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The Binding in the Cutaway

The Butcher

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Nov 25, 2004
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Why is the binding in the cutaway fat on some LPs? Why does it look like it was incorrectly masked on some LPs? Like it was masked for the skinny binding, but the fat binding is plain to see underneath. I think it looks kinda sloppy. Why do they do it that way? My LP Classic is one of the few I've seen that does not have this (it does, but you can barely tell). You guys HAVE to know what I'm talking about!
 

dukeofblues

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Jan 17, 2003
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Personally..I have no idea, but Welcome to the LPF!

I am sure others will chime in soon regarding this issue.

I just play the things ;)

:duke

:welcome :couch
 

modoc_333

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Oct 29, 2003
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you aren't seeing fat binding underneath. on guitars with thin binding in the cutaway, that other line you see under the finish is where the maple top meets the mahogany body. i think that the thin binding looks neater because it is uniform. the thick binding looks sloppy to me.
 

FretNot

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Jul 9, 2003
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Here's a picture of Justahack's R9 which shows a thin binding which shows a sliver of the maple cap in the cutaway.



Later Standards and Classics have binding that covers the entire maple cap.

2648_p36467.jpeg
 

Modtourman

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Sep 27, 2003
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The Historic Les Pauls use the original period correct binding size in the cutaway. I prefer it...some don't. It appears that Gibson USA still likes the appearance of the thick binding as well. I admit that when I was younger I used think the cutaway binding looked odd on the old vintage Les Pauls. It's funny how I (and many others) now think the opposite is true.
 

Hackubus

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Dec 20, 2001
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I find myself more & more using Tivo to pause music videos if there's a burst present to see if the cutaway binding is thin or thick. Still haven't figured out if Mick Jones' (the Clash) burst that he used is a 50s.
 

les strat

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Aug 22, 2004
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I personally like the thicker binding as I think it is tidier. But I am one of the few that thinks a few slight cosmetic differences (modern tuners, slight binding variances, different knobs, various pickups, etc.) between modern and vintage-based intruments is no big deal. This is not a quality issue. When a company compromises the integrity of the instument (build quality are sacrificed for profit) or redesigns it totally is when I have a problem.
 

telecast

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Feb 11, 2002
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The Butcher said:
Why does it look like it was incorrectly masked on some LPs? Like it was masked for the skinny binding, but the fat binding is plain to see underneath.

FYI: Binding isn't masked. It's painted over and then scraped off. Some say the guy who scrapes bindings has the most important job in the plant. A bad scraping job will screw up the guitar's aesthetics and send it back to paint for repairs.

I don't know that it's the most important, but it certainly has to be the most nerve-wracking. I've refinished a half dozen guitars with binding. Scraping is truly an art, and one that I suck at. I'll bet you'd have to do a hundred guitars to get really good.
 

The Butcher

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Nov 25, 2004
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Oh, so that's the maple I'm seeing. Interesting. But it still looks sloppy.

As far as the binding scaper guy goes, he must have had a bad day when he worked on my SG then. The neck binding has OBVIOUS OVERSPRAY on it, close to the nut.

I know I know. PICTURES! I have no image host though.
 

Cherryburst

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Jan 18, 2004
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The Butcher said:
Oh, so that's the maple I'm seeing. Interesting. But it still looks sloppy.

As far as the binding scaper guy goes, he must have had a bad day when he worked on my SG then. The neck binding has OBVIOUS OVERSPRAY on it, close to the nut.

I know I know. PICTURES! I have no image host though.


If you have a thin binding Classic, count yourself lucky. Those are becoming collectable. I bet yours says Les Paul 'Model' on the headstock instead of 'Classic' . You should hang on to that one. :)

On the SG, I had a red 80s SG with an ebony Custom block style fretboard. There was a redish tint to the neck bindings and it was stamped #2 on the back of the headstock because of the cosmetic flaw. No big deal really, mine was a great player and I should have kept it. :duke
 

The Butcher

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Nov 25, 2004
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Cherryburst said:
If you have a thin binding Classic, count yourself lucky. Those are becoming collectable. I bet yours says Les Paul 'Model' on the headstock instead of 'Classic' . You should hang on to that one. :)


No, mine is not an early 90's, it's a 2004 that came from Gibson a few weeks ago. It has the thin binding, and the red from the Cherryburst covers the maple cap (which gets fat in the cutaway, right?). I actually like the look of the fat binding.

As was really freaked out, because I read so many horror stories on the internet about the overall LACK of quality control at Gibson these days. But my classic came that day, and when I pulled it out of the case, everyone was like "Wow." And one of the first things I looked at was the cutaway. I guess I got lucky, because it looks fine.
 

davegeetar

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Sep 6, 2003
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telecast said:
FYI: Some say the guy who scrapes bindings has the most important job in the plant. A bad scraping job will screw up the guitar's aesthetics and send it back to paint for repairs.

I don't know that it's the most important, but it certainly has to be the most nerve-wracking.

When I visited the Custom Shop, they reinforced the notion that it was a crucial part of the process, with no margin for error. There are a number of people who scrape the binding, but the most respected scrapers I was told are two elderly women who have been doing it for years! They are the experts and never make mistakes. :)
 

Big Daddy Class

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Jan 11, 2020
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When I visited the Custom Shop, they reinforced the notion that it was a crucial part of the process, with no margin for error. There are a number of people who scrape the binding, but the most respected scrapers I was told are two elderly women who have been doing it for years! They are the experts and never make mistakes. :)
recycling a ghost thread here. Was looking up a "binding question" and came to this thread. Scrolling down to say what @davegeetar says above. In my experience at Gibson, i have never seen a man doing the scraping. It is women and the average age seems to be about 75. It is (by my estimation) easilly the most labor intensive part of building a LP.
 

metropolis

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Sep 14, 2018
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Are there hard and fast dates or model runs when they did the binding a certain way? Any reason why one is more preferable than the other?

Across my models I have...

Thin binding: 1972 Custom, 2002 Standard, 2015 Deluxe

Thick binding: 1989 Standard

The maple sliver is really obvious on the 2015 deluxe but the 2002 standard is hard to spot as it's been finished much darker.
 

Wim06

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Jan 23, 2018
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1992 '59 reissue: thin binding

1992 standard: thick binding

For making my LPs myself now, doing a thin binding is more difficult than a thick one I think... (only did thin ones) Glueing a thin binding properly and neat is not so easy.
 
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