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thin neck on ES being made today

#1 User is offline   Patrick P-Bone Lynch 

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 09:12 PM

I am a left handed guitarist with small hands. I just met a guitar-aholic who had a 1966 ES-335 with the thin 'pencil' neck with a nut only 1 9/16th wide. I'm guess at some point I could save, save and buy a similar guitar but left handed on Ebay for $7,000, but I don't have that kind of money. Nor am I the kind of guitarist that wants necessarily have a 'vintage' guitar. I'm a little careless with my guitars and just like to play 'em hard. So my question is, does Gibson currently make a ES-335 or similar semi hollow body with that thin pencil neck with only a 1 9/16 inch nut. I find both Gibson and other outlets are perfectly willing to sell a guitar for $2-3,000 but not provide detailed specifications. Very frustrating trying to track this info down. Anybody point me in the right direction.

FYI, I have been trying to play with thumb over E and possibly A strings and I can tell you, that 1966 ES-335 is the only guitar I have found that allows me to easily do this. Yes I could strap up the guitar and play jazz-classical style but I'm a sloppy R&R type of guy. I'm in love with that neck. Don't tell my wife....

#2 User is offline   stein 

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 10:01 PM

I'll TRY and help...but I can't change reality.

The trend these days is wide nuts. That is what everyone seems to prefer, and some makers are actually going a bit wider. As with all 'trends', the thin necks are seen as a liability to make.

I highly doubt Gibson is making any guitar with the thin nut widths. Also, being a lefty, that's something you know is against you as well.

But...one thing that IS to your advantage, is that since no one seems to want the narrow nut widths, AND the lefty thing, that SHOULD play to your advantage on the "vintage" market. There are 2 ways of looking at it: the guitar YOU want isn't the guitar everyone else wants, so it should be cheaper. The other way to look at it, is you get to have what might be, say, a 15,000$ guitar for 7,000$.

So, you might play that card. Don't buy into the fact that what you want is rare and hard to find, and therefore, should be more money. A seller with the guitar you describe needs you more than you need him, because you are a rarity as well.

As for having one built the way you describe, kind of a backward way of looking at it is that the current 335's are not really full production line models anymore, and all made by the "custom shop" in memphis. The prices are already kinda high as a result, and IF it is going to cost more for the narrow nut, should be closer to what they cost in the first place. You might inquire.

#3 User is offline   SlashPerryBurst 

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:30 PM

Alternatively, find a good luthier who will make you exactly the kind of guitar you are looking for for a reasonable (gibson level) price. You'll have a high quality guitar that meets your every expectation.
Have cut back on my equipment do to circumstance. Just my #1 Gibson Les Paul Standard just now. No amps, no pedals.

#4 User is online   bobouz 

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 02:45 AM

I'll share a few interesting tid-bits with you. I have guitars with both wide necks and skinny neck. Three stand out in the skinny neck category. First is a 1966 ES-125T with the 1-9/16" neck you've referred to. Next is an Epi Elitist Casino, with a 1-10/16" neck. And finally an Epi Valensi Riviera, which also has a 1-10/16" neck. Of these, the 125T's neck has more depth, and in some ways feels easier to play than the other slightly wider necks. The Elitist's neck strikes a nice balance up the fretboard, while the Riviera's neck feels the smallest overall. I point this out for two reasons: First, there are some current models out there that might work for you, with the Valensi being the closest to a 335 since it's a semi-hollowbody. The stock pickups are the Gibson P94R and P94T single coils. These are excellent pickups, and I view this guitar as a major bargain - but it's being discontinued, so it may be hard to find. My second point is that no two necks are created equal. I have played some Gibsons from the pencil neck era that truly seemed unplayable. Conversely, this particular 125T immediately felt comfortable in hand, and in fact I thought it was a wider neck when considering the purchase. Only after it was home for a few weeks did I pull out a ruler to measure the neck width. So remain open minded re the instruments under consideration in your search, and I think you will eventually happen upon something that works well.
Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES 125T / '90 Tennessean / '00 J-100 Xtra
'02 J-45 Rosewood / '02 SG Faded-moon / '06 ES 335 / '09 ES 339
'10 ES 330L / '11 ES 335-P90s / '12 LP Tribute / '12 ES 330 VOS
'12 LP Special / '12 J-185 / '13 LG2 American Eagle / '14 J-15
Epis: '66 FT45n Cortez / '00 AIUSA-JLH 1964 Sheraton / '04 Peerless Casino
'05 Paul McCartney 1964 Texan / '09 Elitist Casino / '10 Valensi Riviera
'11 50th Anniversary 1961 Casino / EL-00 Pro / {Trinity: TM-475 Mandola}
Martins: '01 Custom Rosewood Dread / '09 OM-1

#5 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:02 AM

I think the Larry Carlton model has a narrow neck. I'm not sure. But it's probably not available in a lefty model.
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#6 User is offline   dougg330 

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 07:27 AM

View PostPatrick P-Bone Lynch, on 09 April 2012 - 09:12 PM, said:

I am a left handed guitarist with small hands. I just met a guitar-aholic who had a 1966 ES-335 with the thin 'pencil' neck with a nut only 1 9/16th wide. I'm guess at some point I could save, save and buy a similar guitar but left handed on Ebay for $7,000, but I don't have that kind of money. Nor am I the kind of guitarist that wants necessarily have a 'vintage' guitar. I'm a little careless with my guitars and just like to play 'em hard. So my question is, does Gibson currently make a ES-335 or similar semi hollow body with that thin pencil neck with only a 1 9/16 inch nut. I find both Gibson and other outlets are perfectly willing to sell a guitar for $2-3,000 but not provide detailed specifications. Very frustrating trying to track this info down. Anybody point me in the right direction.

FYI, I have been trying to play with thumb over E and possibly A strings and I can tell you, that 1966 ES-335 is the only guitar I have found that allows me to easily do this. Yes I could strap up the guitar and play jazz-classical style but I'm a sloppy R&R type of guy. I'm in love with that neck. Don't tell my wife....



Look for a used, Korean-made Epiphone Sorrento - single cutaway, 2 P-90 pickups, and a very narrow nut/thin neck.If you like the old Gibson 1 9/16ths neck, you'll love this one.

#7 User is online   bobouz 

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:46 AM

In my earlier post, I skipped right by the fact that you're a lefty. Any of the archtops mentioned could work with a bridge modification. Of course if you want to stick with a lefty guitar, the field is significantly narrowed. There's a dealer that specializes is lefty models called, if I remember correctly, Southpaw Guitars.
Gibsons: '22 "A" Mandolin / '66 ES 125T / '90 Tennessean / '00 J-100 Xtra
'02 J-45 Rosewood / '02 SG Faded-moon / '06 ES 335 / '09 ES 339
'10 ES 330L / '11 ES 335-P90s / '12 LP Tribute / '12 ES 330 VOS
'12 LP Special / '12 J-185 / '13 LG2 American Eagle / '14 J-15
Epis: '66 FT45n Cortez / '00 AIUSA-JLH 1964 Sheraton / '04 Peerless Casino
'05 Paul McCartney 1964 Texan / '09 Elitist Casino / '10 Valensi Riviera
'11 50th Anniversary 1961 Casino / EL-00 Pro / {Trinity: TM-475 Mandola}
Martins: '01 Custom Rosewood Dread / '09 OM-1

#8 User is offline   Patrick P-Bone Lynch 

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:23 AM

View Postdougg330, on 10 April 2012 - 07:27 AM, said:

Look for a used, Korean-made Epiphone Sorrento - single cutaway, 2 P-90 pickups, and a very narrow nut/thin neck.If you like the old Gibson 1 9/16ths neck, you'll love this one.


Thanks for this model and for other members posts that have replied. I now have some models/makes I can research and perhaps find in a lefty

#9 User is offline   Patrick P-Bone Lynch 

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:31 AM

View PostSlashPerryBurst, on 09 April 2012 - 11:30 PM, said:

Alternatively, find a good luthier who will make you exactly the kind of guitar you are looking for for a reasonable (gibson level) price. You'll have a high quality guitar that meets your every expectation.


Yes, if I can find just a neck I know a luthier who could build me my own.

#10 User is offline   fretplay 

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:30 AM

Have a look for a Hofner Club, the guitar the Beatles used in the Hamburg days. Nice slim neck and very narrow nut.

#11 User is offline   SlashPerryBurst 

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:17 AM

View PostPatrick P-Bone Lynch, on 10 April 2012 - 11:31 AM, said:

Yes, if I can find just a neck I know a luthier who could build me my own.


Why do you even need a neck? A luthier I know of can accept custom orders online, but prefers it when people come into his shop so he can measure their hands to get the neck right for them.
Have cut back on my equipment do to circumstance. Just my #1 Gibson Les Paul Standard just now. No amps, no pedals.

#12 User is offline   j45nick 

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:43 AM

You should keep your eye open for a 1965-1968 ES 335. Lefty's are rare, but they do exist. You should NOT pay more than about $3500 for an ES 335 of this vintage. One of my 335's is a '68 ES 335-12 with the narrow nut, and it plays just fine, and has pre T-top pickups. Great sounding.

Post-1968 is into real Norlin time, and construction details such as the neck tenon deteriorated significantly. I would not buy one, myself.

By the way, these guitars are only narrower at the nut. The trap tailpiece has the same string spacing as a stop-tail on the wider-nut guitars, to the best of my knowledge. By the time you get to the 12th fret, the string spacing is only 1/16" narrower than the same position on the 1 11/16" nut guitars. If you play up the neck a lot, there is very, very little difference.

#13 User is offline   delleo 

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:14 AM

The new Tokai models have a 1 10/16 neck. Very comfortable neck. They can be bought when they appear on ebay for around $1,200. Well built. Change the eletronics to upgrade U.S. components and it bumps them up to Gibson quality. They do not use Nitrocellulose finishes, but the poly used is not very thick.
"I am starting to learn guitar again now, which makes me very happy." --Peter Green, 1997

#14 User is offline   TinyBabyBrandon 

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:10 PM

View Postj45nick, on 15 April 2012 - 09:43 AM, said:

You should keep your eye open for a 1965-1968 ES 335. Lefty's are rare, but they do exist. You should NOT pay more than about $3500 for an ES 335 of this vintage. One of my 335's is a '68 ES 335-12 with the narrow nut, and it plays just fine, and has pre T-top pickups. Great sounding.

Post-1968 is into real Norlin time, and construction details such as the neck tenon deteriorated significantly. I would not buy one, myself.

By the way, these guitars are only narrower at the nut. The trap tailpiece has the same string spacing as a stop-tail on the wider-nut guitars, to the best of my knowledge. By the time you get to the 12th fret, the string spacing is only 1/16" narrower than the same position on the 1 11/16" nut guitars. If you play up the neck a lot, there is very, very little difference.


Agreed, 100%. $3500 should do the job on this. If you're set on a lefty, it might get a little more expensive, but believe me, don't think that the guys on ebay's asking prices are reflective of the market value. check out in the advanced sear the completed listings and this will give you a better idea of price. I would also get in contact with Charlie from es-335.org or the es-335 blog. He is a dealer and might be able to track you one down at a very reasonable price. It never hurts to shoot him an email.

#15 User is offline   Al Watsky 

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 05:01 PM

I think the LC model 335 is close to the mid to late 60's spec.
A lefty would be custom custom order I bet.
Good luck.
I know some other thumb over players who are fans of that neck.

#16 User is offline   JO'C 

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 07:10 AM

View PostAl Watsky, on 23 April 2012 - 05:01 PM, said:

I think the LC model 335 is close to the mid to late 60's spec.
A lefty would be custom custom order I bet.
Good luck.
I know some other thumb over players who are fans of that neck.


I have a 2008 Larry Carlton. Measured the nut and it's 1 5/8". I also have small hands and short fingers and the Larry Carlton 335 plays the fastest of my 11 Gibson's. It is fine for thumb over's also.

#17 User is offline   cigblues 

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Posted 30 August 2012 - 09:39 AM

The L-6 solid body has a 9/16 nut. And they are cheap on the used market. I bought one from elderly instruments and sent it back because I wanted a wider nut. These never caught on, but they are great guitars. Look at Wikipedia. And check out who made the pups.

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