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Realistic view on Gibson's 2016 line up (and a hope for 2017)


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Because the SOUND matters only in a petri dish inside a complete vacuum in the dark, where nobody lives. These differences mean absolutely nothing where and when guitars are used for what they were intended to be used for.

 

Leo only put rosewood on them because guitar players were quite simply used to it and some recoiled at that bright looking maple board. Some, mind you. Most didn't care then, and without the internet upon which to hang hours of comparison videos to pump out of your Beatz Speekurz nobody would care today.

 

rct

Not me. Bars USED to be mostly a giant petri dish to me.

 

I may not play much anymore, but still, like then, I liked TONE that made me want to cream my pants, regardless of what it was or where it came from. Iv'e blown more vintage Jensens and spent more on speakers and tubes than most spend on reissue Fender amps because, well, I just can't help it. It just SOUNDS too GOOD to leave at home.

 

Can't get that from the Youtube, thus, got to meet up at the bar. Better drink selection, too. You really should think about stopping by.

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Yeah me too.. I actually like Ebony when it has grey streaks, looks cool.. But I guess it doesn't suit the look Gibson are going for (or maybe just what they are known for)...

 

... All the Ebony I get now has brown streaks in it, but it don't bother me and if anyone complains about it to me they will get a slap :)

 

 

 

Come to think of it, this is ANOTHER good question we might consider: what's wrong with "dye"?

 

I think "dye" is the same as "stain", which we are ALL ok with on the rest of the guitar. It isn't that natural or un-stained guitars don't look great, but even a light stain can be used to bring the gain out.

 

Point is, stained or not stained, we don't complain about it on the rest of the guitar. So why would it be different on a fretbaord? Don't know why with the right stain, it should'nt be able to dry properly and not come off on the fingers.

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Come to think of it, this is ANOTHER good question we might consider: what's wrong with "dye"?

 

I think "dye" is the same as "stain", which we are ALL ok with on the rest of the guitar. It isn't that natural or un-stained guitars don't look great, but even a light stain can be used to bring the gain out.

 

Point is, stained or not stained, we don't complain about it on the rest of the guitar. So why would it be different on a fretbaord? Don't know why with the right stain, it should'nt be able to dry properly and not come off on the fingers.

Well this is the thing... Like Bob says in the video.. Its us, the guitar buying public that needs to change our attitude to what we expect from the guitar manufacturers.. If guitars with streaky ebony sell, they will make them, simple as that.

 

Of course one day there wont be a choice.. But yes staining a board seems to work. I seem to remember Donny doing that (or someone on here) and it looked pretty good.. As for the wear and the long term im not sure... Cant really see why it would ever be an issue though. If the stain ever wears off, re-stain it :) anyone can do that.

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Well this is the thing... Like Bob says in the video.. Its us, the guitar buying public that needs to change our attitude to what we expect from the guitar manufacturers.. If guitars with streaky ebony sell, they will make them, simple as that.

 

Of course one day there wont be a choice.. But yes staining a board seems to work. I seem to remember Donny doing that (or someone on here) and it looked pretty good.. As for the wear and the long term im not sure... Cant really see why it would ever be an issue though. If the stain ever wears off, re-stain it :) anyone can do that.

There are different types of stains these days, I can't keep up. Not a real expert there. But I KNOW they do dry (most?) to the point of not rubbing off.

 

However, I wouldn't expect to be able to stain, say, maple, and have it not show wear at some point.

 

I think the guitar community is absolutely ready, but it's mostly a matter of taste- the builder using taste, that is. I can see where a jet'black guitar, like an LP Custom that has a certain look, would want a black board on it. But maybe a natural one would work with streaks?

 

I think also, matching colors, both natural colors and choice of stains, is part of the ART of making guitars.

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There are different types of stains these days, I can't keep up. Not a real expert there. But I KNOW they do dry (most?) to the point of not rubbing off.

 

However, I wouldn't expect to be able to stain, say, maple, and have it not show wear at some point.

 

I think the guitar community is absolutely ready, but it's mostly a matter of taste- the builder using taste, that is. I can see where a jet'black guitar, like an LP Custom that has a certain look, would want a black board on it. But maybe a natural one would work with streaks?

 

I think also, matching colors, both natural colors and choice of stains, is part of the ART of making guitars.

Well a maple board is different.. It needs a top coat to seal the wood.. So you are going to get through that first before you ever even touch the wood underneath...

 

And that's where if you are an aggressive player (or have long fingernails :)) I could maybe see it wearing off on rosewood or ebony cos they don't have any finish.. Just a bit of oiling.... Donno, ive never felt the need to stain a board, I love natural wood grain, the more you can see on a guitar the better as far as im concerned (why I always remove the scratchplate on translucent tops).

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Well a maple board is different.. It needs a top coat to seal the wood.. So you are going to get through that first before you ever even touch the wood underneath...

 

And that's where if you are an aggressive player (or have long fingernails :)) I could maybe see it wearing off on rosewood or ebony cos they don't have any finish.. Just a bit of oiling.... Donno, ive never felt the need to stain a board, I love natural wood grain, the more you can see on a guitar the better as far as im concerned (why I always remove the scratchplate on translucent tops).

Well, now we are onto, or back to "feel" or what is suitable.

 

Rosewood and Ebony have been traditional because they don't need a finish...they have natural oils and such, or whatever. Then of corse, maple, if you don;t put a finish, stains with EVERYTHING, and it don't come out. Just plain dirt. So...it almost always gets finished. Then, what type of finish do most prefer? Some it don't matter, some don't like the feel of goopy maple neck Fender lacquer, etc. Satin/poly was getting to be pretty hip with the Charvel/Jackson era, and Fender did well with it in the 90's.

 

Which, of corse, brings us back to richlite. If it feels good, and wears good...

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Well, now we are onto, or back to "feel" or what is suitable.

 

Rosewood and Ebony have been traditional because they don't need a finish...they have natural oils and such, or whatever. Then of corse, maple, if you don;t put a finish, stains with EVERYTHING, and it don't come out. Just plain dirt. So...it almost always gets finished. Then, what type of finish do most prefer? Some it don't matter, some don't like the feel of goopy maple neck Fender lacquer, etc. Satin/poly was getting to be pretty hip with the Charvel/Jackson era, and Fender did well with it in the 90's.

 

Which, of corse, brings us back to richlite. If it feels good, and wears good...

 

It's probably my (lack of) technique, but I can't say I've ever noticed the 'feel' of a fretboard. As far as I know it's the strings I'm touching and bending and even on bends it's the fret wire they are sliding across not the wood - no?

My fingertips are all hard calloused from playing so I'm not sure how much fine feel they even have [biggrin]

I'll make an effort over the next few days to consciously think about it and see if it feels different - obviously nothing has felt particularly bad to date.

 

Sound - I can't imagine a test I could do which would isolate any particular sound and relate it to a fretboard - at least on amplified electrics, so I'm happy to accept that there may be very small differences at the extreme margins but not be concerned one iota about them - again in a plugged in electric context. Interesting to learn the theory though [thumbup]

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It's probably my (lack of) technique, but I can't say I've ever noticed the 'feel' of a fretboard. As far as I know it's the strings I'm touching and bending and even on bends it's the fret wire they are sliding across not the wood - no?

My fingertips are all hard calloused from playing so I'm not sure how much fine feel they even have [biggrin]

I'll make an effort over the next few days to consciously think about it and see if it feels different - obviously nothing has felt particularly bad to date.

 

 

Well its more about how smooth the board is for the strings to move across them.. If a fretboard isn't smooth enough you will feel some friction when you try to do bends...

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Richlite is isotropic, so it vibrates in all directions equally. Wood is stiffer in one direction, parallel to the grain, so it vibrates in the same direction as the neck wood, which is perpendicular to the frets. I don't know whether or not that has a substantial effect on the sound, but wood will transmit more vibration from the frets than Richlite.

 

Spoken like a true engineer! My dissertation was on vibration control of large flexible space structures.

 

I know what Richlite is all about, but to this day I have NO IDEA what the "Resonwood" in my Sonex is composed of. I only get really vague answers.

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It's probably my (lack of) technique, but I can't say I've ever noticed the 'feel' of a fretboard. As far as I know it's the strings I'm touching and bending and even on bends it's the fret wire they are sliding across not the wood - no?

My fingertips are all hard calloused from playing so I'm not sure how much fine feel they even have [biggrin]

I'll make an effort over the next few days to consciously think about it and see if it feels different - obviously nothing has felt particularly bad to date.

 

 

 

 

Well its more about how smooth the board is for the strings to move across them.. If a fretboard isn't smooth enough you will feel some friction when you try to do bends...

I feel it, but can't say a preference. I just LOVE a good feeling neck.

 

For me, it's everything though- I find binding and nibs give a smoothness in the palm, I like a lot of Gibson neck shapes. I like the way binding generally keeps the edge a certain shape. But I also like the opposite- gripping a worn played in Fender neck with the 7" radius.

 

I DO feel the wood under the strings, and I like it. Or the lacquer, or whatever it happens to be. I don't. or haven't, really chosen or decided a preference, or said "this feels better" than another. Maybe I should?

 

Would be interesting to hear other's opinions. I have played a couple richlite boards, but forgot to check out that aspect. Forgot to even notice I was playing one, to be honest.

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Well its more about how smooth the board is for the strings to move across them.. If a fretboard isn't smooth enough you will feel some friction when you try to do bends...

 

Ah, ok so it's the friction against the bent string, not a fingertip feel. I guess in my mind I visualise a string bend as sliding the string sideways across the 2 fretwires either side of the fret in question, not dragging it across the wood. I'm surprised to learn it touches the wood at all (for steel strings at least) - maybe on the lower frets... I'll test it tonight and no doubt prove you are right. I guess I can say Brazilian rosewood and whatever maple it is both work fine on my small sample set [laugh]

 

To Stein's point - neck feel is a totally different thing and absolutely agree with you - but I was talking purely of the actual fingerboard feel here.

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Ah, ok so it's the friction against the bent string, not a fingertip feel. I guess in my mind I visualise a string bend as sliding the string sideways across the 2 fretwires either side of the fret in question, not dragging it across the wood. I'm surprised to learn it touches the wood at all (for steel strings at least) - maybe on the lower frets... I'll test it tonight and no doubt prove you are right. I guess I can say Brazilian rosewood and whatever maple it is both work fine on my small sample set [laugh]

Well I only know that cos ive built some guitars, ive never felt it on a finished commercial guitar... At first I wasn't sure how much to sand it and to what level... So the first few boards I sanded to about 400 grit (which is about the level needed on the body before finishing).. which feels smooth to the touch but once the guitar is strung up you can really feel it on the bends... Now I go all the way up to about 1200 grit.. 800 would probably be ok too but I just like to take it a little further :) Smooth is good... (when you take Ebony up to 1200 it feels like glass)...

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Sound - I can't imagine a test I could do which would isolate any particular sound and relate it to a fretboard - at least on amplified electrics, so I'm happy to accept that there may be very small differences at the extreme margins but not be concerned one iota about them - again in a plugged in electric context. Interesting to learn the theory though [thumbup]

I think all you could do is judge the guitar itself.

 

I could make a pretty good guess what a maple board will sound like to a rosewood one, but it's more like judging what the contribution is, rather than what the guitar as a whole will sound like. I certainly can't look at a guitar, what the fretbaord is, and judge how it sounds based on that. But I can get a good guess which way it might lean toward.

 

I always judge a guitar acoustically, even if it is meant to be used plugged in. It's a lot easier to dial in, or judge, or even "hear" a guitar plugged in when I know what it does acoustically. And besides, it's almost always true, a guitar that sounds good or bad acoustically will be the same plugged in.

 

As far as "sound", gotta start somewhere. I would be interested hearing anyone's thoughts on what they think their richlite guitar sounds like.

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Spoken like a true engineer! My dissertation was on vibration control of large flexible space structures.

 

I know what Richlite is all about, but to this day I have NO IDEA what the "Resonwood" in my Sonex is composed of. I only get really vague answers.

 

Resonwood was another form of the body, right? Some sort of wood/flaked/sawdust core with a skin of plastic? I think that. Is the Sonex the plastic coated sawdust guitar or do I have that wrong?

 

rct

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My Cort Curbow bass has a body made of "Luthite" which was compressed glue and sawdust coated in plastic. It's slso has a Richlite fingerboard. Only wood on the whole bass is the back of the neck.

 

Fantastic bass.

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I think all you could do is judge the guitar itself.

 

I could make a pretty good guess what a maple board will sound like to a rosewood one, but it's more like judging what the contribution is, rather than what the guitar as a whole will sound like. I certainly can't look at a guitar, what the fretbaord is, and judge how it sounds based on that. But I can get a good guess which way it might lean toward.

 

I always judge a guitar acoustically, even if it is meant to be used plugged in. It's a lot easier to dial in, or judge, or even "hear" a guitar plugged in when I know what it does acoustically. And besides, it's almost always true, a guitar that sounds good or bad acoustically will be the same plugged in.

 

As far as "sound", gotta start somewhere. I would be interested hearing anyone's thoughts on what they think their richlite guitar sounds like.

 

Interesting stuff. What electric guitars do you currently own and with what fingerboard woods? - and how would you describe each one's fingerboard sounds comparatively? (I should be able to find similar guitars locally and listen to them together and learn with my own hearing which would be very interesting to try). Thanks!

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Well its more about how smooth the board is for the strings to move across them.. If a fretboard isn't smooth enough you will feel some friction when you try to do bends...

 

 

Ah, ok so it's the friction against the bent string, not a fingertip feel. I guess in my mind I visualise a string bend as sliding the string sideways across the 2 fretwires either side of the fret in question, not dragging it across the wood. I'm surprised to learn it touches the wood at all (for steel strings at least) - maybe on the lower frets... I'll test it tonight and no doubt prove you are right. I guess I can say Brazilian rosewood and whatever maple it is both work fine on my small sample set [laugh]

 

To Stein's point - neck feel is a totally different thing and absolutely agree with you - but I was talking purely of the actual fingerboard feel here.

I don't think the string ever touches the fingerbaord. I think by the time you did that, it would be way sharp, and also, kinda hurt.

 

Even my Old strat here with hardly any fret left, do I fret the string all the way to the wood doing bends. But I sure do feel the wood, cause I can't hardly get my fingers under the string to bend anymore. In other words, I'm pushing down pretty good as I push up.

 

But to say, me, I can definitely feel the friction or smoothness of the frets, while at the same time feel the wood under the fingertips. And definitely when my fingers and fretbaord get too much fried chicken grease on them. That stuff gets sticky.

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I don't think the string ever touches the fingerbaord. I think by the time you did that, it would be way sharp, and also, kinda hurt.

 

Even my Old strat here with hardly any fret left, do I fret the string all the way to the wood doing bends. But I sure do feel the wood, cause I can't hardly get my fingers under the string to bend anymore. In other words, I'm pushing down pretty good as I push up.

 

But to say, me, I can definitely feel the friction or smoothness of the frets, while at the same time feel the wood under the fingertips. And definitely when my fingers and fretbaord get too much fried chicken grease on them. That stuff gets sticky.

Ok I just actually checked this to see...

 

And well yes.. The low end strings don't touch the board much.. But the high end ones do (I think, I cant see cos my finger is in the way :))....

 

BUT in doing some bends.. When I bend upwards my finger does go on the board under the string.. If I bend downwards the tip of my finger (and finger nail if its too long) go on the board..

 

Never really checked before :)

 

So scratch what I said earlier.. I now think I was thinking about the frets rather than the board (which I sand both to 1200) but yes having a smooth board helps a bit too.

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Interesting stuff. What electric guitars do you currently own and with what fingerboard woods? - and how would you describe each one's fingerboard sounds comparatively? (I should be able to find similar guitars locally and listen to them together and learn with my own hearing which would be very interesting to try). Thanks!

I lost most of my guitars some years ago when they sold my storage. I HATE thinking about it, and barely able to handle thinking of the guitars I lost. But I'm still much better.

 

I can't really complain though, I have more than most, and mostly, the sentimantal ones. Well, not all. But still...

 

I got 3 Gibson's, I think 5 Fenders, one Mexican and 4 Japanese I think. Thinking about it, I'm pretty much all rosewood at this point. I have one maple, but it's the Paisley Strat...that kinda don't count. Unless of corse, your interested in my opinion of the sound of wallpaper.

 

I digress...Fenders, I think the maple necks SOUND more mid-rangy and focused, where Rosewood tends to be more open and full. Lots of other considerations when judging Fenders, but I like them generally bright and snappy. A good snappy rosewood board can be better in the bass, especially plugged in, and have a more shrill treble when cranked through an amp. A maple necked, snappy Fender can be more clear, and have a good, bright focused sound.

 

I might add though, I didn't choose or judge a Fender as good or bad, like or don't, based on the fingerboard, or the sound it made it lean toward. The most I did was grab a maple necked one when my fingers were full of chicken grease, cause they clean easier.

 

Gibsons, I think rosewood boards tend to sound brighter, woodier, maybe snappier than ebony. Again, other considerations, but often a difference in sound between an LP custom and a Standard can be the fretboard wood. Might describe a Custom as more piano-like, and a Standard as more overtones. Might say again, I like brighter sounding guitars (acoustically, but also, acoustics too). Ebony boards, at times, maybe made a guitar sound too dark for my taste, but then again, there HAVE been a lot of them I like. A good, bright Ebony board Gibby can have a spank to it and a tonal interaction on chords, but then also, that's a quality a lot of Gibby's tend to have.

 

Overall, I would tend to say maple-rosewood-ebony, in that order, for a generalization.

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Your guitars got sold out from under you!? - that's pretty horrible alright. :(

I had a friend at school who bought a brand new sunburst strat from Japan in (I'm guessing) 1985. It was a Squier - but I'm pretty sure that's all that they made in Japan then so it wasn't a cheaper version of a Fender. Awesome guitar that - just seemed beautifully made and painted. Major bummer about the storage thing. What are the Gibsons?

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Your guitars got sold out from under you!? - that's pretty horrible alright. :(

I had a friend at school who bought a brand new sunburst strat from Japan in (I'm guessing) 1985. It was a Squier - but I'm pretty sure that's all that they made in Japan then so it wasn't a cheaper version of a Fender. Awesome guitar that - just seemed beautifully made and painted. Major bummer about the storage thing. What are the Gibsons?

 

Same can happen in Oz with self-storage units. Slightly different in that I think the person who stores the goods has 6 weeks to act on any notice of default in payments. Only after that period can the stuff can be auctioned BUT the owner of the unit is supposed to sell the goods at fair value, ie ideally they should get them assessed, so no $26,000 windfall for low-ball $250 offers. Any excess after costs (rental arrears, administrative expenses) is supposed to be sent to the person who previously owned the goods. Also means, ideally the person who stores goods should get them professionally assessed and insured just in case there is a foul-up with the auction process.

 

I understand other arrangements apply outside of Australia, however.

 

Still, a rubbishy outcome though.

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Your guitars got sold out from under you!? - that's pretty horrible alright. :(

I had a friend at school who bought a brand new sunburst strat from Japan in (I'm guessing) 1985. It was a Squier - but I'm pretty sure that's all that they made in Japan then so it wasn't a cheaper version of a Fender. Awesome guitar that - just seemed beautifully made and painted. Major bummer about the storage thing. What are the Gibsons?

Well, it WAS a cheaper version, as the "Squier" brand was meant for Japanese Fenders, as "Fender" still meant made in the USA. Even though, in Japan, they were making and Selling Japanese Fenders that said Fender.

 

Around that time 1985 or so, they stopped all American Production, and for about 2 years, ALL "Fenders" were made in Japan. Maybe a year. Year and a half. Whatever. It was a while. Also, for a time, the same exact guitar could be had, that said Fender or Squier.

 

Anyway, they were cheaper because the exchange rate at the time was what it was. These days, the exchange rate is about equal. So a Japanese Fender cost about the same as an American one.

 

Oh..I can't do pics, but the 3 Gibby's I have are an L-7, an LP Special, and an LP. All rosewood boards. Don't know the origin, but they are 61, 96, and 08 respectively.

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Which, of corse, brings us back to richlite. If it feels good, and wears good...

I don't get out much. So I am kinda embarrassed to say I have never played a richlite board.

I only go to the music stores to buy strings or picks or sticks for my kid. I rarely sit and play anything new.

In and out, just like all my shopping. Fast and easy.

But if your point of if it feels good and wears good were accurate,, I would have no problem owning one.

I'm no purist but there is still part of me that thinks if I am paying top dollar for a guitar I want it wood.

But I'm not likely to ever pay top dollar for a guitar so that comment and point is moot.

 

 

 

 

I don't think the string ever touches the fingerbaord. I think by the time you did that, it would be way sharp, and also, kinda hurt.

Ok I just actually checked this to see...

And well yes.. The low end strings don't touch the board much.. But the high end ones do (I think, I cant see cos my finger is in the way :))....

So scratch what I said earlier.. I now think I was thinking about the frets rather than the board (which I sand both to 1200) but yes having a smooth board helps a bit too.

 

 

Well for me the string always touches the board no matter which strings I'm on. And so does my finger.

I may be one of the few people who can't stand these mumbo jumbo fret things they put on every guitar now. I like my frets low. I hate jumbo frets. I'm always pushing them sharp. I had my new LPCC frets crowned down to where I like them. Totally changed it for me in a good way. I bought my old Hamer new in 87 because it had the closest thing to my stolen 69 Custom's frets. I will never sell that guitar. I love it. It's what I cut my teeth on and it's what I still prefer.

So yes, my fingers and the string touches the board always.

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So, if ya'll can't tell, been bored today. So I went to a GC, to check out some richlite.

 

They had one LP Custom in a case, didn't feel like bothering. 4700 bones American. LOOKED like maybe richlite. Didn't say.

 

Only richlite I could paw was on a few Martins in the acoustic room. Not models I could recognize, kinda Taylor like. Didn't have any of the same with different boards of similar models to really compare. So I first checked out the feel. Very smooth, felt like plastic. But then, so does ebony. I could barely tell the difference between the richlite and another ebony Board, but I thought I could. If I didn't know what it was, I could problably guess, and be right most of the time, but not all the time.

 

Frets were rough, so I couldn't really tell if it was sticky or slick, but really, it slid on the fingers like finely polished ebony.

 

Tone wise, the Martins were REALLY bright, almost Taylor like. Like I said, they were weird models to me, with cutaways, no idea what bracing, so in other words, no basis for what they SHOULD sound like. No clue.

 

One thing I DID notice, was rubbing my finger across the board, I could HEAR it quite loud. Can get that from other acoustics with other fretboard woods, but the richlite seemed to be the loudest and highest in pitch. Got the impression it was really resonant, and perhaps really light in weight. Haven't thought of that for a test, but was easy to notice on the acoustics.

 

I am guessing it is very resonant, maybe the most so, and also, on the bright side. Still, I'm curious.

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So, if ya'll can't tell, been bored today. So I went to a GC, to check out some richlite.

 

...it slid on the fingers like finely polished ebony.

 

One thing I DID notice, was rubbing my finger across the board, I could HEAR it quite loud. Can get that from other acoustics with other fretboard woods, but the richlite seemed to be the loudest and highest in pitch.

 

 

This was before or after the fried chicken?

 

 

[biggrin]

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