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johnnyvn

Looking for smaller neck profile on ES type hollow or semi

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Hello all,

 

I'm searching for a new guitar, and generally speaking, I prefer smaller neck profiles. Unless I'm missing some special area of Gibson's website, there is very little info on the neck profiles of the majority of their guitars. One would think, given the high prices for some of these products, that there would be ample info about them. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

 

OK. I'm searching for a sweet hollow or semi hollow. From everything I've read (don't have easy access to trying these things out), my front runners are:

 

ES-330 Memphis VOS

ES-335 Luther Dickinson

ES-390

 

To a lesser degree, I might have interest in an ES-339, primarily for its 30/60 neck.

 

You can see that I'm partial to P90's and yes, also a Bigsby.

 

So, can anyone shed light on the neck profiles of these guitars? I really wish Gibson would just make it easy and adopt some sort of standardized system of neck profiles. Of course, I also wish for Santa to be real. In either case, probably won't happen.

 

Thanks in advance for any info you may have...

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Hello all,

 

I'm searching for a new guitar, and generally speaking, I prefer smaller neck profiles. Unless I'm missing some special area of Gibson's website, there is very little info on the neck profiles of the majority of their guitars. One would think, given the high prices for some of these products, that there would be ample info about them. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

 

OK. I'm searching for a sweet hollow or semi hollow. From everything I've read (don't have easy access to trying these things out), my front runners are:

 

ES-330 Memphis VOS

ES-335 Luther Dickinson

ES-390

 

To a lesser degree, I might have interest in an ES-339, primarily for its 30/60 neck.

 

You can see that I'm partial to P90's and yes, also a Bigsby.

 

So, can anyone shed light on the neck profiles of these guitars? I really wish Gibson would just make it easy and adopt some sort of standardized system of neck profiles. Of course, I also wish for Santa to be real. In either case, probably won't happen.

 

Thanks in advance for any info you may have...

 

I am also baffled about Gibsons lack of info regarding their products. Their business strategy seems really weird. But take a look at wildwoods webpage. The ES 390 is described as having a small 60's neck.

http://www.wildwoodguitars.com/electrics/gibson_custom_shop/hollowbody.htm

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Gibson relies on its' dealers to provide a customer with some of that information. Neck profiles are somewhat determined by what the dealer orders. If a dealer wants his 330 with a 60 profile, that is what he orders. Others may order a larger baseball bat profile. Gibson does have some rough standards, about 5 or 6 profiles that a dealer can order. Most models, given the cost, can be ordered by a dealer with a number of choices for the neck size or profile. A dealer may have 4 330's with 4 different neck profiles. Gibson wants you to contact your favorite dealer for more information and to try the model you are looking for. Wildwood is one of the few that knows what profile is what and they generally post the info. Each neck in the Custom Shop is hand rolled (shaped) and even the same "profile" can feel different in your hands.

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I am also baffled about Gibsons lack of info regarding their products. Their business strategy seems really weird. But take a look at wildwoods webpage. The ES 390 is described as having a small 60's neck.

http://www.wildwoodguitars.com/electrics/gibson_custom_shop/hollowbody.htm

 

Kasper, thanks so much for that link. I've never been to their site.

 

Interestingly, even their site shows how difficult it is to make comparisons...yes, the 390 listing shows "Neck Shape" to be "Small 60's shape", while the ES-330 doesn't show "Neck Shape", but rather "Neck Dimensions" and then ".920 1st - 1.030 12th". Awfully hard to compare "Small 60's shape" to ".920 1st - 1.030 12th".

 

Seriously, in a day when iPhones can shoot and edit movies, when Google can search the internet in less than one second, wouldn't you think Gibson could better identify the specs of guitars for which they are asking $2.5k-$4k"? It's almost embarrassing.

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Gibson relies on its' dealers to provide a customer with some of that information. Neck profiles are somewhat determined by what the dealer orders. If a dealer wants his 330 with a 60 profile, that is what he orders. Others may order a larger baseball bat profile. Gibson does have some rough standards, about 5 or 6 profiles that a dealer can order. Most models, given the cost, can be ordered by a dealer with a number of choices for the neck size or profile. A dealer may have 4 330's with 4 different neck profiles. Gibson wants you to contact your favorite dealer for more information and to try the model you are looking for. Wildwood is one of the few that knows what profile is what and they generally post the info. Each neck in the Custom Shop is hand rolled (shaped) and even the same "profile" can feel different in your hands.

 

That's all very interesting info, CR9, so thanks for that. Many of the things you are saying, such as a dealer being able to order various profiles, or his having 4 300's with possibly different neck profiles, never dawned on me. Hmmm. I guess the real way to buy is to find an actual guitar in a store, at a Guitar Show, etc., that might be what I want and then buying it right then and there.

 

Really appreciate your comments.

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Seriously, in a day when iPhones can shoot and edit movies, when Google can search the internet in less than one second, wouldn't you think Gibson could better identify the specs of guitars for which they are asking $2.5k-$4k"?

 

My gut feeling is that your average buyer selects a guitar in the store that feels sweet. They don't know exactly everything that contributes to that sweetness. They just know they want that specific guitar.

 

I know there are techno-guitarists who are really into the minutiea but they are in the minority. Or the techno dudes may be in the majority of guitarists willing to pay the premium Gibson asks for. In which case a total list of specs would be beneficial.

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CR9 provides an excellent summary above of what one must presume is Gibson's strategy (assuming there is one) in having their dealers provide service to guitarists in their (usually) exclusive geographic territories. The only caveat I'd add is that Gibson restricts the number of dealers able to provide detailed information and/or photos of specific guitars on their websites. As the original poster has noticed, that - in conjunction with a sometimes poor presentation of the specs or even the availability of models like the CS-356 on their own website - makes it very difficult for a player to educate themselves about what is available and what suits their preferences. It is almost impossible to compare models, never mind pricing. 10 years ago this was not the case, and many dealers with excellent marketing and internet instincts for what players wanted to know did very well providing that detailed information, and consequently did a fairly brisk business via the internet. There were at least six or eight US shops providing as much detail as Wildwood does now (if not those video demos), which made for many happy guitarists learning, dreaming and shopping.

 

Generally speaking (since all Gibson necks are hand-shaped/finished) the original poster is likely to be happiest with something spec'd as "60s Slim Taper". I believe that is the smallest profile. The next size up is "30/60" which means .30 inches thicker than Slim Taper.

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Another idea would be for Gibson (and the other high end major manu's) to supply their main dealers with actual pieces of wood illustrating the different shapes/sizes. For a $3500.00 guitar, this doesn't seem out of the question...does it?

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Hello all,

 

I'm searching for a new guitar, and generally speaking, I prefer smaller neck profiles. Unless I'm missing some special area of Gibson's website, there is very little info on the neck profiles of the majority of their guitars. One would think, given the high prices for some of these products, that there would be ample info about them. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

 

OK. I'm searching for a sweet hollow or semi hollow. From everything I've read (don't have easy access to trying these things out), my front runners are:

 

ES-330 Memphis VOS

ES-335 Luther Dickinson

ES-390

 

To a lesser degree, I might have interest in an ES-339, primarily for its 30/60 neck.

 

You can see that I'm partial to P90's and yes, also a Bigsby.

 

So, can anyone shed light on the neck profiles of these guitars? I really wish Gibson would just make it easy and adopt some sort of standardized system of neck profiles. Of course, I also wish for Santa to be real. In either case, probably won't happen.

 

Thanks in advance for any info you may have...

 

I agree with you that Gibson really should put up a spec's list for their guitars.

They can't rely on a retail sales staff to know the details when those details aren't effectively grouped and listed so even they can learn them.

Spec's on product shouldn't rely on the sales persons shoulders because not all sales persons are equally knowledgeable.

When they describe a neck as a "slim taper" then they should explain what that is.

Using a number is a more effective descriptor by which to compare than a marketing term is.

Are Gibson afraid to list a "spec" fearing that some will find that their guitar doesn't meet a certain spec?

Then just use "approximately" in front of it. :)

 

For generally better than average info I like Sweetwater.com as they tend to give some more useful info than other online retailers.

Their store is really sweet too, but there is only one so if you don't live near Fort Wayne, IN then all you can do is call and speak to one of their sales reps.

Their people are great and knowledgeable about all the products they sell.

 

If you've played some Gibsons, then you probably have an idea as to what you may like and not like. Use that info so the sales rep can guide you towards what you may like.

Also, most online retailers have a 30 day no hassle return policy. If you buy a recommended guitar you can try it out at home, and if you don't like it call them and use that experience to get you to what you will like.

As others here have recommended it would be best to get to a store and try out ES's with different Gibson neck profile, there really aren't that many.

 

Generally there is a standard on neck profile that Gibson has for the most part.

Gibson has the larger/thicker neck profile that is like their older "traditional" 1950's guitars. The other basic neck profile is the "60's slim taper".

That's the basic form as Gibson has used the thicker and thinner profiles concurrently over the years.

There are of course slight variations to that basic theme.

If you try at least the thicker and a thinner neck, then you'll fairly quickly know which you prefer.

 

One variation to the basic theme is something like the Rich Robinson '63 ES335. It has the "slim taper" neck, that Gibson started using in the 60's.

But, instead of the more standard Gibson 1.687"/1.68" nut width for the slim taper, this model has

a 1.711" nut width, which is slightly wider.

The '63 ES335 TD is made more with "historical" specs and it also has a 1.68" nut width with a neck profile labeled "Slim-Rounded C".

I'm sure this is sized more like a "slim taper", which is the neck profile I greatly prefer.

I can't play well on the thicker and rounder traditional necks cause I've got a med-large hand but short fingers.

That's why I LOVE LOVE my 2013 ES335 satin cherry with a slim taper neck. Great neck for me. It feels more like my '91 Fender Strat Plus Dlx in thickness

There's also the aspect of fret board "radius". A lower number radius is a rounder fret board and a larger number radius is a flatter fret board.

Radius is expressed in inches.

For example, my Strat has a radius of 9.5", which is rounder than my Schecter's 14" radius.

Les Pauls and ES's are typically 12". I've read that some older LP's were 10", and some say that LP Customs are 10", but I don't know that for certain.

The nut width on most LP's is 1-11/16", which is wider than most ES's.

For the average player a rounder profile/lower number radius makes chording easier and cleaner, and a flatter radius make for easier soloing and cleaner bends.

 

The 30/60 is slightly thicker than the '60 slim taper. It's basically the the shape of a 60's slim taper but .030" thicker.

"30/60", .030" thicker/60's slim taper. :)

Haven't played one though. I was considering an ES339, but I prefer the tone of the larger ES335.

 

Remember, this is all basic spec, and variations in actual necks are a reality, like some LP fret boards actually being flatter than their 12" radius "spec".

That's why it's best if you can actually play the guitars you're interested in to feel and hear which one speaks to you and feels right.

Next best option is to try some guitars out at a local store to get an idea of what you prefer and then order 1 or 2 and try them out at home.

Don't be afraid to use a retailers return policy, use it to your advantage. After all, it's not our fault they don't stock the vast majority of what they actually sell.

Even if you have to pay for return shipping it could be worth it to get the guitar you really want.

with Guitar Center you can return online ordered guitars and gear right to your local GC store, so no return shipping cost.

 

Happy shopping, especially as an Xmas present to yourself. :)

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Gibson is getting a lot better at it. If you look at the product descriptions for the 2015 Les Pauls, they are providing a lot of information on thickness of the neck at the nut, and how it changes moving up the neck, giving the width of slots in the bridge all kinds of stats.

 

Unfortunately they didn't do that for the previous years and for archtops and all ES models, but they are getting better.

 

So you are sort of stuck with the vague "50s profile" or "60s slim taper" descriptions. As mentioned above even two necks that have the same description will vary if they are custom shop and hand shaped.

 

When the feel is critical (and I agree it is)you just have to take a trip to a big box retailer like GC, Sam Ash etc and try a few out in person. You don't have to buy from them, but you could at least get an idea which type you prefer. Then order from an online retailer or Gibson directly what you want. You may not be near a retailer with a big selection, but when you are talking about investing a couple thousand dollars it's probably worth the time and effort to spend a day (or even an overnight) to check them out in person.

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