We all know the story...."Lucy" started as a 1957 Gold-Top that was stripped of her original finish, then refinished in "SG Cherry Red" at the Gibson Kalamazoo factory sometime in the 1960s. This guitar was originally owned by John Sebastian, then Rick Derringer, then Eric Clapton who famously gave it to George Harrison in 1968. In 2013, the current Gibson co. reissued this guitar using George's original as a benchmark but failed to get a few important details correct.
They used Indian rosewood instead of brazilian for the fret board (why?) They did Not use old growth mahogany for the neck & body. They glued it together using (dead sounding) Franklin titebond glue instead of hot hide glue like the original had, and charged $15,000.00 !
My "Lucy" Rebuild is available as a very limited item and is handmade entirely by myself using true 1957 spec details. I reserve my private stash of Old growth Mahogany and real brazilian rosewood for this model. Like everything I build, it's constructed with hot hide glue, and finished in nitrocellulose lacquer just like the originals were. I also use my limited supply of 1970s Paste wood filler I got from the 1985 Gibson auction in Kalamazoo- this filler was made by the Mobil Chemical co. for Gibson and is long out of production.
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Info Updated March 2021
My "Lucy" build is available in Two price options described as follows: Option one = $8,650 My Flagship Model recreates the "Revolution" era details and is complete with period correct hardware and is lightly aged representing what a now 61 year old "used", but well cared for guitar might look and feel like. Extra care is taken to match the wood grain Maple top as closely to the original as possible. Although it won't exhibit exactly the same dings and scratches as the original, the finish is lightly aged to mimic the same amount of wear and overall patina a guitar of this vintage would have. In the 1950s, Gibson Kalamazoo used old growth Mahogany for necks and bodies with each of these components being one single piece. This timber from the original old growth forest was readily available in those days, but is now very scarce and very expensive to buy and requires a lot of searching to find it. This is what I use to make my Flagship Model. I have a limited stash on-hand and I continuously seek and procure this wonderful old timber. Guitars made from this wood along with using hot hide glue, and Nitrocellulose lacquer are the closest thing you can get to a real 1950s era Gibson. Mine is a little cheaper in price than the Gibson reissue, but a lot more authentic* * Hard shell wooden case included.
Option Two = $7,450 This is an empty "Husk" (body and neck only). This is a fully built guitar made with the same materials and specs, and painted the exact same way as the Flagship model above- but without any parts or hardware. The tailpiece inserts and ground wire are the only parts pre-installed. You will need everything else such as tuners, pickups, bridge, tailpiece, electronics, miscellaneous screws, all plastics, and strings. This way, you can control the final cost and complete the assembly with your choice of parts and pickups. All cavities are routed & drilled - all you have to do is install your parts, string her up, and play
This type of build is expensive and may not be for everybody. The process to build guitars of this level of quality require skill and patience, and sometimes a little blood, sweat,....and tears ! There are no shortcuts. *Hand-built master Luthier grade instrument made with Rare lumber. *Attention to detail that no factory can achieve. *Vintage construction methods requiring skills and knowledge that takes many years to achieve, using specialty tools & templates that have to be custom made and are costly. *Vintage 1960s Cherry Red finishing process which is very time consuming and requires the use of solvents & chemicals that, even properly suited & masked-up, are very dangerous to the luthiers health !
*CTS 500k pots -casings are "aged" to appear more vintage and mimic the lines and tarnished solder joins seen in old guitars.
* 1957 Wiring Circuit -the tone pot's center lug is soldered to the casing and the cap is soldered to the right lug. (Left lug is clipped off, " Don" )!!
*(2) 1960s Vintage Sprague .033 Black Beauty caps (although .033 wouldn't be the correct value, these have a great "woman tone" sound and I have a good supply of them)
Sideline- When you sent your Gibson guitar back to the factory in the old days for refinishing or any type of repair work, they would, as a courtesy, remove all the old hardware and throw it in a 50 gal drum along with all the parts they took off other 'repairs" and then refit your guitar with brand new hardware of the day before they sent it back to you! Some of these 50 gal drums heaping with parts were sold off at the 1985 Gibson auction ! Since we know "Lucy" was sent to the factory in the mid 1960s by Rick Derringer for a refinishing, it's possible that all the 1957 parts might have been removed and then replaced with 1960s parts. For example, as a '57 Gold-Top, Lucy had Brown back covers, but George's Lucy has Black. Also the 1957 electronics w/ original caps might have been replaced with 1960s parts. This is how I justify using my '60s Sprague Black Beauty's which are .033 ! Plus they sound and look great ! It's also possible that the '50s wiring circuit was changed to the newer '60s circuit, as well as the original '57 PAFs could have been changed out for newer PAFs. Rick Derringer has stated that when he got the guitar back after the re-fin, something changed and he no longer liked to sound of it which is why he sold it*