Gibson Neck Profiles: The Full Guide

Published Categorized as Gibson

Picking the right guitar neck can make playing feel way better and improve your skills. But with all the choices out there, it’s tough to know what’s best for you. Whether you’re a pro or a newbie, learning about the different Gibson neck profiles can help you find your perfect fit. In this article, we’ll break down each shape so you can choose the right one for your hands.

Gibson Neck Profiles

Table of Contents

Rounded/Rounded C/’50s Vintage Neck Profiles

Gibson’s Rounded, Rounded C, and ’50s Vintage neck profiles are designed to mimic the feel of classic Gibson guitars from the 1950s. These profiles are thicker and chunkier than modern slim-taper or asymmetrical necks, providing a comfortable grip for players who prefer a more substantial feel.

Rounded Neck Profile

The Rounded neck profile is the thickest of the three, with a deep, chunky shape that fills the hand. This profile is ideal for players with larger hands or those who prefer a neck with plenty of surface area to grip. The Rounded profile provides excellent stability and control, especially when bending strings or playing chords that require a bit of extra force.

Rounded C Neck Profile

The Rounded C neck profile is slightly thinner than the Rounded profile but still offers a comfortable, vintage-inspired feel. This profile is a good choice for players who want the benefits of a thicker neck without the extra heft of the Rounded profile. The Rounded C profile has a symmetrical, C-shaped curve that fits comfortably in the hand, with plenty of space for the thumb to rest on the back of the neck.

’50s Vintage Neck Profile

The ’50s Vintage neck profile is modeled after the necks found on Gibson guitars from the late 1950s, with a slightly thinner profile than the Rounded or Rounded C. This profile is a good choice for players who want a vintage feel without sacrificing playability. The ’50s Vintage profile has a gentle curve that fits nicely in the hand, with a slightly flatter back than the Rounded C profile.

All three of these profiles feature a wider nut width than modern Gibson necks, typically around 1.695 inches (43 mm). This extra width provides more space for the fingers, making it easier to play complex chords and intricate solos.

When choosing between these profiles, it’s important to consider your playing style and hand size. Players with larger hands or those who prefer a more substantial feel may gravitate towards the Rounded profile, while those who want a vintage vibe with a bit more playability may prefer the Rounded C or ’50s Vintage profiles.

Slim Taper Neck Profiles

Gibson’s Slim Taper neck profiles are designed for players who prefer a thinner, more modern neck shape. These profiles are popular among rock and jazz guitarists who need a fast, comfortable playing experience.

Specifications and Measurements

The Slim Taper profile has a nut width of approximately 1.695 inches (43 mm) and a depth of around 0.800 inches (20.3 mm) at the first fret. The neck tapers down to about 0.850 inches (21.6 mm) at the 12th fret. This profile is thinner than vintage-style profiles like the Rounded or ’50s Vintage, which have a deeper, chunkier feel.

Variations

There are a few variations of the Slim Taper profile, each with slight differences in shape and feel:

  1. Standard Slim Taper: This is the most common Slim Taper profile, featuring a slightly flat back and a smooth, gradual taper from the nut to the heel.
  2. Asymmetrical Slim Taper: This profile has a slightly thicker bass side and a thinner treble side, providing a more ergonomic feel for some players.
  3. Slim Taper with Shoulders: This variation has a slightly more pronounced shoulder on the bass side of the neck, offering a bit more support for the thumb.

Advantages

  • Fast playing: The thinner neck allows for quick, effortless fretting and smooth transitions along the fretboard.
  • Reduced hand fatigue: Many players find that the Slim Taper profile reduces hand fatigue during extended playing sessions.
  • Ideal for certain genres: The Slim Taper is well-suited for genres like rock and jazz that require precise, fast playing.
  • Comfort for smaller hands: Players with smaller hands may find the Slim Taper profile more comfortable than thicker, vintage-style profiles.

Asymmetric Slim Taper Neck Profiles

Gibson’s Asymmetric Slim Taper neck profiles are designed to provide a comfortable and ergonomic playing experience. These necks have a unique shape that is thicker on the bass side and thinner on the treble side.

Specifications

The Asymmetric Slim Taper profile features a nut width of 1.695 inches (43 mm), similar to the standard Slim Taper profile. However, the main difference lies in the asymmetrical shaping of the neck. The bass side of the neck is slightly thicker, typically measuring around 0.830 inches (21.1 mm) at the first fret. The treble side is thinner, measuring approximately 0.775 inches (19.7 mm) at the first fret.

This asymmetrical design continues along the length of the neck, with the bass side maintaining a slightly thicker profile compared to the treble side. At the 12th fret, the bass side typically measures around 0.880 inches (22.4 mm), while the treble side measures about 0.825 inches (21.0 mm).

Benefits

The asymmetrical shape of the neck is designed to fit more naturally in the player’s hand. The thicker bass side provides support for the thumb, while the thinner treble side allows for easier fretting and bending of the strings. This design can help reduce hand fatigue and increase playing comfort, especially during longer playing sessions.

The Asymmetric Slim Taper profile is particularly well-suited for players with smaller hands or those who prefer a neck with a more gradual taper. The thinner treble side can make it easier to reach the higher frets and perform fast, precise movements along the fretboard.

Comparison to Other Slim Taper Profiles

Compared to the standard Slim Taper profile, the Asymmetric Slim Taper offers a more ergonomic and contoured feel. The standard Slim Taper has a more uniform thickness across the width of the neck, while the Asymmetric Slim Taper has a distinct difference between the bass and treble sides.

The Asymmetric Slim Taper is also different from the Slim Taper profile with shoulders. The shouldered version has a more pronounced bump on the bass side of the neck, creating a more substantial feel in the hand. The Asymmetric Slim Taper, on the other hand, has a more gradual and continuous taper along the length of the neck.

Advanced Response Neck Profiles

Gibson’s Advanced Response neck profiles are designed to improve playability and comfort for guitarists. These profiles are based on feedback from professional players and use modern design and manufacturing techniques.

Combining Traditional and Modern Design

Advanced Response neck profiles start with classic Gibson profiles like the Rounded and Slim Taper. But they have updated shapes and contours to better fit the needs of current players. They use both old and new design ideas to create necks that feel comfortable and familiar but perform better.

Better Playability and Comfort

Advanced Response neck profiles are shaped to be more playable and comfortable. The neck is carved to fit your hand well, so you can move up and down the fretboard easily. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing single notes or chords, these necks give a good balance of support and room to move.

The edges of the neck are smooth and rounded to avoid any discomfort, even when playing for a long time. The back of the neck is slightly asymmetrical to match the natural shape of your palm and fingers. This ergonomic design reduces fatigue and strain while playing.

Responsive Feel and Tonal Benefits

Advanced Response necks are made to respond well to your playing and have a dynamic feel. The specific shaping and finishing methods used to build them make the necks very sensitive to your technique. This allows you to have more expressive control over the sound.

The wood choices and how the necks are made give them the right mix of stiffness and flexibility. This lets the neck vibrate well, which adds to a full, lively tone. Whether playing soft fingerpicking or hard strumming, these necks give you a solid base for your playing style.

Works Well for Many Genres

Gibson’s Advanced Response neck profiles work for many types of music and playing styles, including rock, country, jazz, and blues. The comfortable and responsive feel lets you switch between techniques and playing demands easily.

Gibson Acoustic Guitars Neck Profiles

Vintage Round Profile

Gibson acoustic models with the Vintage Round profile include:

Slim Taper Profile

Gibson acoustic models featuring the Slim Taper profile include:

  • Gibson J-45 Studio
  • Gibson Hummingbird Studio
  • Gibson SJ-200 Studio

Advanced Response Profile

Gibson acoustic models with the Advanced Response profile include:

  • Gibson Montana Hummingbird Standard
  • Gibson Montana J-45 Standard
  • Gibson Montana SJ-200 Standard

Gibson Electric Guitar Neck Profiles

Gibson offers a wide range of electric guitar models with various neck profiles:

’50s Vintage profile

  • Gibson Les Paul Standard
  • Gibson Les Paul Junior
  • Gibson SG Junior

Slim Taper profile

  • Gibson Explorer
  • Gibson Flying V
  • Gibson Firebird
  • Gibson Les Paul Classic
  • Gibson Les Paul Studio
  • Gibson Les Paul Special
  • Gibson SG Standard
  • Gibson SG Special
  • Gibson Nighthawk
  • Gibson M2

Rounded profile

  • Gibson Les Paul Traditional
  • Gibson Les Paul Tribute
  • Gibson ES-175
  • Gibson ES-275

Rounded C profile

  • Gibson ES-335
  • Gibson ES-339
  • Gibson ES-355

Comparing Acoustic and Electric Gibson Neck Profiles

Gibson’s neck profiles for acoustic and electric guitars have key differences that affect playability and sound. Understanding these distinctions can help you choose the right guitar for your playing style and tonal preferences.

Acoustic vs. Electric: Playability Considerations

Acoustic guitars often have thicker, more substantial neck profiles compared to electric guitars due to the structural requirements of an acoustic guitar. Profiles like the Vintage Round or Advanced Response on Gibson acoustics provide a comfortable, supportive feel for fingerpicking and strumming.

Electric guitar necks tend to be thinner and more streamlined. Profiles such as the Slim Taper or Asymmetric Slim Taper are designed for fast, fluid playing and easy access to the higher frets, making them well-suited for lead guitar work and genres like rock and metal.

Related: What is the Difference Between Acoustic Guitar and Electric-Acoustic Guitar

Sound Implications: Acoustic vs. Electric

On an acoustic guitar, a thicker neck profile can contribute to a fuller, warmer tone by allowing more vibration transfer from the strings to the body. This is why many Gibson acoustics, like the J-45 and Hummingbird, have chunky neck profiles that complement their rich, balanced sound.

For electric guitars, the neck profile has a more subtle impact on tone. Thinner necks, like those found on Gibson’s ES and SG models, can provide a snappier, brighter sound due to less mass in the neck. However, the pickups and amplifiers play a larger role in shaping the overall tone.

Wrap Up

Gibson’s diverse neck profiles cater to various playing styles and preferences. Rounded, Rounded C, and ’50s Vintage profiles offer a comfortable, vintage feel, while Slim Taper and Asymmetric Slim Taper profiles prioritize fast, effortless playing. Advanced Response necks combine traditional and modern design for improved playability and tone. Understanding the differences between acoustic and electric neck profiles empowers guitarists to choose the perfect instrument for their needs.

Gibson Neck Profiles: FAQs

What neck profile does a Les Paul have?

Most Les Pauls feature a rounded ’50s-style neck profile, which is thicker and more substantial. This shape provides a comfortable grip and is well-suited for players with larger hands. However, some modern Les Paul models offer slimmer neck profiles, such as the ’60s SlimTaper, to cater to different preferences.

Which Gibson has the slimmest neck?

The Gibson guitar with the slimmest neck is typically the SG (Solid Guitar) model. The SG often features a SlimTaper neck profile, which is thinner and more modern-feeling compared to the thicker, rounded profiles found on many Les Pauls. The slim neck allows for faster playing and is a popular choice among guitarists with smaller hands.

What is a Gibson ’50s neck profile?

The Gibson ’50s neck profile is a thick, rounded shape that was common on Gibson guitars during the 1950s. This profile is characterized by its substantial feel and a more gradual transition from the back of the neck to the fingerboard. Many players find this shape comfortable, especially for chording and rhythm playing. The ’50s profile is often associated with vintage-style Gibson guitars.

What is a Gibson SlimTaper neck profile?

The Gibson SlimTaper neck profile is a thinner, more modern neck shape that was introduced in the early 1960s. This profile features a slimmer design that tapers towards the headstock, hence the name “SlimTaper.” Many players find this neck shape more comfortable for fast playing and bending strings. The SlimTaper profile is commonly found on Gibson SG models and some Les Paul variants.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

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