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Is it Mother of Pearl (MOP) or Pearloid?

#1 User is offline   silver_mica 

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 02:57 PM

I've got four Gibson guitars -

1992 Les Paul Custom Plus
1995 Les Paul Custom
2001 Les Paul Custom Shop

1997 ES-335 Dot Reissue

Not sure where I got this, but I had always thought of the inlays as plastic (pearloid) and the headstock using mother of pearl. A week or two ago someone was at my house and asked me if the inlays on my Les Paul guitars were mother of pearl - I said, no they weren't, but the headstock might have mother of pearl. It was then I saw that the material on the headstock looked similar to what was on the fretboard (not counting the yellowish lacquer color).

I didn't have too much luck with asking around. It seems you can't say with certainty based on year and model alone. So, I felt it's probably best to make that call on a case-by-case basis.

I decided to round up all the Gibson guitars and shoot a video and put the question out there: is it MOP or Pearloid?

The video above shows all four guitars and their fret markers and headstock logo. I tried to keep the time down - but it's ten minutes total.

Here is the YouTube link

The photos below are of the 1995 Les Paul Custom

Posted Image

Posted Image
1992 Gibson Les Paul Custom +, 2015 Taylor 414ce, 1999 Ibanez S-Series 7 string, 1997 Gibson ES-335, late 80s Kramer ST-200, Two Hello Kitty Guitars (one pink, one black), Ventura classical (70s? 60s?), Eastman acoustic AC222CE, Conqueror acoustic (bought for $30 used in 1991), Fender Mexican Stratocaster (2001), 1996 Fender Mexican Stratocaster, 5-string bass ESP/LTD D-5
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#2 User is online   FZ Fan 

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 08:21 AM

I've got a BB King and Gibson website says it s MOP Block Inlays.
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#3 User is offline   silver_mica 

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 05:22 PM

I'm not 100% sure - but it appears that all three of my Les Paul guitars have MOP fret markers (I've got two 90s LP Customs and one 2001 LP Custom Shop). I went to Guitar Center and found a Les Paul with markers that looked like mine and then had the clerk pull up the specs - and it said "pearl" in the description. But, I am curious to know the exact process of these pearl inlays.

 FZ Fan, on 30 August 2018 - 08:21 AM, said:

I've got a BB King and Gibson website says it s MOP Block Inlays.

1992 Gibson Les Paul Custom +, 2015 Taylor 414ce, 1999 Ibanez S-Series 7 string, 1997 Gibson ES-335, late 80s Kramer ST-200, Two Hello Kitty Guitars (one pink, one black), Ventura classical (70s? 60s?), Eastman acoustic AC222CE, Conqueror acoustic (bought for $30 used in 1991), Fender Mexican Stratocaster (2001), 1996 Fender Mexican Stratocaster, 5-string bass ESP/LTD D-5
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#4 User is online   FZ Fan 

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 09:31 PM

Like fake news it must be fake specs.
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#5 User is offline   MichaelT 

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 02:15 PM

 silver_mica, on 01 October 2018 - 05:22 PM, said:

I'm not 100% sure - but it appears that all three of my Les Paul guitars have MOP fret markers (I've got two 90s LP Customs and one 2001 LP Custom Shop). I went to Guitar Center and found a Les Paul with markers that looked like mine and then had the clerk pull up the specs - and it said "pearl" in the description. But, I am curious to know the exact process of these pearl inlays.


They usually will say Pearloid Acrylic. There are a few models which do use MOP but I'm not certain which. They'll probably ask for years and serial numbers.

You could always email Gibson support and they should be able to tell you:

Gibson Customer Service

Email the Customer Service team at service@gibson.com

You can also reach us by phone

In the USA:
1-800-4GIBSON (1-800-444-2766)

In Europe:
00+800-4GIBSON1 (00+800-444-2766-1)

In China:
1-800-820-8841

This post has been edited by MichaelT: 02 October 2018 - 02:15 PM

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#6 User is online   FZ Fan 

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 04:29 PM

My BB sounds killer and I really don't care it they are acrylic, which it probably is, or MOP.
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#7 User is offline   silver_mica 

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 02:41 PM

Curiosity not to be mistaken for discontent.

 FZ Fan, on 02 October 2018 - 04:29 PM, said:

My BB sounds killer and I really don't care it they are acrylic, which it probably is, or MOP.

This post has been edited by silver_mica: 03 October 2018 - 02:41 PM

1992 Gibson Les Paul Custom +, 2015 Taylor 414ce, 1999 Ibanez S-Series 7 string, 1997 Gibson ES-335, late 80s Kramer ST-200, Two Hello Kitty Guitars (one pink, one black), Ventura classical (70s? 60s?), Eastman acoustic AC222CE, Conqueror acoustic (bought for $30 used in 1991), Fender Mexican Stratocaster (2001), 1996 Fender Mexican Stratocaster, 5-string bass ESP/LTD D-5
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#8 User is online   FZ Fan 

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Posted 03 October 2018 - 04:19 PM

 silver_mica, on 03 October 2018 - 02:41 PM, said:

Curiosity not to be mistaken for discontent.



I'm not discontent. My BB is one guitar I would run into the house to save it was on fire. Weather the inlays are acrylic or real MOP just does not make a bit of difference to me. To you it obviously does. Not trying to sound like a d-ick and if your want the skinny call the people who made it and run the serial to be sure.
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#9 User is offline   silver_mica 

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 05:34 PM

To the contrary, it is curiosity that motivates.

 FZ Fan, on 03 October 2018 - 04:19 PM, said:

Weather the inlays are acrylic or real MOP just does not make a bit of difference to me. To you it obviously does.

1992 Gibson Les Paul Custom +, 2015 Taylor 414ce, 1999 Ibanez S-Series 7 string, 1997 Gibson ES-335, late 80s Kramer ST-200, Two Hello Kitty Guitars (one pink, one black), Ventura classical (70s? 60s?), Eastman acoustic AC222CE, Conqueror acoustic (bought for $30 used in 1991), Fender Mexican Stratocaster (2001), 1996 Fender Mexican Stratocaster, 5-string bass ESP/LTD D-5
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#10 User is online   FZ Fan 

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 10:04 PM

 silver_mica, on 04 October 2018 - 05:34 PM, said:

To the contrary, it is curiosity that motivates.


Understand, All I can say is dial 1-800-Gibson-What-The-Hell-Have-I-Got.
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#11 User is offline   silver_mica 

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Posted 06 October 2018 - 10:33 AM

Seems too easy. I was hoping for something more along the lines of a risky science experiment - with the possibility of lowering the value of the guitar.

 FZ Fan, on 04 October 2018 - 10:04 PM, said:

Understand, All I can say is dial 1-800-Gibson-What-The-Hell-Have-I-Got.

1992 Gibson Les Paul Custom +, 2015 Taylor 414ce, 1999 Ibanez S-Series 7 string, 1997 Gibson ES-335, late 80s Kramer ST-200, Two Hello Kitty Guitars (one pink, one black), Ventura classical (70s? 60s?), Eastman acoustic AC222CE, Conqueror acoustic (bought for $30 used in 1991), Fender Mexican Stratocaster (2001), 1996 Fender Mexican Stratocaster, 5-string bass ESP/LTD D-5
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#12 User is offline   iamval 

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 07:02 AM

 silver_mica, on 29 August 2018 - 02:57 PM, said:

I've got four Gibson guitars -

1992 Les Paul Custom Plus
1995 Les Paul Custom
2001 Les Paul Custom Shop

1997 ES-335 Dot Reissue

Not sure where I got this, but I had always thought of the inlays as plastic (pearloid) and the headstock using mother of pearl. A week or two ago someone was at my house and asked me if the inlays on my Les Paul guitars were mother of pearl - I said, no they weren't, but the headstock might have mother of pearl. It was then I saw that the material on the headstock looked similar to what was on the fretboard (not counting the yellowish lacquer color).

I didn't have too much luck with asking around. It seems you can't say with certainty based on year and model alone. So, I felt it's probably best to make that call on a case-by-case basis.

I decided to round up all the Gibson guitars and shoot a video and put the question out there: is it MOP or Pearloid?

The video above shows all four guitars and their fret markers and headstock logo. I tried to keep the time down - but it's ten minutes total.

Here is the YouTube link

The photos below are of the 1995 Les Paul Custom

Posted Image

Posted Image


They're definitely mother of pearl blocks.
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#13 User is offline   Sleeko 

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 05:46 AM

Looks real to me and to be honest, MOP is not very expensive. The only model that comes to mind having Gibson advertise the inlays as Acrylic is the Chet Atkins L-10. Curious what you find out.
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#14 User is offline   Rockgitarristen 

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 09:37 AM

I found this on gibson.com

The trapezoid inlays are found on many Gibsons, including the Gibson Custom 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue. In most cases these inlays are made of an acrylic material with a swirly, figured effect, although in the case of - are Cellulose, in line with the material used on the original instruments from the 1950s.

and Gibson Master Luthier Jim DeCola explained to Premier Guitar in October 2012. "We'll use acrylic, we'll use plastics and sometimes wood top dots and the inlays.
https://www.youtube....h?v=VbU1R4KDymw

This post has been edited by Rockgitarristen: 10 November 2018 - 09:47 AM

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#15 User is offline   silver_mica 

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Posted 11 November 2018 - 08:50 PM

Saw that video a few years ago - probably why I thought only plastic inlays were used.

 Rockgitarristen, on 10 November 2018 - 09:37 AM, said:

I found this on gibson.com

The trapezoid inlays are found on many Gibsons, including the Gibson Custom 1958 Les Paul Standard Reissue. In most cases these inlays are made of an acrylic material with a swirly, figured effect, although in the case of - are Cellulose, in line with the material used on the original instruments from the 1950s.

and Gibson Master Luthier Jim DeCola explained to Premier Guitar in October 2012. "We'll use acrylic, we'll use plastics and sometimes wood top dots and the inlays.
https://www.youtube....h?v=VbU1R4KDymw

1992 Gibson Les Paul Custom +, 2015 Taylor 414ce, 1999 Ibanez S-Series 7 string, 1997 Gibson ES-335, late 80s Kramer ST-200, Two Hello Kitty Guitars (one pink, one black), Ventura classical (70s? 60s?), Eastman acoustic AC222CE, Conqueror acoustic (bought for $30 used in 1991), Fender Mexican Stratocaster (2001), 1996 Fender Mexican Stratocaster, 5-string bass ESP/LTD D-5
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#16 User is offline   Rockgitarristen 

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Posted 12 November 2018 - 05:15 AM

If use a flashlight on the inlays in my LP58 and compare light effects with the headstock logo that's exactly the same schimmer with a swirly effect and the same on my smoke damaged SG91 but also on the dotinlays on my ES125T but they are probably made of Cellulose celuloid because i can see a small pit in the middle as if they have fallen in or shrunk.

And i checked my LPX 2013 and it is as swirley as my other gibsoninlays and these ar acrylic according to specs on gibson.com
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#17 User is offline   Rockgitarristen 

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 09:18 AM

 silver_mica, on 29 August 2018 - 02:57 PM, said:

I've got four Gibson guitars -

1992 Les Paul Custom Plus
1995 Les Paul Custom
2001 Les Paul Custom Shop

1997 ES-335 Dot Reissue...........

I found som ifo about mop on mylespaul.com, i dont know if its correct.


"Standard" LP/SG:
'52 - '67 = Celluloid Nitrate (MOP on Customs)
'68 - '89 = Perloid (The same material used for pickguards; MOP for Customs/Anniversary models)
'90 - Current = Figured Acrylic/Plastic/MOP/Abalone

Customs/Supremes:
Starting in or around '07, Gibson started substituting figured acrylic for MOP, and some, not all Customs have recieved these inlays instead. AFIAK, Supremes still get MOP.
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#18 User is offline   Revolution Six 

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 01:45 AM

The picture show an ebony fretboard with real MOP inlays.

My 2015 SG Standard has real MOP too

This post has been edited by Revolution Six: 16 November 2018 - 01:46 AM

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#19 User is offline   arcticsg 

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 03:13 PM

Revolution Six said:

1542354309[/url]' post='1962746']
The picture show an ebony fretboard with real MOP inlays.

My 2015 SG Standard has real MOP too



All 2015 SGs have MOP inlays, even the dots on the Special are MOP.
Also the 2017 / 2018 Gary Clark Jr.'s use MOP for the inlays

Not sure if all the SG HPs use MOP, but the first year 2016's do.

"Just say NO to Richlite fretboards" Posted Image
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#20 User is offline   kaicho8888 

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 03:38 PM

I don't know if this works; use at your own risk.

Try pin drop of acetone on the fret inlays; maybe at the inlay/fretboard junction. If it softens the inlay, then it's not MOP material. It should dry solid later.

BTW, I've carefully used cloth with acetone to clean pearls. I don't soak pearls if there are holes in the pearl like the ones on necklaces. The outer pearl coating is unaffected. However, I would not use this on the Gibson headstock logo... since it has a clear coat of nitro that dissolves in acetone. Posted Image
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