Scott's Guitar Blog: July 6, 2017

Guitarist Melvin Miller Jr.’s Gibson Les Paul headstock repair

I first met Melvin Miller Jr. years ago when he showed up at my studio with a broken headstock on his vintage Gibson 335. I asked him “What do you do for a living?” He replied “well, now I’m in a Motown cover band.” There was something about his “now” that made me ask “what did you do before?”

That’s when it got interesting. He was a pit guitarist for Motown back in the day. He played with many of the greats including the Supremes, co-writing two songs on one of their albums, and worked with Funk Brothers bassist James Jamerson, among many others.  I fixed his 335, and had not heard from him for years, though other ex-Motown players started showing up at my door, due to his referrals.

Last month he sent me a Les Paul. It suffered a broken headstock at a show. It meant a lot to me that a NY artist who worked with me years ago wanted to send his guitar up to my new studio in Vermont. The repair came off perfectly, and it’s on its way home to him as I type. I am not a fan of refinishing and touching up the original finish on a guitar, so I’ve developed a system where I can make the repair nearly invisible without having to spray a touch-up over the repair. This keeps the guitar more original, and does not hide the work the way spraying over the repair with a solid color does. It’s best to be able to see the repair, and where the damage was. When it is sanded and buffed, it is very hard to see the repair, and it is smooth to the touch and reflects light like the rest of the neck. It cannot be felt at all, while playing.

From his current band “Shadows of the 60s” website:

Melvin Miller has played in shows with/for The Supremes, Donnie McClurkin, Atlantic Starr, Miki Howard, Glenn Jones, Janet Dubois (Good Times), Ruth Brown, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Delfonics, Ray Goodman & Brown, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Gideon McKinney, Dave Revels ,The Main Ingredient, The Four Tops, The Dells, Peabo Bryson, Sam & Dave, James Brown, and Maxine Brown.

Here are the before and after shots of the repair of the broken headstock on his Gibson Les Paul.

Thanks for taking the time to visit!