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I found this classic Les Paul, now what?
I found a Classic Les Paul 25-50 at an auction. Structurally and
electronically it was in good shape. The only thing is it could use a little
TLC. What would be the best route to take to bring at least a little life
and shine back into the finish. I have used a very fine wax on it(Maguires
#7 car wax) and that helped. I was just wondering what else I might could
do. Thanks for any help you can send my way. Jeff Williford.
Rick Andrews Answers Your Question Below.
Well Jeff, great question and it applies to every guitar player who cares
about their axe. This will be helpful to all of us.
Most guitars that have
any age on them were usually finished with the older nitrocellulose lacquer.
This old style lacquer is beautiful but it continues through the years to
get harder and cures on and on. As it ages the continued curing or hardening
causes it to crack in tiny crawling cracks and, many of them which looks
terrible. The older guitars that are worth something hold their value better
if they are not refinished thus meaning that we want to keep them at their
best condition as long as we can to hold their value and keep them original.
Keeping something on the finish that will actually help soften just a tiny
bit yet keep a slick shine will be the best thing to do. If your finish is
already badly cracked then refinish is worth while but only by someone who
can truly duplicate the original so well no one can tell it is not original
and this will not harm the value. If it is done so that a person can tell it
was refinished then it will lessen the value. If your original finish is not
yet craking be assured it eventually will.
The best thing to do is to use a very fine compound that will actually help to keep
the lacquer from over hardening and cracking. Help slow any cracking from starting at least
prolonging the life of the finish and at the same time will keep it shinning
and looking the best it can. Most compounds are too abrasive even the
finest you can buy on the market today. I have a good friend who is a
chemist and he has developed a special combination wax/compound for me to be
used by hand to work like a polish but also a protective type thing. After I
buff out my new guitars I build I have discovered that using this as a top
polish actually makes the finish shine even better than fresh buffed lacquer
and also gives it a sort of protective film. It appears that it may even
help just slightly soften and hopefully help keep the lacquer from cracking
in the future. Of course it will take many years to prove how long it will
delay cracking but it appears at this point to be very helpful. It has
impressed me enough for me to use it on all guitars I build. In fact I will
be putting a small tub of it in the case with the guitars I build for my
customers for free.
People have been saying that I should go ahead and
market this stuff under the Andrews name. The chemist that developed it for
me has agreed to allow me to sell it as the Andrews custom polish system. I
have not done this yet. If I see there is going to be enough interest in it
I will do so. It is certainly going to be used on all the axes I build for
sure except for the ones that are oil rubbed finish which is a different
thing anyway. I am not trying to blow my own horn here at all but just being
honest about what you are asking. A small 2 oz. tub of this would last a
long time and would sell for about $20. and I have never seen anything like it.
As far as a simple polish I recommend plain simple Johnson's lemon pledege.
It is the best I have found for guitars but the new stuff he is making for
me is the only thing better especially for old lacquer. The new guitars I
build are being finished with a water base lacquer which completely cures in
48 hours and is not supposed to ever get any harder which should not crack
in future years. It simply cures out to a point but stops continuing to over
harden. It seems like I am writing a book here but it takes a lot to explain
this so folks can understand. I do not have this ready for the market yet
but it will probably be available 30 to 60 days from now. I hope this will
be helpful and answer your question for you. Stay in touch with me and I
will let you know when it is available. The stuff made a believer out of me.
Rick Andrews - Andrews Guitar
Wow, what an answer Rick, I'll be on that list of customers waiting for the
Andrews custom polish system. Let me know when it is available.
William Williford- from the band, The Tonearm Project and TL2
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