Is Gibson going back Fret 'Nibs' manufacturing technique for 2016 model year?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by Relic61, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    While looking through Gibson's current line of advertised guitars I couldn't help notice that the 2016 Firebird T seemed like a great deal. And at the sale price of $1099.oo it is even more affordable than most used Firebirds out there for resale right now. (Non Faded Models excluded of course) They certainly are an exceptionally beautiful guitar.

    2016 Firebird \'T\'.png

    So, being a Firebird is one of the only models I don't have & someday want to have, I had to check these babies out a bit closer. Upon doing so I noted several things of interest. First & foremost was finding out that the once eliminated fret 'Nibs' seemingly & surprisingly are back on this 2016 model T Firebird!!!

    2016 Firebird T fret view.png 2016 Firebird T fret view II.png

    Well, although it is really hard to define what is going on with the Firebird pics, I do not see metal fret ends being finished like the 2014-15 models that clipped the tang & allowed the actual metal fret end to protrude over the binding (aka: No Nibs). So, onward I went to the 2016 SG Standard T for a different look, comparison & added perspective..

    2016 SG Standard T Neck & Binding Bass angle view.png
    Oh it's getting clearer now. How'bout another angle??

    2016 SG Standard T Neck & Binding.png

    Yep, dems is Nibs boys!

    I couldn't believe my eyes! Gibson had just come around to identifying the playing issue that Nibs proposed to players & had officially eliminated Nibs in 2014 with much tooting of their elitist horns & proclamation of their improved fret finishing technique.

    So WTF happened & WTF is going on here? Does this ring true with the rest of the 2016 models?? I had to find out!

    As some already know, I've had a personal issue & complaint with the 'Nib' fret ends rendering some otherwise wonderful & expensive Gibson guitars undesirable & frustrating because my playing style often incorporates high E string pull-offs & a wide finger vibrato that rolls the E string over the joint where metal fret meets plastic nib which both creates an audible sound, a noticeable notched clicking feel &, because plastic wears away faster than metal, an ever widening gap between the fret end & plastic Nib that only makes these complaints worse over time! And now here these Nibs show up again & make a new Gibson 2016 Firebird T a now un-wanted, un-buyable product for me after my hopes & desires just soared with excitement?? AAAARRrrrr Crash!!! Well fv$k me dead man!

    OK, Ok. I'm composed.(sorta) Enough singin da blues over the Firebird. What's the deal with the rest of the 2016 guitars with binding? Here's what I found out so far.

    The 2016 models with the 'T' designation, which by the way stands for 'Traditional', are seemingly the only official models being identified as 2016 models that have binding & consequently the 'Nibs" in question. These 2016 T models (non faded / satin models with binding) come in the following models, (listed by price low to high).

    2016 Firebird T,
    2016 SG Special T,
    2016 SG Standard T,
    2016 SG Standard with P90 T,
    2016 Flying V Pro T,
    2016 Les Paul Traditional premium finish T,
    2016 Les Paul Standard T.

    I checked every 2016 Gibson that had binding & they were all the same when it came to the use of wide binding & plastic Nibs that met the fret end & continued the fret plane to its end.

    Here are some up close 'n personal binding shots of a couple of these 2016 T models.

    2016 SG Standard with P90 T,

    2016 SG Standard wP-90\'s T Neck & Binding.png
    NIBS !!!

    How about something non SG like a 2016 Flyin V 'T' ?

    2016 Flying V T.png

    NIBS & more nibs!

    Lets just skip to the pricey 2016 Lesp Paul Traditional Premium finish T.

    2016 Les Paul Traditional Premium Finish T.png
    Holy $2300 for Nibs Batman!

    Just for visual reference, here is a 2015 Gibson factory standard fret finish.

    2015 Classic Les Paul neck fret ends & binding.png

    [Although the above pic is from a currently for sale leftover 2015 Les Paul Classic, the look & finish is an accurate representation of how frets with bound necks were being done on all the new 2014-2015 Gibson guitars at the time.]

    And so it went, disappointing discovery after disappointing discovery. The only real question left is whether this is Gibson falling back to the old fret end binding 'nib' technique for all 2016 model guitars or, if this a procedure they are going to use on the 'T' models only??

    I guess we are going to have to wait until a newer 2016 model with neck binding gets announced & we are offered either detailed enough pictures or written affirmation from Gibson concerning their assembly manufacture process with their bound neck electric guitars & their fretting manufacture process.

    There should be no doubt that I'm hoping Gibson stops all Nib manufacture as I simply see it from the perspective of a guitar player as just downright being inferior to having one consistent metal fret with its end being properly filed & finished in comparison to an unfinished metal fret trying to be joined with plastic that wears away creating an always widening gap between metal fret & plastic Nib.

    Bottom like, our guitars should not end up looking like this, the eventual result of a players guitar with Nibs!

    Gibson fret end nibs \'good shot\'.jpg

    Duh Gibson! Frikin Duh! Why is Gibson apparently going backwards & using an inferior fret finishing process?? Left over inventory? Thus create the 'T' models & get rid of it all? To expensive to use binding & finish fret ends properly at the same time? Or is Gibson really this clueless & out of touch with all the issues & concerns that serious guitar playing, Gibson loving / buying customers that are out there scratching their heads right now have with their using "Nibs" on their bound neck guitars?

    Sadly for me, when it comes down to Nibs I know I can't seriously consider buying a guitar with them & expect truly be happy, and that means, Gibson looses another very potential sale.

    So what it gonna be Gibson? Finished metal frets or plastic Nibs???
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  2. Dave_Death

    Dave_Death Well-Known Member

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    I think that the 'high performance' line will have a neck very similar to the 2015 model year, but with the harder ZF nut. So it should have the same fret style. Some people really like the 2015 necks except for the brass nut and I think Gibson are offering that style of neck with the titanium nut to cater for those players, so I would be surprised if they retooled the wider neck for nibs.

    On the other hand I think they have simply gone back to the old tooling for the Traditional series. Makes sense.
     
  3. Bullfrog

    Bullfrog Well-Known Member

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    I hear ya Relic! I don't care for nibs either. That's one of the things I liked about the fadeds, no nibs. Matter of fact none of my Gibsons have nibs. Don't care for neck binding either.

    I hate it that the new firebird has nibs. Cause I agree, that's a sweet price for a new one!

    Oh well, guess I'll have to make do with my juniors! It's tough but somebody's got to do it. :D
     
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  4. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Chili Has 2 Nibless Specials, 1 Nibbed Classic.............Classic is a Beautiful guitar, but has Nibs. For the price I paid including case, I can handle the Nibs until fret change time.

    I have no "beneficial to guitar players" answer why Gib went back to having Nibs.
     
  5. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    I hear ya BF. It's a tough life but sumbody gotsta do it man! I personally bought two newer guitars with Nibs, well newer in perspective to me being as old as I am & how long I've been playing. I didn't come up with 'Relic' without missing the irony and 61 is not only the birth-year of the SG Les Paul. The first one was an '04 SG Standard which actually turned me on to how annoying it was having fret nibs. I was actually rather ignorant to the whole thing prior to that guitar exposing those incurable playing issues. And still, I bought a second Nib'd guitar anyway when I picked up a double humbuckered Les Paul JR in Gloss TV Yellow finish for a real .. song. Why you ask? Because I loved the guitar & how it looks plus it complimented the Satin TV yellow single humbucker Les Paul Jr I already had. I think of them as Sisters. One is nicer looking that the other but the less fancy sister puts out more & is more fun to play with! Plus, her nibs dont get in the way of things, because she doesn't have any. Here's a pic of my TV Sisters.

    the Sisters \'11 LP JR SATIN 500T W-COIL SPLIT, \'12 LP JR GLOSS 2 factory stock HUMBUCKERS png.PNG
    I certainly hope they go back too Dave. And honestly, a nut like on the '14 SG Standard would be just fine with a whole bunch of people. I have a '14 SG Standard with a regular ol' nut & it works just fine too!

    2014 SG Standard.PNG
    There's me '14 Manhatten Midnight SG above & a copy of those finished fret ends below.
    2014 SG Standard fret close up 120th Anniversary inlay! crop.jpg
    Why the need to mess with that eh?

    Sometimes I really feel like Gibson is jerkin around & could greatly benefit from some solid product advice & insight, which you would think they have by this point. Yet time & time again we see them shoot themselves in the foot & cost themselves sales!

    My problem with the second part of your statement is "Why"??? Why go back to 'old tooling'? A flawed design is a flawed design. If striving to improve why go backwards? Is it left over inventory?? Assembly time issue they equal money? What?

    Later tonight when I have time I'm going to try to break down Gibson fret finishing & binding process evolution. Then it will be quite apparent what 'Traditional' really is.
     
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  6. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Also, has any other brand of guitars had nibs?
     
  7. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    I would guess there is no 'beneficial to guitar players' answer or reason coming from Gibson because,.. well because there is no 'beneficial' to guitar players answer.

    I can almost guarantee the real answer somehow boils down to 'cost'. At least in the small picture minds of Gibson decision makers. While in the big scheme of things it boils down to guitars not being sold & potential buyers ending up spending there money elsewhere. If your small minded reasoning is causing big picture loss of sales, it's time for a shake up & a wake up.

    But Chili man, I'm certainly glad you got a good deal on your 'Nibson'. LOL. See what I just did there Chill ?? Ha ha. Nibson! HA! Very much like me buying that Nibson LP Jr. Got too good a deal to let it bother me. The problem is I'll never play that guitar enough now because of those Nibs to ever warrant needing a re-fret job due to fret ware.

    Ya know, there is none that I know of, but, my interest in guitars sharply drops off after Gibson, Fender & PRS. But fer $#!Tz 'n giggles I looked up some Gretsch & Epiphone models to satiate our peaked curiousity!

    Below is an Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 list $369
    Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 PRO Electric Guitar $369.png
    Hey, no Nibs on a cheapo Epi!

    Lets jump up in price & look at the Epi 1275 Double neck.

    Epiphone Limited Edition G-1275 Double Neck Electr... $849.png

    No surprise, no Nibs! Look at how the lowly Epiphone gets the fret attention that allows a tapered roll off that protrudes into / over the binding & comes to a sculpted stop before ever reaching the end or edge of the fretboard! Ugh! It infuriates me that Gibson can not get this right & thinks their lazy half-a$$ed fret meets Nib procedure is 'good enough' for it's customer base! Even Epiphone is doing a better job in this department. Shame Nibson! For Shame!

    What about Gretsch?? They make cheap, middle of the road & pricey guitars. Surely one of them has to have Nibs right??

    Below, Gretsch Electromatic Pro Jet priced at $399.oo
    Gretsch G5435 Electromatic Pro Jet Electric Guitar $399.png

    Oh look! A $400 Gretsch wiyh no Nibs & tapered fret ends! Sure makes Nibson look like idiots don't it? Well maybe the really expensive Gretsch has Nibs. Nibson has Nibs & they are supposed to be the best right? Let's see...

    Below, Gretsch G6128TCG Duo Jet priced at $2499.oo
    Gretsch G6128TCG Duo Jet $2499.png

    Hell No! No Damn Nibs!

    No Chili! I don't know off hand any other guitar manufacturing companies that incorporate Nibs into their guitars! Holy $#1t!! I need a godamdrink! Fvkn-$#1t just fvk'n gets me after a while. Fvk'n godam-Nibson a$$ mvth'r fvkrz! Happy thought?? Where are you happy thought?? 'ello? 'ello? Don't leave me here like this... come back happy thought...come back.. where is it.. how does it go..ohhhhaah,.. hows it.. 'all things must change' ..no .. 'all things do change' .. no ah, 'this to shall pass' yes, yes 'aaaaand this too shall pass'. That's it. And this to shall pass. And this too shall pass... And this too shall.............................................
     
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  8. Dave_Death

    Dave_Death Well-Known Member

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    They have gone back to the old tooling because it is the cheapest and most sure-fire option. The 2011 model year sold well so they are basing their Traditional series on that. They are offering the 2015 style stuff (including the new fret/binding) for those who want something different. The 2014 series is a kind of half-way thing that doesn't fit clearly in one camp or the other. The HP line is a bit of a no-brainer, especially as they will no doubt have been hit with a huge number of warranty claims and had to make a big batch of titanium ZF nuts to replace the brass ones anyway

    In terms of motivations these are (1) profits & (2) profits.
     
  9. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Ok, well while trying to figure out what Dave was saying, I found the answer I was actually looking for when I posted this thread!

    In short the answer is NO! Gibson is not going to make ALL bound guitars with Nibs!!

    Sadly enough while perusing GC, MF & M123 no of them had any HP or High Performance models either listed or mentioned & it took me googling Gibson HP to find the answer I really wanted to hear.

    Thanks Dave! Do I still got issues with Nibs & resent Gibson making some otherwise desirable options for me undesirable?? You bet. But I'm gonna save that for another day.

    G'night gents.
     
  10. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    Neck binding good

    nibs not so good

    They were one of those Gibson traditions. Not necessarily a good one. My ES-175 had already been refretted without nibs before I bought it - good!
     
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  11. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    I've been playing Gibsons since 1968. Nibs on bound models. No nibs on unbound necks. Makes no never mind to me.

    When refretting, I never pay to have the nibs restored.

    Presently I have 2 Gibsons with Bound necks and Nibs, 1 bound without Nibs and 2 unbound necks.

    I go back and forth. I don't notice the difference.

    The 2016 Firebird T is an amazing value. A couple of years ago I bought a new Firebird for $1650. The new model is $550 less (although you don't get a hard case). If you want a Firebird, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. I never stress this kind of detail. It's like saying you wouldn't date Olivia Munn because you heard she has one crooked toe.

    P.
     
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  12. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Shouldn't nibs be an option? Why don't we hear the outrage we should over this obvious affront to guitarists? Because players critical enough to care are too busy playing instead of bitching. Guys like Barry and David and me have played so many different guitars that it's our nature to adapt to the beast in hand, instead of hammering the makers or the public with our POV. 99.5% of guitarists will never play at a level critical enough to make nibs matter, beyond the appreciation of a quaint affectation.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015
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  13. jtcnj

    jtcnj Well-Known Member

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    I dig B-stock!!
     
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  14. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    That mole ruined my night with Scarlett Johansson...:rofl:
     
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  15. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    Yours or hers? :naughty:
     
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  16. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    If the guitar works and feels good, things like nibs - even binding - are mere decoration. I grew up with most Fenders having unbound neck and Gibsons had binding and nibs - but that really does not matter in terms of playing.
     
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  17. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Well, the third or fourth time my high E string gets stuck between the ragged fret end and the cracked nib, I tend to be a little bit bitter about it, but until I do a refret, clear nail polish filler does OK. What I can't seem to get across to the "purists" is that it was cheaper to cover up the fret ends with nibs than to do a proper job.
     
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  18. ScottMarlowe

    ScottMarlowe Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. Nibs aren't a feature they're a bug.
     
  19. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    When every cheap a$$ guitar manufacturer can construct a decent bound neck with tapered metal fret ends & without the use of Nibs, it really is inexcusable for a company of the caliber of Gibson to resort to this bull$#!t, lamea$$ed, I don't give a fvk-here's your guitar approach & technique. Inexcusable, period!

    In the perfectly summized reply of our ScottyM,..

    Playing guitar IS my goddam church time man! Sliding a High E across back 'n forth over a Nib joint during a solo is like the baby making noise fussin 'n cryin' during Mass! If the baby is going to interfere it should be removed so others can enjoy & get everything out of their time spent in fvk'n church right? But others will always say, 'well golly gee, babies don't bother me a'tall '.

    I realize I'm 'one of those guys'. I feel the difference, I hear the difference & yes it bothers me to the point that I choose to play another guitar rather than one with Nibs. I know I'm not alone.

    I realize to Fender guys like Dave that binding seems like mere decoration but it also once served as giving the fretboard edge a smooth feeling to the touch, like a quality instrument. Again, that conversation could go in its own many directions but beyond 'decoration' there is playing feel & the sensation of smoothness being felt instead of fret ends & tang slices in the wood. Honestly, a properly finished guitar without binding doesn't bother me either. What bothers me is a plastic fvk'n Nib in place of a metal fret! You do use finger vibrato right Dave? I know this next question reflects a certain aggressive playing style but what about high E string pulloffs?? Although that technique may be seldom called for there's nothing worse than going down those roads of expression, feeling those damn Nibs & saying to yourself 'that sucked' 'I can't do that on this guitar'!

    In a world of possibilities, who wants to be held 'bound' by limitations & 'I can't's'


    For perspective here, keep in mind I'm the guy that cleans & polishes his frets with every string change! It's what I like under my fingers & I enjoy that smooth sliding sensation of string on fret. No string drag, grinding noises, fret divots, Nibs, nubs or gaps on my playing surface will do. I'm not uppity, its just what I really like man.

    And while I'm capable of 'playing around it' as Big B puts it, it doesn't change the fact that I detest Nibs enough (& rightly so through disappointing personal experiences) that I WILL NOT BUY ANOTHER NIB'd GUITTAR!!!

    And because I have striven to play at my best level possible that such things like plastic Nibs instead of metal frets bother me (man just saying that, it all seems so fvk'n shamefully wrong & inexcusable don't it eh?) there is now a whole bunch of otherwise beautiful Gibson guitars for 2016 that I know I would truly consider & potentially buy, but now instead, I am left with the feeling of being surprised in Gibsons step backwards & disappointed knowing they just won't meet my playing needs or rather, meet my rather small list of playing requirements that I need met to justify a New guitar purchase.

    That's the real bitch of it all. Gibsons concession to going back to Nibs is paramount to them saying they are a second rate guitar company & that Epiphone & Gretsch make a better guitar than Gibson is able to for much less.

    Customers like me would happily pay any difference in production cost for rounded metal fret ends on binding without the use of Nibs! & I have.

    2014 SG Standard fret close up 120th Anniversary inlay! crop.jpg

    Ah.. look at that! Rounded tapered fret end with no Nibs!!!

    Gibson is capable of making these guitars affordably enough. If that 2014 Standard didn't have that gimmicky E-tune it could have been offered for much less still!

    Point is here, Gibson simply should by now at this point in time be making highly playable guitars at all price points. To even offer a guitar with Nibs will only cost them in potential sales as well as cost them getting the respect & recognition they would otherwise get by appearing to have their proverbial $#!t together.

    C'mon Gibson! This ain't hard!

    And all you enablers... stop making excuses for Gibson making second rate instruments!

    It is only through voicing our dissatisfaction & our refusal to buy these instruments (& or supporting Gibsons shortcomings in manufacture & design), that needed change comes about and a better more playable guitar gets offered in lieu of this Nib'd up garbage !

    C'mon Nibson! You can make a better guitar than Epiphone!! Who's making these Nib decisions?? I'm callin you out you frikin moron! Fire yourself and let somebody capable of knowing what a highly playable guitar is call the manufacturing shots around here! You sir are an embarrassing disappointment to guitar players across the globe & need to remove yourself from making these types of misguided decisions. Maybe you need to clean some toilets before you can appreciate the responsibility you have here both for the Gibson company & to serious guitar playing money spending customers out there that are looking to Gibson to manufacture the guitar they want & need! You! Yes you! Step aside Moron! Here's your toilet brush, gey scrubbin. La a oozer!
     
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  20. dbb

    dbb Well-Known Member

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    If the nibs are cracked, then it no longer qualifies as a "working guitar".

    Remember, I'm no fan of nibs in and of themselves - just used to them on Gibsons.

    I like binding on the model guitars that I grew up with that had binding - Les Paul, 335, 175, etc. I had a Les Paul Jr and it had no binding. I like Fenders without binding because that's how the Fenders I like had, the Strat and Tele, were made. I never got used to the Jaguar or Jazzmaster, and they often had binding. So it's more about the tradition than nibs or no nibs, binding or no binding.
     

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