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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

DIY WORKSHOP HOW TO RELIC A GOLDTOP FINISH

Find out how to simulate lacquer checking and to convincingly age metal and plastic Les Paul parts, as Huw Price’s Greco Goldtop conversion project reaches its conclusion…

WORKSHOP GRECO GOLDTOP CONVERSION PT 8

1 Goldtop ‘before’ – with a few sets of keys, stones from the garden, a hammer and a nail punch at the ready, the pristine gold paintjob will soon be just a memory

Although relic’ing most Gibson and Fender-style guitars is a relatively straightforward procedure, I approached ageing the Greco’s finish with some trepidation. No clear consensus seems to exist on how to correctly relic a Goldtop Les Paul and I suspect that’s because producing authentic-looking results is a challenging process.

When you look at original examples, you can see massive variation in the extent of the lacquer checking, the colour of the gold and the amount of greening. Furthermore, when there is pronounced lacquer checking, it runs laterally, rather than following the grain along the body’s length.

In the past, I’ve managed to produce results that I’m happy with by using inverted air dusters, and I’m able to control the look and intensity of the checking to some extent. But I’ve also learned that, using this method, I have very little – if any – control over the direction of the lacquer cracks. Where some degree of randomness is appropriate, that’s fine, and using a borrowed ‘54 Les Paul as a reference, the compressed-air method is going to be okay for the back and sides. But it’s not what I need for the top.

I toyed with the idea of finding someone with a big enough deep freezer to induce checking in a more gradual and natural way; but on realising that several freezing and thawing cycles may be needed, I decided against it. What’s more, I’m not entirely confident that the Titebond glue that I used to veneer the top with has the ability to withstand this sort of treatment. This leaves me with only one option… razorblade checking.

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