øøøøøøø wrote:The best advice I can give:
Proceed with extreme caution using the philosophy "First, do no harm."
If you're not experienced in vintage guitar repair/restoration, I'd advise doing as little as possible, or seeking outside professional help. You can do serious damage to the value of the instrument by doing seemingly-harmless things. Sort of how people who clean vintage cymbals harm their value, and they think "All I did was clean it, wtf?!" But they don't realize that the patina has a lot of value. But I digress (slightly), although patina also has some value on vintage guitars as well.
The prevailing ethos in vintage guitars in the past 20 years has become one not of "restoration" but rather preservation, and that's the course I'd recommend here, even if your aim is to keep it and play it yourself. Honest playwear does FAR less damage to the intrinsic, historic, and monetary value of an instrument than "restorations." I have a lot of old guitars, and I tour with them, play the dog shit out of them, and leave my own marks of wear, use and abuse. But restoration is a whole other thing.
Preserve (intact) as much as possible. If there's the slightest hunch the finish might be original, then don't touch it (seek expert counsel first). Even if it's unoriginal, it may be that it's an old refin that has been on the guitar so long that it's part of the guitar's "history," and preserving it actually will maintain more value (both monetarily and historically) than doing an imitation "factory-correct" paint job.
To explain somewhat further with an example-- if a vintage guitar comes into a shop and it was customized in the 1950s or 1960s with the performer's name or some custom graphic or add-on, then many/most vintage dealers would rather keep that intact, even if it were easily removed to restore the guitar to "stock." If it adds to the guitar's personality, history, or provenance, it is usually better to leave well enough alone. Of course, sometimes a thing was just hacked on and butchered, and in that case it would often be better to effect an expert restoration. It's very much case-by-case, and unless you've spent a career buying or selling vintage guitars, you frankly will often not know which situation is which.
Replacing the bum tuner with an era-correct Kluson is unquestionably a good move.
Cleaning the top layer of funk off is a good move ONLY if you're certain you can do it without damaging any of the finish or plastics, even if the finish is unoriginal. Unless you know for sure whether this is the case, then assume you have no idea and consult an expert.
Rust removal is a bad idea for a first-timer. For one thing, if the rust is present, then the plating is already damaged and you won't be able to restore the parts to "like new" condition. If the rust interferes with the function of parts, then some work to restore full functionality is usually a net positive. However, if the rust is merely cosmetic, then it's probably best to leave it (in my opinion-- opinions do vary). Many people appreciate the patina of old parts, and some authentic rust just adds to the provenance of the instrument (not to mention its character) in the opinion of many.
A good setup and anything needed to restore the guitar to playable condition is generally safe, but anything non-reversible (i.e. fretwork, etc) should be left to experts.
Generally speaking, anything that can be done without permanent modification (i.e. it could be 'put back original' without a trace) is safe to do.
The celluloid pickguard will shrink if not screwed down to a piece of wood. If you remove it for any length of time, absolutely screw it to a piece of plywood to keep it from shrinking. Otherwise you may not be able to screw it back onto the guitar readily.
At the end of the day, a "barn find" like you have here is almost always worth more than an amateur restoration. Proceed with extreme caution, or you could literally be throwing away both historical significance and money. Imagine you found an original and priceless ancient artifact. Would you try and 'restore' it yourself? Probably not, and while this situation isn't really that dramatic, I recommend approaching it sort of the same way.
Thank you for the words of advice. I have no intention of destroying any of the guitars original features, nor am I interested in a complete restoration. Your term of "preservation" fits perfectly with my intent. While I'm not a rookie when it comes to guitars, I'm intelligent enough to ask questions before proceeding with anything that might cause harm. No way in the world would I attempt a refret, but swapping out a set of tuners is a piece of cake. I intend on keeping this guitar and playing it for years, but as you can see from the pictures it is in desperate need of a deep cleaning. As for the rust, my primary concern is returning it to a playable condition while preserving its condition and historical significance since it is so close to an original guitar. As for what is needed to do that, the primary part will be elbow grease, care and restraint. Concerning parts, I need a vintage switch cap, an early 1964 serial plate, and a repro decal. As to the decal, knowing how that's a no-no to ask about around here, I can only hope that one of the members here sends me a PM with a good recommendation. Hopefully I can find a trusted seller who'll swap me an early 64 plate for the 68 plate along with a little cash.
Now for a question. What would be the best method of removing the rust from the pots? Since all the wiring appears to be original, I don't want to deal with unsoldering anything other than the input jack unless it's ABSOLUTELY necessary. I've got deoxit, contact cleaner and such, and all manner of brushes, cloths, and tools.