Gibson Guitars explained


Gibson Guitars explained. Whether you are looking to purchase a new guitar or already own a Gibson, you may need to know more about the anatomy of these instruments. This article will provide you with an overview of the significant components of a Gibson guitar. These include the body, neck, frets, pickguard, and strings.


Whether you’re just getting started or an advanced player, the neck of your Gibson guitar is an important decision. The shape of the neck has a great deal to do with overall comfort. It is also the one design feature that can impact your playability most.

There are three main shapes, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The V-shape is the oldest, while the C-shape and U-shape are the newest and most popular. The C-shape is probably the most practical, allowing you to easily play the entire neck length.

The U-shape, on the other hand, is a little more difficult to find today in electric guitars. It is reminiscent of the classic guitar necks of the early 1900s but with rounded edges and a flat center back. It’s a good choice for players with big hands.

The D-shape is another excellent choice for players with large hands. Its angled sides allow for more effortless movement between strings. This makes it a perfect choice for players playing fast passages.

The C-shape is also an excellent choice for most players. It’s a relatively thin neck that is ideal for players with longer fingers. The V-shape isn’t a wrong choice either. It’s more versatile since it’s split into a soft V and a hard V.


Whether you are a musician who needs a high-quality guitar or want a nice guitar to play, Gibson has some great guitars available. The necks on most of the Gibson models are made from mahogany. Some models feature maple or rosewood fingerboards. This adds cutting and tightness to the guitars.

In addition to the mahogany necks, some Gibson models use alder or ash body wood. These woods are often less expensive than mahogany or maple. However, they do not offer the same dampening for the strings as softer materials. The sound is also a bit brighter than more delicate materials.

The Gibson brand has produced many famous guitars. Among these are the ES-355, Les Paul, Explorer, and Flying V. These guitars are some of the best-selling in the world. They are popular with players from Angus Young to Slash.

The Gibson ES-335 was a solid body guitar with a more comprehensive sound range. It was designed for many different types of musicians. It was also known for its high sustain.

The Gibson ES-355 was a popular model praised for its versatile sound. The ES-355 has multiple custom versions and was played by John Lennon and B.B. King.

The guitars have an angled headstock and a tilted back headstock. These are usually found on mid to high-end guitars. The larger the sideways angle, the more pressure the string will have on the nut. This can affect how easy it is to keep the guitar in tune.

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During the early days of electric guitars, Gibson used a fret called the Vintage Fret Wire. This type of fret was short and thin.

More recent advancements in fret technology have produced longer-lasting frets. They have also expanded the time between re-frets.

A fret is a metal strip that divides the neck into fixed segments, allowing notes to be fretted. Each of these segments raises a note by a half-step. This changes the string’s vibrational length, which changes the note.

A fret can be made of nickel or brass. Although some players are allergic to nickel, it is a hard metal that will not rust.

The most common metal alloy used to make frets is German Silver, which contains approx. 18% nickel and copper. This alloy is not as hard as stainless steel but has a toughness level comparable to steel.

The frets on Gibson guitars are mostly standard medium jumbos. This is the size most common on Gibson models today. Interestingly, they are also used by many other manufacturers.

In the late 1960s through the 1970s, a new type of fret was used on some Gibson models. It was the first of its kind. It was a hefty tad more significant than the average, but not so big that it was a nuisance.

Using a jumbo fret can allow you to bend a string without exerting as much force. This translates to an increased resonance, and a higher degree of sustain.


Depending on the model, a guitar’s pickguard may be a decorative feature, a practical piece of equipment, or both. It can be made from various materials, including metal, glass, acrylic, fabric, and even gemstones. The material you choose for your pickguard will significantly affect the appearance of your guitar.

A Fender guitar pickguard is a piece of metal, usually held in place with screws. It is attached over a hole in the guitar’s body and accesses its electronics. The pickguard also serves as a protection for the guitar’s body and pickups.

A Gibson guitar pickguard is usually attached similarly to a Fender pickguard. However, Gibson also uses a style known as floating pickguards. These do not leave unsightly screw holes in the body. These are typically held in place with a metal brace.

Another popular option is a transparent pickguard, which can be easily removed. These are perfect for guitarists who don’t want a flashy look on their guitars. A smoked effect clear pickguard is a great way to display the natural wood of the guitar.

A guitar’s pickguard is not only a safety measure but can also help protect your guitar’s finish from scratches. This is especially important if you use a guitar with a polished soundboard. If you play aggressively with a pick, you can cause abrasions to the shiny surface of the guitar. This is not a problem with electric guitars, but it is possible with acoustic guitars.

String tree

Depending on the type of guitar, there are different string trees. Some will have rollers that allow for a smoother motion. Others are metal and may cause tuning issues. These are mostly found on bass guitars.

In general, a string tree is a small metal widget placed on the headstock to increase the angle of the strings while in the nut. This extra pressure helps keep the strings in the nut and prevents them from buzzing or popping out. It also stabilizes the neck tension on the guitar.

There are several types of string trees, including disc and butterfly styles. The disc style is the simplest. It looks like a disk with two grooves. It is used on bass guitars and is advantageous for thicker bass strings.

The butterfly style resembles the disc-style in that it looks like a tree. It has a built-in roller that allows for a smoother, fluid motion.

Some models are designed with a whammy bar. These will make the most out of your guitar’s nut by allowing for an increased angle and a better break angle. They will also reduce the noise of your strings when they go over the nut.

The most essential function of a string tree is to help maintain the correct break angle. This is critical for proper intonation. A guitar with a poor break angle will produce a dead-string sound.

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Choosing the correct nut is an essential part of your guitar. It will have an impact on your playability and also the tone of your open strings. A nut is also necessary for keeping the strings aligned with the headstock. A nut can be made from bone, graphite, or plastic.

The most common material used today is bone. This nut type is considered the best for tone and tuning stability. Unlike artificial materials, bone is naturally stable. Depending on the density of the bone, it can have different spots that are harder or softer. Despite the variance, bone still makes a great guitar nut.

Other materials used for guitar nuts include graphite and metal. These types of nuts are durable and have a bright sound. Some players prefer the sound of an ebony nut. An ebony nut can add depth and richness to an acoustic guitar.

Another option for a nut is TUSQ, a proprietary material created by Graph-Tech. This material is made using high heat and pressure. TUSQ is designed to transfer the correct frequencies to the guitar. This allows your strings to glide back into tune and provide rich harmonic content.

Many guitar manufacturers, including Gibson, use TUSQ for their guitar parts. They have a variety of models and have been used for years by guitar makers around the world.

Tuning Pegs

gibson guitars explained

The first thing you must understand about tuning a guitar is that each tuning peg will be slightly different on each side of the headstock. Turn the tuning peg to the side you want to adjust and then tune up or down. This will allow you to keep your strings in tune for longer. Once your guitar is tuned, you can change the string tension using tuning keys. You can find these on most guitars.

You can also use a locking tuner to help keep your guitar in tune. These tuners come with a metal mounting plate that acts as a stabilizer, making it easier to align the tuner with your guitar’s neck. These tuners are available in black or chrome and are designed to fit three by three or six-in-a-row pegs. These tuners are perfect for Epiphone and Gibson Les Paul guitars and are a good quality option.

A locking tuner is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a classic look. These tuners have a staggered post design, so the G and D strings are in the middle of the height, and the B and high E strings are at the shortest. The 6GLO tuners are perfect for acoustic and electric guitars and for Epiphone and Gibson Les Pauls. They are designed to fit vintage-style peg holes. They include mounting hardware and are easy to install.

The single tuning peg has a cylinder in a pinion gear, which connects the two pegs. You can check to ensure the peg is seated correctly by examining the teeth inside the gear. If you notice that the teeth have become stripped, you may need to replace the gears. This is especially true if you have an old, worn-out guitar.

When using a locking tuner on your guitar, you’ll want to use a tremolo bridge to keep the strings in place. This is an excellent way to get the best results from your guitar since the strings are more likely to stay in tune if they aren’t sliding around. However, if your tremolo isn’t working correctly, you might consider replacing the tuner.

When redrilling your tuners, avoiding hammering on the back of the headstock is a good idea. This can cause severe damage to the finish of the guitar. You can protect the back of the headstock with cloth or masking tape. It’s also a good idea to measure the screw thread on your old tuner and match it to your new one. You can then mark where the screw will go.

Tail Piece

gibson guitars explained

The purpose of a tailpiece is to hold the strings in place at the bridge, counterbalancing the tension they create. It’s a crucial part of the design of a guitar. A suitable tailpiece can help you achieve more resonance, sustain, and character. There are four common types of tailpieces used by luthiers.

Wrap Around: This is a popular choice amongst luthiers because it allows for more resonance and sustain. The strings must pass over a metal bar wrapped around the guitar’s body. However, some of the older varieties of wrap-around bridges can be difficult to tune, especially with thicker strings. Thankfully, some modern versions are more sensitive.

Stop: This is a more straightforward design but is also known for its ease of use. It has a simple metal alloy bar that attaches to two metal bolts. The bar is often made of zinc or aluminum. It’s a great fit for beginners, though it can cause strings to slip out of the slots. In addition, it has limited intonation adjustment. It’s a good choice for semi-solid guitars, and it’s usually used alongside a Tune-o-Matic bridge.

Trapeze: The original Gibson Les Paul design uses a trapeze tailpiece. It’s an extended piece that attaches to the guitar’s heel and has built-in slots to hold the strings. It’s a more secure option than a wrap-around tailpiece but also more complicated to string.

The best choice for your guitar depends on your playing style. A trapeze tailpiece provides a more natural resonance and is preferred by blues and jazz players. Because the strings are held by tension, they’re harder to restring than other tailpieces.

While most of these are made from brass, they can also be made from aluminum. They’re lightweight and have a good resonance. But you must ensure your guitar has 5/16″ clearance on the studs. If it doesn’t, you may be unable to use this tailpiece.

Some luthiers prefer aluminum tailpieces for their lighter weight and woodier vintage sound. Other players like them because they can add more upper harmonics to the sound. They might not fit on all import guitars, though. They are also known for their ability to capture the vintage aesthetics of older equipment. But they’re not as good at transmitting vibrations as a zinc tailpiece. Luckily, you can find a suitable aluminum tailpiece for your guitar, which might even improve your performance.

Choosing a tailpiece that is strong enough to hold the strings in place without falling out is essential. If your tailpiece is weak, the guitar will go out of tune. It’s also necessary to keep the tension of the strings distributed evenly. If you don’t, you might return your guitar after switching pickups.


Seymour Duncan’s Alternative 8

Whether you’re looking for a high-end guitar or a vintage tone, Gibson pickups can help you get the most out of your instrument. From the PAF to the Dirty Fingers, there are a lot of choices out there.

The PAF pickup is the true-name classic and an excellent choice for clean and dirty channels. It’s available in both neck and bridge configurations, and it can be customized with a variety of styles.

The Seymour Duncan Alternative 8 pickup is another excellent option, and it’s worth considering if you’re in the market for a new one. It’s a throwback to early Seymour Duncan design and a versatile pickup that works well in most guitars equipped with humbuckers.

The Phat Cat pickup from Seymour Duncan has an Alnico 2 magnet, which produces a warm tone and is perfect for playing chords. The vacuum wax potting on the Phat Cat helps it sound clean, and the silver nickel bottom plate adds a nice touch.


Whether you’re a classic Gibson Les Paul player or a modern rock guitarist, you can’t go wrong with a set of humbuckers. They’re engineered to handle gain and offer a rich tone, a fat bottom, and a crisp top end.

The PAF pickup is a particular type of humbucker. It features two conductors and a reverse-wound coil that cancels extraneous noise when combined with the neck or bridge. It’s a favorite for many guitar players. It’s also available in a neck-only version.

Seymour Duncan’s Pearly Gates pickup is a good choice for replicating the vintage LP sound. It’s an excellent fit for all mahogany Gibson models and offers a tight midrange and clear upper end. It’s a perfect replacement for the stock pickups on your Gibson.


Designed by Joseph Raymond Butts, the Filter-Tron pickup is a humbucker with a unique twist. It has more compact dimensions than traditional humbuckers and is made of copper wire. In addition, it has a low impedance feature that makes the tone louder.

The pickup uses a bobbin that holds the wire in a coil in a consistent shape. The larger the bobbin, the higher the output. However, at the extremes, the sound can be harsh. A bobbin also protects the wire and coil.

The Filter-Tron pickup has two rows of adjustable pole pieces. It also has a magnet that is wider than PAFs. This results in a smoother and more focused sound. It also has a treble snarl.

Filter-Trons have a high sensitivity to height settings. They respond best when the magnet is close to the strings. A good example is when switching from the neck to the bridge.

Fender’s attempt at a modern, high-output humbucker

Whether you’re playing a Gibson guitar or an Epiphone LP model, there’s no denying that a humbucker is essential. These pickups are designed to produce a fat tone with various highs and lows and plenty of harmonics.

Gibson has long been the premier manufacturer of pickups, leading the way with countless innovations. These include the PAF, the first-ever humbucker, and the mini-humbucker, which features a bright sound and increased output. You can also find active humbuckers, which use active circuitry to provide more gain than passive pickups. These are great for metal players and jazz musicians, providing the thump you’d expect from a humbucker without the extraneous noise.

P90 pickups are known for their raspy, funk-friendly tones. They are also suitable for rock, blues, and jazz. A typical P90 is a single-coil pickup, but they can be stacked in a humbucker. This is because P90s are more comprehensive than the typical single-coil.


gibson guitars explained

Depending on the model, Gibson guitars can have several different controls. Generally speaking, there are two types of controls: volume and tone. While both are important, they aren’t necessarily the same. The difference lies in how each control interacts with each pickup.

Gibson-style guitars have a unique three-way pickup selector switch. This allows the player to choose between the neck and bridge pickups. In addition to this, the tone control is available on each pickup. The tone control enables the player to adjust the signal frequency, allowing the user to get a brighter or warmer sound. Other guitars may include other controls, such as effects.

Another exciting feature is the Gibson ‘zero frets’ device. This essentially allows the player to make string height adjustments. The guitarist can adjust the strings to a higher setting without altering the pickups.

Some Gibson guitars feature coil splitting, a way of splitting the humbucker pickup into two single coils. The benefit is that the player can easily switch between humbucker and single coil tones. Other guitars may feature other controls, such as a master controller that serves as a single output for both pickups.

In Gibson Les Pauls, a three-way pickup selector switch is available. This switch allows the player to select the neck bridge pickup or both. Other models of Gibson guitars have a similar feature, but the tone control is independent of the pickups.

1958 Gibson Explorer

Traditionally, electric guitars have a pickup selector switch and a master volume control. In this model, the pickup selector switch is connected to the outer tag of the volume control, and the tone control is connected to the middle tag. In the Gibson Les Paul, a pickup selector switch is connected to the pickup signal wire, and the tone control is connected to the sweeper output lug of the volume pot. In addition to this, some guitars feature a ‘toggle’ switch that activates in three different positions. The ‘toggle’ switch is a unique circuit that changes the selector in response to a pull of the knob.

Besides the pickup selector switch, the Gibson ES and SG Series have two volume controls. Both of these are coupled, which allows for quick switching between pickups. There are also other features on some of the more modern models. For instance, the SG and ES guitars have a three-way pickup selector, which is a bit of a novelty.

Finally, the neck and bridge tone controls are great for taming icepick treble and getting closer to the tone of a humbucker. For example, the neck tone control can reduce the “shrill” sound of the guitar, while the bridge tone control can emulate pedal steel. Modern manufacturers have added other features to their guitars, including built-in modeling. However, the standard set of guitar controls has stood the test of time. You’ll find it among the many Gibson models if you’re looking for an electric guitar with a rich history.