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What is going on with this LP Custom Headstock?

kaio1995

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Jun 15, 2021
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4
Hey,
so recently, I have found a good deal on a online marketplace where some guy is offering a LP Custom 1972 Natural with Gibson T-Tops Humbuckers. The guitar has been refretted with stainless steal frets which is just fine. However, I have noticed on the photos that the black color of the headstock kind of fades out (see the provided photos). I am not quiet sure what is happening there, but it looks like the upper layer of the headstock has been removed. Has anyone an idea what is wrong with the headstock? I have reserved the guitar, but I do not want to buy a fake LP Custom...
Regards
Kai
 

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AA00475Bassman

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3,361
Email or call Gibson with serial # number , left side of back of head stock the wing looks odd interruption - cracks in binding ?
 

fakejake

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That's a real Gibson, no doubt, but there definitely has been a repair to the binding.
 

kaio1995

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Jun 15, 2021
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You have a good eye! I think I now know what the problem is. I thought the change of grain of the left corner on the backside of the headstock would be natural. However, it looks to be that the corner of the headstock cracked and it was repaired with a different piece of wood. Therefore, the wings look interrupted. To match the glued piece of wood to the rest of the headstock, the headstock needed to be repainted, therefore the odd color. Do you think it is still worth it 1,8k? The rest of the guitar does not look too bad. It is a Les Paul Custom Shop Natural 72 with 60s T Top Humbuckers.
 
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DutchRay

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Mar 15, 2015
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390
I might be nuts, but that looks like a refin neck. Can you show us the body?
 

kaio1995

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DutchRay

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hmm, I'd have to check it in hand to make sure, but I'm not convinced it is the original finish. Is it worth $1800? probably yes!
 

brandtkronholm

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hmm, I'd have to check it in hand to make sure, but I'm not convinced it is the original finish. Is it worth $1800? probably yes!
It look like the top has been stripped.
It is a genuine Norlin-era Les Paul, but indeed, an in-hand inspection is warranted.
Proceed with caution. At the right price, it might be a great guitar!
 

Wilko

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That corner of the headstock was broken off and repaired. Possible top stripped.
 

Bob Womack

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Apr 8, 2002
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I don't recall natural being an option until the Nashville plant opened in 1976. In fact, Tom Scholz of Boston started a natural top craze in 1976 with his natural refins. Before that, my memory was that black, white, and sunburst were offered on the Customs. I could be wrong. I'm also looking at the serial. Weren't they stamped into the wood under the finish at that point rather than printed in gold? I'm remembering that as a later method.

Bob
 

Winkyplayer

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May 1, 2021
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Side of the headstock has been broken off and repaired. The woodwork looks to be reasonable, although they could have matched the wood/grain better, and there's a hint of asymmetry, but that might be the photo. The binding repair is the main thing that looks naff. If the rest of the guitar checks out, I'd not be bothered by this repair at all, but would want it reflected in the price against a similar condition but un-broken/repaired model. The top is an obvious re-finish, and the neck was possibly fully refinished as part of the repair. The guitar has character and history. The price is determined by how well it pays and sounds. No reason it shouldn't be a good-un.
 

kaio1995

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Might sound stupid, but what do you mean by stripped top? Do you mean the headstock overlay?
 

Winkyplayer

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Might sound stupid, but what do you mean by stripped top? Do you mean the headstock overlay?
The top of the body. It looks like a strip and refinish to me. The condition does not seem to match the rest of the guitar. Bob Womack a few comments up has also questioned whether a natural finish was even available at the time the guitar was made. I wouldn't care either way. This guitar is a player, not a museum piece.

The headstock veneer is probably original, or at least done prior to the headstock damage. If the veneer was being replaced (it looks to be one piece), the whole binding would probably have been re-done, rather than just the corner. Seems odd, but the corner/side of the headstock may have broken from under the veneer, or that the binding damage and repair came afterwards.

It isn't possible to be definitive on the basis of the photos. To get a really good look, take it into bright sunlight. I find the sunlight really cuts through many translucent finishes and lets you see what's going on underneath. (Don't do this with guitars you think have no issues - you'll just see stuff you were happier not knowing about ;))
 
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