Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Gibson ES-225T Restoration Continues, Pt. 5

So I'm back to the Gibby ES-225T restoration/resurrection/resuscitation. I'm not totally sure what to call this project, since it's the original guitar but new hardware. Is it a restoration? Or is it a resurrection? I think it's more the latter. (As an aside, I'm not sure I've ever mentioned the model number, but there it is).

I believe the last item I wrote about was the neck/headstock repair. I filled the crack with amber super glue, and in sanding and scraping it, I chipped the old finish a bit, so I stained those areas and touched it up .

It's not perfect, but the crack is less visible, and it's super smooth.

Here's a picture of the original style bridge/tailpiece that came on this guitar. (This picture is a generic one from the interwebs). The earliest Les Pauls and the ES-225 are the only Gibsons I'm aware of that used this arrangement. Consequently, they're hard to find, and quite a few ES-225s have been robbed of their tailpieces so they could be installed on Les Pauls.

The long 'rods' tend to break, and the saddle itself isn't the best design for intonation. There are two feet under either end of the bridge end that support it up off the guitar. In any event, I can see why Gibson dropped this design.

But back to this guitar. All of the hardware - pickup, wiring, knobs, tailpiece, tuners - was stripped from it. I presume it was done to resell the parts at a profit. I think it's pretty shameful that a fine vintage instrument is stripped in this manner, but then again, money rules the world, doesn't it?

Fortunately for me, all of the parts, except the oddball bridge, are available as reproductions. For the bridge, I'm going to put on a more conventional trapeze tailpiece and archtop bridge. You'll see a fair number of ES-225s where this has been done. Again, the original tailpiece is prone to breaking, and I'd guess that owners just went to the conventional arrangement as a solution.

You can see where the feet from the original bridge scarred the top of the guitar. If we had the old one in place, these marks would be hidden. But with the new bridge, they'll be fairly visible. So I'm going to take a shot at cleaning them up a bit.

There are some scratches that go through the finish, so I want to at least protect the bare wood so it's not exposed.

I took some amber superglue to the chips. Long story short, in the scraping and sanding, I took some original finish off, so I wound up filling a few times until I was happy with it.

The original nitrocellulose lacquer finish is pretty thin. It will stand up to some fine sanding and polishing, but not too much.

The repaired top.

The amber color stands out a bit, but it's not objectionable. And it's super smooth, shiny, and the bare wood now has finish over it.

The entire ES-225T project:
1. Starting - making a custom moulded caul for headstock break
2. Headstock break repair using hide glue
3. Filling headstock crack pt 1
4. Filling headstock crack pt 2
5. Repairing divots in top (This page)
6. Installing the tailpiece, bridge, enlarging tuner holes
7. Making a bone nut
8. Installing tuners, and wiring
9. Installing nut and pickup
10. Completed - photos of completed ES-225T

Updates March 2015:

11. Bigsby B11 Installation, Pt. 1
12. Bigsby B11 Installation, Pt. 2


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