1978 Gibson Les Paul, making a new carved top, full refurbishment and 'split burst' refinish

Upon arrival/assessment/top removal

Although playing well, the guitar was in poor shape cosmetically. Removing some of the finish exposed a veneer which had been fitted to cover various alterations, a forearm contour repair and alternative bridge positions and fittings. The heel area had been built up after an earlier 'axcess' heel conversion with random wood and a lot of filler. The binding had suffered from much over sanding.

We removed the section of fretboard over the body so that we could work closely to the original neck angle, then set about removing the top in the safest way possible....with the router bridged across the guitar. We carefully routed down to the cross grained 'pancake' layer.

1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel

Making the new maple cap

Once we'd got the sides/edges trued up we started to make the new maple cap. The very best quality AAAA grade tiger stripe maple was selected, thicknessed and cut to the body outline allowing for the binding channel, then carved to shape using the router step method and much sanding.

1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel

Fitting the new top and tidying old heel work

The new top was glued onto the body, the humbucker routs added inline with the existing routs and the tailpiece position calculated. After final shaping of the carve we added the fretboard section and new binding, working it back flush.

The diy red paint was cleaned from all the fittings and some reshaping around the heel area was carried out prior to prepwork and grainfilling of the back and sides to get it ready for the paintwork stage.

1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel

Paintwork, assembly and setup

The customer wanted a 'split burst' of yellow through to dark amber nitro, so we did a sample test on an offcut of the maple. Some pre dye was added to the maple cap to enhance and emphasise the figuring.

The neck and back was treated to a mild partial edge burst which worked well at covering some of the colour variations of the woodfilled areas.

Restrung and set up, the guitar looks stunning and plays great. It's original pickups are long gone but it has a fabulous set of vintage DiMarzios which have been on it for several decades.

1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel
1978 Gibson Les Paul full restoration including making a new maple cap  © 2022 Guitar Angel