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 Post subject: 1908 Gibson L-1
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:36 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 pm
Posts: 49
Got this 1908 Gibson L-1 recently for what I think is a bit much but everybody else thinks is a steal. I don't agree with them! :)
A previous owner started removing the original finish(sigh) and stopped halfway through because, well , it's not fun!
It had no hardware at all so to try it out I put on some Gotoh tuners I had, a hofner tailpiece, a nut that's too small and faked up and archtop ebony bridge. Put silk and steel strings on it and strung it up to see what would happen and to see how it sounds. Not bad for 110 years old. Not mindblowing but I bought it mostly as a project..Plays great despite the log neck. Lots of kooky old repairs, cracks and cleats galore, back was put on,I think with hide glue, but not perfect (a bit of under hang and over hang here and there, heel block was cracked and repaired as was the very end of the heel. All seems to be solid, but not pretty.

I have a couple of questions:
-The original bridges for these were these unusual maple units with an ebony top?
they seem to look halfway between an archtop bridge and a violin bridge.
Is the maple part at all necessary? Does anyone know why Gibson used maple?? Was it a holdover from violin or banjo bridge construction?
It sounds decent with the really rough ebony unit that's on there

-break angle. This thing has a killer neck angle, bridge is 1.25" high on the bass side!! whew. Seems to work fine. Top may have sunk a tiny bit but it looks pretty good when I compare it to the back, a bit of a flat spot in the middle, Doesn't seem to sag when the strings are tensioned and the interior braces seem solid.

-finish - I can see two routes. As it has MANY repair cracks etc I was going to go with the dark brownish sort of colour it looks like it had originally

-So stain and thin nitro?
-or a combo of tinted nitro and clear?


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 Post subject: Re: 1908 Gibson L-1
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:57 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:34 am
Posts: 3059
That bridge is wrong for starters...

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 Post subject: Re: 1908 Gibson L-1
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:01 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 pm
Posts: 49
Your response is wrong for starters.....
:lol:
Did you read my post??

Any bridge that works is right ultimately

I know what the original bridge is supposed to look like.

I did acquire the guitar yesterday afternoon with NO hardware, nut etc. and in about an hour, starting at midnight, to try the guitar out , installed a bunch of parts I had at hand including roughing out an ebony bridge.

However I don't think there is a 'wrong' bridge for this guitar. Both would work and it certainly isn't a museum piece nor will it ever be.
As long as it can play music.

Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: 1908 Gibson L-1
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:32 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:06 pm
Posts: 2218
Location: Magnolia DE
First name: Brian
Last Name: Howard
City: Magnolia
State: Delaware
Zip/Postal Code: 19962
Country: United States
Focus: Repair
Status: Professional
Well since you have no interest in actually restoring the instrument do whatever you want for finish...... just like those tuners pulling tension without proper bushings just ovaling the holes right now and waiting to crack a wing off, or the bridge and everything else

Gibson's of this period were never regarded very highly for tone or playability or overall quality, true of anything before the Loar era.

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You never know what you are capable of until you actually try.



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 Post subject: Re: 1908 Gibson L-1
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:39 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:34 am
Posts: 3059
You certainly "live your moniker"...have fun.

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J. Brentrup Guitars & Mandolins
http://www.brentrup.com


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 Post subject: Re: 1908 Gibson L-1
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:36 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 pm
Posts: 49
Wow nobody reads here!
I briefly threw some hardware on to check the guitar out. None of it was permanent. It was briefly put on with light tension strings to try the guitar out, now taken off
Big deal. No harm done.
Why is everyone so abrupt and offensive?

I never said I had no interest in restoring it. I just don't see it as a museum piece.
I will be imitating the one of the original finishes which was a darker chocolate sort of brown
I know they aren't known for being great instruments

And Hanns, You made a blunt, not at all helpful negative comment which had nothing to do with my questions and clearly showed you can't or don't bother to read.
How worthwhile!
Buy a dictionary. You also obviously have no idea what Toxophilite means.


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 Post subject: Re: 1908 Gibson L-1
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:52 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm
Posts: 1436
First name: Freeman
Last Name: Keller
Focus: Build
Status: Amateur
I know diddly about 1908 L-1's (however there was a recent listing of one on Reverb for 3 grand) but when I saw that bridge I though "I have never seen a floating bridge cranked up that high". The tells me one of three things - the neck is badly overset, the top is caved in or the bridge is dramatically wrong.

I'm going to add that I happen to have the highest respect for Haans's knowledge of Gibson instruments from that period and a little later. I listen when he speaks.

Third, we can debate all day what to do with an old guitar that is a long ways from being original. Another of my hobbies is vintage cars and its an ongoing debate there too. When you find that '32 Ford that isn't all there and has been pretty abused over the years, what kind of goals do you set for your self in its restoration or do you turn it into something that it never was. I'll watch with interest to see what you do with it.


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 Post subject: Re: 1908 Gibson L-1
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:33 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:31 pm
Posts: 49
Oh I'm sure Haans has all sorts of guitar knowledge, he just wasn't sharing it with me, nor really responding to or reading my post
He did comment that I seem to live my Toxophilite moniker, which is kind of true as I build my own one piece wooden bows though admittedly I haven't done a lot of archery in a while.
Thanks Haans!

That bridge is a quick homemade job, using a rather thin base I had, that actually fit the top curvature almost perfectly, then I made a top out of a scrap of ebony and used some mandolin risers I had.. As I said in my first post, roughed out just to try it. NOT the bridge for the guitar. Not even a conventional archtop bridge, but adequate to the short purpose it was intended for.
It's 1.25" high on the bass side. Quite high, however I have a few lovely vintage archtops with great neck sets and good tops with bridges 1" + high. I do believe (as I think I also said earlier) that the top has a little bit of a flat spot, but not huge. The braces inside are sound. I have checked that. Nothing is caving in as we speak.
I did have very specific questions I was asking.

I appreciate your perspective Re; vintage vehicles. This is a very old, and somewhat abused, not terribly collectable guitar of which MANY were made. I was going to make the body look like the original finish and get some strip tuners with the old style tiny bushings but I'm not going to track down a gibson tailpiece nor actual vintage tuners. I'd thought about building the original type bridge, it certainly is unique and looks pretty straightforward but I'm not stuck on the idea. I build custom bridges for all my archtops.


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 Post subject: Re: 1908 Gibson L-1
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:59 pm 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 857
City: Escondido
State: CA
Zip/Postal Code: 92029
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
FWIW, it is possible that the problem isn’t that nobody on this board can read. I’ve never had any problems in that regard. Perhaps you might consider the possibility that the problem is in the writing of your question.

If you want direct answers to a simple question try asking it simply and directly.


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