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Neck and Headstock
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Gibson Memphis Proudly Presents the ES-339
Mythbusters: The ES and the Birth of Rock and Roll
Neck and Headstock
The neck of the Gibson Memphis ES-339 is constructed from one solid piece of quarter-sawn, lightweight mahogany for improved strength and resonance. The luthiers in Gibson Memphis carefully select the grain orientation of the mahogany used for necks to optimize tone and sustain.
The wood, construction, and headstock pitch all contribute greatly to the tone of the Gibson Memphis ES-339, aiding this guitar’s exceptional sustain and depth, and yielding a resonance that can be felt right through the body.
The Gibson Memphis ES-339 is offered with your choice of two neck profiles: a rounded ’59 profile replicates the slightly chunky yet fast carve of late ’50s Les Pauls and ES-335s, while a new 30/60 profile comes closer to the thin necks of the early ’60s, but with an added .030-inches of depth for increased comfort in the hand.
Gibson uses what is known as the mortise & tenon joint to bind neck to body so that the two pieces form one solid unit. On the Gibson Memphis ES-339, this technique incorporates the lauded “long neck tenon” which extends further into the body than the tenon on the necks of many other, later guitars, greatly enhancing resonance and sustain, as well as neck strength in general.
4° (+/- 15 seconds)
The adhesive used to join neck and body is Franklin Titebond 50, one of the strongest glues on the market today.
Just like the original ES-335s of the late ’50s and early ’60s, and many other classic Gibson models, the Gibson Memphis ES-339 headstock is carefully angled at Gibson’s traditional 17 degrees. This subtle yet crucial element of the guitar’s design increases pressure on the strings and helps them stay in the nut slots. An increase in string pressure also means there is no loss of string vibration between the nut and the tuners, which equals better sustain.
Gibson’s traditional truss rod, found in nearly all Gibson guitars, is highly responsive to the individual adjustments you’ll want to make to personalize and optimize string action and sustain.
The traditional, period-correct Gibson logo is inlaid in mother of pearl across the top of a holly headstock veneer, with the traditional holly mother of pearl inlay the center of the headstock face.
When fitting the neck and body together, we take advantage of our precise measuring equipment so that all angles, pitches and alignments maintain a proper tolerance. Not only does this help to keep your guitar in tune but it also maintains proper string alignment relative to the fingerboard.
Fingerboard and Nut
The Gibson Memphis ES-339 carries a rosewood fingerboard, the traditional fingerboard of the original ES-335 and several other classic Gibson electric guitars. Rosewood is both hardwearing and sonically superlative, adding sweetness and depth to the guitar’s overall sound.
The ES-339 carries 22 well-polished medium-jumbo frets, all of which are easily accessed by the player thanks to the guitar’s high neck/body joint.
Rosewood fingerboards are legendary for their rich, round tone, attributes that blend beautifully with the depth and dimension of the Gibson Memphis ES-339 to add further complexity to this guitar’s voice.
Gibson’s traditional 12-inch radius, used on the fingerboard of the Gibson Memphis ES-339, provides smooth note-bending capabilities and eliminates “dead” or “choked out” notes, common occurrences on fingerboards with lesser radiuses, and is another feature that has helped to make this guitar a blues-rock legend.
The Gibson Memphis ES-339 fingerboard carries mother-of-pearl dot inlays.
The nut on the Gibson Memphis ES-339 is made from Corian, a consistent, hardwearing substance that is considered tonally and structurally superior to bone. Its slots are cut with Gibson’s PLEK system to ensure precise fit, break angle, and string spacing.
The width of the nut on the Gibson Memphis ES-339 is approximately 1.687”, the traditional nut width of several great Gibson electric guitars.