Flat Top Frets on My New Les Paul?

Bill Miles

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Just got a Gibson 1950's Heritage Cherry Sunburst, after playing it for a few days I noticed my fingers were snagging sometimes, I play a fast style so it is annoying, so I was surprised to see that it has flat tops on the frets? and the effect is a sharper fret on the side, I am somewhat dissmayed because of the price I paid I expect quality. I would have expected a very rounded crown top. This is the same as my Harley Benton but I would expect that at a fraction of the price. Does anyone else have this? is it how Gibson dress their frets? I am definately not amused and feel like sending it back.
It's a shame because all the other features have quality that reflects the price, paying over 2 grand for any instrument I would expect the very best.
 

ARandall

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
15,011
Reaction score
11,559
Gibsons have a long history of their frets being deliberately finished flat on the top.
Fretless wonders in the 50's are this very effect.

And quality is a subjective assessment. If the frets are polished and mirror but flat on top by design, that is quality to some.
If they are crowned to a curve on top and polished, that is quality too.
If they are rough, that is not quality no matter what crowning or fret end work is done.

If the frets are smooth and in good condition, then you must decide whether or not your likes match the product supplied. If your likes do not match the general setup the guitar comes with, it is up to you to make the evaluation as to whether to return, or adjust the guitar to suit your personal likes.
 
Last edited:

mudface

Boo Bee
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
Messages
10,014
Reaction score
30,585
^^^Exactly..... Sometimes it’s not a “quality issue”.... it’s a “you don’t like issue”..... yes,... flat top frets were common on Gibson’s.... I have a 2013 Standard that has them.... not rough... just smooth and flat. I have no problem with them.

Like my first comment..... if you don’t like and can’t work with them....

Send it back.
 

uncle mud

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2020
Messages
121
Reaction score
80
I've had to put a new crown on a few of my LP's. Easy to do with the proper tool.
 

Bill Miles

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Thanks for all your replys. I think there's a bit more to it here than like it or not, because some of the frets are deffo not mirrored and even look worn, more than what I have been using it I would have thought. So I'll have to weigh up what my next move is, either way it will be a faff. My eyes have been opened on this one and I'm no youngster! Whatever you say about the take it or leave it, Gibson should be putting the exact specs on the table and it is cheap to close a blind eye to paying customers, some people may like the flat frets but my guess is that their playing style does not get in the way and its OK, when your playing fast runs your fingers need as much help as they can get.
 

bum

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
Messages
1,334
Reaction score
1,785
Some Gibson have flatter frets, but can vary for sure - did you try the guitar before buying, or any Gibson?
Why would you think fret height is an indicator of quality?
It sucks you don't have what you want but I can't help feeling this could have been avoided.
 

Bill Miles

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Fret height is not a problem, it's the sharp edges that catch my fingers, if the frets were crowned properly there would be no sharp edges. I am told by a luthier that nibbed guitars tend to have flat tops but my guitar's frets seem not even smooth on the edges, the crowning is quite bad imo, at least for over 2 grand it is. The whole reason I bought a Gibson is to help my playing as it is supposed to be the best, I dont expect any issues at all as standard. I have been playing for 50 years so I'm not wet behind the ears on this subject. Thank you for your reply and concern. I think In the end I'll just get them crowned and polished as they should be, I just cant be bothered to go through all the hassel of returning it.
 

bum

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
Messages
1,334
Reaction score
1,785
Did you try the guitar before buying, or any Gibson?
Maybe a couple of pics would help as well, if it is an issue I'll be the first to support you.
 

Bill Miles

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
No I bought this online. I know...but I had done extensive research on this guitar. To be honest even if I had tried this out in a guitar shop I would not have looked at the frets but the guitar as a whole and the feel of it, it's only when you have been playing for a while that you notice the fine details and stuff you would not have noticed on the day, I mean it's a Gibson right? I cannot get out anyway these silly days, so I thought what the hell, my Harley Benton was bought online and it'sOK (not great frets, but ok for the money) Everything else is imaculate on the LP. I have not got a good enough camera otherwise I would send some pics. Looking at fine luthiers on youtube, they crown the frets and polish and say that otherwise the tuning is not accurate, I agree, flat frets may be a Gibson thing but only because they dont bother to crown them properly, at least that's my experience so far. I may even crown the frets myself, I have done it before, I have a good eye. It's just the principal of the thing, but even if I send it back I could get another with a different fault, it seems 2020 is not a time for skill or best practice in the market place.
 
Last edited:

jeggz

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2008
Messages
3,841
Reaction score
3,773
Stew Mac sells a recrown file, the diamond one, It leaves less marks to polish out.
 

Brek

Senior Member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
1,196
Reaction score
982
I just took some pics that illustrate that very thing, an R8, R9, R0 the 2020 R0 to my eyes does not looks as well dressed as the 2013 R9. The R0 is the one without strings.
0B980045-3D90-43CD-863D-4624607CFBA0.jpeg
6252C12D-7AB8-4066-A142-805A4A082E2A.jpeg
4226EB38-20CF-478A-BADC-E42F7D7BDEA0.jpeg
72189D6F-C513-4031-BEC5-80014E4ED8DC.jpeg

F70EC965-0EEB-485C-B73C-B4904F56099D.jpeg
 
Last edited:

monstruo_loco

Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
280
Reaction score
403
Gibson fretwork isn’t what I like at all, in fact I have always had at minimum fret dressing if tall enough or replacement & am willing to pay for what I want since I really like the feel of a good Les Paul, SG, etc.
Most don’t have issues with the frets as they come from the factory, so I guess with me it is more a case of personal taste as long as there isn’t uneven fret height which I’ve seen before and that to me relates to quality, not personal taste.
 

Brek

Senior Member
Joined
May 15, 2020
Messages
1,196
Reaction score
982
No I bought this online. I know...but I had done extensive research on this guitar. To be honest even if I had tried this out in a guitar shop I would not have looked at the frets but the guitar as a whole and the feel of it, it's only when you have been playing for a while that you notice the fine details and stuff you would not have noticed on the day, I mean it's a Gibson right? I cannot get out anyway these silly days, so I thought what the hell, my Harley Benton was bought online and it'sOK (not great frets, but ok for the money) Everything else is imaculate on the LP. I have not got a good enough camera otherwise I would send some pics. Looking at fine luthiers on youtube, they crown the frets and polish and say that otherwise the tuning is not accurate, I agree, flat frets may be a Gibson thing but only because they dont bother to crown them properly, at least that's my experience so far. I may even crown the frets myself, I have done it before, I have a good eye. It's just the principal of the thing, but even if I send it back I could get another with a different fault, it seems 2020 is not a time for skill or best practice in the market place.
All this, I have same issues on a guitar that cost me over 6k in dollars, it’s not acceptable, but it is what it is. I had a 200 dollars Korean made sx copy that was as playable as any Gibson les Paul I have owned, it wasn’t as expressive though it didn’t have that mid range vocal/vowel like slew, that woody acoustic tone electrified, is what I expect from a Les Paul, the SX was quite a good modern sound when played overdriven, and it’s clean sound was nice, again not vintage, just different.
 

kakerlak

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Messages
2,387
Reaction score
1,467
Sounds to me like OP's guitar got leveled, but never crowned, which would be a straight-up "missed a step" factory error. Even the wide flat Norlin era stuff was still crowned/rounded off, like the top of a school bus. OP's guitar, if it's not buzzing, could be crowned off pretty quickly and it ought to be cheap to have done, but it's some damn business to need done on a new instrument.
 

Bill Miles

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Messages
8
Reaction score
0
Thanks all for your feedback guys!!. Brek your spot on about the woody tone, I've never quite crystellized that opinion, that is the very thing I love about a Gibson Le Paul. I'm getting that, its a shame about the frets. Your pics are exactly as my frets, some seem to be crowned nearer the top end and others just flat. As most of you experienced Les Paul owners are just saying say la vie..then I will probably just crown myself, thanks Jeggz for the heads up on the crowning tool. Really I just wanted some kind of support as this is my first Gibson buy after many mnay years of copies it was dissapointing, so it's good to hear I'm not the only one and it seems to be a Gibson trend. No wonder they had problems, it's like buying a car that has sharp areas on the steering wheel...'Oh you just have to sand them off' So I'll do the crowning. I will keep you posted as to how it goes and thanks again for such a great response from you guys, its a big help to me.
 

mudface

Boo Bee
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
Messages
10,014
Reaction score
30,585
Fret height is not a problem, it's the sharp edges that catch my fingers, if the frets were crowned properly there would be no sharp edges. I am told by a luthier that nibbed guitars tend to have flat tops but my guitar's frets seem not even smooth on the edges, the crowning is quite bad imo, at least for over 2 grand it is. The whole reason I bought a Gibson is to help my playing as it is supposed to be the best, I dont expect any issues at all as standard. I have been playing for 50 years so I'm not wet behind the ears on this subject. Thank you for your reply and concern. I think In the end I'll just get them crowned and polished as they should be, I just cant be bothered to go through all the hassel of returning it.
It says here you have been playing for over 50 years..... yet Mr Miles your profile states your 31.....

6CA50D9C-F046-4EEC-A331-A692442F1277.jpeg


:hmm::dunno:
 
Last edited:


Latest Threads



Top