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What's "Faded" and "SmartWood"


migo33

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Hi,

 

I am not a Gibson owner yet and trying to get some info before I bid on Ebay. I always prefer used guitars then brand new.

 

anyhow, I keep seeing "Faded" models and "Smartwood" model (which I know it comes from sustainable forests) but how does it effect the tone? the prices of these models are way lower then Standard LP and I just don't want to buy a "lemon".

 

Thanks

 

Mic

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If you don't want to buy a lemon then I'd advise staying away from ebay. Best to try before you buy if you already see it as being an issue (which it is). I wouldn't buy a new or used guitar w/out trying it out first.

 

*edit...

 

As for the designation of "faded", it just means it's not buffed to a high gloss finish.

 

I have no idea about the "smartwood", as I've never played one.

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The Smartwood series are made from some more exotic woods but are in essence just LP Studios. I have played a Swamp Ash LP and it was pretty sweet, a little brighter sounding than mahogany, not much lighter. The different woods all probably have some different tonal qualities. The faded series of the LP is as mentioned, just not buffed to a high gloss. The faded series of the special DC, SG, Explorer and V do not have as many coats of nitro, are not buffed to a gloss and have dot inlays instead of trapezoid etc. From what the other folks on the forum say about the faded LP Standards, they are nice.

 

You can get some really good deals on ebay, but you'd better know what your doing before bidding, there are a lot of fakes, broken and repaired and lemons as well as great axes. I have had some good luck on ebay.

 

My .02

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If you don't want to buy a lemon then I'd advise staying away from ebay. Best to try before you buy if you already see it as being an issue (which it is). I wouldn't buy a new or used guitar w/out trying it out first.

 

*edit...

 

As for the designation of "faded"' date=' it just means it's not buffed to a high gloss finish.

 

I have no idea about the "smartwood", as I've never played one. [/quote']

 

"Faded" guitars are actually a different color. For example, rather than being a rich cherry red, an SG "faded" will look more like what the color shades to over time (the color is less vibrant) with exposure to light, etc. It's essentially one of those "relic" things, but without the distressing. Most of the colors that we associate with vintage Les Pauls (tea burst, lemon bursts, etc.) are due to the original '59's and '59's having been colored with a crappy "cherry" stain that was particularly susceptible to fading with exposure to light (UV, specifically). A guitar that spent most of its life in a case will still be pretty much cherry sunburst, but the ones that have been out and about for the last 50 years will mostly have faded to some degree (usually more rather than less) to the point where the cherry stain goes to ever lighter shades of brown and eventually virtually disappears).

 

Smartwood Studio LPs were a shortlived model by which Gibson made a show of using woods certified renewable (in other words, from managed reforested areas). As a marketing gimmick it may have appeased a few tree huggers briefly, but Gibson's heart was obviously never in it, and these models represented the tiniest fraction of a percent of Gibson's production and are no longer available (though some may be gathering dust on dealer's walls.

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Hi' date='

 

I am not a Gibson owner yet and trying to get some info before I bid on Ebay. I always prefer used guitars then brand new.

the prices of these models are way lower then Standard LP and I just don't want to buy a "lemon".

[/quote']

 

I usually look for used guitars as well -- most of the "walk out the door" depreciation is gone and you can get some really nice deals on some great gear. I have no qualms about buying from eBay or CraigsList, though there are cautions to be observed as in any buying situation.

 

I don't know that these guitars were the most popular of Gibson's line, though they were fairly inexpensive (the Smartwood Studio guitars were around a grand) new. The Smartwood series was, near as I can tell, discontinued. In any case, I don't think that their popularity had any affect on their playability.

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Thanks guys.

I should mention that I live in Sydney Australia so in terms of buying second hand on ebay it's usually safer as I search for items around Sydney which I can check out prior to buying them. Also the market here is quite small and way more expensive then the U.S due to tax and distance.

 

Mic

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"Faded" guitars are actually a different color. For example' date=' rather than being a rich cherry red, an SG "faded" will look more like what the color shades to over time (the color is less vibrant) with exposure to light, etc. It's essentially one of those "relic" things, but without the distressing.

 

[/quote']

 

You're quite wrong in fact. The faded models are the exact same guitar with all the same hardware, but they're not meant to be a relic or anything like that, they just never put finish on them, the finish is about 1/3 in. of stain and other chemicals that make it shiny and make it smooth. Since Gibson isn't really much of a "beginner" guitar company they tried to offer these as a way of having cheaper guitars on the market, and since the finish is the most expensive part of a guitar; the guitar costs less.

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I thought the "Smartwood" stuff was treehugging in the womb stage.

 

Yea.

 

I still think that.

 

Murph.

 

Ha. I played an Ash Smartwood when I picked up my Flying V. I thought it looked pretty cool, the price was really nice ($875) and felt pretty good. When I plugged it it, I wasn't too impressed. I had an ash Ibanez Blazer that was just awesome, so I guess I had high expectations.

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Some of the other faded models have differences that are more than just cosmetic, but as far as the faded Les Paul Standard the only difference between it and the gloss model is fewer coats of lacquer, and uncovered pickups.

 

When they were available, faded Standards were an incredible bargain. that's likely one of the reasons they've been discontinued.

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I think all these "Discontinued" models will be very valuable in 20-30 years. when they will no longer be trees Gibson will go back to produce SmartWood guitars and those few that where made now will be worth something. Maybe Gibson is creating legacy guitars without intending for it.

 

Mic

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