU really want to.... I converted my '53 trapeze with headstock repair... P90s are great, but I personally prefer PAF guitars.... I initially went the Glaser bridge route and played it for a while, but again as great as P90s are, they didnt do everything I needed them to do.... And I KNEW it was a great guitar, so I decided to convert it (best decision I ever made) because its now a fantastic guitar.... Ive had two conversions, five old wood replicas and at least 50 to 60 historics and this is my best playing and sounding LP Ive owned... yeah you are gambling not knowing what the PAFs will sound like but if its already a great guitar chances are it will still sound great, maybe better.... as far as the moral thing of converting a vintage Gibson.... I wouldnt convert a mint no issues '56, but a trapeze goldtop with a headstock repair is never gonna be worth big bucks.... and its YOUR guitar, who cares if there is one less trapeze goldtop in the world.... funny how I often hear buy an already converted one but DONT convert it yourself... The guitar gods will get you!!!... 10 to 20 years from now when many of us who own these things are gonna be dribbling from the mouth in a home, I suspect there will be plenty of these early P90 golds out there for those that want them.... As far as keeping the original gold, at the time I did mine (ten years ago) it was hard to find guys that would find a way and take the time to do the reset of the neck without losing the gold... my guy did it that way.... im sure if you ask the question here on a new thread you'll get some responses helping you find the best person to do that.... good luck, my only advice, be sure you wanna move on from P90s.... when I got to that point there was no looking back... and no it wont be a burst, but it will be a vintage LP made in the same factory by the same guys with the same wood and parts and it will sound like any '50s PAF Les Paul will.
 

dwagar

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2005
Messages
4,302
I'm in the 'no' camp. But I'm also a big P-90 fan.

Don't forget if you're going to convert a '52 you likely have to get the neck angle reset too.
 

BSeneca

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
Looks like I will be the first here to say convert it if YOU really want to.... I converted my '53 trapeze with headstock repair... P90s are great, but I personally prefer PAF guitars.... I initially went the Glaser bridge route and played it for a while, but again as great as P90s are, they didnt do everything I needed them to do.... And I KNEW it was a great guitar, so I decided to convert it (best decision I ever made) because its now a fantastic guitar.... Ive had two conversions, five old wood replicas and at least 50 to 60 historics and this is my best playing and sounding LP Ive owned... yeah you are gambling not knowing what the PAFs will sound like but if its already a great guitar chances are it will still sound great, maybe better.... as far as the moral thing of converting a vintage Gibson.... I wouldnt convert a mint no issues '56, but a trapeze goldtop with a headstock repair is never gonna be worth big bucks.... and its YOUR guitar, who cares if there is one less trapeze goldtop in the world.... funny how I often hear buy an already converted one but DONT convert it yourself... The guitar gods will get you!!!... 10 to 20 years from now when many of us who own these things are gonna be dribbling from the mouth in a home, I suspect there will be plenty of these early P90 golds out there for those that want them.... As far as keeping the original gold, at the time I did mine (ten years ago) it was hard to find guys that would find a way and take the time to do the reset of the neck without losing the gold... my guy did it that way.... im sure if you ask the question here on a new thread you'll get some responses helping you find the best person to do that.... good luck, my only advice, be sure you wanna move on from P90s.... when I got to that point there was no looking back... and no it wont be a burst, but it will be a vintage LP made in the same factory by the same guys with the same wood and parts and it will sound like any '50s PAF Les Paul will.
Thank you SO MUCH! This response was fantastic! I do like the P90’s but I have a 1955 Junior that kicks ass in that department. I know it will never be a burst, but if it has any of those qualities it may be worth it. I DO NOT want to respray the top. ive never seen a Goldtop the same color as original.
 

Ed A

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2001
Messages
4,613
Thank you SO MUCH! This response was fantastic! I do like the P90’s but I have a 1955 Junior that kicks ass in that department. I know it will never be a burst, but if it has any of those qualities it may be worth it. I DO NOT want to respray the top. ive never seen a Goldtop the same color as original.
Yeah agreed.... Ive had four '50s goldtops and you cant replicate that gold.... one thing to consider if you convert it, is you could always get yourself a '50s special to replace the junior if you gotta have two P90s... I just sold a '59 cherry special that was as hot or hotter than any junior ive owned so I dont really buy into the 'only dogears kick ass'... Ive had them both... have fun and do what you want!
 

Progear

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Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
652
As a owner of a 56/59 LP with pafs and a ‘53 LP, Ed has giving you some real good advice... just follow your heart..
 

Jeggz

Active member
Joined
Jul 29, 2017
Messages
108
You can baby step it.

Buy the Mojoaxe tail, and a set of Rio Grande Texas baby buckers, then you have ya “Paf ish” thing going without routs.


But if it was me, I’d send it to Jam City, and go darkback.
 

BSeneca

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
You can baby step it.

Buy the Mojoaxe tail, and a set of Rio Grande Texas baby buckers, then you have ya “Paf ish” thing going without routs.


But if it was me, I’d send it to Jam City, and go darkback.
That’s a good idea! That never occurred to m. Did you ever find PAF’s for your conversion
 

BSeneca

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
125
Yeah, a really bad one.
Thank you sir I needed that! I need to stop watching YouTube videos of burst. I am blessed beyond my teenage dreams with this and a couple vint Juniors. I will never have the ability to buy a burst. Just dreaming
 

Jeggz

Active member
Joined
Jul 29, 2017
Messages
108
That’s a good idea! That never occurred to m. Did you ever find PAF’s for your conversion
I have a set of 1st generation Pat #’s in it now, its just the 7.6k bridge pickup ain’t enough for me.

I can’t believe it’s taking this long to find one.
 

mdubya

Active member
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
855
Have Bartlett build you a '57 or '59 and put PAFs and a vintage harness in it. Preserve your excellent Goldtop.

Only a fool would convert. JMHO. 😌
 

guitarbob123

Active member
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
177
I would be of the opinion that if you have money then find a used R8/R9/R0 for a good price that already feels great and then get it over to Historic Makeovers and let them do the rest, or find a used HM (might work out just as well financially).
A replica like a Bartett or Yaron etc. would be an option but I'd imagine at that point the price becomes more and more prohibitive until eventually you're just in the territory of buying another 52/53 and converting that.

Once you change your goldtop you won't be able to undo it, and like you said, you love the idea of a burst but you don't want to change the finish on your gold top anyway.

Didn't you have an HM already or is that down the road now?
 
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