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Baked Maple Fretboard

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Recently I've been reading a few posts about Gibson's new baked maple fretboards. I have a 2010 SG Std. Can any of you guys tell me if my fretboard is rosewood or maple? Not that it matters as I love the guitar. I'm just curious. Also, can anyone tell me why Gibson made the change? Some of that illegial wood stuff or just cost cutting? Thanks in advance for the info.

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Recently I've been reading a few posts about Gibson's new baked maple fretboards. I have a 2010 SG Std. Can any of you guys tell me if my fretboard is rosewood or maple? Not that it matters as I love the guitar. I'm just curious. Also, can anyone tell me why Gibson made the change? Some of that illegial wood stuff or just cost cutting? Thanks in advance for the info.

 

Your guitar's fretboard is likely rosewood or possibly katalox, IMHO. Some with more knowledge about the timeframe of the material change will likely chime in if I'm wrong. Most people have never heard of katalox, but it's a great tonewood. It's very similar to ebony except in color which is closer to that of rosewood. You can also visit a guitar store and take a pic of a guitar that you know has a baked maple fretboard and compare it's color and grain pattern to your guitar.

 

The change is likely due to the issues Gibson has been having with the federal government. I like the new maple fretboards. Torrefied wood is nothing new, it's only new to Gibson using it. I'm glad Gibson is looking at other woods, particularly wood that can be sourced right here in the U.S. Maple is excellent fretboard material, though some tend to lash out irrationally about it because they are too stupid or brainwashed into thinking the only good possible woods for fretboards have to be exotic species like ebony or rosewood. When you press them for details about what's wrong with it they either rant louder or they just don't respond. To some ignorance is not a barrier in forming the strongest of opinions.

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If your guitar is stamped 2010, it is rosewood. Baked maple is a very recent addition to the wood catalog that Gibson uses, beginning in 2011 :) And the change is all due to the Federal raid of Gibson last year.

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I'm wondering if it will be obvious when the baked maple is used. The fretboard oil I use (Dunlop) says on the instructions, "Not for use on maple fretboards" so it may be important to know which wood you have on your guitar.

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I'm wondering if it will be obvious when the baked maple is used. The fretboard oil I use (Dunlop) says on the instructions, "Not for use on maple fretboards" so it may be important to know which wood you have on your guitar.

 

I beleive the reason is because most maple fretboards have a finish on them, but Gibson's baked maple fretboard's do not have any finish. Somone posted a while back on another thread a statement by Gibson saying it was alright to oil the fretboard. I'll have to see if I can find it along with a link when I get home from work this evening.

 

Here's a copy/paste from Gibson's FAQ page:

 

How does a player care for the new fretboard materials?

As with all fine wood, periodic treatment of the wood with lemon oil or orange oil will nourish the wood and enhance the grain. However, Richlite will not absorb the oil, so it is not recommended for those models so equipped.

http://www2.gibson.com/Support/FAQ-Tonewoods.aspx

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... or possibly katalox, IMHO. Some with more knowledge about the timeframe of the material change will likely chime in if I'm wrong. Most people have never heard of katalox, but it's a great tonewood. It's very similar to ebony except in color which is closer to that of rosewood. ...

 

Katalox is IMO technically superior to Ebony from its mechanical properties - less brittle, larger E-modulus, great stability of the surface. I have used it for my DYI fretless bass as well as for te bridge of that very instrument and am very happy with hte material. AFAIK, Martin Guitars use it on some of their models.

 

I cannot imagine that Gibson would call Katalox "baked maple", but i can easily imagine that intense heat treatment of maple would make it brown similar to rosewood.

 

Beate

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Katalox is IMO technically superior to Ebony from its mechanical properties - less brittle, larger E-modulus, great stability of the surface. I have used it for my DYI fretless bass as well as for te bridge of that very instrument and am very happy with hte material. AFAIK, Martin Guitars use it on some of their models.

 

Agreed! I love Martin acoustic guitars, and katalox is a superior tone wood. I have a Martin OMC-16OGTE that has a richlite fretboard, and I love it. Some people just whine about a fretboard when it's not ebony or rosewood as if they were the only two woods possible for a fretboard, they are not. They are excellent woods, but they are not the only woods/materials available for a good fretboard.

 

I cannot imagine that Gibson would call Katalox "baked maple", but i can easily imagine that intense heat treatment of maple would make it brown similar to rosewood.

 

Beate

 

I've never seen Gibson refer to katalox as baked maple. On the specs for the SG Standard they had katalox listed as the wood they were using on the fretboard. I believe it was recently changed back to rosewood. The heat treated maple does cause the brown color. It also makes the wood more resistant to moisture, dirt, and increases it's durability. I have a LP Classic Custom with a baked maple fretboard, and it's simply excellent.

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I just bought a 2012 Standard and checked the s/n with Gibson who verified it's Katalox. It's a bit lighter in color than rosweood but I have absolutely no problems with it.

 

A couple of weeks ago the specs on the SG Standard site read "Katalox fretboard" now it's saying rosewood again. Things seem to be changing quickly. Wonder if it means laminated RW....?

 

The nut was a disaster, however... "Plek'd" indeed... with the high E slot out over the binding! How did that that get past QA?? Had a new bone nut carved and it came out great (Bret @ Renson's Guitar did a great carve job and also cut the lacquered original out with no finish damage!). I'm really digging the SG now. I bought it through HelloMusic.com at a significant discount so, no Gibson warranty but to their credit, HW is reimbursing me for the cost of the new nut.

 

Took me over 30 years to get my LP (a new 2006 R8 model) and 6 more years to finally get an SG similar to what I remember staring at in catalogs as a kid. Regardless of the missteps of company management and QA, I can't help but love their guitars.

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I just bought a 2012 Standard and checked the s/n with Gibson who verified it's Katalox. It's a bit lighter in color than rosweood but I have absolutely no problems with it.

 

A couple of weeks ago the specs on the SG Standard site read "Katalox fretboard" now it's saying rosewood again. Things seem to be changing quickly. Wonder if it means laminated RW....?

 

The nut was a disaster, however... "Plek'd" indeed... with the high E slot out over the binding! How did that that get past QA?? Had a new bone nut carved and it came out great (Bret @ Renson's Guitar did a great carve job and also cut the lacquered original out with no finish damage!). I'm really digging the SG now. I bought it through HelloMusic.com at a significant discount so, no Gibson warranty but to their credit, HW is reimbursing me for the cost of the new nut.

 

Took me over 30 years to get my LP (a new 2006 R8 model) and 6 more years to finally get an SG similar to what I remember staring at in catalogs as a kid. Regardless of the missteps of company management and QA, I can't help but love their guitars.

 

The nut has forever seemed to be an issue with new guitars, don't know why that is....? [confused]

 

BTW, weclome to the board, if you got some pics of your new guitar please post them. It's a standing rule that if you don't post pics of a new guitar it didn't really happen... ;) [smile][biggrin]

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The nut has forever seemed to be an issue with new guitars, don't know why that is....? [confused]

 

BTW, weclome to the board, if you got some pics of your new guitar please post them. It's a standing rule that if you don't post pics of a new guitar it didn't really happen... ;) [smile][biggrin]

 

I've heard complaints about nut slots binding but never about the slots not being in the right places. Oh well...

 

Thanks for the welcome. Funny, I've used that "w/o pics it didn't happen comment" myself!

 

IMG_2638.jpg

just out of the box...

 

IMG_2644.jpg

Katalox close-up

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I've heard complaints about nut slots binding but never about the slots not being in the right places. Oh well...

 

Thanks for the welcome. Funny, I've used that "w/o pics it didn't happen comment" myself!

 

IMG_2638.jpg

just out of the box...

 

IMG_2644.jpg

Katalox close-up

 

Congratulations!!! [thumbup] [thumbup] [thumbup]

 

Very sweet indeed! I've got the exact same guitar but with rosewood on the fretboard. The SG is, IMHO, the easiest playing guitar around.

 

Happy playin' to ya'!!!

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The heat treated maple does cause the brown color. It also makes the wood more resistant to moisture, dirt, and increases it's durability. I have a LP Classic Custom with a baked maple fretboard, and it's simply excellent.

 

I was a bit unsure about the improvement of the physical properties of heat treating maple, so i did not mention that.

 

 

As to the colors of rosewood and katalox: it all depends on the tree and in case of rosewood on the actual biological species behind that name.

I own several old guitars with rosewood fingerboards, and they are all lighter than the piece of katalox i chose for my bass. Main problem with that wood: it is very rare and therefore not suitable for a mass production of instruments.

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I was a bit unsure about the improvement of the physical properties of heat treating maple, so i did not mention that.

 

I was unsure about the new maple fretboards too. I was initially looking for a LP Standard or Traditional and I decided to try the LP Classic Custom out of curiousity because of the new wood. I was thrilled with it and bought the Classic Custom instead of Standard or Traditional. I love it!!!

 

As to the colors of rosewood and katalox: it all depends on the tree and in case of rosewood on the actual biological species behind that name.

I own several old guitars with rosewood fingerboards, and they are all lighter than the piece of katalox i chose for my bass. Main problem with that wood: it is very rare and therefore not suitable for a mass production of instruments.

 

Yeah, I was surprised at the use of katalox too because it is more rare. No two pieces of wood are alike, even from the same tree.

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Yeah, I was surprised at the use of katalox too because it is more rare. No two pieces of wood are alike, even from the same tree.

 

An interesting alternative european might be the wood of the olive tree. Nice looking but probably better for custom designed instruments (basses, fretless...) than for classical electrics. I simply cannot imagine any Gibson shape with such a wood on the fingerboard. Not even the RD...

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I was unsure about the new maple fretboards too. I was initially looking for a LP Standard or Traditional and I decided to try the LP Classic Custom out of curiousity because of the new wood. I was thrilled with it and bought the Classic Custom instead of Standard or Traditional. I love it!!!

 

 

 

Yeah, I was surprised at the use of katalox too because it is more rare. No two pieces of wood are alike, even from the same tree.

 

Katalox fretboards sound pretty exciting to me. Thanks for the info on the what Katalox sounds like, JM2112. I agree with the baked maple comment. I think it's great to have some brighter features for the mid range Gibsons or even available at all on some models. I still think Rosewood is the best choice for probably 75% of the Gibson's out there but Lucille likes maple and ebony, I don't tend to argue with her.

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Katalox fretboards sound pretty exciting to me. Thanks for the info on the what Katalox sounds like, JM2112. I agree with the baked maple comment. I think it's great to have some brighter features for the mid range Gibsons or even available at all on some models. I still think Rosewood is the best choice for probably 75% of the Gibson's out there but Lucille likes maple and ebony, I don't tend to argue with her.

 

For an electric guitar and all the effects/pedals/pickups and stuff available I think a player could get just about any tone they want regardless of the fretboard. IMHO, changing the pickups to get a desired sound could probably satisfy most players no matter what the fretboard material may be. Some folks don't like the smoother sound of the 57 Classic pickups on the LP Classic Custom that has a baked maple fretboard. I would love to hear what kind of snarl the Classic Custom would give with 498's or something hotter.

 

Now with an acoustic guitar the fretboard material is going to be more important to the sound, again, IMHO. However, I think the wood used to make the body of the guitar is going to be the most important factor for sound.

 

Yeah, I like having options and different materials available too. I love rosewood and ebony as much as I love maple, katalox, and richlite. They all have their place.

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For an electric guitar and all the effects/pedals/pickups and stuff available I think a player could get just about any tone they want regardless of the fretboard. IMHO, changing the pickups to get a desired sound could probably satisfy most players no matter what the fretboard material may be. Some folks don't like the smoother sound of the 57 Classic pickups on the LP Classic Custom that has a baked maple fretboard. I would love to hear what kind of snarl the Classic Custom would give with 498's or something hotter.

 

Now with an acoustic guitar the fretboard material is going to be more important to the sound, again, IMHO. However, I think the wood used to make the body of the guitar is going to be the most important factor for sound.

 

Yeah, I like having options and different materials available too. I love rosewood and ebony as much as I love maple, katalox, and richlite. They all have their place.

 

Most definitely. I tested this theory a few weeks ago at the Chicago Music Exchange. Played a LP Custom right next to an LP with the same pickups same woods, except for the ebony/rosewood fretboard. Not much of a difference as far as tone goes. The feel of the woods and the necks were different. That's something worth paying extra for IMHO. Same goes with the finish. It's good to keep tradition alive at the same time. What does Richlite sound like to you?

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Most definitely. I tested this theory a few weeks ago at the Chicago Music Exchange. Played a LP Custom right next to an LP with the same pickups same woods, except for the ebony/rosewood fretboard. Not much of a difference as far as tone goes. The feel of the woods and the necks were different. That's something worth paying extra for IMHO. Same goes with the finish. It's good to keep tradition alive at the same time. What does Richlite sound like to you?

 

Just to be clear, don't confuse the LP Classic Custom with the LP Custom, they are two different guitars. The LP Classic Custom is made by Gibson U.S.A. while the LP Custom is made at the Gibson Custom Shop.

 

Here's a link to a video where a LP Classic Custom with the baked maple fretboard is compared to a LP Traditional with a rosewood fretboard. Everything about these guitars is the same except the fretboard.

 

 

 

There are generally two styles of necks for LP's, the 50's style neck and the 60's style neck. IMHO, more people favor the 60's style neck because it has a slimmer profile.

 

I've never played an electric guitar with richlite, but the acoustic I own with richlite (Martin OMC-16OGTE) and other acoustics I've played with richlite are great. I've notice no real difference in sound, but I would venture to guess that the richlite would contribute to a slightly brighter tone since it is so dense, IMHO. However, if the body of the acoustic is something like Ovangkol which produces a warmer tone, the richlite would probably help to lighten it just a bit, but the overall tone would sill be on the warm side since the body of the guitar is more important to tone than the fretboard, again, IMHO.

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I just watched the vidio posted by JM2112. Those guys seem to be having a lot of fun. It seems to me that the the maple fretboard is brighter. Although the test wasn't apples to apples because of the chambered body against the solid body, I think it does demonstrate the tonal difference though. I have to admit that I would be hard pressed to choose one over the other based on the fretboard wood. I guess it would still come down to which one felt better to me. Different amps, effects, etc make as much as if not more difference in the final sound.I like to try out guitars without any amp. Some guitars just have a better, richer sound when played accousticially. That and how I like the overall feel has always been my reason for the final decision. Thanks for all the replies and info guys.

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What would you say the wood is on my 2011 Classic? I can't see a huge difference compared to my other guitars with rosewood boards:

 

DSC00674.jpg

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Recently I've been reading a few posts about Gibson's new baked maple fretboards. I have a 2010 SG Std. Can any of you guys tell me if my fretboard is rosewood or maple? Not that it matters as I love the guitar. I'm just curious. Also, can anyone tell me why Gibson made the change? Some of that illegial wood stuff or just cost cutting? Thanks in advance for the info.

 

 

i dont like baked maple....pass

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What would you say the wood is on my 2011 Classic? I can't see a huge difference compared to my other guitars with rosewood boards:

 

DSC00674.jpg

 

Looks like the rosewood board on my SG Special Faded, so I'm gonna go with rosewood. From what I've seen, baked maple is much browner, where rosewood tends generally towards reddish-brown, and your board seems to be a reddish-brown. Then again, I could be wrong--I mean, the grain and color look like rosewood, but I've never been great at identifying woods, so... [confused]

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