Thursday 8 December 2016

'One-off' guitar worth £10,000

Published 08/02/2012 | 18:34

A vintage Gibson Les Paul Deluxe guitar has been decorated with 24 carat gold and mother of pearl
A vintage Gibson Les Paul Deluxe guitar has been decorated with 24 carat gold and mother of pearl

A guitar has been turned into a "one-off" worth around £10,000 after being decorated with 24-carat gold and mother of pearl.

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Expert luthier Kim Webber, 55, has been carefully coating the vintage Gibson Les Paul Deluxe with the precious metal and shells over the past year.

Working from his home in Bridgwater, Somerset, the father of two painstakingly re-decorated the American-made electric guitar after it was handed to him covered in plastic triangles.

"It was a guitar that a customer brought me just over a year ago and somebody had a go at inlaying it with plastic shapes and he basically wanted it done properly," Mr Webber said.

"He had this idea about inlaying it with semi-precious shell and we tinkered about and I came up with the idea of using gold mother of pearl, white mother of pearl and sea shells awabi and abolone and I got a couple of designs for him and went for it.

"We gold-plated all the hardware and I designed some pick-up surrounds for him and we had some specially made for us by a local metal worker and then sent them off to be gold plated.

"I took the instrument apart and rebuilt it, putting gold mother of pearl inlays in the neck and new machine heads on, put gold frets on and sprayed the whole instrument."

Mr Webber, who was renovating the 50-year-old guitar for a private collector, has made a number of "one-off" guitars including one encrusted with more than 4,000 Swarovski crystals.

"I very often do one-off designs like this for various people with weird and wonderful designs," he said.

"This one was made by a well-known mass producer in America and is a collectable, but by taking it apart and re-building it, it is a one-off. Because it is a one-off, these type of instruments are worth as much as somebody is willing to pay for it, but I would expect it is now worth around £10,000."

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