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1978 ES-335 Neck


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My guitar instructor has a gorgeous 1978 ES-335 with a coil splitter and trapeze tail piece. I have played it on several occasions, and I absolutely love the neck. The fingerboard feels narrow, and the neck feels deep, like a Telecaster, but the feel of a Gibson neck. I have a small palm, and longer fingers, and the neck just feels great in my hand. I asked my instructor if there was anything significant about the neck, and he said that during the 70s that Gibson created it's own version of a Fender style neck on this particular ES. I found a 1978 ES-335 for sale online that looks exactly like the one my instructor has, and the listing says the neck has a nut width of 1 11/16" and a "d shape neck profile."


Does anyone have any ideas on a modern Gibson, USA or Custom, that would have the same style neck or close to it? Or, more info on the neck in general? I would like to purchase a new guitar rather than shelling out $2500 or more for a sight unseen vintage guitar on the internet.


I have a 2012 Gibson Custom ES-335 Dot. I like the feel of the neck, but I love the narrower neck on the 1978 as compared to the 60s "slim taper" neck with the squared off frets.


Thanks for any help on this. It is greatly appreciated.

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I think 1978 may be the transition year when ES guitars went back to the original 1 11/16" nut width after about 13 years with a narrower 1 9/16" being the standard. You say your teacher's guitar has a "narrow" fretboard, so I assume his more likely is 1 9/16".


I don't think I can adequately answer your question, but I will just list the ES guitars I have owned and compare the necks as I recall them...in chronological order of manufacture, if that gives any food for thought. Keep in mind, I am almost 6' tall, with what I'd guess are average sized fingers - maybe slightly smaller than average for my height?:


1. 1967 ES-335 - 1 9/16" nut, with what I'd call a medium profile. The profile was absolute heaven to my hand, but the narrow nut wasn't the best for me. Playing chords, especially open position, was a bit crowded. Still, it was a gorgeous neck overall.


2. 1968 ES-345 - 1 9/16" nut, with a much deeper, rounder profile than the '67 had. I did not like this neck so much. It still had that "crowded" feeling for me on the board. The extra depth of the profile only made it less comfortable somehow. It was a narrow neck that was ironically felt too big, and was difficult to get my fingers around comfortably into correct position.


3. 1970-72 ES-355 - 1 9/16" nut, with a slimmer profile than either of the two guitars above. This was a very small neck all around. I didn't like this all that much; just too small for me. But, it was a bit more comfy than the '68.


4. 1979 ES-335 CRR - 1 11/16" nut (after the transition I talked about). I believe this was a very comfortable neck, with a slim or medium profile. It's been over 25 years since I played it, so I don't remember as well.


5. 2011 ES-345 - 1 11/16" nut, with a slim taper profile. I love this. It feels similar to the '67, just a little bit flatter, but still feels nice and smooth in my hand. The wider nut is perfect for me. I wouldn't want it any wider, though, this is enough. The slimness is fine. It still has some roundness to it, not flat like a stick of gum. The guitar sounds thick and woody too, so I don't feel like the neck's relative lack of mass affects tone in a negative way.

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