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silver_mica

Is it Mother of Pearl (MOP) or Pearloid?

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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 [url="https://youtu.be/uXUe-2AkvBs"]link[/url]

The photos below are of the 1995 Les Paul Custom

[img]http://davidastraight.com/images_forums/mop/les_paul_mop_IMG_4359_500.JPG[/img]

[img]http://davidastraight.com/images_forums/mop/les_paul_mop_IMG_4358_500.JPG[/img]

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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.

[quote name='FZ Fan' timestamp='1535638911' post='1951973']
I've got a BB King and Gibson website says it s MOP Block Inlays.
[/quote]

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[quote name='silver_mica' timestamp='1538436163' post='1956185']
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.
[/quote]

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 Edited by MichaelT

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Curiosity not to be mistaken for discontent.
[quote name='FZ Fan' timestamp='1538519385' post='1956346']
My BB sounds killer and I really don't care it they are acrylic, which it probably is, or MOP.
[/quote] Edited by silver_mica

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[quote name='silver_mica' timestamp='1538599286' post='1956516']
Curiosity not to be mistaken for discontent.

[/quote]

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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To the contrary, it is curiosity that motivates.
[quote name='FZ Fan' timestamp='1538605170' post='1956546']
Weather the inlays are acrylic or real MOP just does not make a bit of difference to me. To you it obviously does.
[/quote]

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[quote name='silver_mica' timestamp='1538696073' post='1956720']
To the contrary, it is curiosity that motivates.

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

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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.
[quote name='FZ Fan' timestamp='1538712243' post='1956757']
Understand, All I can say is dial 1-800-Gibson-What-The-Hell-Have-I-Got.
[/quote]

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[quote name='silver_mica' timestamp='1535576250' post='1951908']
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 [url="https://youtu.be/uXUe-2AkvBs"]link[/url]

The photos below are of the 1995 Les Paul Custom

[img]http://davidastraight.com/images_forums/mop/les_paul_mop_IMG_4359_500.JPG[/img]

[img]http://davidastraight.com/images_forums/mop/les_paul_mop_IMG_4358_500.JPG[/img]
[/quote]

They're definitely mother of pearl blocks.

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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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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.com/watch?v=VbU1R4KDymw Edited by Rockgitarristen

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Saw that video a few years ago - probably why I thought only plastic inlays were used.
[quote name='Rockgitarristen' timestamp='1541864248' post='1961756']
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.com/watch?v=VbU1R4KDymw
[/quote]

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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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[quote name='silver_mica' timestamp='1535576250' post='1951908']
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...........
[/quote]
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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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.

 

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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. msp_scared.gif

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Does it matter?...

To be fair, Ian, the OP mentions in post #7 that he is merely being curious and is not unhappy with his guitar.

 

FWIW it looks like genuine seashell to me. It would be the environmentalists' choice, too; no need for making yet more nasty non-biodegradable man-made plastics which end up in fishes' stomachs!...

You never know; perhaps Gibson employees are encouraged to go beach-combing for pretty 'vacated' oyster shells when they go for a day out to the seaside. I've done it myself. Very satisfying!

 

Pip.

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I think it's mother of pearloid :-)

 

Markers are generally the very last thing on my mind, I prefer no markers at all. Only my Pat Martino and Cort Jim Triggs were made without them.

 

 

 

 

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