Sanity Check on Original Collection 50s Fret Height

pgfitzgerald

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
83
Reaction score
114
Hi all,

TL/DR: Can you measure the frets on your Original Collection 50s Standard and let me know what you find?

Long version:

I recently purchased an Original Collection 50s Goldtop with P90s from a very reputable online dealer. I had previously played a few in stores and liked them well enough, so I didn't think much about purchasing online.

Well, it came in and I hated how it played. I attributed it mostly to the overdone fretboard conditioning, what felt like string lube, and a super low setup that was not in line with what I had specified when I placed the order. The frets felt very low, too, which I don't recall from the others I had played. So I restrung it, cleaned up the excess fretboard oil, and set the action where I like it. The nut height is also lower than I like, but I haven't addressed that yet.

Unfortunately, all that did little to help. So I broke out the calipers and compared its frets to my 2019 Traditional and 2018 R8.

What I found surprised me:

R8: An average of 0.079" wide and 0.049" tall. These are great.
Traditional: An average of 0.089" wide and 0.045" tall. Though, slightly wider and very slightly lower than my R8, I have no issues with these.
50s Original Collection: An average of 0.091" wide and 0.039" tall. Some are as low as 0.036". Hate 'em.

Damn, those frets seem really low. I can tell a very slight difference between the R8 and Traditional, but it doesn't bother me. I suppose the 50s Original Collection is simply below the threshold of my height tolerance or something.

Did I get some sort of outlier where their Plek somehow took down the frets super low or are all the Original Collection like this? They do look pretty wide and low compared to all my other guitars.

Could y'all measure your Original Collection 50s frets for a comparison?

Thanks!
 

Pappy35

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Messages
339
Reaction score
445
Mine is a brand new Wildwood Select 50's Standard (born in Aug.). Randomly taken up and down the fretboard, my frets run between 0.091" to 0.099" wide (avg. is maybe 0.093") and, I was quite surprised to find, they ranged from 0.024" to 0.032". I used a commonly available digital scale which I've found to be very accurate.

I love how it plays. The action is very low as delivered and no matter how hard I strum, think Pete Townshend, I can't make it buzz (so playing normally it obviously doesn't).

PS - I went back and double-checked, same results. I have a 2020 Epi Les Paul 60's Standard with frets in the low 0.040" height range and widths off 0.109" - 0.110". It's action is set pretty high and I can make it buzz pretty easily.
 

CB91710

Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
5,626
Reaction score
11,022
For comparison, I checked my 2019 60s Standard, fret width is .091, height is the same as my Bonamassa Custom and '19 Flying V at .036 to .047
2020 SG is also .91, but is .01 taller at .044 to .057
Bonamassa Custom is .1 wide, same height as the Standard and V.
All seem to be taller toward the body.
 

Injector

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2020
Messages
126
Reaction score
177
I think the Plek can shave quite a bit off the frets. Not sure why this is, do Gibson Plek the neck when it isn't 100% straight? My 19 Trad is great but my 2020 LP Special has frets that are way too low. It's an Original Series 50s so maybe it's a thing with them? It plays beautifully but won't take many fret dresses before it needs a re-fret. Maybe just the one!

My 10 year old LP Custom has had one fret dress and still has taller frets than the pair of them.
 

Platte City Paul

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Messages
1,427
Reaction score
2,131
Man, I hate it for ya. Frets are like many things - a matter of taste. I have a '94 STD and the frets were SUPER low. I had it re-fretted with Stew Mac #149. Before dressing, that wire measures .103 x .046.

I also have a 2019 satin finish Classic, and the frets were Gibson "School Bus" frets. (My term...) I had those lowered and rounded a bit.

Regardless what other folks like, if the frets on YOUR rig don't work for you, it's frustrating.
 

danzego

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
1,417
Reaction score
727
With the 2019 series, Gibson began using what they termed “low” frets. When they shifted gears mid year and released the Original Collection (50s and 60s Standards, et al), they went to the term “medium” on the spec sheet, but I measured the frets on my 2019 Traditional and 50s Standard and they’re the exact same size.

Yes, they’re lower frets. It would be nice if Gibson just used what they’re using on the R9’s and R0’s. Those are some great feeling frets.
 

1all's Pub

Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2015
Messages
3,907
Reaction score
4,108
Question: how are you guys measuring height? I have digital calipers and can measure width easily, obviously. But what’s the technique for measuring height? Thx!
 

Roxy13

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2017
Messages
9,458
Reaction score
25,523
Yes, I have an SG that was severely overPLEKed and run through backbowed. Since this is a new guitar if you aren't happy send it back would be my answer.
 

christopherJ

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Messages
563
Reaction score
756
Question: how are you guys measuring height? I have digital calipers and can measure width easily, obviously. But what’s the technique for measuring height? Thx!
I use the end of the calipers as a sort of depth gauge. Rest on the top of the fret and slide out the end onto the fretboard. Kinda hard to 'splain.
 

pgfitzgerald

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
83
Reaction score
114
With the 2019 series, Gibson began using what they termed “low” frets. When they shifted gears mid year and released the Original Collection (50s and 60s Standards, et al), they went to the term “medium” on the spec sheet, but I measured the frets on my 2019 Traditional and 50s Standard and they’re the exact same size.

Yes, they’re lower frets. It would be nice if Gibson just used what they’re using on the R9’s and R0’s. Those are some great feeling frets.
That's what I thought as well, which is why it surprised me to find that my 50s Original Collection had lower frets than my Traditional. I've played other 50s Original Collection Les Pauls and was under the impression they were the same frets.

Did Gibson start with the same frets as the Traditional then change to lower?
 

pgfitzgerald

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
83
Reaction score
114
Yes, I have an SG that was severely overPLEKed and run through backbowed. Since this is a new guitar if you aren't happy send it back would be my answer.
I don't want to return or exchange if they all have super low frets, which is why I was looking for confirmation here.

The downside to buying over the internet is I have to rely on dealers to accurately describe specs. I really only have one place to go locally and they just recently opened back up. Prior to that, they had practically no stock and you were only allowed in the store for 10 minutes at a time.
 

EXPLRGAB

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
15
Reaction score
7
2019 R8..... PURCHASED IN JULY, DESCRIBES THE FRETS AS.... PERIOD CORRECT ...THEY ARE NOTICEABLY ON THE LESS MEATY SIDE.....THE ATTACK/FEEL IS DIFFERENT....OF COURSE IT WOULD BE.......WHEN I FIRST GOT IT....IT GAVE ME SOME CONCERN BUT THAT QUICKLY FADED......SOME PLAYERS MAY SIMPLY NOT LIKE THAT FEEL AND THE WAY IT PLAYS. IN MY MIND..... I DESCRIBE IT AS A SWEETER ATTACK AND IT CUTS.
 

Attachments

Pappy35

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Messages
339
Reaction score
445
Question: how are you guys measuring height? I have digital calipers and can measure width easily, obviously. But what’s the technique for measuring height? Thx!
I have this one which, as others have said, has a depth plunger on one end. There are 100 similar ones on Amazon and if you pay more than $20, you are likely throwing your money away. Though obviously there are better ones out there for applications where accuracy is critical, this is not a measurement that a thousandths of an inch one way or the other will make any difference.
 

danzego

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
1,417
Reaction score
727
That's what I thought as well, which is why it surprised me to find that my 50s Original Collection had lower frets than my Traditional. I've played other 50s Original Collection Les Pauls and was under the impression they were the same frets.

Did Gibson start with the same frets as the Traditional then change to lower?
What is the year of the Traditional in question?

Also, as I'm sure you're aware, the height could vary even with the same frets installed, depending on what was going on with the fretboard. Last weekend, I was measuring the difference in height between my Am Pro Tele and my friend's Am Pro Strat, both with narrow tall frets (the same ones installed across the line). His averaged quite a bit lower than mine (which was nice to find being that mine irritate me for being so high; I'm going to get them lowered and they'll be great).

Anyway, 2019 Traditionals and Standards should both be the same height. I can see them switching to a larger fretwire, but lower? Probably not. The pre-JC 2019 Gibsons had pretty darn low and thin frets to begin with.
 

pgfitzgerald

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
83
Reaction score
114
What is the year of the Traditional in question?

Also, as I'm sure you're aware, the height could vary even with the same frets installed, depending on what was going on with the fretboard. Last weekend, I was measuring the difference in height between my Am Pro Tele and my friend's Am Pro Strat, both with narrow tall frets (the same ones installed across the line). His averaged quite a bit lower than mine (which was nice to find being that mine irritate me for being so high; I'm going to get them lowered and they'll be great).

Anyway, 2019 Traditionals and Standards should both be the same height. I can see them switching to a larger fretwire, but lower? Probably not. The pre-JC 2019 Gibsons had pretty darn low and thin frets to begin with.
2019 Traditional. 2020 Original Collection Standard.

Yep, I'm aware the frets can vary in height. I measured all frets.

Traditional min/max was 0.0425" / 0.0460". Average was 0.0445"
OC Standard min/max was 0.0365" / 0.0415". Average was 0.0397"

Definitely not the same frets as I initially thought. Either that or the Plek machine went crazy on mine.

I'm trying to determine if all OC Standards are that low. If they are, I'm not going to waste my time looking for a new one.
 

CB91710

Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
5,626
Reaction score
11,022
Question: how are you guys measuring height? I have digital calipers and can measure width easily, obviously. But what’s the technique for measuring height? Thx!
Look on the opposite end of your calipers from the dial (or display).
See the little tit poking out with the "shelf" next to it?
Close your calipers, zero, extend, and press the tit down on the wood with the "shelf" over the fret.

Ya... it's not "machinists' accuracy" as a tilt of the unit will introduce an error... but it'll get you within a couple thou.
 

danzego

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
1,417
Reaction score
727
2019 Traditional. 2020 Original Collection Standard.

Yep, I'm aware the frets can vary in height. I measured all frets.

Traditional min/max was 0.0425" / 0.0460". Average was 0.0445"
OC Standard min/max was 0.0365" / 0.0415". Average was 0.0397"

Definitely not the same frets as I initially thought. Either that or the Plek machine went crazy on mine.

I'm trying to determine if all OC Standards are that low. If they are, I'm not going to waste my time looking for a new one.
I think the Plek machine had at your frets a bit more than normal. What you're at right now is about where mine- built very early in the roll out of them- ended up after getting it re-Pleked. They didn't go to an even smaller fret size since they started. However, even if you go looking for a new one, it probably isn't going to be such a substantial difference that it's worth paying a heap all for that. You're probably better off getting it refretted and putting exactly what you want on there. It stinks to have to do that to a brand new guitar, but until Gibson comes to their senses and goes back to a real medium size fret, that's what your option is for a brand new GIbson USA guitar. :dunno:
 

pgfitzgerald

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2018
Messages
83
Reaction score
114
I think the Plek machine had at your frets a bit more than normal. What you're at right now is about where mine- built very early in the roll out of them- ended up after getting it re-Pleked. They didn't go to an even smaller fret size since they started. However, even if you go looking for a new one, it probably isn't going to be such a substantial difference that it's worth paying a heap all for that. You're probably better off getting it refretted and putting exactly what you want on there. It stinks to have to do that to a brand new guitar, but until Gibson comes to their senses and goes back to a real medium size fret, that's what your option is for a brand new GIbson USA guitar. :dunno:
Well shoot. If that's the case, I'm mostly likely just going to sell it. I can't justify to myself replacing frets on a brand new instrument.

I greatly prefer narrow tall. I like the frets on my Traditional and my R8 just fine. Thought I'd be fine with this OC Standard. Bummed it didn't work out.

Thanks!
 

Latearrival

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2011
Messages
1,444
Reaction score
930
TL/DR: Can you measure the frets on your Original Collection 50s Standard and let me know what you find?

I'm not sure what the fret height new is supposed to be on this model - but last year I got a whole-load-of-shit here for being so precious as to actually CARE what the fret height is on my guitars!

I started out by noticing in Guitarist Magazine they were saying that some of the new 2019 LPs were being fitted with 1.15mm high frets (0.045"), whereas my 2009 LP Traditional had 1.41mm (0.055") Tall frets as new. The models affected (then) were the Standard 50's, Standard 60's, Classic and Tribute models. I'm not sure whether yours falls into this category?

I happen to like tall frets, and had my LP re-fretted in 2018 when the frets had worn down to 1.0mm (0.039") in places! I share your dislike of low frets, and wouldn't buy one which had low frets to start with!
 


Latest Threads



Top