Potential neck issue - Gibson USA

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Pinocchio, Feb 20, 2021.

  1. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    For what it's worth, I have built a guitar and gluing a neck is just where the largest room for error naturally occurs. The problem here is not fitting the pickguard. As I said, the pickguards are cut from a template and their placement depends on the bridge, which is positioned according to the neck joint. There is always going to be a certain tolerance involved with fitting a neck. In fact, Gibson used to specify the joint angle tolerance on their specs, and it was 0 deg 0 min 15 sec. That's pretty darn tight a tolerance, FWIW.

    The only way to fix it would be either filing down the back side of the pickguard holes so it could move forward, but then you'd have oblong holes that leave a gap at the front side, which is what the OP took issue with in the first place, OR cutting a custom pickguard just for this one guitar (and ostensibly any time another ends up having a slight gap somewhere). These are mass-manufactured guitars at the end of the day. I don't know if that much attention is even able to be given to Custom Shop models, much less a mass produced USA model like the Douglas signature.

    By the same logic that guy was using, this vintage 1961 Junior should be marked down from it's $4,000 pricetag because the pickguard doesn't perfectly meet the neck:

    [​IMG]

    And yet the market still bears that high price because it's not valued based on flawless tolerances; it's valued for its tone and playability. I mean, if the OP asked the retailer for a partial refund based on this, what do we think he would get? Maybe 5 bucks? It's just such a silly thing to reject an entire guitar over, IMO.

    Or maybe I'm wrong and that $4,000 '61 Junior is a piece of junk comparable to a $150 First Act toy... :cool:
     
  2. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Look, even if I think your comparison doesn't really hold (I mean one is vintage and one is new, making the reasons for the pricing differ) this all comes down to different opinions and preferences. You have yours, I have mine. I personally have never had any issues with any of the guitars I've bought (ok, that's of course because if there were issues I wouldn't have bought them, but still) and what is an issue or not is naturally subjective. I'm fully aware of the fact that they could never have the same quality control as you and I, and what the reasons therefor are but IF I for some odd reason would find myself in the position that OP's in I'd say I don't give a sh!t how you make your guitars and why, just fix it or get me a new one. In a friendlier way of course. Or, if it was summertime and the livin' was easy, fish were jumpin' and the cotton was high, I'd just cut myself a new guard and fix it myself.
     
  3. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Gibson may claim a tolerance of 15 seconds on the neck joint - that would make +/- a half thou at the bridge. We regularly see guitars with bridges hanging off the top of the screws or grinding into the guitar top to try to achieve an action so that specification is clearly a total crock. Anything that can be strung goes out the door and they leave the customer to do the QC.
     
  4. laza616

    laza616 Active Member

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    I think there are generally two groups. One that will defend Gibson by any means and under any circumstances. And the other one that will keep pressing on their quality control and point out thst there is a customer that pays money for a quality flawless product.
    For 2000+€ guitar - custom model- this is absolutely unacceptable for me to ask the full price even if the intonation is perfect and it was just screwed up with the badly cut pickguard. That would be a second hand opinion for me thst yeah i am buying this second hand so its not flawless and i am ok with that. But justify the expensive guitar maker just by saying "cry less and play it more" is not what would make Gibson pay attention to the details more. They are trying how far they can go, unfortunatelly if everyone will just close their eyes and accept anything it could ended up in the situation when you purchase a 1500€ standard and you will recieve it without a nut filed as we saved a little bit of man work so you can get it done by your preference.
    Oh wow sorry to sound edgy, but no matter if the guitar is intonating and its just a cosmetic issue, thit guitar should never leave a factory to the market for a full price. If its intonating, i dont see why at the qc they didnt returned it for a pickguard replacement. What would that cost them???? Nah this is a sign of a poor quality control or completely mad attitude towards the customer.....
    If we stop caring about all the details, the quality will downgrade. That means the resale value will be affected as well. Just because of "stop crying about the quality if it plays"....
    Sorry guys but we have to be picky!
     
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  5. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Anybody ever seen a Gibson with the 2nd punch on the headstock (B stock) ? That could be a solution that satisfies everybody. Epiphone has them.
     
  6. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    lpmmpolcrp.jpg lpmmpol1.jpg lpmmpola1.jpg
    2014 Gibson, $620 new. Flawless? I don't know, I'm too busy playing it to do a white glove inspection.
    I get it that some folks think money entitles them to perfection, but perfection doesn't really exist.
     
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  7. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Don't strawman the opposing argument. Nobody expects perfection, but they are fully entitled to expect far better than has been shown. These are not $100 knock-offs.
     
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  8. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    Sure, you're right.:smile:
     
  9. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    How is this not literally expecting perfection? There is a tiny gap of about a millimeter between the pickguard and neck. It literally can't get any tighter without being perfect and touching the fretboard. We're not talking about it being 2 inches off.
     
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  10. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Ridiculous. John claims he can levitate but he can't. He's barely an inch off the ground!
     
  11. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    Sorry I'm going to be blunt again. Okay so here is the thing. If you want a perfect guitar, thats your prerogative. You are entitled to your opinion. That crosses the line when the problem is that other people have different preferences. In particular, having a sense that you're entitled to other people revealing the same preference in order for the market to induce your perfect guitar. By reveling their preferences I mean to only accept a perfect guitar.

    Personally I prefer a guitar that contains certain cosmetic imperfection, while keeping costs relatively low. Regarding the inevitable "but PRS" argument, a new core PRS figured top (non 10-top) MSRP is about US$3,800.

    I've recently learned that you never have to ask someone if thy own a PRS, because they will tell you regardless. So I don't contradict that statement, I'll confess, I own a PRS Ted McCarty (25" scale, not a 594). Apart from that McCarty, I've also owned a Double Cut 594 with satin figured maple neck, a Custom 24-08 with pattern thin neck, a hardtail Custom 22 with pattern thin neck, 2 CE24s, an S2 Mira and a S2 Singlecut semi-hollow. You could say I had a PRS phase. I think they are great guitars, but for whatever reason I keep coming back to Gibson.

    A bit of PRS recent history for you. Maryland PRS neck profiles used to names wide/thin, wide/fat etc. like the current PRS SE line. At some point the neck profiles moved to the pattern era, i.e. Pattern Thin, Pattern Regular, Pattern and Pattern Vintage (similar to slim taper, rounded C, current '59, and an asymmetrical version of a '58 neck, respectively). However, it wasn't a simple change in the name. They changed the process of shaping the neck. Essentially the neck is completely shaped by CNC and the only sanding done afterwards was merely to smooth the necks out.

    Why am I bringing this up? Because, although Gibson and PRS make guitars using a combination of manual labor and CNC work, the distribution of these things are not the same. Both in the Gibson USA and Gibson Custom, necks are only roughly shaped through CNC. The final shaping is done by hand. The CNC just cuts a bit of the less skilled and more repetitive work, while keeping some of the finer details up to more skilled labor. That's not to say that PRS is all robot made either, for example the dish on the carve of the core models is done mostly by hand. However, I'd argue that more of the manufacturing process at Gibson is done by hand relative to PRS.

    Another point I'd like to make is regarding the guitar itself. There is a reason a LPs are in general more expensive than SGs. The carved top and the binding at the body increase the cost of the instrument. The type of binding compared to what PRS uses, for instance. The finish. People seem to want Nitro, but don't want to deal with the drawbacks of nitro. There is a reason PRS didn't go full nitro, but their nitro over cellulose stuff, which is a similar kind of principle Fender use on their nitro over poly stuff.

    Then there is the argument about changing the process. That'd be economically unwise, to put it nicely. Gibson tried adding a volute and got a backlash. They tried improving the access to the upper frets of the Les Paul and got backlash. They tried coming up with a removable pickguard for the Les Paul that didn't require to drill holes on the top of the guitar, what would on paper make both the pickgard on and pickguard off crowds, and got backlash. Gibson put those G-Force tuners, got backlash, in part because they didn't work well, they addressed the issue in the 2016 lineup, then improved even further reducing the noise and still got backlash. The Les Paul got too heavy after Mahogany got scarce and had to be harvested outside of Honduras. The mahogany from the fast growing trees were generally heavier than the ones from old growth trees. Thus to compensate for that, Gibson started weight relieving the bodies of LPs, I believe sometime in the '80s. They got backlash for fixing the issue they got backlash for, LPs being too heavy. Now there is this myth that heavy guitars sound better. They got backlash because the Les Paul Traditional should say Standard on the truss rod cover. I actually liked the LP Standards of 2016 and 2017, but there is nothing similar these days. So no, Gibson could not change the process, because, they'd get backlash. It would be a financial suicide. Even if I'd prefer some changes, like the return of G-Force (as optional like in 2016 and 2017), a volute, more heel access on LPs etc. I understand that is not in their best interest to have these things have come back.

    Finally, I see it often enough with hardware and pickups, people searching for perfection and end up being unhappy with the results. For instance, people switching their bridges with ones made by Gotoh, Faber, Schaller or other manufactures with ridiculously low tolerance. After some time, some switch back to the less perfect parts. Not too long ago, Gibson conjectured that one aspect that might have contributed sonically to the "magic" of the original PAFs were the roughness of magnets. Thus they are now trying to emulate the roughness of the magnet on some of their custom shop pickups. Of all my PRSs my least favorite sonically were the ones with the Custom 22 (Dragon 2 pickups) and the ones with the 85/15 pickups (Custom 24-08 and the CE24s). Not because it was too bright, but because I thought it a little characterless. Clearly a lot of thought was put on those pickups. They're don't just have a wide range of frequencies, they have all the frequencies. They are a thing of beauty. I just didn't reach for those guitars as much. The 58/15s on the other hand, both the regular and the LTs, were amazing. Even the Asian pickups on the Mira and the Singlecut gave me more joy than the on paper perfect 85/15s.

    Sometimes I also feel that people make a huge deal out of nothing, especially when it come to Gibson. For instance. some time ago I saw a thread somewhere where the OP was freaking out about a gap between the pickup ring and the fretboard of his brand new R8, which in the case of 1958 is vintage correct. Or a good friend of mine freaking out about his Custom Shop 1964 335 reissue having the neck finish different than the body, to which I had to explain it was 1) vintage correct, and 2) the outer layer of the back of the guitar is maple, while the neck is mahogany, thus of course they are going to look different.

    Anyways, if you want a cosmetically perfect guitar, you can either keep shopping until you find that pristine Gibson or you can purchase something else. There are so many good guitars out there. If you like SGs, chances are you'd like the Mira too. It's a shame they've been relegated to SEs, but the S2s were great. Personally, whenever I find a guitar that plays and sounds good I'm happy even if there are some minor cosmetic issues. However, I've been fairly lucky in that I either don't see these cosmetic flaws or they don't bother me or they're simply not there. I haven't encountered something exactly like OP's guitar, but I don't think it's something that would bother me.

    The only annoyance is if I ever want to resell a guitar. Today's level of scrutiny standard is just out of control. I'm selling two of my guitars because I got a custom shop SG and I keep shaking my fists in the air cussing at Austin from Trogly's even though, as much as I dislike what he's trying to do to the market and his lack of guitar tech knowledge, I know deep down that it's not his fault. But it is what it is, some people want cosmetically pristine guitars.
     
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  12. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    If one more person claims that people are demanding cosmetic perfection when all they are asking for is a guitar without a f*cking great hole showing the pickup cavity I will scream. Cut it out people. Argue honestly or back out.
     
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  13. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    I'm not saying there is nothing wrong about demanding anything. When you're buying your guitar, your preferences should prevail over anyone else's. It is when you want others to have the same preferences or you fault others to thinking differently is what I have a problem with. Some people gives zero f*cks about the f*cking gap, some people give medium, some people gives all the f*cks. That's all I'm saying. If you have an issue about calling it cosmetic perfection, I'm sorry, we can cal it something else, but at the end of the day it is objectively a cosmetic issue, in the sense that it does not affect, sound, playability or any functional aspect of the guitar.
     
  14. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG] .​
     
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  15. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    So you agree, then. You are calling it levitation/unacceptable no matter how slight it may be. There is no margin in your world. Only perfection and absolutes.

    You know, technically, the atoms that make up the soles of my feet are not actually touching the atoms that make up the floor. So by your own logic, I am levitating right now.

    This may shock you, but your subjective opinion of what constitutes an acceptable tolerance is not as black and white as the laws of physics.
     
  16. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    No you didn't get the point. If the gap was supposed to be 1mm, and it was 1.5mm - that is just a slight cosmetic error. But this is supposed to be touching - tight against the neck. Instead there is a visible gap. That is not the same kind of thing at all. It is not just a matter of tolerance. I was drawing the levitation parallel, because it is that first tiny gap that makes it levitation, not whether the gap is 1 inch or ten feet.
    If a part is supposed to touch, it must touch or it is wrong. Of course you, like everyone else, are free to accept or reject whatever you like.
     
  17. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    The binding is between 0.8mm and 1.5mm thick. The gap to me looks considerably smaller than the width of the binding. I’d venture to guess that we’re talking less than 1mm for the width of this gap.
     
  18. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    I think some of us are confusing opinions with facts. In this case, the pickguard is supposed to touch the neck binding (it's even cut slanted at that contact point to make this extra nice) and it is not. Thus, the pickguard is not fitted as it should. That is a fact. Whether it matters or not is an opinion, these differ. Debating opinions can be interesting and in the best cases lead somewhere. The point where that seems possible has been passed long ago. But. One final question: if any of you that find the "imperfection" in question acceptable had built that guitar yourselves, would you be happy with that result, or would you correct it?
     
  19. PauloQS

    PauloQS Member

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    Personally I would not try to fixe it if I was the one making that guitar. My reasoning is that fixing it would involve filling screw holes for a gap that looks significantly smaller than 1mm.

    Furthermore, this issue is objectively purely cosmetic. Intonation, structural integrity, playability or any other utilitarian factor are not being affected. I would not want to mess with it filling up holes and drilling new ones. My opinion is that the solution in this case would be far worse than the problem.

    Would I make a guitar with that to begin with? Probably not. I might make little slips elsewhere, I’m not infallible, but not on something like this. However, that’s not a fair comparison, because if most of us were to build a guitar, that one guitar would have our undivided attention through every step of the process. The scale and speed that Gibson or Fender are making these guitars are just massive.

    Yes PRS can also make guitars in the US in the $1500s to $2500 price range (S2s and bolt ons). However, the tops are going to be either beveled (not carved) or having a very shallow carve. Even the control cavity plates won’t be recessed. Everything to make the process less prone to error and cheaper.
     
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  20. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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    Right, so you're arguing there is zero tolerance. As in, expecting perfection.

    I'd be willing to bet that at least one of your guitars has parts that aren't actually touching, but look close enough that you've never even noticed the difference. Are you suggesting that a gap of 0.005mm would be unacceptable to you?
     
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