So this is my 1994 Gibson Les Paul Studio that I've had since 1996. It has a carved maple top on a mahogany body and neck with pearloid trapezoid inlays on the rosewood fretboard. It has a pair of Seymour Duncan pickups (not quite sure which ones) and all the body elements came in black.
(You can see the edge of my trusty, 1987 Kramer 610, on the stand next to it.)
I've always loved the sound of this guitar but the look always left me wanting. So what does any self-respecting guitarist do? Try to destroy it in the hopes it will look better when you're done! Actually, I just started with replacing the hardware:
I changed out the original black selector switch, pickup rings, input and pickguard for creme and replaced the black speed knobs with gold. It looked better, kind of like a Les Paul Classic but it still wasn't sitting right. So I proceeded to the next step which, if not done properly, would kill the poor thing. Let the stripping and sanding commence!
The danger with jumping in with this step is some of the Les Paul Studios, being of a lower quality range, may not have a single slab of mahogany and may actually consist of two pieces glued together. Fortunately, mine had a single slab and it looked really nice. The stripping and sanding was a bit of a challenge and required quite a bit of work but I was starting to get an idea of what it would look like when done.
Once the multiple passes of sanding were complete, from a heavy grit down to a very fine grit, I applied four coats of Tru-Oil gun stock oil/sealer with a fine steel wool rub down between each coat to keep the application even.
Once I started applying the Tru-Oil, the maple cap began to really exhibit a faux-binding look to the guitar, giving it more of a hybrid, gold-top look. Very nice!
I'm sure it is mostly psychological but sanding off the paint has really opened up the sound of this guitar. I always liked the sound before but now it sounds incredible and finally has the looks to match.
As always, I'd love your thoughts on this mod. I'm always tinkering with my guitars but this was the first heavy "modification" I've done and, I must say, I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. Thank you for reading!