1965 Gibson LG-0 Flattop Guitar

This is a customer's LG-0 and he sent it in for a bridge replacement as it had the original, horrid, plastic bridge still installed. It wound-up getting "the usual," however -- a neck reset and fret level/dress in addition to a replacement bridge. It also got some good Gotoh repro-Kluson-style tuners fit at the headstock which were a great improvement compared to both the openback cheapo Waverly originals and also the cheap Ping-style tuners that were on this when it arrived.

There were some old repairs to the guitar -- it looks like back braces were reglued at some point and it also needed a second fix to a short headstock crack that'd had a repair attempt in the past. Still, after the new work, it's turned into an excellent box. These guitars have a sound that records beautifully because they're heavily emphasized in the mids and have tight, restrained bass and sweetened highs that aren't zippy like on so many other ladder-braced guitars. I mean, there's a reason this model continues to be super-popular with folks. They do a thing very well and have a nice-playing neck to go along with it.

My new bridge is pretty close to spec for the size of regular Gibson bridges from the time, but I did make a few changes. First-off is that it's ever so slightly thicker front-to-back so that I could overlap the old bridge pin holes a bit and so have a better gluing area. The second is that I use a slightly-narrower drop-in saddle. The third is that I moved the pins closer to the saddle and set them in the same plane as the saddle. Gibson bridges often get hairline cracks along the pins and when I've done this mod of the bridge design to older guitars it helps to remove that worry. It also means the strings all break on the saddle at pretty-much the same angle which helps to drive the top more efficiently (ie, it sounds better).

As far as string gauges on these, 12s are OK but I always try to steer folks into using the lightest they can "afford" to use on ladder-braced guitars. I often suggest tuning to Eb if you like the mass of normal 12s but want to play it safe. I'm using a slightly-slackened set of 12s with gauges 54w, 40w, 30w, 22w, 16, 12 -- the ADG strings are all lighter than a normal "light" set and have tension that's better-balanced with the others while at the same time removing almost an extra string's worth of tension compared to normal 12s.


Em said…
Hi, I got to your blog by the suggestion of one of the good folks on one of the Facebook ukulele or tenor guitar groups. I've enjoyed seeing your vintage very special guitars. I have an LG-0 too! A 1959. I think they are a little different from the later LG-0s. Wood bridge, and I think a slightly fatter neck.
Mine weighs a ton for such a relatively small instrument. I think mine needs some love, it plays well, but it used to play easier, and I'd like to get that feeling back.
One other thing about it- it sounds better with old strings on it!
Anyway just a shout out from another LG-0 owner. I was pleasantly surprised to see it among your treasures.
Take care and have fun,
Em, in Tampa, FL