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Gibson Studio Faded Baked Maple vs. Opeche

#1 User is offline   TarHeelKid 

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 06:39 PM

Gibson has introduced a couple of new stain colors in their Studio Faded line, but are using a different wood on the fret-board than the cherry or brown. The cherry and brown use a baked maple fretboard, while the new blue and ebony-stained models will have an obeche fretboard. I must admit this is a wood I am unfamiliar with. I wonder why they would ditch the maple, it seems very snappy and solid. Any ideas?
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#2 User is offline   Dallastx 

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 07:16 PM

I kinda got freaked when I heard Gibson started using recycled paper and (baked)Maple for their fretboards, but when I remembered that alot of exotic car makers use polimers and plastics.. I didn't feel so bad.
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#3 User is offline   JellyWheat 

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 07:23 PM

 Dallastx, on 24 November 2011 - 07:16 PM, said:

I kinda got freaked when I heard Gibson started using recycled paper and (baked)Maple for their fretboards, but when I remembered that alot of exotic car makers use polimers and plastics.. I didn't feel so bad.
D


Inasmuch as I have been able to gather from my own reading on this subject, obeche gets very poor write-ups as a wood type suitable for musical instruments. If you Google "oBeche" wood, you will get all kinds of hits. Check out some of the wood encyclopedias and wholesalers and see their write-ups... [I notice some of the musical instrument reviewers are "getting on the obeche bandwagon" and trumpeting it as a tonewood, but I put this down to their own vested interests in selling more guitars, regardless of what they are made of.]

Now, Gibson might be much more knowledgeable than I am about the suitability of this fingerboard material, but - from what I have been able to learn about obeche - I would rather have the phenol-impregnated paper material than that wood. I have had Hagstrom and Martin guitars with that synthetic ebony, and I found it not very different than the real thing. The only thing I noticed was that it gets shiny where you play on it, but a quick rub with a pencil eraser dulls it back down real quick, and also makes the frets shine like jewellery!

I like the sound and feel of baked maple very much, and I would not hesitate at all to buy a guitar with a fingerboard of that type, as long as it was at least as dark as charlie brown's new squeeze!

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#4 User is offline   damian 

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 07:38 PM

I will never own a guitar with an "obeche" fretboard........I have no problem with "baked maple" at all...............

Coming soon are Gibby fretboards from Ketchitan Rainforest maple trees !!!!!!!! [thumbup] [thumbup] [thumbup] ..................

They will be known as "Baked Alaskan Maple" fretboards, or, "BAM !!!" fretboards...................

Ya know, once "Richlite" trees become endangered, they'll move on to something else............[flapper] [scared] [sneaky] .......
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#5 User is offline   The RandyMan 

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 07:48 PM

With the vast array of exotic wood species across the planet, isn't there something that would be a suitable substitute for rosewood? While I realize that there is a whole lot of tradition behind using rosewood for fretboards, it seems odd to me that there isn't another type of wood that would be just as good for boards. There are many different type of wood being used in bodies (especially acoustics) because of their resonant characteristics. Could some of these be used as fretboards also??
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#6 User is offline   JellyWheat 

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 07:54 PM

 The RandyMan, on 24 November 2011 - 07:48 PM, said:

With the vast array of exotic wood species across the planet, isn't there something that would be a suitable substitute for rosewood? While I realize that there is a whole lot of tradition behind using rosewood for fretboards, it seems odd to me that there isn't another type of wood that would be just as good for boards. There are many different type of wood being used in bodies (especially acoustics) because of their resonant characteristics. Could some of these be used as fretboards also??


I'm SURE you are correct, RandyMan... but I don't think obeche is one of them. I have a sapele Taylor nylon string that is awesome. It was a new, non-traditional wood to me, but I find it every bit as acceptable as mahogany or rosewood. It is slightly different, but most acceptable. What I'm trying to say here is that I don't consider myself to be an ebony/rosewood snob. I am open to alternative materials.

Read some stuff on obeche, and you may come to your own conclusions about its suitability, however.

Regards,
J/W
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[PS Damian: Would they not have an easier time if they used the proper scientific nomenclature for Richlite trees. That being Rychlytibus magnificans superioribus.?]
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#7 User is offline   The RandyMan 

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:29 PM

I don't know if some of those here are rosewood "snobs" or if everyone is just so used to having one or two woods used as fretboards on their "weapons of choice" that they don't realize that if something needs to be replaced for whatever reason, that it's not the end of the tone world. Moreover, I'm surprised that the people that make these guitars don't go after something more fitting for their production. Are they just going for whatever cheap imitation they can grab in the shortest amount of time, or are they convinced that something like obeche or Richlite is really a suitable replacement? Especially when there are so many other alternatives available.

Besides (I hate to think in terms of marketing), to me, Richlite sounds more like something you'd use to cut down a tree than a type of tree. And there's always the conspiracy angle to it . . . Will there be a "cutoff date" to when guitars having rosewood boards will be exempt from the buying and selling laws surrounding things like ivory, etc.? Will rosewood become a type of bartering currency for the underground in the post-apocalyptic period when guitarists are considered outlaws and stopped at checkpoints to have their boards validated or confiscated?

I think I'm starting to regress . . . . Posted Image
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#8 User is offline   JellyWheat 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 05:00 AM

 The RandyMan, on 24 November 2011 - 09:29 PM, said:

I don't know if some of those here are rosewood "snobs" or if everyone is just so used to having one or two woods used as fretboards on their "weapons of choice" that they don't realize that if something needs to be replaced for whatever reason, that it's not the end of the tone world. Moreover, I'm surprised that the people that make these guitars don't go after something more fitting for their production. Are they just going for whatever cheap imitation they can grab in the shortest amount of time, or are they convinced that something like obeche or Richlite is really a suitable replacement? Especially when there are so many other alternatives available.

Besides (I hate to think in terms of marketing), to me, Richlite sounds more like something you'd use to cut down a tree than a type of tree. And there's always the conspiracy angle to it . . . Will there be a "cutoff date" to when guitars having rosewood boards will be exempt from the buying and selling laws surrounding things like ivory, etc.? Will rosewood become a type of bartering currency for the underground in the post-apocalyptic period when guitarists are considered outlaws and stopped at checkpoints to have their boards validated or confiscated?

I think I'm starting to regress . . . . Posted Image


[lol] [lol] [lol]

"Road to Regression"! There's a song in that! And my cart is following yours right on down the road, RandyMan!

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#9 User is offline   Kimbabig 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:04 AM

Baked maple has better highs.
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#10 User is offline   FirstMeasure 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:20 AM

 Kimbabig, on 25 November 2011 - 06:04 AM, said:

Baked maple has better highs.

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#11 User is offline   G McBride 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 06:20 AM

Cause it is Baked.

#12 User is offline   TarHeelKid 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 09:57 AM

Gibson themselves has confirmed that this maple is an unfinished product, unlike the Fender maple fingerboards, and can be oiled like rosewood, for a darker appearance and that smooth, slick feel. I don't plan on supporting this obeche move, sorry Gibson.
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#13 User is offline   TarHeelKid 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 09:59 AM

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#14 User is offline   AlanH 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:50 AM

I don't like the idea of it on first impressions because, well, the name "obeche" puts me right off to start with. However, the proof of the pudding has got to be in the eating so I'll reserve judgement until then.

I believe obeche comes from one of the Acacias or its relatives. Now I had an Acacia dealbata in my garden for about the last 8 years until the last winter killed it to down the ground. Although, only about 8" in diameter the trunk on it was very difficult to saw through- In fact, I had to go and buy a new Stanley saw to do it. When I did finally get it down I have to say that the wood was absolutely beautiful to look at and it seemed to resonate well. I wondered at the time whether Acacia wood could be used in guitar manufacture. Acacias grow pretty quickly too (I had to prune mine every year to keep it under control) so I can see why relatives of the Acacia might be a good choice.


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#15 User is offline   JellyWheat 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:13 AM

 AlanH, on 25 November 2011 - 10:50 AM, said:

I don't like the idea of it on first impressions because, well, the name "obeche" puts me right off to start with. However, the proof of the pudding has got to be in the eating so I'll reserve judgement until then.

I believe obeche comes from one of the Acacias or its relatives. Now I had an Acacia dealbata in my garden for about the last 8 years until the last winter killed it to down the ground. Although, only about 8" in diameter the trunk on it was very difficult to saw through- In fact, I had to go and buy a new Stanley saw to do it. When I did finally get it down I have to say that the wood was absolutely beautiful to look at and it seemed to resonate well. I wondered at the time whether Acacia wood could be used in guitar manufacture. Acacias grow pretty quickly too (I had to prune mine every year to keep it under control) so I can see why relatives of the Acacia might be a good choice.


This is one of the sources I am using for information:

http://www.thewoodex...ata/we1191.html

I don't believe Triplochitons are related to the Acacias, but I am not a botanist by trade. Most of the descriptions I have read compare the wood to others like basswood, and rate the crushing strength and structural strength of the obeche wood as being more similar to basswood than to true hardwoods.

To be honest, I wish Gibson would chime in on this, because there is so much ambiguity in the exotic wood trade, generally. I trust the craftsmen and women at Gibson pretty well, and if they were to reassure me that there were, in fact, good reasons for choosing the wood other than opportunism and economics, I might be more open-minded.

So far, however, nothing that I have been able to dig up on my own about obeche wood has been very reassuring. :(

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#16 User is offline   krock 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:45 AM

i cant see me buying anything with obeche any time soon
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#17 User is offline   JellyWheat 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 11:54 AM

 krock, on 25 November 2011 - 11:45 AM, said:

i cant see me buying anything with obeche any time soon


Well, I have learned in my travels that obeche was - apparently - the original wood of choice for...

... surfboards!

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#18 User is offline   4Hayden 

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 09:08 PM

Give Gibson their WOOD back !!!

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 07:17 AM

By stopping the rosewood imports aren't the Feds causing people to starve in India? Surely they will be put out of work?

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 09:04 AM

I have to believe that Gibson is pushing these new fretboard materials as some kind of knee-jerk reaction to them getting busted for those loads of wood.

I'm guessing that this is Gibson's way of having a tantrum. Nobody said they couldn't use rosewood. They just said they couldn't use the loads of rosewood that were illegally imported.

Maybe the new Richlite fretboard maintenance kit will include a spray bottle of Formula 409 and an eraser. [biggrin]

Hey Gibson, go buy some rosewood and stop whining. Being egocentric is fine, but not when it destroys your company. :rolleyes:
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