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Les Paul Customs Now Use Richlite Boards.


Malchik

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http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-Custom/Les-Paul-Custom.aspx

 

We all know Gibson is out of ebony and have been using maple boards on standard customs since last fall, but it looks like they've decided to start using richlite finger boards.

 

I'm very liberal about Gibson's situation, but this really rubs me the wrong way. This is the Corvette of Les Pauls.

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As long as they are open about the materials being used I have no issue with it. I've never played an electric guitar with a richlite fingerboard, but I do own and play a Martin OMC-16OGTE that has a richlite fingerboard and I love it.

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Gotta give them props for that.

 

In a way I can understand how you and some others feel about it, but some things change and sometimes change is forced on you. No business operates the same way throughout time. In the end the most important thing to me is if it sounds great and is a quality product that performs as it should.

 

Have you ever played a guitar with a richlite fingerboard?

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Yes, but making the Les Paul Custom with a richlite fretboard, well, that's just like making a Corvette with a V6 engine. Sure, it LOOKS like a Corvette, sure it is even called a Corvette....but is it? Does a woman lust to have a man with a wig? If they wanted to produce a Custom with richlite, but have it a separate model from the Les Paul Custom we all know and love, that would be perfectly fine. Options are great, especially with prices! But cheapening an iconic guitar.....now that's an unforgivable sin [sneaky]

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It's more of an act of desperation on their part. If they don't have the wood, they don't have it. I'd just much rather see an alternative wood used like Katalox or Granadillo. Those are very ebony-like woods currently being used on USA models.

 

I guess I have to learn to adapt to the times. [unsure]

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Well...I have to agree with Strat-o-Steve! Nothing wrong with alternative woods, but - for God's sake - keep the "Tuxedo" Les Paul in it's full elegance! Baked maple board is great, - I guess - richlite is fine too! I like baked maple board on my Classic Custom, but can't imagine the top-of-the-range LP with anything less than ebony! Use the alternative materials on these specials like the CC, or on lower class models... Cheers... Bence

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As long as they are open about the materials being used I have no issue with it.

 

This.

 

I'm big on accurate descriptions. The traditionalists will get upset, but as long as

buyers can make informed decisions, then it's all good. The new fret boards look good.

Some are light. Some are dark. The richlite does look particularly good. Baked maple

looks good too with the right body color. Someone correct me, but I believe richlite,

being what it is is virtually indestructible. So there's less care needed and more time

to play.

 

If I were in the market for one, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. By the time I'm ready to buy

a fat neck 335, if this is what's available, then I'll go with it.

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Tragic.

 

Bust a couple of pesky laws and get caught with your pants down a couple of times and before you know it people are treating you like you're a criminal or something.

 

Sheesh. What's the world coming to?

 

So you drove your iconic company into the ditch. Hey, it's your company. Keep flooring the gas pedal until your car explodes into a pile of smoke and dust.

 

Don't buy some ebony, Gib. Jump up and down and scream and yell and use formica. Go for it. Talk about an egocentric owner destroying his own company because he got caught breaking the rules and can't deal with his own failure.

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Tragic.

 

Bust a couple of pesky laws and get caught with your pants down a couple of times and before you know it people are treating you like you're a criminal or something.

 

Sheesh. What's the world coming to?

 

So you drove your iconic company into the ditch. Hey, it's your company. Keep flooring the gas pedal until your car explodes into a pile of smoke and dust.

 

Don't buy some ebony, Gib. Jump up and down and scream and yell and use formica. Go for it. Talk about an egocentric owner destroying his own company because he got caught breaking the rules and can't deal with his own failure.

 

smiley_nosmile.gif You forget to say "allegedly".

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Played a Midtown Custom, at my dealers, with a Richlite board! Loved it!

IF it's to become the standard, now, for LP Custom's, and some don't

like that, they can always get a nice "used" one, with the old standard

Ebony board, or the CS '68 reissue.

 

Heck, maybe Gibson will make a whole guitar, out of Richlite? Might be

interesting, or even awesome sounding? Who knows?

 

 

CB

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Played a Midtown Custom, at my dealers, with a Richlite board! Loved it!

I haven't played a Mid Custom yet (they came in to the dealership last week, though...) but I've played a few Hagstrom's with the same type of 'board and they were fantastic. Warm to the touch and smooth as silk.

 

Given the circumstances I still think a substitute wood - Grenadillo has been mentioned - would have been a more 'traditional' choice to use for the Custom but there's nothing wrong with Richlite as a material for 'boards.

 

P.

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Yes, but making the Les Paul Custom with a richlite fretboard, well, that's just like making a Corvette with a V6 engine. Sure, it LOOKS like a Corvette, sure it is even called a Corvette....but is it? Does a woman lust to have a man with a wig? If they wanted to produce a Custom with richlite, but have it a separate model from the Les Paul Custom we all know and love, that would be perfectly fine. Options are great, especially with prices! But cheapening an iconic guitar.....now that's an unforgivable sin [sneaky]

 

There's no rule that the best guitars had to have an ebony fretboard. I always put the sound of the guitar first along with the quality it was built and playability. I don't see how richlite changes any of that. I wonder how many people could tell the difference in the sound between two identical LP Customs with the only difference being the fretboards and identify the sound to the fretboard material? Only more experienced players could feel the difference when playing it. Are the Corvettes today the same as they were in the 50's and 60's? Nope, they've changed too.

 

I know a lot of people romance about the idea of a guitar that's been handmade of exotic woods and required a few hundred man hours of skilled hand labor to build and finish. I have the same nostalgia for such things too, especially for fine English and Italian side by side shotguns that take over 1000 man hours of skilled hand labor. Unfortunately, that's not the reality any more.

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Does this mean that perhaps those guitars that have genuine ebony fretboards have now become more collectible? .... and is my Les Paul Supreme possibly one of the last examples of a dying breed of guitar. [thumbup]

 

Ebony was obviously the first choice of many manufacturers for fretboards on certain guitars, before legislation or the alleged flagrant misinterpretation of laws pertaining to the use of certain exotic woods forced the change to 'Richlite', wasn't it?

 

This doesn't necessarily make 'Richlite' (whatever 'Richlite' is) inferior in any way, I suppose, but like the owners of exotic cars, we still prefer a solid walnut facia to those inferior 'arborite' replicas that adorn the dash-boards of many an automobile whose manufacturer decided to 'go green', or more likely tried to save a few bucks. [thumbdn]

 

If we had all wanted guitars made from these alternate materials, then wouldn't our Danelectros (God bless 'em!) have been far more popular - and deservedly so - than they ever became? [confused]

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Very interesting thread...I guess it does mean that "ebony-board Custom" or 'Pre-Richlite' will become a selling point.

Though surely the Custom Shop will continue to produce guitars with ebony boards...for a price?

Hagstrom and Yamaha (SG2000)have been using compounds for boards for many years. They play/respond as well as ebony. On the other hand, yeah it is a bit of a shame and a sort of watershed change.

So if I had money, I'd start picking up a few ebony-board Customs!

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Very interesting thread...I guess it does mean that "ebony-board Custom" or 'Pre-Richlite' will become a selling point.

Though surely the Custom Shop will continue to produce guitars with ebony boards...for a price?

Hagstrom and Yamaha (SG2000)have been using compounds for boards for many years. They play/respond as well as ebony. On the other hand, yeah it is a bit of a shame and a sort of watershed change.

So if I had money, I'd start picking up a few ebony-board Customs!

 

There's so many LP Customs out there after decades of making them. Their value may spike intitially, but they likely won't reach a substantial value until decades later.

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There is something I still don't understand about the "alternative woods" situation. Why can't Gibson just go to another supplier? There must be hundreds, maybe thousands of guitar manufacturers using rosewood and ebony at the moment, where are they getting the wood from? Or am I missing the point entirely here?

 

I am still on the fence about the new woods. Part of me thinks that a Les Paul should have be made of the same wood as in the 50s. Another part of me wants to applaud the use of alternatives. The new Custom Classics look very appealing too....

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There is something I still don't understand about the "alternative woods" situation. Why can't Gibson just go to another supplier? There must be hundreds, maybe thousands of guitar manufacturers using rosewood and ebony at the moment, where are they getting the wood from? Or am I missing the point entirely here?

 

I am still on the fence about the new woods. Part of me thinks that a Les Paul should have be made of the same wood as in the 50s. Another part of me wants to applaud the use of alternatives. The new Custom Classics look very appealing too....

Henry has made it clear he wishes to buy directly from the source rather than using a middle man. It's definitely cheaper to buy the blanks and finish it at the plant rather then having the processed wood delivered.

 

I'm sure if you want to spend some bucks, Gibson would buy ebony from a dealer and use it, but their one-off models are expensive.

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I've played several Richlite fretboards, and each and every one felt like Crap. It's made of paper, and it feels like paper. Also, please explain to me the resonant properties of resin and paper? Yeah, not happening. It's a cheap, horrible feeling material that could probably survive a nuclear war. Then again, with the way it feels, I would hope it wouldn't. They fixed the Indian Rosewood issue by cross-grain lamination, so why not fix the Ebony issue?

 

-Ryan

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They fixed the Indian Rosewood issue by cross-grain lamination, so why not fix the Ebony issue?

I've read at a couple of Les Paul forums that they have attempted to use laminated ebony, but it's too soft and tight grained to cut that thin and glue together without falling apart. Ebony is an especially tough wood to re-fret, so I believe this rumor to be true.

 

I'm also curious to how well a laminated rosewood board will last. In about a decade or two, I'm confident I could wear the lower fret wood down to the glue. Also re-fretting and oiling may differ too.

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I have a Martin Performing Artist Series guitar with a Black Richlite board and love it.

It also seems the neck is really stable too. Plays and sounds great. I spoke to some people at the Martin factory while I was visiting. It seems like Richlite is going to be the wave of the future. I was told it machines like wood, is stable and even the wood pulp used in the product is certified.

 

For the record, I'm not a noob to guitar playing, I've been at it for close to 45 years.

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I have a Martin Performing Artist Series guitar with a Black Richlite board and love it.

It also seems the neck is really stable too. Plays and sounds great. I spoke to some people at the Martin factory while I was visiting. It seems like Richlite is going to be the wave of the future. I was told it machines like wood, is stable and even the wood pulp used in the product is certified.

 

For the record, I'm not a noob to guitar playing, I've been at it for close to 45 years.

 

My Martin OMC-16OGTE has the richlite fretboard and it sounds great. The material is very dense, smooth, and fast playing.

 

I've never played an electric with richlite.

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My Martin OMC-16OGTE has the richlite fretboard and it sounds great. The material is very dense, smooth, and fast playing.

 

I've never played an electric with richlite.

 

New to the forum. Reading about this topic on Gibson's website was really distressing to me. I own a Les Paul Artist, but a Black Beauty has been the lifetime dream, and I vowed to have a brand new one someday.

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