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The Clown/ 1978 Greco Les Paul

Greco 1978 Les Paul Restored

I took a year off in Asia. The 1978 Greco was an on/off project on the bench that i did entirely by hand. I had no limited tools and no machines or drills. It was a slow progress.

I bought this in December 2023 from a man down south.

In his hands, it has been stripped of color and the bridge and tail piece was lacquered gray. The knobs was four fender knobs in different colorful kind and red HB Rings, Hence the name
"The Clown" I assume this is the lower-end Greco LPs as it has no maple cap top and a 4-piece body.
The tuners might be the best part. They are Vintage Grover Futura´s. The downside, one Kidneybean has been lost and replace with a regular tuner button of cheap kind he had just pressed on the post and had cracked as well.  It is hard to find replacement for these. The new Grovers have different specs and will not fit.
Tuners works fine, but i needed to find a replacement Kidneybean key.


On receiving it.
It was in poor but playable condition with some fret buzz. Worn down frets, the end nibs on binding was gone and the fret ends was horrible.
Neck Pickup was caved in, Volume pot was hard to turn. I am uncertain on the original finish, but the guy who sold it to me said it was black before he stripped it. But that could not be the original color either since the binding was black. On black, you put white binding. In any case, he had tru-oiled the whole guitar.

The condition of the guitar on purchase

So once home, i stripped the whole thing. The cavities was shielded, on top of shielding paint :)

The binding on the neck came clean off. The binding on the body had some problems coming off here and there.. But eventually i got it naked. All screws where rusted or wrong size.

Current state as of Feb 23 2024..
It took a month for the binding to get here. This one needed 2mm thick binding. The 1.5 would not do although they can be used for the neck. As of now. The body is binded up and, although it was a nighmarish to put on  due to the 2mm thickness, it actually turned out pretty well. I never done binding in my life so this was a learner in what to do and what to not do..

Next up is re-fret and neck binding. Once that is sorted, i can say that i am over the worst part.
The Rosewood fretboard is not tip top, but i was very sure the fret will go in and hold. Getting a new fretboard is something i hope to avoid, but it is a possibility

Current state as of March 14 2024
The Fretboard was a no-go. It has run it course. The frets would not go in proper and did not sit well. So since last post i ordered a brand new fretboard for it. 22 Fret Trapezoid style. It will get to look like a Les Paul at least. Was hoping not to get to replacing it but i got to.

I have limited set of tools for now. But i had a flat spatula and an iron and got to work. Wood glue soften up as i heated it, and it came off easier than i thought. The new board took over 2 weeks to get here. But when it came, it was finished bound so there went to plans for nibs, but no big loss.. And all the measurements is perfect fit too. I radiused it BEFORE i glued it on.
I re-freted it with SS frets and ran out of them. Missing three. But no biggies. got them all soon enough to finish.

It was not so hard as i thought. Had to get some clamps but turned out ok.
next up is giving the guitar some color.

Current state as of March 27, 2024

Its time to DYE.. not literally but..
Dye is hard to come by here.. i mean the real kind. I just ordered some alcohol-based dye meant for other things. But wood is wood..

Coloring is not my thing. I am sure i could get it better with proper dye, but i got to work.
The aim was a golden or Honey gold kind of thing with a slight fade/burst.

It went ok. Not exactly what i was aiming for. It looks more like a aged transparent blonde finish instead. Anyhow: Top finish, i thought long and hard. Can´t get anything but acrylic rattle-can here. Was thinking Shellac, but ended up with Tru-Oil again. When i applied it, the fade around the body just "Vanished". Dunno why, no big loss. But i gave it many coats.  Wet sanding the top layer to smooth it, oiled it again.

Then come the faceplate that was bothering me. It is soft plastic or vinyl of some kind. The only decent finish to get on it was if you sand it matte and leave it, but even then, it did not look good. Tried to oil it actually, but even if it ended up nice and shiny, it had lots of dust specs and so forth. So whatever i did, it ended up awful. I even tryed to spray acrylic on it. That was disastrous and it was the nail in the coffin for this plate. So i peeled it off.

I decided to get some black-wood veneer and replace it.

The veneer i got was 0.5mm, So i glued two layers together to 1mm and rough cut it using the old plate as template. Glued it on and start shaping it and trimming the edges. Luckily i had two logo decals. So on went the last decal.

A few layers of tru-oil again and looks great. More natural.

Current state as of April 5, 2024

Just got Pots and wires. Time to hook her up. Pickups are not here as of yet, but lets start to wire up the basics. Tuners and Pickups are ordered.

I am no need for push/pull or split or anything of that. This old dog stays basic. Simple 50´s wiring is up for it. The old switch is still working fine. Reusing that. But everything else is new. The end of this restoration is coming to a close.