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SugarBear

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Ok, I've been out of the loop on what's happening with Gibsons wood problems...last new Gibson I bought was a 2003 '58 reissue with Brazilian rosewood so it's been a while.

 

Whats the verdict on the new fingerboards? From what I've seen (I have yet to demo any yet)...

 

Richlite - looks ok but who knows how well this stuff will hold up.

 

Baked maple - terrible name...maple burnt to look like rosewood. No offense to anyone that has one, but some of these Classic Custom models look like Chinese Les Paul Custom knock-offs! I'd prefer some raw maple neck and board models rather than this stuff.

 

Layered rosewood - ? What kind of rosewood is this and are both layers the same or is the one we can't see some other material? I'm not against this idea I just wish there was more info. Anyone have more details on this one?

 

Rawk on...

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Ok, I've been out of the loop on what's happening with Gibsons wood problems...last new Gibson I bought was a 2003 '58 reissue with Brazilian rosewood so it's been a while.

The feds have kept an eye on Gibson after the Madagascar incident of 2009. The fretboard blanks Gibson ships over from Asia are bigger then the trade agreement allows.

 

Whats the verdict on the new fingerboards? From what I've seen (I have yet to demo any yet)...

 

Richlite - looks ok but who knows how well this stuff will hold up.

I think the exact opposite. In a couple decades I'll have a reliced guitar with a brand new counter top fretboard.

 

Baked maple - terrible name...maple burnt to look like rosewood. No offense to anyone that has one, but some of these Classic Custom models look like Chinese Les Paul Custom knock-offs! I'd prefer some raw maple neck and board models rather than this stuff.

I like baked maple. I think katalox would have been the better replacement to rosewood. It's very similar.

 

Layered rosewood - ? What kind of rosewood is this and are both layers the same or is the one we can't see some other material? I'm not against this idea I just wish there was more info. Anyone have more details on this one?

To get around the size limit, Gibson is now using two pieces of Indian rosewood, laminated together. I've heard rumor that the recent ebony drought is becasue ebony is too soft to laminate properly.

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Speaking personally....and, this may be heresy, here...but, for the last 50 years,

I've never really cared, what the fret board was made out of. It was/is merely

a wood, or other material, to hold the frets, and press the strings down, onto.

Sure, Rosewood, plain and figured Maple, and Ebony have been the more traditional

materials. But, I have NO problem, with any of the "new" materials, Gibson (and

other's) have decided to use, instead...or, at least along with. No problem, at

all! My "baked Maple board, on my "Classic Custom" Gold Top, is excellent...both

in look, feel, and tone! The Richlite board, on a Midtown Custom, I recently played,

at my dealer's, was just fine, as well. I'd have no reservations, whatsoever, in

purchasing any guitar, with those (or, any other suitable material) for fingerboards.

I think it's great, that Gibson (and other's) are trying/using other suitable materials! [thumbup][biggrin]

 

CB

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Ok, I've been out of the loop on what's happening with Gibsons wood problems...last new Gibson I bought was a 2003 '58 reissue with Brazilian rosewood so it's been a while.

 

Whats the verdict on the new fingerboards? From what I've seen (I have yet to demo any yet)...

 

Richlite - looks ok but who knows how well this stuff will hold up.

 

Baked maple - terrible name...maple burnt to look like rosewood. No offense to anyone that has one, but some of these Classic Custom models look like Chinese Les Paul Custom knock-offs! I'd prefer some raw maple neck and board models rather than this stuff.

 

Layered rosewood - ? What kind of rosewood is this and are both layers the same or is the one we can't see some other material? I'm not against this idea I just wish there was more info. Anyone have more details on this one?

 

Rawk on...

 

Richlite: It is excellent. It's very dense, smooth, fast playing, it's very durable, it's stable, it does not require conditioning nor is it affected by moisture/humidity. Richlite is not a new material. It's been around since the 50's. It's just new in terms of being used on fretboards. I have richlite on a fretboard on my Martin OMC-16OGTE, and I love it.

 

Baked Maple: Your reference to the baked maple on the LP Classic Customs looking like a "Chinese knock-off" is rather silly and is likely from some pics Gibson has on its web site with the light colored fretboard. Every one of these guitars that I've seen and the one I have has a dark fretboard. Unless one is familiar with the wood grain patterns of rosewood and maple there's no way to tell the difference. The new maple fretboards are excellent. The fretboards are very dense, smooth, and fast playing. Torrefied wood is nothing new. The process makes the wood more resistant to moisture, much more stable, durable and more resistant to all forms of biodegradation. These guitars are excellent. Stop by a music store and try one.

 

Here's a pic of my LP Classic Custom with the maple fretboard compared to my SG Standard with a rosewood fretboard. Please tell me what's wrong with it?

IMG_0596.jpg

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Seems to be a lot of sensitivity on this forum, too much worry about what others think of your guitar. No one said there's anything wrong with your guitar...and maybe the knock-off comment was a bit "silly", but so is showing off your guitars on a forum and only expecting ego boosting fanboy comments.

Yours does look fine, but IMHO, from the nut down it looks more like an Epiphone Les Paul Custom with a rosewood board than a Gibson Les Paul Custom.

 

Regarding Richlite and baked maple, anyone have any insight as to how these boards will respond to a refret?

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I was very anti-Micarta when Martin first started using it on their 16 series in 2001 for fingerboards and bridges. Martin has continued to successfully use Micarta, and now Richlite (same basic stuff) in many applications. Last month I finally broke down & purchased a guitar using this material: Gibson's new Midtown Custom. I have to say, the fingerboard & fretwork is very nicely executed, and playability in hand is right on the money, imho.

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Seems to be a lot of sensitivity on this forum, too much worry about what others think of your guitar. No one said there's anything wrong with your guitar...and maybe the knock-off comment was a bit "silly", but so is showing off your guitars on a forum and only expecting ego boosting fanboy comments.

 

It's just a simple matter of respect and manners. Certainly everyone is entitled to an opinion, but it's more in how you say it than what you say. I can understand and respect that there are those who may not like this guitar. There are other models that do not suit me, like the Firebird, but I don't bash them. I'm happy for folks who like them and have them to play.

 

I don't think anyone posts a pic of their guitars for the reason of getting "ego bootsting fanboy comments", we're not teenagers. We all share an appreciation and enjoyment of fine instruments: Les Pauls. I personally enjoy seeing the different LP models, finishes, and gear that other people have, especially older guitars.

 

Yours does look fine, but IMHO, from the nut down it looks more like an Epiphone Les Paul Custom with a rosewood board than a Gibson Les Paul Custom.

 

Ebony is not the only material used on Les Paul Customs, they have used maple in the past. Also, this guitar is not from the Gibson Custom Shop, it's made by Gibson U.S.A.

 

Regarding Richlite and baked maple, anyone have any insight as to how these boards will respond to a refret?

 

Being new materials for fretboard uses, it's going to be a while before we find out.

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Ebony is not the only material used on Les Paul Customs, they have used maple in the past. Also, this guitar is not from the Gibson Custom Shop, it's made by Gibson U.S.A.

 

Yeah, but they used raw maple, not toasted to look like rosewood. And I totally agree with you, Gibson Custom Shop does use higher grade materials. Sorry I've got you girls all in a tizzy...it's the ebony envy, I suppose! I'll be in the Custom forum if you need me!

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Yeah, but they used raw maple, not toasted to look like rosewood. And I totally agree with you, Gibson Custom Shop does use higher grade materials. Sorry I've got you girls all in a tizzy...it's the ebony envy, I suppose! I'll be in the Custom forum if you need me!

 

Raw? Wood has to be dried and stable before it can be used, torrefication only does this better and improves it's durability. Is it any different than putting multiple coats of nitrocellulose lacquer on a guitar or a urathane finish on a guitar instead of just using raw wood? Nope...

 

I never said Gibson Custom Shop uses higher grade materials.

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Sure you did! And based on your info, I'm sure that the maple roasters can't keep up with the demand!

 

No, go back to post #11 and re-read my last comment in response to your question about refretting.

 

I responded that being new materials we'll have to wait and see.

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The wood industry has been dyeing wood for many years; your/my beautiful jet ebony or rich, dark rosewood fretboard? Dyed or stained.

 

As I understand it, top quality ebony has for a long time only been available in pre-cut billets, and this may now be the case with legit rosewood too... google something like 'Madagascar rosewood logging'.

 

Ebony and maple are much tighter grained than rosewood, so supposedly have a tighter response and will take a refret much better. But ebony grows very slowly, so maple, baked or not, is a great alternative. Walnut too. These days you can even buy a guitar made out of some kind of ancient petrified New Zealand tree.

 

Also synthetic or part-synthetic fretboards (usually wood chip or dust mixed with resin) aren't new - check Yamaha SG 2000 and Hagstrom guitars, since at least the 70s. I had a Swede, great guitar!

 

And then there is carbon fibre and plastics. At present plastic is used in speaker cones but just doesn't have the acoustic properties and sustaining qualities of wood, probably never will....I think sooner or later some bright spark will figure out a way to mass-produce a one piece carbon-fibre fretboard cheaply enough, and market it as burntwood or something.

 

Great topic; I got called out-of-the-blue by a much more successful guitarist than me yesterday, hadn't heard from him in years, and he said that he has heard that Gibson are stopping using ebony for boards. I was going to start a new topic to find out but this is answering all my questions!

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The wood industry has been dyeing wood for many years; your/my beautiful jet ebony or rich, dark rosewood fretboard? Dyed or stained.

 

As I understand it, top quality ebony has for a long time only been available in pre-cut billets, and this may now be the case with legit rosewood too... google something like 'Madagascar rosewood logging' and you'll find out quite a bit.

 

Ebony and maple are much tighter grained than rosewood, so supposedly have a tighter response and will take a refret much better. But ebony grows very slowly, so maple, baked or not, is a great alternative. Walnut ain't bad either. These days you can even buy a guitar made out of some kind of ancient petrified New Zealand tree.

 

Also synthetic or part-synthetic fretboards (usually wood chip or dust mixed with resin) aren't new - check Yamaha SG 2000 and Hagstrom guitars, since at least the 70s.

 

And then there is carbon fibre and plastics. At present plastic is used in speaker cones but just doesn't have the acoustic properties and sustaining qualities of wood, probably never will....I think sooner or later some bright spark will figure out a way to mass-produce a one piece carbon-fibre fretboard cheaply enough, and market it as burntwood or something.

 

Interesting topic; I got called out-of-the-blue by a much more successful guitarist than me yesterday, hadn't heard form him in years, and he said that he has heard that Gibson are stopping using ebony for boards.

 

I wonder if anyone has ever looked at or tried black locust wood. That stuff is unbelievably tight and strong.

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