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Jim Wilson

Richlite Fingerboards

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So what's everyone's opinion of these Richlite fingerboards?  I've not tried one yet, but for some reason the idea just doesn't appeal to me.  Am I being an old fuddy-duddy?

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Well.  I think Parkerfly guitars were along the same line with stainless frets. 
 
Goya Sparkletops and Gibson Century Guitars, Gibson Pointsettia ukes had a lucite plastic fingerboard.  They sure werent effected or lost any tone. 

As for todays Richlite Gibsons Ive played a few. They were good.   Not sure of the fret change process.   

I believe at some point it will be the normal on all guitars. 
 

I prefer ebony for the amount of money payed for a guitar.   But that being said. If it is Nice and sounds really Nice. I wouldnt be shy in buying one.  
 

 

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I don't see what all the pissing and moaning is, frankly. I've owned a Martin DX and own a Les Paul HP both with richlite fingerboards and both sounded and sound great.

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Good question.

I have doubts, but for no particular reasons, , , other than I really dig rosewood and ebony f-boards. Both in sound, look and thought. 

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I've played a few guitars with them, but I want real wood on my Martin thanks.

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I prefer ebony or walnut or rosewood, I tried the richlite probably 5 years ago and was not found of them.  I have tried the most recent on Gibson's and I think it was much better, To me they ised to be sticky.

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14 hours ago, slimt said:

Goya Sparkletops and Gibson Century Guitars, Gibson Pointsettia ukes had a lucite plastic fingerboard.  They sure werent effected or lost any tone. 

 

 

The MOTS board of the Gibson Century and others were made with celluloid.

Having owned a few 1930s guitars with that feature, for me it had nothing to do with sound.  I just did not like the feel of them.  

Edited by zombywoof

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6 hours ago, zombywoof said:

 

The MOTS board of the Gibson Century and others were made with celluloid.

Having owned a few 1930s guitars with that feature, for me it had nothing to do with sound.  I just did not like the feel of them.  


yes they were.  The modern centurys are acrylic lucite .    And yup. They do not feel right at all. Old or new.   

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They feel fine. I owned a 2004ish Martin CEO-4 with that fingerboard, and I didn't even know it until forum snobs pointed it out to me. So I promptly sold it...

 

(actually sold for other reasons).

 

Anyways more recently I chose a J45-Studio over a G45 that had the richlite. I just couldn't  🙂  

 

And I also wonder... if over time, the plastic shrinks/expands/does what it does at different rates with wood, making for ... issues?

 

Anyways the rich lite fretboards feel actually good. But I won't own one. For probably imperfect reasons.

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1 hour ago, slimt said:


yes they were.  The modern centurys are acrylic lucite .    And yup. They do not feel right at all. Old or new.   

 

Oops, not thinking in terms of modern versions.  

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8 minutes ago, Salfromchatham said:

And I also wonder... if over time, the plastic shrinks/expands/does what it does at different rates with wood, making for ... issues?

 

 

 

If you have ever owned one of those Harmony Buck Owens guitars, a nice little cottage industry has grown up making repros of the headstock overlays which had shrunk. 

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14 hours ago, Salfromchatham said:

 I won't own one. 

 I feel the same way. I'll never buy a guitar with one. I want real wood.

 

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On 3/27/2020 at 4:22 PM, slimt said:

...I prefer ebony....

 

I totally prefer ebony.  It just exudes richness.  All my Guilds have ebony boards, and they're fantastic.  But really, for me, it's mainly the look.  Maybe I'm not that good at distinguishing, but the rosewood board on my Gibson Songwriter 12 doesn't really "feel" any different. 

I've got richlite on my mid-range Martin GPC12PA4.  From a distance, looks great!  Like ebony!  Up close, looks TOO perfect, because it's, you know, fake ebony.  Still, I'm sure it has the right hardness and stability.  Hey, it's designed and manufactured, probably better than Mother Nature, who always has trade-offs through the evolutionary process.  And we tend to be purists (except for the carbon fiber guys!)

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Theres no tone difference the J200 Regal I was testing out.  It sounded awesome. Everything you would expect from what a J200 should be. 
 

but I do agree. When 6500 bucks come into play.  Richlite is a big No.  Ebony is my preference .    

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Micarta & richlite have been a big “NO” for me since 2001, when Martin changed the specs of the 16-Series in mid-year from striped ebony to micarta (board & bridge) without telling anyone, including their dealers.  Pissed off a lot of people, including me.

The one time I weakened, was in 2011 with the purchase of a Midtown Custom - which I believe was Gibson’s first foray into richlite.  After a year, the neck had developed a backbow that couldn’t be adjusted out.

Never ever will buy another.

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One thing you have to bear in mind is that guitar manufacturing world is changing. The traditional materials and tonewoods are getting harder and more expensive to source and to use in an ecologically sound fashion, hence why manufacturers are looking to different woods and different materials. And rightly so, we can't keep on sticking with the traditions of the past - we can't keep on cutting whole stands of trees down just to find a single tree with A+++ patterning; it is responsible and it doesn't make sense from a resource management point of view either. There was an excellent article in a recent Guitarist magazine about the whole process and how manufacturers like Martin and Taylor are changing the way they approach guitar building as a result of it.

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3 minutes ago, Filbert said:

One thing you have to bear in mind is that guitar manufacturing world is changing. The traditional materials and tonewoods are getting harder and more expensive to source and to use in an ecologically sound fashion, hence why manufacturers are looking to different woods and different materials. And rightly so, we can't keep on sticking with the traditions of the past - we can't keep on cutting whole stands of trees down just to find a single tree with A+++ patterning; it is responsible and it doesn't make sense from a resource management point of view either. There was an excellent article in a recent Guitarist magazine about the whole process and how manufacturers like Martin and Taylor are changing the way they approach guitar building as a result of it.


So true.   

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8 minutes ago, Filbert said:

One thing you have to bear in mind is that guitar manufacturing world is changing. The traditional materials and tonewoods are getting harder and more expensive to source and to use in an ecologically sound fashion, hence why manufacturers are looking to different woods and different materials.

 

I totally agree, but would prefer to see alternative woods used, such as walnut, baked maple, morado, etc - and clearly list materials used in specs.  Back in ‘01 when Martin made the switch I mentioned above, a number of folks thought they were buying a guitar with ebony B&B, only to later discover it was micarta.  Since dealers didn’t realize Martin had made the switch, they couldn’t inform customers.  This was Martin’s first application of a composite-type B&B, and it was months before they put out accurate spec info.  It just left a lingering bad taste, as did my one very negative experience with richlite.

These days, I’d buy a used instrument with specs to my liking before going down the richlite road on a new guitar.

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