Neck profile on Gibson Custom 1961 Les Paul Reissue?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by PauloQS, Feb 10, 2021.

  1. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    I'm curious about the neck profile on the custom shop 1961 Les Paul SG Standard Reissue. In particular, how does it compare to a Gibson USA original collection SG Standard '61 or the V2 neck on an R0. I understand that because necks are finished by hand, there will be variation, but we can always talk about in terms of averages.

    Until recently I was really into the newer neck profiles on R9's. However, I don't know if it is because I've been playing with a lighter touch, but lately I've been really bonding a lot with a USA SG Standard '61 and my V2 R0 (a G0, to be precise). The neck on my SG is very marginally thinner than the one on my R0. Although the depth isn't that different, I notice a bit of a profile geometry difference. To be precise, the neck on the R0 has slightly slimmer shoulders. I'm not too crazy about the R0's with V3 necks, thats just too much for me.

    Gibson lists the USA SG Standard '61 as having Slim Tapered neck and the Gibson Custom 1961 Les Paul SG Reissue as having 1960 Slim Tapered necks. For those experienced with the more recent Gibson Custom SG's, would you say those necks are closer to the V2 or V3 necks on R0's, or is it something entirely different? How do they compare to the USA SG's?

    My local stores don't have it at the moment and I was considering ordering one to see if I like it, but would probably avoid the hassle altogether if I find it not worth it.

    I'm thinking of upgrading my USA SG to a custom shop SG. The thing holding me back is that I really like my USA SG, particularly its tone. I just can't make the guitar sound bad. The guitar also plays really nice. I had a 2018 Standard '61 that I didn't like and felt I had to fight with it, then I tried an original collection one and immediately loved the guitar. However, based on my Gibson Custom Les Paul experience, there are a few minor things, at least on LPs, that add up to a slightly more comfortable broken in feel of the guitar.

    TL;DR: How does custom shop neck profile on 1961 SG reissue compare to R0 V2 neck and USA SG Standard '61 (original collection).
     
  2. skelt101

    skelt101 Active Member

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    It's been my (admittedly limited) experience that Gibson Custom Shop neck profiles are typically thicker than their USA counterparts. I used to own an R8 Les Paul and a Custom Shop Explorer. The necks on those were tree trunks compared to anything from the USA line. The same applies to the few Custom Shop SGs that I've handled. If you can't play a potential purchase before the transaction, some stores (e.g. Wildwood) have neck measurements listed for each individual guitar.
     
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  3. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    1st and 12th fret thickness is good to know, but two necks with the same thickness and different shoulders can feel drastically different from my experience.

    Necks seem to be all over the place even with same year and model.

    I had a 2009 SG '61 Reissue in the past with the flattest neck that I have ever encountered. 1st and 12th fret thickness was very thin and the back of the neck was very flat. I tend to avoid any SG with the '61 designation after that experience as I prefer a thicker rounded neck.

    The neck on my '58 Reissue LP Junior DC makes my SG Classics feel like toothpicks and those SG have fairly beefy necks.

    They are all different, have to try them out in person. If purchasing online maybe find a seller with return policy in case things don't work out.
     
  4. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    Interesting. Gibson has revisited some of the necks of the custom shop line. For instance the ‘59 neck has slimmed down a bit in 2018. In terms of depth, they are now about the same as the necks on the ‘50s USA lineup. It is just that the Custom Shop ‘59 have a bit slimmer shoulders, which to me make them feel overall slightly slimmer.

    I checked Wildwoods and they only seem to have one custom shop ‘61, but I think it’s a very unique non-representative example. The neck profile sits almost in between the current V1/59 necks and a V2 R0 neck. The other SGs they have are all ‘64s. The interesting thing about ‘64 necks is that they have similar depths to the current ‘59s, but the ‘64 have much more shoulders in my experience, which I’m not too crazy about.

    As for trying the guitar, I plan to have my local store order me one. It gets shipped for free to the store and I get to return the guitar if I don’t like it, even if I decide to take it home when it arrives. However, I don’t wanna go through this process if I can avoid it before hand.

    Right now I’m leaning towards avoiding the whole thing. However, a few things are spiking my curiosity. One is the hint that the Custom Shop ‘61 necks might not be as overly thin as I feared they would be. Hopefully the shoulders are also more in line with the late ‘50s and ‘60 LP and 335 necks than with mid to late ‘60s necks.
     
  5. Gibbo SG

    Gibbo SG Active Member

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    Just remember, the larger neck diameter will sustain longer, resist breakage and hold tune better than something smaller. Some people like them flat or round, but whatever the neck dimensions, if I enjoy a specific guitar, it's leaving with me.
     
  6. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    For a long time, Gibson called the Historic '61 neck a "Slim Taper" just the same as the USA '61, but it was always thicker and more of a C shape to the USA's D. Finally, they've changed the description of the Historic's neck to "Medium C" which I feel is more accurate. The Historic '64 is chunkier than the '61.

    For comparison, the average USA '61 is .800" at the 1st fret and .900" at the 12th.
    The average Historic '61 is .830 at the 1st fret and .960" at the 12th.
    The average Historic '64 is .880 at the 1st fret and .990" at the 12th.

    Funny enough, the '64 neck is actually thicker at the 1st fret than the "'50s Rounded" neck they put on the USA Standard.
     
  7. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    Thank you. This corroborates with what was said above. That’s great. It seems like it’s more in line with the ‘60s V2 neck, then. I guess my USA Standard ‘61 is more on the chunkier side of things, because it’s right there there at the average of the Custom Shop historic 61s and similar to my R0 V2.

    Just one thing, the Standard ‘50s, and Slash models for that matter, have the same average depth measurements as the ‘64 necks, as well as the post 2018 R9 necks. There is a difference in the shoulders, though. From slimmest to more shoulders it goes R9, Standard ‘50s/Slash and then ‘64.

    I got very familiar with the ‘64 necks back in 2019, when I was trying to find an SG with a ‘59 neck. I saw that the depth measurements of the ‘64 necks were on average equal to the ‘59 and Standard ‘50s, but I ended up not liking as much because of the shoulders.
     
  8. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. There certainly is a lot of variation due to hand shaping. I've seen '61 Historics as thick as 1.00" at the 12th and USA '61s as thin as .780" at the 1st. So yeah, those averages are quite literally averaging a fairly wide range of possibilities.

    I can't speak to the shoulders as I only have experience with my '61 Historic (a 2007) which is definitely a Medium C as the new ones are described. I've never played a '64. All I can say is my '61 is the most comfortable neck I've ever played. But I can also adjust to a very wide range of neck shapes and thicknesses.
     
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  9. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    Okay, sold!!! I kind of wish I hadn't ask lol. Hi my name is Paulo and I'm a guitar addict.

    By the way, I haven't actually calculated it, but if I had to guess, I'd conjecture the standard deviation of the USA models might be a bit higher than the Custom Shop counterpart. My SG has definitely a neck closer to a V2 custom shop neck, but most USA Standard '61 I've seen are on the range you posted before.
     
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  10. Goldtone

    Goldtone Active Member

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    My 2011 ‘61 was flattish neck with definite shoulder, D shape. Felt very nice and full even with the flattish back

    My ‘64 is full and round, classic C shape and is one of the nicest best feeling/fitting necks I’ve played
     
  11. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    The custom shop SG arrived last night. I have week to decide if I'm keeping it. I have a Gibson USA SG Standard '61 (original collection) with a 2019 serial number shipped from factory in 2019. The Custom Shop is a Gibson Custom 1961 Les Paul SG Standard Historic Reissue. It has a 2019 serial number, but it was shipped from factory in the second half of 2020.

    In terms of cosmetic perfection, the custom shop is far superior. Cosmetically it is not even close. It's difficult to even see the tenon joint under the tenon cover, for instance. I also noticed that in terms of sustain, the custom shop SG has noticeably more sustain. However, this particular SG's sustain is freakishly good. It has more sustain than even my R9 and R0, for instance. The neck profiles are not so different. The custom shop SG neck is similar to the USA SG and R0v2 neck. The custom shop SG has a bit less shoulders, specially at the lower registers (towards the nut). My first impression is that the custom shop SG sounds a bit brighter, but I want to spend more time listening to all the nuances.

    I'm still not sold on the custom shop SG because of one thing, playability. Even though it is clearly an upgrade cosmetically and in terms of sustain and I like the neck profile a bit better, the difference in smoothness of how it plays is marginal at best. I think the difference between a Les Paul Standard '50s and an R9 in playability is far more in your face than the difference between a USA SG Standard '61 and a Custom Shop 1961 SG Standard Historic Reissue. Or perhaps my experience with LPs make me notice things a bit more on LPs. It is not that the custom shop SGs aren't as good as the custom shop LPs, it is that this particular USA SGs is just that good.

    Here are some stats about the two guitars plus my R0/G0:
    Custom Shop SG
    • Neck depth: 0.83" at 1st fret 0.93" at 12th
    • Weight: 6 lbs 11.6 oz
    • Pickup output: 7.8 neck, 7.8 bridge
    USA SG
    • Neck depth: 0.81" at 1st fret 0.92" at 12th
    • Weight: 6 lbs 5.9 oz
    • Pickup output: 7.7 neck, 7.8 bridge
    For Comparison, my R0/G0
    • Neck depth: 0.83" at 1st fret 0.95" at 12th
    • Weight: 8 lbs 10.8 oz
    • Pickup output: 7.8 neck, 8.25 bridge
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
  12. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    That's interesting. I did notice a lot of 2019 serial numbers still being in stock at retailers, but it's also not uncommon for a more expensive guitar to take a year or two to move. I'm guessing the QC card says it was shipped in 2020?

    I always recommend people get their guitars set up by a professional. Sounds like maybe the action could be lowered, because higher action will increase sustain but make playability more difficult.
     
  13. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    I’m the professional lol. The truss rod needed a quarter turn (I’m guessing the shop loosen the truss rod before shipping), and I lowered the bridge on the treble side just a hair. Action at the nut is perfect (I had to lower it a bit on my USA SG and widen the slots for it was binding ever so slightly on the G and G strings). Nut slot widths on the custom shop is perfect, might still add graphite just because I do that to all my guitars. I’ll likely play with the pickup height at bit, but the guitar is sounding really good as is. The fret job is absolutely impeccable. The sustain check was conducted after my setup.

    Regarding the serial number my R0/G0 has the same peculiarity. It has a 2016 serial number, but shipped from factory mid 2017. I contacted Gibson for something completely unrelated, getting the QC card on a LP I got from GC, which they lost the QC card and asked them about my R0/G0. They confirmed that it was a 2016 serial number on a guitar most likely build late 2016 but only shipped from the factory mid to late 2017. I’m guessing same thing goes for the SG.
     
  14. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Strange, I wonder why that would be. It must be more common with Custom Shop builds because there's more time taken with them in the first place, and probably more aftercare with things like aging as well. USA builds seem to track fairly close with the serial number from what I've seen.
     
  15. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    This is purely conjecture on my part. My R0/G0 is a Guitar Center exclusive (R0 with an R8 top priced as an R8), thus they could sometimes spend more time at the factory waiting for payment to clear or some other thing. One potential buyer, just makes it slower to move through.

    The SG could have stayed longer in the factory due to the pandemic. The red on this one screams 2020, thus I’m thinking it got stamped late in 2019, maybe December, and between pandemic and how Gibson Custom guitars just naturally take longer to make, it took til early July for it to ship.

    I mean, just looking at the neck joint under the tenon cover is a testament to how much more attention to detail and time is dedicated to Gibson Custom guitars. The fact that my Gibson USA is this good just goes to show that the cosmetic perfection doesn’t mean a outrageously better playing and sounding instrument. Law of diminishing returns kicks in.
     

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