Sunday, July 31, 2016
Thrift Store Find: 1978 Gibson Les Paul Special
I headed out the door quickly and drove down to a branch of my bank. Got out enough money to buy both the Les Paul and the Yamaha and headed back to the store. I made it back in time and was feeling pretty good walking out the door with two cool guitars. I have plenty of acoustics and already own an FG-160, so I spent some time cleaning the Yamaha up, polishing it, putting new strings on it and getting it ready to sell. I listed it on Craigslist the next day and sold it almost immediately for $150. It was purchased by someone who was looking for a great starter guitar and I'd say he got a great one for that price. And I profited a little over $100 that I put towards the price I paid for the Les Paul. That next night I gave the Gibson a little attention and checked it out. I posted a photo of it on Instagram (@jaimiemuehlhausen if you are interested), and Ryan Adams left a comment about how awesome the pickups looked. I posted a photo of the Yamaha as well and Butch Walker left a comment about how he owns a few of the old Yamahas and how great they are. Cool! I was a little hesitant to plug the Gibson in, but I did anyway and I was amazed...it had a lot of noise, which was not surprising due to the wires hanging out and the pickup switch dangling. But it worked! It actually sounded pretty cool! It's got P-90 (or possibly P-100?) pickups in it and they are going to sound fantastic when I get this thing restored.
I made the right decision and I'm really happy about it. I'm going to slowly but surely restore this guitar and get it playing again. I may not do a 100% faithful restoration...it's just too messed up for that. But I'm going to make it look nice and play well once again. I'll post a follow-up at some point and let you know how it has gone. But I'll end this story with this little observation: people always mention how "lucky" I am to find guitars in thrift stores and other places. There is no luck involved really...it is perseverance. You go and you go and you go and you find nothing. Over and over. And then, if you stick with it, the thrift store gods smile on you and reward you with something cool like a Yamaha or a funky Japanese bass or an old Magnatone amp that only needs a fuse. Or sometimes, if you've been really good, you get a messed up old Les Paul meant just for you. I guess I've been good lately.