Fitting Period Correct Inlays to a Gibson Historic Custom Shop Les Paul
A regular client with an interesting and impressive collection of Gibson guitars, asked us if we could replace the crown inlays on his Custom Shop Historic Les Paul. Despite all the mystique Gibson promote their custom shop instruments with…they are, or at least their components are, to a large extent mass produced. This is evident in the very fingerboard inlays we will be replacing here. For a start the original, existing inlays just look bad even with a casual glance! The guitar looks great but there’s something not quite right. They’re made from the wrong plastic, which is totally the wrong colour and if you look at the before and after pics here you can see that the corners of the inlays are rounded. The reason for this is that the recesses for the inlays on the fingerboard are routed by a CNC router fitted with a small radius router cutter. After machining, the corners of the rout end up with this radius and rather than square them out with a chisel, as they might have done in the good ole’ days, Gibson leave the radius right there and instead shape all the inlay sets (again machine cut) with the same radius at each corner of the crown. So I will be removing these bad inlays and replacing them, with a bit of skill, with good inlays. You can see the corners are sharp, as they should be…and…they’re the correct colour! So with a keen eye and a steady hand, I’ll square out the fingerboard with a very sharp chisel and fit the new inlays. I’m sure you’ll agree that the final result looks so much better!