Todays "Binding Rolled Over Fret" is not yo Daddy's "NIB"!!!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Relic61, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    After checking out some 2018 guitars I, the official NIB Hater, was pleasantly surprised to see the SG Standard (non HP) had drastically changed the way they did the binding! Yes in deed, the huge plastic Nibs found just a couple years earlier on the 'T' (Traditional) models has been reduced in both height & width! Hip Hip! Best of both worlds Hooray!

    Just prior to NIBs getting the official boot in 2014 & yielding way to the new for Gibson fret over binding design, the frets on a mass produced SG Standard were a straight un-tapered piece of medium jumbo fret that came up flush to trhe binding. The binding was then cut away and shaped into a tapered fret profile. So, essentially instead of finishing off fret ends to a nice taper the binding was being cut & shaped to a tapered fret plain instead. That was yesterday's fret.

    Today's fret is described as...
    "modern enhancements include locking tuners for rock-solid pitch stability and binding that's rolled over the 22 medium frets on the solid rosewood fingerboard, for a playing experience that's smooth as silk."

    In short, the fret ends are now shaped & smoothly tapered & then met with binding that is claimed to go over the fret. Please note, I haven't dug, scraped or cut into one (yet) to confirm this claim. The result is a smaller, less significant NIB that is so low in profile so far out off the extreme end of a tapered fret that the string no longer has any meaningful contact or interference from the NIB ANYMORE!!

    I know this stuff is hard to make out in pictures but here is a shot of a 2018 SG Standard (Non-HP) fretboard with 'binding rolled over fret' design below.

    2018 SG Standard frets binding rolled over fret.jpg

    If you look at the Bass side you can get an idea of the reduced binding thickness.

    (color enhanced)
    2018 SG Standard frets binding colorized.jpg

    This newer technique reminds me of the Gibson binding & fretwork of the 70's. I must say the pic I had to use here makes the NIBs look bigger than how they actually appeared in person yesterday.

    Here's a pic of my '78 LP below. You can see thin binding & small NIBs (where left) at the end of a tapered fret.

    78 Les Paul Deluxe fret close crop 2.jpg

    Now in contrast, here's a shot of my 2004 SG Standard..

    2004 SG Standard fret close crop 1 (3).jpg

    Those frets were completely un-tapered & buttressed up against high & wide binding with a fat 'n high tapered NIB.

    And once more, a 2018 SG Standard below..
    2018 SG Standard frets binding (2).jpg

    So, way to go Gibson! While today's NIBs aren't quite as small, unnoticeable & insignificant as the NIBs of the 60's & 70's, they are functionally unnoticeable while engaged in playing the guitar! And that to me personally.. PLAYABILITY IS ALL THAT EVER REALLY SHOULD MATTER!
    But that's just me.

    So today, I celebrate some promising Gibson guitars being made. Good show Gibson. Bloody good show! Here Here...

    [​IMG]
     

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  2. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    Nice presentation. Hopefully now, you'll stop picketing your local Guitar Center store with your "GIBSON NIBS SUCKS" sign... :thumb:
     
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  3. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Yea yea yea.. if nothing else I'm a consistently straight shooter that calls things for what they are to me in my eyes. I think the world is lacking a whole lot of that today in general. and that's all I dare say about that!
     
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  4. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the detailed information and pictures! Learned something again today :)

    I never played a guitar with nibs so excuse my ignorance. What exactly is your gripe with them? Do they get in the way when bending the e-strings?
     
  5. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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  6. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

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    :D That was actually my first thought when reading the title.
     
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  7. JazzyJeff

    JazzyJeff Member

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    I saw their promotion today on that. Almost as if they had an epiphone and came up with this new and improved idea. It described how much more intensive it was to go over the fret binding. But, and keep in mind, i have been a Gibson fan since my first in 1979, all the cheap makers have always done it this new way. :p

    I am with Relic61. those nibs come with a price. one glue joint fail and stick your string in there. broke nib, broke string or just an annoyance. but they did set themselves apart with them and not many were up to the challenge of re binding their counterfeits to get it. But hey, we still got the brass nut on the truss rod.
     
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  8. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    That was a great guess Bub 'cause that is pretty much what happens to players that like to play with finger vibrato or do High E string pull-offs.

    At first everything will be fine but, because plastic is obviously softer than metal it wears away quicker, especially so if you are one of 'those' players mentioned above. Soon enough a noticeable gap can appear between the plastic 'NIB' & the metal fret & one listens they can actually hear the string cross over this gap in what can be described as sounding like a lighter picking type attack on the note being held down. Even acoustically rolling the string back 'n forth over the gap without plucking or playing the string will illicit a sort of 'ting' 'ting' 'ting' sound.

    Now, As if that alone isn't unacceptable enough for some players, eventually the Gap will widen to the point of being able to grab & hold the string! And their taint no professional / semi-professional musician or wannabee gonna be want'n dat bull$#it to be hap'nin in front a folks they play'n fer!

    Here's a pic of a string grabbing NIB gap.
    Gibson fret end nibs 'good shot'.jpg

    Notice the design flaw in the pic above? A straight untapered metal fret flush up against a high thick 'n wideplastic NIB which was both being shaped & tapered like a metal fret end should be & being expected to do the job of a tapered metal fret end. Tsk Tsk Gibson. Was plastic binding & NIB work cheaper than Rosewood & metal frets the reason for this?? The world may never truthfully know. One can only guess.

    I believe this NIB issue got to be real prominent around '91 and lasted to about 2013 or so. It then disappeared altogether for a while in 2014 giving way completely to either No Binding with tapered fret or tapered fret OVER binding.

    Soon enough, we had the option of NIB's come back essentially just like they were when getting a 'T' (traditional) model Gibson.

    And Now, it appears in the last year or so these 'T's or Non-HP's with binding are coming with what Gibson is calling 'Binding Rolled Over Frets' (a tapered metal fret with a thinner binding with smaller, lower height NIB that is shaped & tapered but way off the playable fret plain).

    And now for me at least, this NIB issue is happily a non factor when I play those guitars.
     
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  9. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    So Jeff, where was this 'promotion' you saw? Was it online & can you post a link??

    I was looking at this "binding rolled over fret" thing real close & was surprised to find it really does look like something different. I didn't have the heart or balls to dig into some music stores display guitar to see if there was actually metal fret under that little (insignificantly low & small) 'rolled over' binding. But I did roll the string off the frets many time to see how & when it would make contact with any plastic NIB work.

    Being the metal fret ends were nicely worked & tapered (beauty of a job by the way) & the NIB was so low & at the extreme end of that taper, by the time the string did touch any plastic / binding / NIB it was already in that nowhere's land dead zone where the string would be fretting out on other frets. Essentially making the rolled over NIB's of no negative consequence to anyone's playing style or technique.

    I mean shee-it, simply brilliant & well done Gibson.
     
  10. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again for the detailed explanation...
    ...and you opinioin :)
     
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  11. mtsv

    mtsv Member

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    Being a long time Strat player, I've always found that nib thing unnecessary. I mean it is totally waste of labor, money, etc. Yeah I have them on my Les Paul and SG, but if I have any of my nibbed guitar refretted in the future, I will also have them removed.
     
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  12. JazzyJeff

    JazzyJeff Member

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  13. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    Isn't this type of fret-installing technique called: "blind tangs"?

    Here's a good example:

    jtw-040.jpg.bb9b5646f6f51af76f9f3b6b5e4f22ec.jpg
     
  14. Silvertone

    Silvertone Active Member

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    Yes blind fretting. I also do this with binding but can run the slots straight through then apply binding and trim the tang. That way the fret ends sit on top of the binding, which effectively widens the neck, without really widening the neck. Also you do not get fret sprout in dry times of the year when the wood shrinks. And as noted there is no chance of hooking the string in the gap between binding and fret.

    IMO the nibs actually saved time because dressing the fret ends would take longer than creating the nibs. It wasn't done because it was less cost effective, that is for sure.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  15. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    I hear that Bub.

    Before I knew anything about NIBs I bought an '04 Standard in used like new condition. I spent a lot of time, effort & even extra cash making this as playable, useful & enjoyable a guitar as I could but... Oh aint there always a but to these stories?? The damn NIBs turned into this...

    2004 SG Standard upper fret NIB separation.JPG

    Although they weren't wide enough to grab or bind my high E string & hold onto it, the string transitioning over the joint / gap from metal to plastic made enough of a noise & interfered with an otherwise smooth feeling playing experience to aggravate & frustrate me to the point of just not wanting to play it in lieu of one of the other better playing guitars I have in the arsenal.

    While the low E side gap visually is easier to see & looks way worse than the high E side it made little noticeable difference in playability or sound due to seldom (if ever) pulling the low E string across that NIB joint while playing.
     

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  16. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    Ya, thanks Jeff. I've seen that one too. Yet it still leaves me wanting to see & read about the newer technique called 'Binding Rolled Over Frets'. The 2017 - '18 guitars with this option are different from both the 'fret over binding' & 'Traditional' technique described on that Gibson link.

    In fact, I can find little to no professional information on this 'binding rolled over fret' technique beyond the propaganda writings found in accompanying sales material descriptions.

    How TF do you 'Roll' binding over a fret anyway?
     
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  17. Herbie74w

    Herbie74w Active Member

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    I know I'm an old timer but nibs have been around since the fifties. I have had them on too many guitars to count without any issues. Think about how many great rock songs and leads were played on guitars with nibs. Great info. I love your passion.
     
  18. SG standard

    SG standard Well-Known Member

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    If you dig around on this forum you'll find a lot on this subject. It seems the 'traditional' approach was to use quite a thin binding - the area of fret that was removed for the nib was small, and an area that would otherwise be rounded and of little use when playing. Sometime (IIRC, around 2000?), Gibson started using thicker binding, and had to cut away a tiny amount of usable fret to make room for the binding. Some folks aren't bothered by this, others find the loss of some usable fret for a cosmetic 'Gibson feature' to be truly annoying. (FWIW, I've heard that Custom Shop guitars have always used the thinner binding).

    Sure lots of great music was made with traditional nibs, and no doubt some great music has been made with 'modern' nibs too. But only this larger nib is likely to drive some players nuts. :)
     
  19. Herbie74w

    Herbie74w Active Member

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    Bindings like everthing that Gibson did appears to vary through the years. Certainly size matters ( there's a joke in there somewhere) however I think it is more about playing style my son tends to bend the high strings down as opposed to up as I do or folks use other tunings, etc. At the end of the day mod the guitar or buy a guitar that fits your needs, certain our heros did.
     
  20. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I've never played a guitar that had nibs. I never even heard of them till I started hanging
    out on this forum. I own 11 guitars and basses, and none of them has nibs. So i read
    posts like this with a question mark in a balloon over my head.

    I guess ya had to be there. *grins
    My old '66 Fender bass has frets that meet the binding in a smooth and perfect joint...
    This is how it's done, guys: I've played this for decades, with no problems at all.
    Sluggo neck close@100.jpg
    Neither binding or fret goes over the other. My ex-Squier bass has no binding, no nibs, no problem.
    My Warmoth bass has no frets, no problem. *grins
    05d Warmoth Fretless Neck 3.jpg

    My Fender Telecaster has no binding, no nibs, no problem. One piece maple neck.
    Who needs all this nonsense?
    2 Headstock & neck@100.jpg

    My two Gibson SGs have no binding, no nibs, no problem. Here's how Gibson by-passes
    this issue:
    April Neck 2015@100.jpg
    I prefer the unbound neck, personally. Frets are well finished right from the factory, no trouble at all. BUT...

    Here's the Epiphone take on this issue: My 2014 Epi ES-339... which I am very fond of
    and which has lovely binding with frets over top of it in a smooth and perfect joint... I like this:
    ES-339 neck@100.jpg
    Bravo Epiphone...

    My new 2018 Gibson J-45 has frets that meet the binding in a smooth and perfect joint
    made in Montana by the cowpokes who work for Gibson there... Walnut fretboard,
    no nibs, no problem. Neither goes over the other. Very playable, very elegant.
    This is the way it's done in 2018 I guess. Bravo, Gibson.
    10128031-detail1-xlarge.jpg
    Now that I know about the gawd-cursed nibs, I simply would never buy a guitar that was
    hung with them. Are you listening, Gibson?
     
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