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Les Paul Long neck Tenons, what are they and what does it mean?

By  Bob Glastetter | Published  12/27/2006 | Guitars
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Les Paul Long neck Tenons, what are they and what does it mean?

? There has been a lot of talk lately about “Long neck Tenons” and differences between guitars that have this construction method and those that don’t.? Primarily these are Les Pauls or Les Paul copies. So I’ll try to show an example of what this is and how it works. See pic below at end of article!

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? First a history lesson. Back in the glory years of Gibson, circa 1950’s to 1960 the construction method used to join the guitar neck to the body had a long tenon on it. Basically what that means is that the neck went all the way into and under the neck pickup cavity. The neck was longer than the fretboard. The “Bursts” and early Goldtops used this design and many players/collectors are convinced that this method adds sustain and clarity to the guitar by making it more stable and enhancing resonance. So let’s fast forward. Until the recent Historic lines came out and now the V.O.S. series Gibson has never made the Les Paul the same way as they did in the “Glory years”. When they left for Nashville the?Kalamazoo production was stopped?and Gibson?changed the neck join method. Now the neck falls short of the front pickup and the fretboard extends onto the body. There is a smaller amount of mass actually holding the neck to the body.

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? What’s the advantage of this type method? ?Well I’ve had the chance to own and play guitars of different neck joint methods and I really believe that the Long Neck Tenons are superior. The guitars are more resonant with better sustain and more clarity, less “muddy” sounding than the normal Les Paul line and have a better overall tonal balance. It is something you notice more as a player, I don’t think any one in the audience will know, they’ll just know your guitar sounds good. I can really tell the difference when comparing 2 guitars together, one with and one without the tenon. I think the added price is worth it for the improved tonal benefits.

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??There are some more affordable Les Paul copies that feature this method. Tokai, Greco, Edwards, and the Epiphone Elitist series. These are Made in? Japan copies and can be harder to find but they are much more affordable than the new Gibsons if your wallet can’t handle the expense. I have included a pic of the tenon from a Epi Elitist Les Paul. I would add that these MIJ guitars are very close to the real Gibson Long Neck Tenon but not exactly as long or deep as Gibson uses.

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