Timetable of Epi's switch to the "narrow" nut width (1 9/16 inch)

For discussing nut widths, neck profiles, and other dimensions.
AlienVintage
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:14 pm

Timetable of Epi's switch to the "narrow" nut width (1 9/16 inch)

Postby AlienVintage » Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:53 am

I have recently been doing some research into this subject.

One of the "mysteries" of the early Epis is: when exactly did they switch from the "wide" nut width (approximately 1 11/16 inch) to the "narrow" nut width (approximately 1 9/16 inch)?

I actually believe the confusion over this nut width issue is potentially what scares some guys away from the early Epis (1963/64/65).

Well, I think I have some answers... (again, I *think* I do!)...

From what I can tell, the first Epis to get the narrow nut were: the earliest (late 1963) "batwing headstock"/asymmetrical body solidbodies.

I will just refer to them as the "batwing solidbodies" (Crestwood, Wilshire, Coronet, Olympic - these all received this same body starting in late 1963).

From what I have seen, every single one of these guitars will have the narrow nut - all the way back to the earliest ones that started appearing in late 1963.

I think the other Epis (semi-hollow and hollow) followed a slightly later timetable, in terms of the switch to the narrow nut. I think the Epi semi-hollow and fully hollow electrics, in contrast to the batwing solidbodies, followed the basic Gibson timeline, with the switch to the narrow nut occurring (by and large) around mid 1965 (approximately).

In fact, it is my belief that the "batwing solidbodies" might have been Gibson's first real "experiment" with the narrow nut. We can probably "thank" the batwing solidbodies for giving (or at least reinforcing) the idea, within Gibson, that the narrow nut was a good thing...

Of course, keep in mind that these are just trends, so individual guitars can (and will) vary when it comes to nut width.

Also, keep in mind that the commonly-quoted "1 11/16" nut width on Gibsons is actually almost always slightly less than 1 11/16 on the dot. As Charlie at es-335.org has documented, based on his actual hands-on measurements of about 150 pre-1965 Gibson ES 335/345/355s, the average measurement for "wide nut era" Gibsons is really about 1.6535 inches, which is between 1 5/8 and 1 11/16. So, if you measure your Epi's nut width at over 1 5/8, it is essentially "wide"...

RAB
Posts: 152
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:31 pm

Re: Timetable of Epi's switch to the "narrow" nut width (1 9/16 inch)

Postby RAB » Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:43 pm

I agree with you about the nut thickness timeframe. The nut on my mid-1963 Wilshire is fairly narrow. However, it is quite beefy front to back so that helps provide a good, solid playing feel!

AlienVintage
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:14 pm

Re: Timetable of Epi's switch to the "narrow" nut width (1 9/16 inch)

Postby AlienVintage » Fri Mar 04, 2016 3:57 pm

I am fascinated by your 63 Wilshire. That is definitely the "front edge" of when that body style must have first appeared!

RAB
Posts: 152
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:31 pm

Re: Timetable of Epi's switch to the "narrow" nut width (1 9/16 inch)

Postby RAB » Fri Mar 04, 2016 9:22 pm

Yes, there are some unique features that I characterize as prototype. One is the differing cut to pickguard up by the end of the fingerboard. The other is the use of plastic as opposed to metal buttons on the tuners.