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Dallon426

J-45 nut width history?

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Good Q - I'll give it go though some may have more accurate data on the topic.

The 45 originally had fat or rather fat necks with circa 1-11/16 width.

Some narrowed in during the late half of the 50s, but around 1960 things were all out to 11/16 again.

Like the squares - H-bird, CW, SJ, Dove - they shrinked back to 5/8 or 9/16 as 1965 unfolded and stayed there a couple of years.

A few however returned to 11/16 in 1968, but as you might know the model itself changed in 69, goin' square and bulkier inside.

What ! , , , the classic J-45 was now gone and the new versions - some called de Luxe - maintained the 11/16 and then almost vanished as the decade came to an end.

Not until the big rescuing-the-proud-acoustic-Gibson-fleet-mission in the mid-80s,

Bozeman Montana re-invented the fine old slope and in that maneuver introduced the 1-3/4 nut-width.

A very wise move that later would show the way for other brands and become some kind of 'modern standard'

 

Look forward to hear others chime in. Details might be missing in the story-line above, but in rough it's there.

 

Dallon426 - what's your situation ?

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Good Q - I'll give it go though some may have more accurate data on the topic.

The 45 originally had fat or rather fat necks with circa 1-11/16 width.

Some narrowed in during the late half of the 50s, but around 1960 things were all out to 11/16 again.

Like the squares - H-bird, CW, SJ, Dove - they shrinked back to 5/8 or 9/16 as 1965 unfolded and stayed there a couple of years.

A few however returned to 11/16 in 1968, but as you might know the model itself changed in 69, goin' square and bulkier inside.

What ! , , , the classic J-45 was now gone and the new versions - some called de Luxe - maintained the 11/16 and then almost vanished as the decade came to an end.

Not until the big rescuing-the-proud-acoustic-Gibson-fleet-mission in the mid-80s,

Bozeman Montana re-invented the fine old slope and in that maneuver introduced the 1-3/4 nut-width.

A very wise move that later would show the way for other brands and become some kind of 'modern standard'

 

Look forward to hear others chime in. Details might be missing in the story-line above, but in rough it's there.

 

Dallon426 - what's your situation ?

 

I'm not to sure about that timeline. As far as I can tell, banner era J-45's (1942-1945) started out with a nut width between 1 3/4" down to just over or about 1 11/16" at the end of the period. By 1946, most seem to have been at 1 11/16" or very slightly over. Between 1947 and early 1965, 1 11/16" was the standard, although the neck sectional shape changed pretty radically from a full rounded C in 1947, getting slightly thinner through the mid/late 1950's. By 1960 the necks were thin in cross section, although most retained the 1 11/16" nut width. Every now and then, you see one from 1963 or so with a slightly narrower nut at about 1 5/8". Sometime in 1965, the nut width was shaved to 1 9/16, and at the same time, the headstock angle relative to the fretboard was flattened from the early standard 17 degrees down to 14 degrees, perhaps to address the added risk of headstock breakage with the narrow, thin neck.

 

As far as I can tell, between sometime in 1965 and 1968 (the last year of the original round-shouldered J-45), the J-45 nut width stayed at 1 9/16", even though it may have been different on square shoulder models at this time. Em7 may have seen some wider ones from this period, but I haven't.

 

I take a small stainless steel metric/English rule with me to guitar shows all the time, and record nut widths in a little notebook. Sellers and dealers think I'm nuts.

 

I know nothing about the nut width of the square-shoulder J-45 (1969-1983 or so), which shared most of the primary characteristics with the numerous other Gibson square dreads of the Norlin era. Em7 knows those models well. Likewise, the re-introduced round-shoulder Nashville-built J-45's (1984) prior to the development of the Bozeman, Montana Gibson Acoustic division are unknown quantities to me. I've never even seen one of those Nashville-built J-45's in the flesh.

 

Others here will know the history of Ren-era (post 1990) J-45 nut widths better than I. That modern neck must have been Ren's idea, and it's a good one. I don't know he settled on it, but the nut width of just under 1.75" is close to ideal for a lot of people.

 

For me, the two late 40's to early 50's Gibson acoustics I've owned have (or had) just about the ideal nut width and neck shape for me. Interestingly, my Nashville-built Custom, Art, and Historic Shop '59 ES 335 Historic has virtually (as far as I can tell) that same nut width and almost that same neck section up as far as the 12th fret.

 

Your experience may vary.

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The original J-45s, the Banners, all had 1 3/4 in. wide nuts. So did the J-45s immediately post-Banner/post-WWII. My knowledge of Gibson ends there. :) But, relatively shortly thereafter, Gibson narrowed the J-45 (and related "J" guitars) to a 1 11/16 nut width.

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There entered some qualified supply. Something to work with, Dallon426.

 

Far from an expert here, but I'll put a few more beads on the string.

 

My now gone all original 1950 had a heavy neck, but what seemed to be a slightly wider than 11/16 width. (A rough buggar)

The much mellower 1953er w. the old logo on the head-stock is 11/16 for sure - however that one could have been modified looong ago, still not certain.

The 1959er here features an original 5/8 nut.

The dark cherry/purple-burst square 1969'er I met some 8 years ago (uakk, time flies) had 11/16 like my 1968 SJ.

The late 70's square J-45 and J-50 I had both came with 11/16 and very slim necks.

These actually only had the names in common w. their ancestors. (strrrrange times)

 

Never played more than 1 1968 slope J-50 and though most of these are narrow, I believe it had 11/16 width (else the interest wouldn't have lasted).

A thing like this oldie (including the d-belly bridge) - and btw. not a bad guitar at all. https://www.creamcit...natural-finish/

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The original J-45s, the Banners, all had 1 3/4 in. wide nuts. So did the J-45s immediately post-Banner/post-WWII. My knowledge of Gibson ends there. :) But, relatively shortly thereafter, Gibson narrowed the J-45 (and related "J" guitars) to a 1 11/16 nut width.

 

Do you by coincidence know if the Pre-war Mart. D-28s were wide as well ?

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Do you by coincidence know if the Pre-war Mart. D-28s were wide as well ?

Martin changed from 1 3/4 to 1 11/16 in late 1939. Those "wide neck" vintage Martins are in great demand.

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Martin changed from 1 3/4 to 1 11/16 in late 1939. Those "wide neck" vintage Martins are in great demand.

Thx - so dare we conclude that most brands between the wars had the attractive (plus/minus) 3/4 and that Martin was the first to leave it.

And that Gibson won their round by re-inventing wide width in the mid-80s, , , followed by Nazareth approx 30 years later.

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Thx - so dare we conclude that most brands between the wars had the attractive (plus/minus) 3/4 and that Martin was the first to leave it.

And that Gibson won their round by re-inventing wide width in the mid-80s, , , followed by Nazareth approx 30 years later.

 

Generalities are probably risky. What we see from our discussions here is that the "rules" about when Gibson (or Martin, for that matter) changed from one characteristic to another almost always seem to have exceptions. Until necks became CNC carved, or at least until relatively sophisticated neck-carving machinery was introduced, you might reasonably expect there to be small variations, and we are pretty much (in most cases) talking about small variances.

 

Note that most of the new Martins such as the D-28 standard and 000-28 now have 1 3/4" nut widths.

 

I hate to say but, but at least in the US, people are a lot larger than they used to be. Maybe the wider nut is a reflection of the need to have more room on the fretboard for people.

Edited by j45nick

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No.... There are various reasons as to why Martin switched to 1 11/16ths after 1939.

The one that stands out the most is banjo players were starting to play guitar and they felt more comfortable with a smaller nut width. That's one theory. There are several more. But I've never heard the smaller people theory. Never.

The wider nut is more desirable now because there are more people playing fingerstyle and more and more people were ordering 1 3/4 nuts via custom shop. Martin took note of what people were discussing and also decided to go back to its traditional roots.

Edited by Dallon426

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No.... There are various reasons as to why Martin switched to 1 11/16ths after 1939.

The one that stands out the most is banjo players were starting to play guitar and they felt more comfortable with a smaller nut width. That's one theory. There are several more. But I've never heard the smaller people theory. Never.

The wider nut is more desirable now because there are more people playing fingerstyle and more and more people were ordering 1 3/4 nuts via custom shop. Martin took note of what people were discussing and also decided to go back to its traditional roots.

 

 

You've got it backwards. I was talking about Martin's switch up from 1 11/16" to 1 3/4" just recently.

 

I'll put if more bluntly and less politely. More Americans--and residents of other developed countries, as well-- are fat today than ever before. Fat people tend to have fatter fingers than skinny people. If you've got fat fingers, a 1 3/4" nut is easier to play than a 1 11/16" nut, at least for some folks.

 

Not saying that's why Martin did it after almost 80 years of having the narrower nut (1 11/16") as the standard. It's just a theory, like any other speculation in the absence of verification from Martin as to why the change was made.

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Generalities are probably risky. What we see from our discussions here is that the "rules" about when Gibson (or Martin, for that matter) changed from one characteristic to another almost always seem to have exceptions. Until necks became CNC carved, or at least until relatively sophisticated neck-carving machinery was introduced, you might reasonably expect there to be small variations, and we are pretty much (in most cases) talking about small variances.

 

Note that most of the new Martins such as the D-28 standard and 000-28 now have 1 3/4" nut widths.

 

I hate to say but, but at least in the US, people are a lot larger than they used to be. Maybe the wider nut is a reflection of the need to have more room on the fretboard for people.

Yes, but there are overall-patterns and I guess they are what we try to map.

The modern (neck)-machinery arrived at Kalamazoo around 1965 (if I'm not all off). Same year as the width shrinked to 5/8 and 9/16.

They must have been tempted to use the opportunity to copy the increasingly popular electric guitars of the era.

 

Regarding the reason for widening, I believe Gibson just took the chance and re-introduced the broader width. It is after all easier for most people to handle.

And as it caught on they never looked back (apart from the fact that actually was 'xactly what they did).

And yes, the Martins eventually followed (as mentioned in post #9) - a bit peculiar it took them so long to return. (didn't the Clapton sig. 000-28 start earlier)

Perhaps some sort of conservative pride played a role there - also regarding the audience.

 

One thing I don't understood never is mentioned in the general nut-width debate is the gender-theme.

Tall vs not tall, fat vs not fat may be a fact, , , but not at all compared to difference between male'n'female hands.

Then again the ladies never complained about their nylon-string guitars, , , , or did they. .

Edited by E-minor7

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And yes, the Martins eventually followed (as mentioned in post #9) - a bit peculiar it took them so long to return. (didn't the Clapton sig. 000-28 start earlier)

Perhaps some sort of conservative pride played a role there - also regarding the audience.

 

 

Remember that the "standard" Gibson nut width today is not 1 3/4". It is about 1/32" (.8mm) less than that, for what it's worth, and as long as we are picking at details.

 

The 000-28 EC (Clapton 000-28) neck is, believe, more or less copied from that of Clapton's old 000-45, which would probably date from the 1930's. It is 1 3/4" at the nut, like Martins from that period, and has a noticeable (but slightly softened) V-shape not too dissimilar to that of some 1930's Gibsons.

 

I have both an L-00 Legend and a 000-28 EC. The necks aren't exactly the same, but they are similar. Both have wider than standard string spacing at the bridge: 2 1/4" (57mm) for the Clapton, 2 3/8" (60+ mm) for the L-OO.

 

Someone, somewhere, has made decisions on these details and others, at both Gibson and Martin. Some decisions may be driven by consumer input, some by a desire for "historical accuracy" (whatever that is), others by who knows what?

 

I'm just looking for a comfortable neck that feels right, but I've learned to be adaptable.

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Remember that the "standard" Gibson nut width today is not 1 3/4". It is about 1/32" (.8mm) less than that, for what it's worth, and as long as we are picking at details.

You are right - and 1.750 is not 1.725. A bit hard to handle for an European centimeter-man. Must fix a few 3/4s in the posts above.

That confessed, I think the 'message' was clear and that we (to the degree it's possible) managed to draw the map.

 

Let's not forget how much absolutely minor changes matters in that finger-zone.

 

Btw. still don't know what made Mr. Threadhost ask. .

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Must fix a few 3/4s in the posts above.

At this point I can't get access to editing my first 4 posts in this thread. Not so regarding #13 and 15 !?

Edited by E-minor7

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J-45nick first of all this thread is about Gibson. Not Martin. 2nd, you're a clown. That is not why nut widths are wider. We're people fatter in Spain when the 2" nut was around? No. No they were not.

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Mr E- min7- there does seem to be some sort of time limit on the ability to edit, or delete posts. Not sure of how long that is, though.

 

 

Poor Nick- he didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.

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J-45nick first of all this thread is about Gibson. Not Martin. 2nd, you're a clown. That is not why nut widths are wider. We're people fatter in Spain when the 2" nut was around? No. No they were not.

 

 

 

Delicately put! I think between Mr. Nick and Mr. 7 they covered the nut width question pretty well. As for when Gibson "switched" I am not sure they have. On occasion they will roll out a version with the smaller nut width.( '60's reissues come to mind. I guess when necks are carved by machine it's easier to have a standard.

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Can't see the reason for pointing fingers at j45nick for that. I kind of felt like a (minor) clown when mistaking 1.725 for 3/4.

And you yourself could get the hat for trying to limit the thread to Gibsons.

The Martin parallel is interesting both historically and regarding the latest development in Nazareth. The general tendency is worth following.

 

Aren't you quite new here, , , and wasn't it you who sanded down the mint J-45.

Well, I saw your thread disappear without response in 24 hours and decided to give it a go. For the good Q, , , and the good vibe.

When Nick arrived we started elaborating back'n'forth - why the heck shoot that down. It brought your initiative to life.

 

Here's a clownburst headstock from behind. It's voluted and seems like an electric narrow width, , , but I could be wrong (again).

 

Year unknown ~ bRv9aB5.jpg

 

And Dallon, , , what's your idea in asking. .

 

Mr E- min7- there does seem to be some sort of time limit on the ability to edit, or delete posts. Not sure of how long that is, though.

Thx 62b - strange thing is that it's only the older posts.

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J-45nick first of all this thread is about Gibson. Not Martin. 2nd, you're a clown. That is not why nut widths are wider. We're people fatter in Spain when the 2" nut was around? No. No they were not.

 

 

Welcome to the forum. I hope you've enjoyed your short time here. We look forward to your continued, valuable contributions to civilized dialogue.

Edited by j45nick

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Well, if anybody is still interested, I have owned a '59 (S-FON) J45 for over 30 yrs with a 1 9/16 nut...  Great guitar! Plays, looks (cherry sunburst), and sounds terrific 👍! Had some rough treatment before I got it, but it's good now! 😊

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