I want this one to go to 11
October 13, 2010 10:05 AM   Subscribe

Help me restore this amazing Orville by Gibson ES-175 to it's former glory.

I can't believe this but a friend of mine found an amazing Orville by Gibson ES-175 just laying in the trash bin of her apartment building INCLUDING HARDSHELL CASE!!! The guitar is the same model as this except it's blonde and not sunburst. Even with shitty old strings it sounds lovely un-amped. It is missing one pick-up, a volume pot, a tone pot, the pick-up selector switch and the truss rod cover. Below is a list of what I'd like to do. Any suggestions or instructions are greatly appreciated!

1) New custom pick - ups: please give me interesting custom pick-up manufacturer names. I already have looked at Manlius, RD and of course the usual DiMarzio, Seymour Duncan and other boring stuff you get at GC. What I'd like to do is stick a muscled up PAF clone in the neck slot and then something that is classic humbucker but has a big high and mid punch in the bridge. What I'm going for is sweet, sexy 57-ish jazz tone but also tight, punch in the face, cut through glass over-drive tone.

2) Replace all the pots - I was even thinking of some push-pulls to synch with pickups that can operate as single and double coil. Not sure, Either way I need sources for good pots and instructions on how to install

3) Same thing with pick-up selector switch

4) Need some help with what kind of solvent/cleaner to use to really spruce up and clean/polish the finish to a nice luster. Also, it looks like someone moved the bridge at one point so there is gunk or glue remnants behind the bridge. How do I get that off without damaging the finish?

5) Advice on how to clean frets and fret-board

6) Should I stick with the stock tuners?

7) Anything else I should (I will have it professionally set up and the truss rod adjusted once I'm done with the refurb)

I will post pics during the process and when done.
posted by spicynuts to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That's a beautiful guitar, spicynuts, congrats on the score! Personally, I'd have a qualified repair shop do everything for me, but I also don't have the time or the skill to tackle a big restoration. Re: pickups, I've heard good things about Bare Knuckle Pickups. They're all handmade in the UK, supposedly, and they have a range of humbuckers from classic to contemporary sounds.
posted by sbrollins at 12:35 PM on October 13, 2010

Guitar Fetish makes some good pickups, and they're not that expensive either. I bought a set of their Strat pickups and liked them; other friends have used their stuff too, and the recordings i've heard have sounded good.

Stew Mac also sells guitar parts - tuners, etc. I have bought tuners from them, they worked fine. I would say keep the originals till you complete the cleanup and refinishing, and then see how well they stay in tune. if they've gotten loose with age or are sloppy, then consider putting on new tuners before you get it set up.

ReRanch sells guitar refinishing supplies - I haven't personally bought stuff from them, but have seen projects done with their stuff and it's pretty impressive. You can get fretboard cleaner there too. I would contact them and ask about glue removal; seems like finding the right solvent to remove the glue will depend on what was used for the original finish. I know that nitro vs poly makes a difference in what will clean the gunk without damage to the guitar.

Good luck! that is an epic dumpster score. Best thing I ever found was an old Epiphone amp, which a friend refurbished for me.
posted by dubold at 1:16 PM on October 13, 2010

ooh, additionally you could post these questions at the ReRanch discussion board and get some expert opinions from people who have done this stuff - i've modded a couple guitars, but they were all <$100, so no harm done if there was a mishap.
posted by dubold at 1:19 PM on October 13, 2010

I have Jason Lollar pickups in my LP and couldn't be happier. The bridge pu took some getting used to as I was coming from a JB which is much gainer. I'd honestly recommend either pickup. But the Lollars were in no way cheap.
posted by tremspeed at 2:05 PM on October 13, 2010

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