Here's a major reason why Greco is superior to Gibson

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Jan 28, 2024
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Gibson doesn't know how to set a neck properly. In the first picture, we see three Gibson neck joints. The top is the rocker joint which Norlin came up with back in the 60's to replace the long tenon necks on vintage instruments. At the bottom of the pic is the modern long tenon les paul neck. Notice the part in the red circle. You see how there's that little step down where the neck heel meets the body? Gibson started doing this with rocker necks in order to cover the gap that will always exist with a rocker tenon. Before that type of tenon, the Gibson long tenon neck looked like the greco neck in the second picture. There was no step down to cover a gap, because there isn't supposed to be a gap.

Also notice that the long tenon gibson in the photo isn't firmly contacting the back of the body. only about 25% of it is actually in contact with the body. The same is true of the transitional neck. They are both supposed to be flat but the technician accidentally rounded them. For a long tenon to function like a long tenon, 100% of it has to contact the body. This is why the Greco long tenon is called the "large area contact" neck, because the amount of contact, not the length of the tenon, is the part that's important.

The only reason to lower the neck heel to overhang the body is to cover a gap between the neck and the body. But there shouldn't even be a gap between the neck and body, which is why Greco stuck with the original long tenon neck. Gibson has intentionally lowered the quality of construction in an important aspect and if you want a long tenon neck that is installed properly and functions like a long tenon should, then you might find one in a stack of 20 gibson les pauls. Gibson could increase the quality of their instruments vastly just by eliminating that step down at the neck heel.

This shoddy construction is why people say "The long tenon makes no difference, I have a short tenon and it sounds exactly the same as the long tenon". That's because the short and long neck tenons are both set improperly on gibsons. Gibson employees haven't been trained to properly set a neck since the 50's. They think that as long as the gap they leave is less than 1/8th inch then it's good.

Since Gibson allows for a gap between the neck and the body, they've changed the procedure for building the guitar so now the fretboard is attached to the neck before the neck is set. Before, the neck would have to be fitted to the body and then the top of the instrument would have to be shaved down so that the fretboard could go flush against the body. An exact fit of both the neck tenon on the back and the front was required. Now as long as the gap is small enough to be covered by the neck heel then it's acceptable. They've majorly sped up that step of the process but at the cost of a major decrease in the quality of the guitar. And they use this process on the most expensive guitar models they sell, not just the cheap ones.

In the third picture is a gibson historic model that has been disassembled and stripped to do a makeover on it. The neck is just sitting in the neck cavity and the straightedge on top of it demonstrates how big the gap is between neck and body

Fitting the neck to the body is a critical step and Gibson completely screws it up to lower costs. Their instruments cost more than they've ever cost and their quality control is lower than it's ever been. If the long tenon isn't in contact with the body all the way down the length of the tenon then there's no point even having a long tenon. You'd be better off with a bolt on neck. This alone is a main reason why Greco's always seem to be so superior to less gibsons. Setting the neck is critical if you want a guitar to sound and sustain like it should.


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greco mint collection neck versus 52 les paul and modern gibson


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