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What Year Did Gibson Start Using Narrow Tall frets On R7's? Neck Shape?

Bruce R

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Mar 2, 2007
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950
I see that recent R7's are now sold with the period-correct narrow, tall frets. Which year did they start this practice? I am really wanting to know the last year Gibson used the med-jumbo frets on R7's.

Regarding neck shape. I have played 1956 & 57 Goldtops and the necks are nowhere near as large as the reissues. The recent reissues are said to have a "Chunky C-shaped neck", so I am wondering if they are any smaller than the notorious huge necks of the early 2000's reissues (then known as the "Chunky 50's" neck)? I have yet to find a neck larger than my old 2006 R8, which was essentially the same as an R7 of that era. What year did they change from Chunky 50's necks to Chunky C-Shaped necks? Is there any real difference or do the recent ones have smaller "hips"?
 
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Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
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14,294
Period correct is not narrow/tall. At least not on any vintage Gibson Les Paul I've owned or played. Narrow/tall is often used to distinguish the fret size on pre jumbo fret Les Pauls, Jrs and Specials from the ultra low/flat and narrow Custom model fretwire, (fretless wonder). I haven't seen this new fret yet, but if it is period correct it could never be considerd tall, by any measure. I can't imagine any demand for such a fret.

There is a popular 6105 narrow and tall fret similar to that used in 1999 and 2000 that would be more practical and popular, but would be taller than the present lower jumbo. I wonder if this is what they are using?? It seems like a solution to a problem that didn't exist. What's next only fretless wonder Customs.

If this ever was an issue dealer special runs would have been done and I know of none. Special orders could have been made by individuals who had to have pre 1959 tiny frets but I wonder just how many requests for them have been made, if any??
 

Bruce R

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Mar 2, 2007
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950
Thanks, Big Al, it's always nice to have you chime in. I hear you on the frets not being period-correct and understand what you're saying. I would also speculate that perhaps they are using the 6105 fretwire, which is why Gibson specs them as "narrow, tall." So for the sake of discussion, let's just call them smaller frets.

1. Do you happen to know when Gibson started using the smaller frets on the R7's? Was it 2015 for the True Historic changes, or perhaps the updated (backdated?) 2018 specs?

2. Do you happen to know if the Chunky C-shape necks (for today's R7 & R8 models) are any smaller, or have less "hips" to them, than the Chunky 50's necks?
 

DANELECTRO

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Feb 24, 2003
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6,211
I have not played a new R7/R8 with these tall-narrow frets, but I’m curious about the feel. Any comments about whether they play more or less comfortably than the wider frets that have been used on Historics for the past 20 years? I greatly dislike the narrow-low frets used on vintage Gibson electrics up until 1959, but I’m assuming that the new Historic frets are taller?
 

27sauce

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Jul 9, 2007
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4,415
I have not played a new R7/R8 with these tall-narrow frets, but I’m curious about the feel. Any comments about whether they play more or less comfortably than the wider frets that have been used on Historics for the past 20 years? I greatly dislike the narrow-low frets used on vintage Gibson electrics up until 1959, but I’m assuming that the new Historic frets are taller?

I've spent the last two months playing my '20 R8 almost exclusively. I wasn't in love with the frets at first, to be honest. Everything feels higher, well, because it is...lol. The nut is higher, the bridge is higher.... that said, I'm able to set my action lower than usual, and it plays more consistently up and down the neck. I notice the ease of play on the higher frets. You can really get under the strings even with low action. I'm used to it now, and I can almost say I prefer them to the old frets. It feels more precise, it that makes sense. It did take some getting used to. The strings feel further off the board. For a while I was checking my action with a string gauge because it felt high, when in fact it was lower than my other guitars.
 
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Gold Tone

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Apr 2, 2002
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6,812
Dan it’s a personal thing. I love the smaller frets, always have. So for me it’s awesome that gold tops with P90 and ‘58 bursts from custom shop now come like this
 

EXPLRGAB

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Jul 4, 2020
Messages
74
I purchased a 2019 Wildwood Spec, R8 with 60s V2 neck profile and gloss finish @ 8.4 lbs in July 2020...just spectacular in every way....only upon receiving the guitar, did I realize the frets were ..PERIOD CORRECT. These frets are comparatively different from jumbos... for sure....in terms of describing PERIOD CORRECT frets, narrow/tall, in my view, does not accurately describe them. I am at a loss, even now, having looked into the PERIOD CORRECT, narrow tall frets, to accurately describe them...all I can say is they are a little less beefy than jumbos. At first, I was concerned and went thru a period adjustment in regard to third finger bends and pushing the vibrato at the height of the bend....I can execute that feel as a practical matter, but It is not as fluidly easy as it would be with jumbos....but i have adjusted and the only person that would notice that would be me.....I also offer that with the PERIOD CORRECT frets...the attack, again IMO, is a little sweeter, if that makes sense. I love this guitar...play it every day.....it is a keeper, no doubt.....that said...over the course of time, when I get it refretted.. will move to beefier fret wire...probably Gibson R59 Spec. I have already spoke to Joe Glazer's Shop, in Nashville, in regards to turn-around time...several weeks...and cost...approx $ 590.
 

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AA00475Bassman

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Apr 26, 2016
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I had a 56 jr with the tiny frets really struggled more than usual to play ! The R7- R8 are not as small did I say tiny ?
 

Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
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760
I've seen close up images of the fret wire used in Les Paul's prior the the introduction of 'jumbo' fret
wire in 1959. This early wire is totally different to any current fret wire I know.
Approximation is the best Gibson can do at the moment. IMHO.
 
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