Nibs or No Nibs, which do you prefer?

Do you prefer a Gibson with fret nibs or without fret nibs?

  • With fret nibs

    Votes: 69 52.3%
  • Without fret nibs

    Votes: 26 19.7%
  • No preference

    Votes: 37 28.0%

  • Total voters
    132

dro

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I like 'em. Don't matter as much as tone. But if I'm playing live I'd prefer nibs. Those who prefer no nibs. Could save some money by the less labor involved.
 

JMB1984

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Nibs on a Historic or Standard built in a “Original” style. I don’t care if modern guitars exclude them. As for the strings catching in the fret, that was an issue when Gibson started using thicker binding on the USA Traditionals, but they went back to narrower binding somewhere around 2018-2019.
 

RedSkwirrell

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Prefer them but, of the two I have; One has, and one does not.
They tend to be missing if it's had a re-fret (as with my '90).
 

dasherf17

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I assume that most Gibson player prefer Gibson necks with the fret nibs. But I am curious to know what is the ratio of player who prefer them.

As for myself, I actually changed my mind about that. In younger years I preferred necks without nibs, but later I changed my mind about that and now I love them.

Of course, it should be mentioned that all Gibson guitars are not the same and some have nibs, some don't. It is also true that if you send your Gibson guitar to the Gibson repair shop for a refret job, no attempt will be made to preserve the nibs. And some independent repair shops also advocate for the removal of nibs, when refretting a Gibson neck.

So, let's hear it. What do you prefer? Nibs or no nibs? Or do you not have a preference one way or another?
Nibs seem like a safety issue...I prefer to go nib-less...this IS rock and roll, right?
 

goodguy

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Consider this story:
Bought a 97’ Custom Blk Beauty from a guy. Not sure if he didn’t take care of it -or- just gigged a lot. About 1/2 the Nibs on underside of neck were cracked/missing along with a small chunk of binding. Could have been expand/contract which caused frets to crack the binding -or- could have been string getting caught in that small gap between fret & nib during pull offs or something. Good part is the guy sold me the guitar for $700 due to the damage. Bad part is I was quoted much more than that to replace binding. So being the cheapskate I am, I bought binding material, melted it into a paste using acetone & carefully rebuilt the missing nibs/binding. The paste melted into existing binding & bonded perfectly to be a very solid repair. Slightly tinted the binding w/amber shellac. Didn’t look perfect if you looked closely but felt great when playing and it was underside of board so couldn’t really tell. Put thin CA glue between the rest of fret ends/nibs to close that gap. Put a Faber bridge on that guitar & eventually sold it for $3000. So while I think Nibs are OK, I can see them being a problem down the road - personally I’d rather not have them and just have a great fret end job. Maybe it is cheaper, less time for Gibson to shave a nibs into the binding rather than file/polish fret ends. Or maybe Gibson avoids the sharp fret end complaints with nibs. I would have thought they would have gotten rid of them by now but it’s a history thing at this point. Wood is gonna expand/contract at some point and those gaps are gonna show up eventually. With the new 50’s /60’s standards, they started doing the super thin binding (history and all) and that to me looks like it will eventually crack even easier. Between headstock break & now thin binding crack potential - maybe Gibson doesn’t want its customers to sleep at night. There is something to be said for “durable” design. Makes me appreciate my PRS 594 & Tele that much more
 
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BlackCatBonz

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Seems like more cork sniffing to me. I’m too busy playing my guitar to give a crap about nibs. In fact, I didn’t even know what people were talking about when they mentioned nibs.
The frets on my guitar are really low profile and there isn’t a single nib on it. I didn’t notice nibs until I started looking at new Gibsons and the binding is much thicker with taller frets.
I don’t really like the look either.
 

cmjohnson

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Nibs suck. They only exist on Gibsons because it's a shortcut in production, taking much less time to carve a set of nibs (which is mostly done with a router with a laminate trimmer bit, following the face of the fingerboards and frets) than it does to nip off the tangs of the fret ends to hide them behind binding. And sometimes an E string gets caught in a gap between the nib and the fret end.
 

efisch

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Nibs, Nibs, Nibs. Gibsons look weird without them.


I assume that most Gibson player prefer Gibson necks with the fret nibs. But I am curious to know what is the ratio of player who prefer them.

As for myself, I actually changed my mind about that. In younger years I preferred necks without nibs, but later I changed my mind about that and now I love them.

Of course, it should be mentioned that all Gibson guitars are not the same and some have nibs, some don't. It is also true that if you send your Gibson guitar to the Gibson repair shop for a refret job, no attempt will be made to preserve the nibs. And some independent repair shops also advocate for the removal of nibs, when refretting a Gibson neck.

So, let's hear it. What do you prefer? Nibs or no nibs? Or do you not have a preference one way or another?
 

T Willis

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Vintage collector? Definitely prefer them!
Player? Who cares!... dress them nice and play it!
 

pillbug

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I’m in the minority but I love the 2014’s because no nibs.
 

captdan61

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I assume that most Gibson player prefer Gibson necks with the fret nibs. But I am curious to know what is the ratio of player who prefer them.

As for myself, I actually changed my mind about that. In younger years I preferred necks without nibs, but later I changed my mind about that and now I love them.

Of course, it should be mentioned that all Gibson guitars are not the same and some have nibs, some don't. It is also true that if you send your Gibson guitar to the Gibson repair shop for a refret job, no attempt will be made to preserve the nibs. And some independent repair shops also advocate for the removal of nibs, when refretting a Gibson neck.

So, let's hear it. What do you prefer? Nibs or no nibs? Or do you not have a preference one way or another?
if I invite a new Gibson guitar model that is supposed to have fret nibs and of course I want them if I'm buying a vintage piece that supposed to have meds and it's not players grade then of course I want them if I'm buying a player's. Guitar or if it's a guitar of mine that I gave you extensively I could not possibly care less. a vintage Gibson that had been refitted and did not have fret Debs the lack of nibs would not prevent me from buying the guitar unless it was being priced as though it was you no pristine I think they look nice but I don't think do anything more than cosmetic and I'd much rather have an instrument with Frets that work well the brexit don't work well but I still have the nibs but I just a guitar player I'm not a collector
 

DBDM

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I like the nibs for the tiny difference in feel and for the craftsmanship involved. That said, I have played around 1/2 dozen orginal bursts (58-60) and dozens of other 50s LPs (Customs and Goldtops) and NONE of them had all the original nibs. I do not think that anyone would call any of those devalued becuse the nibs are gone?

Keep in mind that even for the most valuable instruments in history, Stradavarius violins---ALL of them (100%) have had work and restoration. Zero (none) of them are 100% original condition the exact way that they left Stradavari's bench in 1700 (ish). Ditto with LPs. (possible a few truely original 50s LPs remain, but not many). All instruments require maintenence and that includes sometimes losing the nibs. If you are going to keep and play a LP for a lifetime, you are very likely to lose the nibs or at minimum have them replaced.
 

keys88

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no preference...as long as the fret ends are finished properly. That being said,no nibs might need an occasional fret end maintenance,as time and tide can sprout...sometimes.
Not to highjack the thread but I've actually wondered about this. If your binding has nibs does it help prevent fret sprout? Or would the nibs just hide the problem, and if so could really bad fret sprout actually mess up the binding?

To answer the question at hand, I think nibs give the fretboard a nice finished look. But I have plenty of guitars without them and it doesn't bother me.
 

Jeremiah

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If my guitar ever had nibs, and I needed a refret, I would choose one that could preserve that look.
 

Adinol

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Not to highjack the thread but I've actually wondered about this. If your binding has nibs does it help prevent fret sprout? Or would the nibs just hide the problem, and if so could really bad fret sprout actually mess up the binding?
Fret sprout is a misnomer, as the frets are not actually "sprouting." It is really fretboard shrink. So, when the board shrinks it is lulling the binbding along with it, but the frets prevent the parts of the binding touching fret ends to pull closer, so the binding can get cracked and separated from the board at the frets. When this is severe you can actually feel the wavy humps along the binding. Typically there are little cracks under teh nibs, where the fret tangs are butted against the binding. Those same cracks can happen without nibs.
 

Adinol

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Vintage collector? Definitely prefer them!
Player? Who cares!...
But that's what I was saying. I like them mainly from a player's perspective. I just like the feel of a comfortable Gibson neck.

That said, I also have to LP Studios and I love those guitars because they are so simple and not flashy in any way. But the neck of a Studio simply feels different than the neck of my 335.
 

cmjohnson

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Craftsmanship? Speaking as someone who's been building guitars since 1986, I can tell you that there is a LOT more craftsmanship, time, effort, skill and attention to detail involved in nipping back fret tangs and making the frets melt in perfectly with the edge of the binding than there is in carving and polishing the binding to form the fret nib.

Nibs are the LOWER craftsmanship way to go.

However, I'm also going to throw a stone at Gibson and criticize the "Gibson standard way of dressing fret ends" which is basically unique to Gibson. Nobody else does it that way. Gibson doesn't usually carve a cleanly defined bevel on the ends of the frets, and instead more or less tapers the outer end of the frets toward the fingerboard. I have always considered clean bevelled , gently rounded, and fully polished fret ends to be much superior to how Gibson has been doing it.

Ironically, if Gibson shaped the metal fret ends just like they shaped those binding nibs, they'd be doing the fret ends the right way in my opinion.

Yeah, I know, the results are what matters and Gibson's fretwork does the job and gives excellent playability. But I don't think they deliver the best type of fretwork in general. Just my opinion.
 


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