New to RI’s. What’s the deal with Carmelita?

danzego

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I’m a current 2019 Traditional and 50’s Standard owner and I’ve decided to start seriously researching an RI. I ran across the “Carmelita” moniker in Chicago Music Exchange.

I’ve looked into it a bit but am not getting too far. What’s the average measurement of a Carmelita neck profile and how does it compare to a current Gibson USA 50’s Standard? Or even a later Traditional? My Standard feels fairly rounded (it’s extremely comfortable) and measures .088 at the 1st fret and 1.00 at the 12th. My Traditional is more tapered and seems slightly flatter early on, coming in at .082-.083 at the 1st fret through .097 at the 12th fret.

Any info is much appreciated!
 

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Sct13

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Carmalita is an exact replica of an existing burst.
The custom shop guitars are built differently than the trads or other Gibson USA guitars. There is more attention to small details. If you not going for historical accuracy you may not want to spend the extra money.
Play some of them then decide.
 

RufusTelestrat

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So I understand, he asks specific measurement, quantifiable documented difference and you add salesmenship and just what Gibson would say.

I am curious as well, because just like Abby hand wound pickups from Fender much is made of this one burst and how they are trying to replicate it. That is terrific but if the specs on that burst and I do not get along what options do I have. Can I ask for the Brock burst neck, perhaps the Dwane Allman neck. All of which is great but what is the specific difference that makes the Carmalita neck so wonderful. Is it shaped like a bowling pin thin then thick then thin again, This info seems difficult to find.

R

PS not trying to be a dick I really want to know.
 

KBMelb

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It appears some folks at CME have deemed Carmalita to be wonderful. It seems when they are ordering their spec'd guitars they have the with that particular neck shap. They also seem to like the Colletti neck shape.
 

buckwild

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Carmelita aka the Claw is an original burst that they made into another CC. They then took the scans of the real Carmelita and seem to be using it as a benchmark now for a great 59 neck profile.

I've owned 2 of the Carmelita CC's. There isn't anything special about that run of guitars. They are just a nice aged LP. The colors varied quite a bit on them too, the later in the series are more more of a cherry faded sunburst. The earlier ones were closer to a teaburst.

Thats about it!
 

asapmaz

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Folks complained for years that the R (particularly R9) necks were all over the place. So, Gibson when it scanned the original burst Carmelita's neck thought hey this feels like a nice in-between neck that people aren't going to complain about. And, pretty much started using that neck shape on most of their R guitars. Nothing special about it other than it's what Gibson thought would be a good compromise.
 

Sct13

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So I understand, he asks specific measurement, quantifiable documented difference and you add salesmenship and just what Gibson would say.

I am curious as well, because just like Abby hand wound pickups from Fender much is made of this one burst and how they are trying to replicate it. That is terrific but if the specs on that burst and I do not get along what options do I have. Can I ask for the Brock burst neck, perhaps the Dwane Allman neck. All of which is great but what is the specific difference that makes the Carmalita neck so wonderful. Is it shaped like a bowling pin thin then thick then thin again, This info seems difficult to find.

R

PS not trying to be a dick I really want to know.
to be clear,

its too subjective of a subject and its true, most all necks vary. To get an exact measurement you need a specific guitar to measure.

so an exact measurement without a guitar would be pure conjecture
He needs to go and play one or two to understand specificities of RI lore....as compared to his current collection of non reissue guitars.

In other words you cant zero in on neck specifics or weight until you have a specific guitar chosen ...

As far as the Carmalita carve I think its all marketing anyway.... you would have to get your hands on Carmalita itself to even know if there was a difference.
I have a Cc7 and they are supposed to be the perfect copy of a transitional burst from 1959 to 1960 ..... how would I know ... really... I never played the shanks burst.
 

bluesky636

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I’m a current 2019 Traditional and 50’s Standard owner and I’ve decided to start seriously researching an RI. I ran across the “Carmelita” moniker in Chicago Music Exchange.

I’ve looked into it a bit but am not getting too far. What’s the average measurement of a Carmelita neck profile and how does it compare to a current Gibson USA 50’s Standard? Or even a later Traditional? My Standard feels fairly rounded (it’s extremely comfortable) and measures .088 at the 1st fret and 1.00 at the 12th. My Traditional is more tapered and seems slightly flatter early on, coming in at .082-.083 at the 1st fret through .097 at the 12th fret.

Any info is much appreciated!
Since no one seems able or willing to actually answer you question, here is the web page for Carmelita. Scroll down to the section on Neck.


 

RufusTelestrat

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Thanks all of you for the clear answers. So it is a copy of a well preserved 59 that apparently owned by Voldemort.
Sorry Joe just kidding.
They made excruciating measurements and then it was recreated. I get it. Salesmanship.
 

danzego

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to be clear,

its too subjective of a subject and its true, most all necks vary. To get an exact measurement you need a specific guitar to measure.

so an exact measurement without a guitar would be pure conjecture
He needs to go and play one or two to understand specificities of RI lore....as compared to his current collection of non reissue guitars.

In other words you cant zero in on neck specifics or weight until you have a specific guitar chosen ...

As far as the Carmalita carve I think its all marketing anyway.... you would have to get your hands on Carmalita itself to even know if there was a difference.
I have a Cc7 and they are supposed to be the perfect copy of a transitional burst from 1959 to 1960 ..... how would I know ... really... I never played the shanks burst.
Understood, but I’m really trying to zero in on what a Carmelita neck carve actually IS. Yes, of course, necks within a given carve will have some variance, but they often have (or are supposed to have) a general commonality amongst them. I guess I’m thinking that if they’re going to advertise a model as having a specific type of carve that adheres to one specific guitar, they would try to stay pretty close to it (especially if it’s a Custom which, as you stated, they pay more attention to the little details). At least to where someone can say “it’s a thinner, flatter carve” or “a fatter, rounder carve with little taper” or something to that degree. :)

As for what I’m specifically looking for, I don’t want something as thick as a ‘58 (which I like, but I wouldn’t want to run it as my main) and not a slim taper or something with as extreme of a taper as my Traditional. If I end up more like my Standard 50’s, that’s cool! So I’m hoping someone has tried it owns both and can provide some feedback.
 

Sct13

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I see,

.900 at the first fret. Thats depth, measured from the fretboard to the back of the neck. And 1.00 at the 12th fret

thats the fabled Fibonacci numbers of the les paul world.
The shape, a medium C makes this shape a curved cross section that feels rounded. There is minimal shoulders ( shoulders start to make a D shape) and some will refer to this kind of neck as a chunky neck.

the .900 and 1 tells us that the taper from fret 1 to fret 12 is minimal and nearly undetectable.

as compared to my R8 and where I find my neck shape nirvana is .935 and 1.010 larger C shape with very little to no shoulder

this fibonacci number for me is derived after owning and playing more than 30 historics over the last 12 years.
 

jenton70

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The Carmelita is listed at .90 - 1.0 but I had one that was .89 - .99. It was a R9 with a "carmelita neck carve" not the actual CC model. I think the shape is what most people would notice. Like NO shoulder at all. They feel like a soft V in the hand. Some love it, others don't. I'm pretty neutral on it.
 

Jared Purdy

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I’m a current 2019 Traditional and 50’s Standard owner and I’ve decided to start seriously researching an RI. I ran across the “Carmelita” moniker in Chicago Music Exchange.

I’ve looked into it a bit but am not getting too far. What’s the average measurement of a Carmelita neck profile and how does it compare to a current Gibson USA 50’s Standard? Or even a later Traditional? My Standard feels fairly rounded (it’s extremely comfortable) and measures .088 at the 1st fret and 1.00 at the 12th. My Traditional is more tapered and seems slightly flatter early on, coming in at .082-.083 at the 1st fret through .097 at the 12th fret.

Any info is much appreciated!
I had the same question recently. I got my answer from Mark, the owner of Mark's Guitar Loft in New Hampshire. I also had some good replies from the folks here. He's about as expert as expert gets in this game. And if you decide you want a R9, or other historic, he's your guy.

He told me two days ago that Joe Bonamasa was approached by Gibson Custom Shop not that long ago and was asked if they could borrow his authentic, 1959 Les Paul, which is known by the name Carmelita (where the name comes from is likely another story), so they could scan it to use to make Custom Shop R9's because apparently it's about as perfect as perfect gets with respect to the neck, body shape, PU's, etc. The R9's (1959 Custom Shop Reissues) that have been available for purchase since sometime in 2017 or 2018 are based on those scans. Mark told me that the current R9 is the most accurate reproduction of the original 1959 ever made since the Custom Shop sprang into action in 1993. They are vastly different than a Traditional, which was my first Les Paul as well. They are also very expensive.

With a Custom Shop, you just know and can feel, see and hear the difference. They are classic, and timelessly beautiful pieces of craftsmanship. They are addicting. I believe the current R9 neck at the first fret is around .88/89, but don't quote me on that. A micrometer is cheap enough to buy. Mark told me the specs between a 2013 R9 (another interest of mine) and a 2019 R9, and it didn't seem like much, but when I had a 2013 R9, I remember the neck being a bit more substantial than my very recently purchased 2019 R9. He described it this way: A 2013 R9 typically has a neck profile like a D shape, with prominent shoulders. A 2019 R9 has a neck shape more like a C with less pronounced shoulders. That is the Carmelita. Of course, what ever feels best in your hands is what counts. Best of luck, and have fun!
 

BDW60

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I’m a current 2019 Traditional and 50’s Standard owner and I’ve decided to start seriously researching an RI. I ran across the “Carmelita” moniker in Chicago Music Exchange.

I’ve looked into it a bit but am not getting too far. What’s the average measurement of a Carmelita neck profile and how does it compare to a current Gibson USA 50’s Standard? Or even a later Traditional? My Standard feels fairly rounded (it’s extremely comfortable) and measures .088 at the 1st fret and 1.00 at the 12th. My Traditional is more tapered and seems slightly flatter early on, coming in at .082-.083 at the 1st fret through .097 at the 12th fret.

Any info is much appreciated!
They are all still hand finished so will vary slightly. The Carmelita profile on my 60th was .87-.97, pure C shape with almost no shoulder. That is the smaller side of the Carmelita examples I have seen.

These 59 necks are more representative of what the burst average size really was than the huge ones with chubby shoulders the custom shop pumped out in past years. But some historic buyers got hooked on those necks and probably feel the more moderate, C shape of the Carmelita isn‘t big enough.

I have a 2019 “R8” with a V2 60s neck from CME. I love how they are mixing things up with their exclusive historics and offering something for everybody.
 

danzego

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All very interesting. From what people have described and what I have access to, it sounds like my Traditional has less shoulder than the neck of my 50’s Standard. They’re both very comfortable, but I absolutely prefer the Standard because there’s more to grab on to...though not as much as a ‘58 RI, for sure. Getting an RI with my Standard neck profile would be great if it exists.

Unfortunately, living near Portland, OR doesn’t offer much in the way of places to check out RI’s (used to live in Chicago, which would have been great now), hence why I’m asking in the first place. So yeah, I do appreciate all the input.

I did stop by GC and played a Custom Historic 59 in Vintage Cherry Sunburst this weekend. The neck felt good. However, even if I was able to walk out with it that day, I wouldn’t have. There was a binding/body ridge all the way around the entire guitar. I know that will happen from time to time on even a Custom, but all the way around (and it was fairly extreme)? Not for that money!
 

Sct13

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That ridge is there because its supposed to be.
The paint is applied without masking the binding.
it is then scraped away, the excess paint, to reveal the binding. As result the binding is slightly lower in profile than the mahogany. It is then clear coated.
The ridge is part of the burst mythos and belongs there as part of the process.

I see you have some things to learn ...
 

danzego

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That ridge is there because its supposed to be.
The paint is applied without masking the binding.
it is then scraped away, the excess paint, to reveal the binding. As result the binding is slightly lower in profile than the mahogany. It is then clear coated.
The ridge is part of the burst mythos and belongs there as part of the process.

I see you have some things to learn ...
I see. So you’re saying that the other RI’s I played which didn’t have such a very prominent ridge were, in fact, defective? :hmm:

Btw, I may not have ever owned a Gibson Custom Shop LP, but I’m definitely not new to Les Pauls. I’ve owned 4 Gibson USA models (currently 2) and do understand already how the build process works. The ridge I’m talking about was beyond what one would normally encounter. :)
 
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Sct13

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I'm sorry I don't mean to sound "snobby" I'm typing while I'm at work and there is a lot going on around me...

What I meant was....the ridge is supposed to be there, but may be of varying degrees, it is hand scraped by a skilled worker. So much like the varying neck profiles, the binding ridge will vary as well. So, no..... ones that do not have a ridge just didn't need as much scraping.

We have been asking Gibson for historical accuracy, and that's how they did things back then. Some of their new manufacturing processes eliminated what was viewed as flaws in workmanship. Things like "pinking" where the aniline dye leaches into the clear coat were considered a very bad, warranty work issue. they brought back the Aniline dyes and low and behold, the pinking returns....

Things like this are what make the Historic's what they are.

Just know that the custom shop RI's will be different, and may display 1950's flaws.
 

Sct13

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Here is a handy dandy guide to historic changes over the years....

not everyone agrees with some of this information, I have no way to verify it ...but it does prove that Gibson has been "working the problem" since 93....

 


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