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Fretboard thickness.. Vintage vs New..

Melodyman

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Aug 11, 2012
Messages
190
Noticing that it appears the fretboards on the vintage Pauls seem to be less thick than their reissue counterparts. Looking at and playing a few old then new, there seems to be a trend of thinner boards on the old ones. Any thoughts on this?
 

Wilko

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How can you tell how thick the fretboard is?
 

Wilko

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That was sort of a rhetorical question. We also have a post saying 10mm.

A few years back I did some calculations based on the stated radius projected from the edge binding thickness which gets us an overall fretboard thickness. I'll look for those drawings and see what I came up with.

Here's some reference:

With a 12" radius and binding thickness of 4mm, the fretboard center thickness will be 5.16mm
 
Last edited:

RandK

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Joined
Jun 12, 2004
Messages
119
I spent too much time looking at this when trying to decode the nuts. All of the historics I looked at were right at .250" at the crown of the fretboard. Since Gibson cuts the nut slots deeper than the plane of the neck it's difficult to measure directly. Going backwards from the binding height as Wilko did is useful but a small variation in the fretboard radius makes a difference to the calculation. I'd have to say all my vintage guitars are 12" radius but not real close when looking with a radius gauge. My vintage guitars calculate out to between .215" - .220" assuming 12" radius. At least one has been refretted but I don't know the if board was planed. As another data point I bought a box of vintage (60's) Gibson BRW fretboards from an estate sale and they are all exactly .225 at the crown. These boards have just been radiused but not inlayed or sanded, profiled, slotted etc so they would lose a little thickness as they were completed.
 

El Gringo

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Apr 8, 2015
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I realize now, that I immediately think of the thickness at the edge of the board, rather than the center. :hmm
Tom could I please ask you about the 2012 R 9's that had the two piece fingerboards ? the reason I ask is because now the new CITES 2 regulations have come out and I have been reading about the travel issues with instruments containing East Indian Rosewood have been put into a similar category as Brazilian Rosewood (what in the world is happening with all of this furniture being built and issues of supply and sustainable harvest have creped up for of all things East Indian Rosewood ) I do know the feds confiscated Rosewood from Gibson in 2012 and hence the two piece boards but I do not know enough about specifically the 2012 R9's and the issues involved and their said desirability due to the two piece boards and was this something that the naked eye could see or was it underneath where it was glued to the mahogany necks and how did it affect tone and playability at all of the guitars and any insight and photos would be greatly appreciated ?
 

Tom Wittrock

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Aug 2, 2001
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42,567
Tom could I please ask you about the 2012 R 9's that had the two piece fingerboards ? the reason I ask is because now the new CITES 2 regulations have come out and I have been reading about the travel issues with instruments containing East Indian Rosewood have been put into a similar category as Brazilian Rosewood (what in the world is happening with all of this furniture being built and issues of supply and sustainable harvest have creped up for of all things East Indian Rosewood ) I do know the feds confiscated Rosewood from Gibson in 2012 and hence the two piece boards but I do not know enough about specifically the 2012 R9's and the issues involved and their said desirability due to the two piece boards and was this something that the naked eye could see or was it underneath where it was glued to the mahogany necks and how did it affect tone and playability at all of the guitars and any insight and photos would be greatly appreciated ?

My experience is limited to the CC#4 Sandy series. I have found no problems or issues when playing these. I see no way to make a tonal comparison, short of replacing the fingerboard [which of course, I won't do]. The laminate is not visible unless the nut or the binding is removed.
 

El Gringo

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My experience is limited to the CC#4 Sandy series. I have found no problems or issues when playing these. I see no way to make a tonal comparison, short of replacing the fingerboard [which of course, I won't do]. The laminate is not visible unless the nut or the binding is removed.
Thank you Tom .
 

Tim Plains

Active member
Joined
Aug 1, 2013
Messages
708
Why on earth do people think 2012 fretboards affect playability? It's not like the top fretboard moves around. It doesn't affect playability, it doesn't affect sound, the only thing it does affect is resale if you're dealing with educated buyers.
 
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