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how do richlite fingerboards sound?

#1 User is offline   MarlleyB 

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 08:26 PM

how do they compare to say, ebony in tone? it looks like ebony. dark and smooth, not much grain...
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#2 User is offline   SteveFord 

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 02:46 AM

Tone, I honestly don't know how much you can say fret board material matters (compared to a pick up or something) but there is a considerable difference in feel to my fat little fingers. Ebony offers more resistance than the synthetic materials.
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#3 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 04:52 AM

View PostMarlleyB, on 16 May 2015 - 08:26 PM, said:

how do they compare to say, ebony in tone?


Heck if I know. Ebony is desirable because of its hardness. Synthetic ebony is harder than ebony, looks like ebony... I don't notice a big difference in tone or feel, even compared to rosewood (but I'm no real connoisseur). But I like it! I guess ebony is becoming pretty scarce - and regulated - so richlite is environmentally considerate.
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#4 User is offline   JM2112 

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Posted 24 May 2015 - 05:47 PM

I have richlite on one of my Martin acoustic guitars that I bought in 2010, and I love it! It's very dense and smooth, and string bends are a breeze! Tone-wise, good luck trying to attribute any difference to tone, especially with an electric guitar. If there's going to be any problems with tone it would be more readily noticeable on an acoustic guitar, and I sure don't hear any. It's a great fret board material.
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#5 User is offline   merciful-evans 

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 10:58 AM

It sounds fine.

Its much like the 'resonator' fingerboards on Hagstroms. Can sound odd acoustically, but that is lost once you plug in.
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#6 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 07 June 2015 - 09:26 AM

I have played Martins and Gibsons with richlite boards. My opinion is on a $800 guitar, okay, on a $3000 guitar, not on your life.
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#7 User is offline   arlum 

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 12:01 AM

Just my opinion. Yours may differ and I respect it.

I wish Gibson had never discovered Richlite or back of the headstock auto-tuners no matter what they call them.

Gibson's better than this. Profit margin be damned. Richlite will never be as good as real Rosewood or Ebony and guitarists willing to invest their hard earned cash in a high quality Gibson guitar can surely tune their own freakin' axe.

What is this world coming to?[rolleyes] O:)
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#8 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 05:14 AM

Richlite is a synthetic substitute for ebony, which Gibson used on high end guitars. The problem is that Richlite is a low end fretboard material, so it's kind of out of place on Custom level guitars. It's just fake wood.
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#9 User is offline   Blueblooded 

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 05:20 AM

As for the current Gibsons in the family, I have Richlite on my Midtown Custom, Ebony on my Martin acoustic and my son's Flying V, and Rosewood on my Les Paul Traditional Pro II and my son's ES339. As far as tone difference, I don't think there is any. As far as playability and maintenance and looks, the Richlite is the best hands down. Ebony is a close second. Have had dozens of others and played hundreds of others and this is just what we both think.

I agree that I hate most of what Gibson has done in the way of feature changes since 2014. I can live with Richlite. Easily.
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#10 User is offline   Blueblooded 

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 05:24 AM

View Postbadbluesplayer, on 08 June 2015 - 05:14 AM, said:

Richlite is a synthetic substitute for ebony, which Gibson used on high end guitars. The problem is that Richlite is a low end fretboard material, so it's kind of out of place on Custom level guitars. It's just fake wood.

I agree with you on this too. Still would perfer Ebony on a classic like a Les Paul Custom or similar high end model.
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#11 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 07:10 AM

View Postarlum, on 08 June 2015 - 12:01 AM, said:

I wish Gibson had never discovered Richlite or back of the headstock auto-tuners no matter what they call them.


Totally agree on the auto-tuners. Disagree on the richlite. But I agree with FZ Fan -- I'd want ebony on a $3,000 guitar, even though richlite is a really good substitute.
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#12 User is offline   arlum 

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 02:54 PM

I own a Gibson Custom Shop CS-336 F Wildwood Spec. I bought "new" for $3300.00 . I love everything about it and would have, in hindsight, considered passing it up a huge mistake. I am so so happy with this axe! It has a rosewood board. Had the write up on the Wildwood site listed Richlite as the fretboard material I'd have gone looking elsewhere. In this price range I want real wood. It's not so much whether it works or is easy to use. It's more about expecting to get exactly what you want when making a high dollar purchase.
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#13 User is offline   merciful-evans 

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Posted 13 June 2015 - 03:35 PM

We all have our preferences. I am not fond of rosewood for fretboards.
I personally wouldnt pay more than 1000 (about $1500) for a guitar with a rosewood fingerboard.

I carefully choose my 2015 gibson for its torrified maple fingerboard.
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#14 User is online   Mike_L 

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 05:42 PM

I have an ES-355 (2014) with Richlite. It is the best sounding (and best looking) guitar I own when compared to my two LPs with rosewood boards. It is my opinion that nut material will affect tone more than fingerboard material. Hence, my -355 is currently in the shop for neck repair and I'm having a bone nut installed. I'm curious what the Ebony aficionados on this board have for nut material on their axes? Plastic?
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#15 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 05:52 AM

View PostMike_L, on 15 June 2015 - 05:42 PM, said:

I have an ES-355 (2014) with Richlite. It is the best sounding (and best looking) guitar I own when compared to my two LPs with rosewood boards. It is my opinion that nut material will affect tone more than fingerboard material. Hence, my -355 is currently in the shop for neck repair and I'm having a bone nut installed. I'm curious what the Ebony aficionados on this board have for nut material on their axes? Plastic?

Doesn't the nut only affect your tone on 6 notes?
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#16 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 05:55 AM

Meant to say doesn't the nut only affect your tone on 6 notes open E,A,D,G,B, and and high e.
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#17 User is online   Mike_L 

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 05:06 PM

View PostFZ Fan, on 16 June 2015 - 05:55 AM, said:

Meant to say doesn't the nut only affect your tone on 6 notes open E,A,D,G,B, and and high e.


That makes sense, but... I recently installed a bone nut on one of my LPs and the tones coming out of her are phenomenally better than with the Tusq nut I replaced. Not just the open notes, everything. Maybe its just me.
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#18 User is offline   Dave F 

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Posted 20 June 2015 - 10:25 PM

I have Richlite on one of my Martin's and I haven't noticed any big difference. Time will tell.

Wear-wise I like ebony and the way it holds up but I have had it crack on one of my Gretschs.

Looks wise I like my maple fret boards.

Feel-wise, playing wise I prefer rosewood and have worn out a few boards.



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#19 User is offline   lolo_guitar 

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 09:32 AM

when i read all the negative comments about Richlite from neither luthiers neither pro
it's something like hilarious : it's like when i asked a question to a specialist
he told me that it was not because you read mahogany or alder that you could imagine how it would sound
so, it's the same here
it's like saying : "only locking tuners are the best" when some worldwide famous guitarists never used and never needed them, so ?

so, i just read that and i believe Gibson more :)
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#20 User is offline   Twang Gang 

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 01:11 PM

I recently bought a high end Custom Shop 356 that came with a Richlite fingerboard. If I didn't know that it was Richlite, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between it and Ebony, in it's tone or feel. After all, the strings are touching either the nut or the frets, not the actual fingerboard.

Being a synthetic it should have advantages of being consistent, not warping, and not shrinking so should never have fret sprout problems either. I've only had it for about 5 months, but so far everything is fine and the guitar sounds great.

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