Reshaping a neck

Lhdr

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Got a new standard 50’s, love it. Especially the tone. I played the Standard 60’s and didn’t like the slim neck or the tone. Played the 60th anniversary R9 and man compared to the standard 50’s that neck felt absolutely perfect. Can’t afford the R9 and the tone of the 50’s standard is awesome.

Assuming I have a top notch luthier, how hard would it be to reshape the neck of a standard 50’s to match the current R9’s neck?

Could they measure it and replicate or is it more of a trial and error feel thing? How expensive, how hard? The mahogany neck doesn’t seem to have a stain, at least it’s not red so I don't know if they would have to match any stain.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

jb_abides

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The right used R9 will make you happier in the end.
 

Tim Plains

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Many 58 reissues have 59 necks and are more affordable. Same guitar. You might be better off selling the Standard if you factor in luthier costs and huge refin depreciation. I'm guessing $500 - $800, no one top notch is going to just give you their time, and then maybe another $500 hit on your guitar.
 

Lhdr

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I was under the impression the 60th anniversary 59 has slightly less shoulders than the standard 50’s?

Anyway, it sounds like a lot of work. I’m quite happy with the standard 50’s, was just curious what it would take to make an absolute perfect feel.
 

danzego

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You need a new neck. The R9 has more wood.
A 60th Anniversary R9 definitely does not have more wood to the neck than a Standard 50s. Standard 50s necks tend to have the same depth measurement as a R9, but they have larger shoulders.

Shaving the neck down to an R9 shape can be done, but I’d imagine the cost to do that and refinish the neck would be considerable. Probably better to just take the money one would put toward that Standard 50s and the cost of the neck service and put it toward the R9 (which would likely have additional benefits like lesser weight, a nicer top, more resonance, etc).
 

filtersweep

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A 60th Anniversary R9 definitely does not have more wood to the neck than a Standard 50s. Standard 50s necks tend to have the same depth measurement as a R9, but they have larger shoulders.

Shaving the neck down to an R9 shape can be done, but I’d imagine the cost to do that and refinish the neck would be considerable. Probably better to just take the money one would put toward that Standard 50s and the cost of the neck service and put it toward the R9 (which would likely have additional benefits like lesser weight, a nicer top, more resonance, etc).
I own an R8 and two 50s necks. Unless 2020 50s necks are significantly bigger than previous years, and R9s are significantly smaller than R8 necks, I seriously question your assertion.
 

MSB

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sell it and buy what you want, too many out there to go booger one up with reshaping
 

PauloQS

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I own an R8 and two 50s necks. Unless 2020 50s necks are significantly bigger than previous years, and R9s are significantly smaller than R8 necks, I seriously question your assertion.
Since 2018 the neck profile on R9’s have significantly changed. Here is the measurements is took with a caliper from my 60th Anniversary R9 and two of my Standard ‘50s:
  • 60th Anniversary R9: 0.8625” @ 1st fret and 0.981” @ 12th
  • Standard ‘50s (I no longer own): 0.8665” @ 1st fret and 0.973” @ the 12th
  • Standard ‘50s (I currently own): 0.8645” @ 1st fret and 0.9905 @ 12th
So as you can see, they are indeed pretty similar. Main difference is in the shoulders. Since 2018 both tops and necks have been base on the Carmelita, which is currently own by Joe Bonamassa. According to vintage collectors, the Carmelita have a neck profile that is pretty average across 1959 Burts.
 

danzego

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I own an R8 and two 50s necks. Unless 2020 50s necks are significantly bigger than previous years, and R9s are significantly smaller than R8 necks, I seriously question your assertion.
You’re more than welcome to question my assertion, but it’s absolutely true. I own a 2019 Standard 50s and I also own one of the new V1 60th Anniversary R0’s (which has the same exact neck size and profile as a 60th Anniversary R9). Leading up to buying the R0, I purchased two other 60th Anniversary R9’s that didn’t make the cut and went back.

I have experience (very recent, in fact) with the neck profiles the guy is asking about. I also measured every single one of the examples I’ve had with a digital caliper.

The depth of each of them were the relative same as the Standard 50s within .02 of an inch, with the Standard 50s being the overall thickest at .88 - 1.00 at the 1st and 12th frets respectively. In terms of shape, the RI’s all have a smaller feeling neck due to the smaller shoulders (which also means less wood). Even without calipers, I assure you, the difference is obvious just holding the necks.

Of course, there will be variances from guitar to guitar, but the target size and shape of the Standard 50s model (which, btw, doesn’t really qualify as having “previous years” being that it has only been out for just over a year at this point) is larger than a 60th anniversary R9. Thus, a Standard 50s CAN be sanded to the relative size and shape of a current R9, but not the other way around.
 
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filtersweep

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You’re more than welcome to question my assertion, but it’s absolutely true. I own a 2019 Standard 50s and I also own one of the new V1 60th Anniversary R0’s (which has the same exact neck size and profile as a 60th Anniversary R9). Leading up to buying the R0, I purchased two other 60th Anniversary R9’s that didn’t make the cut and went back.

I have experience (very recent, in fact) with the neck profiles the guy is asking about. I also measured every single one of the examples I’ve had with a digital caliper.

The depth of each of them were the relative same as the Standard 50s within .02 of an inch, with the Standard 50s being the overall thickest at .88 - 1.00 at the 1st and 12th frets respectively. In terms of shape, the RI’s all have a smaller feeling neck due to the smaller shoulders (which also means less wood). Even without calipers, I assure you, the difference is obvious just holding the necks.

Of course, there will be variances from guitar to guitar, but the target size and shape of the Standard 50s model (which, btw, doesn’t really qualify as having “previous years” being that it has only been out for just over a year at this point) is larger than a 60th anniversary R9. Thus, a Standard 50s CAN be sanded to the relative size and shape of a current R9, but not the other way around.
Interesting. Apparently they have really changed things around recently.

If you ask me, this is half the problem with Gibson: deciphering specs that always change. It is especially ironic when they mess with reissues.
 

PauloQS

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Interesting. Apparently they have really changed things around recently.

If you ask me, this is half the problem with Gibson: deciphering specs that always change. It is especially ironic when they mess with reissues.
Yeah, it’s a pity Gibson didn’t explicitly include these details in their spec sheet. I’d go as far to say the level of detail in the spec pages have decreased since 2018.

However, in 2018 there was a diagram that compared the 2018 Carmelita neck profile with other years R9s. Many at the time considered the Authentic ‘59 Medium C-shape just some marketing stunt. However, the neck profiles had been genuinely updated in 2018. I specifically remember seeing the aforementioned diagram at Wildwood Guitars’ webpage, but I can’t seem to find said diagram anymore.

I understand that people get dismissive because of the very marginal upgrades we saw from year to year, which in my opinion is very arguable. However, to be fair the change they made on the 2018 necks, which carried over to later years was a pretty significant change. Especially when you consider videos from Norm’s Guitars with Norm himself, Mark Agnesi and Joe Bonamassa, among others, prior to 2018 all claiming that Gibson was getting the neck on the R9s all wrong, because, according to them, the necks on actual ‘59 bursts weren’t that thick to begin with.
 

filtersweep

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Yeah, it’s a pity Gibson didn’t explicitly include these details in their spec sheet. I’d go as far to say the level of detail in the spec pages have decreased since 2018.

However, in 2018 there was a diagram that compared the 2018 Carmelita neck profile with other years R9s. Many at the time considered the Authentic ‘59 Medium C-shape just some marketing stunt. However, the neck profiles had been genuinely updated in 2018. I specifically remember seeing the aforementioned diagram at Wildwood Guitars’ webpage, but I can’t seem to find said diagram anymore.

I understand that people get dismissive because of the very marginal upgrades we saw from year to year, which in my opinion is very arguable. However, to be fair the change they made on the 2018 necks, which carried over to later years was a pretty significant change. Especially when you consider videos from Norm’s Guitars with Norm himself, Mark Agnesi and Joe Bonamassa, among others, prior to 2018 all claiming that Gibson was getting the neck on the R9s all wrong, because, according to them, the necks on actual ‘59 bursts weren’t that thick to begin with.
I more or less dropped out of following the recent changes.

My attitude is that if they ever ‘perfect’ their reissues, they will kill their market. This is why they always have to tweak things. They want owners of older reissues to buy newer ones that are ‘truer’ to the originals. The thing is, there always was some variation in the necks, and pickups. This variation should either be mapped to years, or somehow be standardized - like R9 medium neck, or whatever. There is no way I’d buy before playing one. And that is a bit sad.

This is why it is so absurd to spend decades tweaking how a 60 year old guitar was made. The cynic in me believes this is deliberate- marketing. Each year, truer than the previous. Buy new, because that awesome guitar you spent a fortune on last year was built wrong. WTF?!? They’ve known for decades how it was built. These are not iPhones where they are adding new features, like garage door openers, or breathalyzers....,


I’ll shut up in a second- but even the US necks are all over the place- even when they share the same spec.

I don’t really care. I love my reissue and my other three Gibsons are all awesome. And part of the fun is in the hunt for the prefect guitar at the right price. And Fender is actually worse for a variety of reasons..., but these are ‘just guitars’ and you practically need to be a scholar to know what is what.
 

XpensiveWino

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You can always go nuts like me!! I echo the folks who say save until you get the one you want. Then again there are certain guitars you just figure out how to make it work.

This is my 60's to 50's crazy town project. Still love it, was just playing it earlier today.

 

Les Paul Newb

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Did they stop offering the 59’ profile on USA guitars altogether?

I have a 2007 with a “59’ rounded” profile. It’s thicker than my 2020 standard 60’s, but with noticeably less shoulders than a “50’s rounded”.

In my opinion it is the absolute perfect neck shape for a les paul.
 

CoolRene

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After years of searching, I have finally found my holy grail The neck is just perfectly fitted to my grip. It is a 2012 R9, with 2013 specs (apparently more accurate to the historic bursts: Hyde glue, long tenon, etc.) and fitted with a rounded, ‘59 shape neck, not too thick, not too wide, solid, light weighed mahogany, beautiful flamed top (my member pic), VOS finish, Al3 unpotted CustomBuckers … I agree with one of the posters: better save, wait and check until you find the right one rather than reshaping the neck. It took me personally several decades, but it was worth the wait !!
 


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