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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    What's interesting to see is Gibsons guitars of the 50's, 60's, 70's & at least part of the 80's had no nibs on their bound instruments!

    I believe that reflects the pride & sway the factory luthier had over the design back then. It was just the way it was done. I'm guessing the whole nib thing came around as a short cut or factory time saver technique.

    For a visual point of historical reference & what I call 'Traditional' Gibson fretwork, let's look at some old bound Gibson fretboards.

    (Below) pics of a 61 SG Special with what looks like the original frets still intact. Not much binding meeting the frets at all here in these pics.

    61 SG Fretboard bass side.PNG 61 SG frets board.PNG


    63 SG tapered frets.PNG
    Above is a 63 SG looking at the bass side frets. The frets are low, wide, tapered at the ends & met with a very low profile binding Nib. The binding is also very thin in comparison to todays binding, and the tiny Nib does not attempt to replace actual metal fret realestate. The fret is tapered & finished by the time it meets any binding. This low fast n wide fretless wonder fret & binding technique is truly 'Traditional' & it proceeded any Nib technique that these wide & high Nibs that meet an un-tapered fret end.

    This fret profile was actually the 'Tradition' & Standard for a long time, right on through the 60's & into the 70's.

    Below, the typical 68 to 70 SG fret look.
    67-70 SG frets.PNG

    When these larger nibs did first appear the process & appearance was different. The nibs were smaller in height & width & the fret ends were actually tapered before any nibs made contact! In fact, these kinds of nibs are almost excusable! They definitely don't interfere as much with the fret plane because they are at the end of an already tapered fret.

    How about a pic?? Here's an 89 SG that gives a good look at Gibsons early Nib design & look.

    89 SG Binding.jpg

    That process still took a bit of hands on skill and times spent tapering fret ends. But by the 90's we start consistently seeing wider binding, less tapering of the fret ends & more large & high Nibs joining the fret ends at the same level as the fret & continuing the fret plain.

    Here's a pic of a 91 LP that has the high & fat nib but the fret end was still slightly tapered & not as high as the rest of the fret!

    91 Les Paul tapered frets & Nibs.PNG

    By 2000, it was all over for tapered frets & the wide neck binding meet the un-tapered fret as seen in these pics of a 2000 SG Standard.

    2000 SG Standard frets Nibs (2).PNG 2000 SG Standard frets Nibs.PNG

    Woah, Look at that gap between that fret & a large plastic Nib!
    2000 SG Standard fret Nibs.PNG

    So there is is friends. A little pictorial history in Traditional Gibson frets, fretboard Binding & Nibs. I guess this is why the notion of those big fat n high Nibs meeting an un-tapered fret as being 'Traditional' is insulting. It is 2nd rate cheap guitar building that a professional compant like Gibson has no business being a part of in the production of ANY of their guitars. These aint childs toys! They are considered professional instruments!

    It is only through enough people saying so that things will have a chance at changing. I have a list of Gibson guitars I'm waiting to buy if & when Gibson gets their production act together & does away with Nibs altogether.

    Rock On Folks. Rock On
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2015
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  2. Dave_Death

    Dave_Death Well-Known Member

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    I complained about the gap between the binding and the frets on my SG Standard (2011) not long after I bought it. The high E was hanging up in the gap. Gibson had a warranty repairer fill the gap with additional white binding material (a very thin sliver) that doesn't match the peachy coloured binding. I really don't like nibs but I had no experience of them before buying that guitar. Basically that's the only thing about the guitar I don't like
     
  3. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    I hear ya Dave. And how disappointing was that eh bro? Don't you just expect more from Gibson??

    After going & doing the research I did to get those representative pictures of Gibsons fret work & see how the fret end finishing taper & binding technique progressed, I can now understand why some folks (like Dave & Paul G for instance) have played 'Nib'd' guitars & not been bothered by it.

    As we can see from the progression over time, there were many years where we had low profile Nibs on the end of tapered frets. And, the binding was thinner also. As coincidence would have it, I was actually playing a 91 Les Paul tonight that had these low Nibs on tapered fret ends & it didn't bother me at all!!!

    The real problem arises around the year 2000 where we see no taper on the fret ends at all, & subsequently have High / Wide plastic Nibs. This is the relatively newer Nib technique that I find unacceptable due to the close proximity of those Nibs to the high E string & the Nib joints potential interference with the string.

    So now I have a better understanding for some of you that have had no real issue with Nibs! And I would even find myself agreeing that smaller properly done Nibs on a tapered fret are of little consequence to the player. And at the same time I would also hope that those pictures gave some insight to others as well concerning the issues & complaints I & others have with these newer high & wide Nibs on un-tapered fret ends.

    Now I can't wait to see some of these HP Gibson guitars hit the market.
     
  4. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    good research there Relic.very imformative
     
  5. Dave_Death

    Dave_Death Well-Known Member

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    With nibs I've learned this technique:

    Bend strings toward the centre of the fretboard.

    Bend high E, B, & G strings up, D, A, & low E strings down. When it becomes a habit you don't need to worry. The only problem is pull-offs on the high E ...
     
  6. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    And finger vibrato. You might notice that some years not only had the wider binding & high nibs but the high E was also spaced close to the edge of the fretboard.

    You might say there was ... 'no wiggle room' !

    Baw haw haw haw .. cough .. hack .. hack .. ugh...
     
  7. Dave_Death

    Dave_Death Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I don't really do a wide vibrato on the high E much so I haven't noticed but that would be another instance

    Apparently 498T pickups have a 53mm spacing at the bridge, I changed my bridge for a Tone Pros so I don't remember if that made it more of an issue as you go up the neck but I guess it might.
     
  8. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Barry, check out these Nibless frets on this Casino a guy was fret dressing over on the MY LP forum

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  9. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  10. jtees4

    jtees4 Well-Known Member

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    I like nibs. Doesn't stop me from owning or playing anything though. My main guitar right now is an SG Special faded. No binding, no nibs....but a GREAT GUITAR. Not all fadeds are, but this one is....I've owned many.
     
  11. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    What is it about nibs that you like? I have yet to find an upside, and I'd really like to find out that there is one.
     
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  12. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Must be like white sidewall tires...:rofl:
     
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  13. jtees4

    jtees4 Well-Known Member

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    Nothing particular, just had a few with nibs and they felt great. As I said, I have and like other guitars, nibbed or not if it feels good.
     
  14. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough.
     
  15. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    OK. But those nibs will wear down quicker than the metal of the frets. You may grow to hate them just a little when you feel that step under your fingertips.
     
  16. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    I actually never thought of nibs at all until I read this thread. Now I'm all worried.:smile: I have never had problems with the nibs on my 2014 Derek Trucks, but definitely can't see the point of them. Why Gibson would use nibs in the (otherwise seemingly great) 2016 lineup is beyond me. Does it really save a lot of work?
     
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  17. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    They think it adds a touch of extra class to the guitar.
     
  18. Gahr

    Gahr Well-Known Member

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    While all it adds is just a touch of extra binding... Ok, I can see why someone might think it looks good, but that's not a good reason when so many people clearly hate it. I like to think it was popular demand that made Gibson change things for the better in the 2016 range, so maybe a public outcry will remove the nibs in 2017?:smile:
     
  19. Relic61

    Relic61 Well-Known Member

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    That is the hope Gahr.

    One would think it somehow comes down to time & or money. Yet, when we consider that the lowly Epiphone & lower end Gretsch line can manufacture EVERY BOUND GUITAR THEY MAKE WITHOUT NIBS, &, Gibson has no problem incorporating any costs into the sale price of their guitars (including the last 2 years $200 jack up for E-tune on all guitars) it leaves some of us simply dumbfounded why Gibson would go Backwards to a cheaper less functional, less durable & less playable design that incorporates their bogus high & wide plastic Nib.
     
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  20. jtees4

    jtees4 Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure nibs were invented before the internet, but few people noticed them until someone brought it up on the net. :hmm: But when they REALLY got popular seems to be when Gibson stopped putting them on guitars :wow:
     
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