Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums
Sign in to follow this  
TexGoneNW

Howard Roberts Fusion III

Recommended Posts

Anybody else out there have a Howard Roberts Fusion III - or have had and no longer have for any particular reason?

 

I picked one up and played it through a clean tube amp and fell in love. I hate when that happens. Now I have to justify another pony in the stable!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody else out there have a Howard Roberts Fusion III - or have had and no longer have for any particular reason?

 

I picked one up and played it through a clean tube amp and fell in love. I hate when that happens. Now I have to justify another pony in the stable!

 

 

I have one that I bought last year. It's about the most versatile guitar I've ever played, sound, feel, everything is perfect.

 

603145_518587474829407_539618682_n.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody else out there have a Howard Roberts Fusion III - or have had and no longer have for any particular reason?

 

I picked one up and played it through a clean tube amp and fell in love. I hate when that happens. Now I have to justify another pony in the stable!

...I picked one up about 3 months ago! The black one just like the picture of the previous poster. I have owned other Gibsons - 335, 345, 330 sg lespaul custom, melody maker and a 137. This one just looked so different. It plays and feels great. I wonder why they call it a Howard Roberts fusion lll, but the "lll" isn't written anywhere....Mine just says Howard Roberts Fusion, so I wonder if there is a "THREE" that is different. I cant find it on the Gibson website.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I have one. Mine just states Howard Roberts Fusion on the trussrod cover so not sure about the HRF III model either. I bought this about 5 years ago at a local guitar shop and I will never sell it. I love the way it plays and the way it sounds. Great find all the way around!

 

post-32452-042058300 1364101903_thumb.jpg

 

post-32452-090307300 1364101938_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The HR usually comes up on the Custom sub-forum, where all the other semis are covered. I've had mine since 2007 when a cousin in the States made me a very generous gift of his. It's a red one, like RDL's (no photos, I'm afraid), from 1991. Like Tex I find it exceptional through a clean amp (late '70s Fender Pro Reverb, currently in need of TLC, so that sound isn't getting produced at present), or through a clean-to-breaking amp (VHT Special 6, sadly also in need of warranty repairs, so only used a few times). When my Fender amp was functioning better the HR actually seemed able to drive its preamp side even when channel and master volumes were set low (to 3), if I dug in. Very bluesy. I also fell in love with the '59 LP profile neck. I've never had a guitar which so facilitated fast playing, even though the much-touted access to upper frets does require jazz skills (thumb in front of the neck, not anchored behind), so it's not exactly got 335-style access. The quality of the instrument was a real epiphany after my Korean Epiphone Casino. Fiddling with the fingers tailpiece doesn't make as much difference to string break and intonation as I'd like to imagine, but it is a much more solid anchoring device than the standard Gibson trapeze, and it does allow for more or less floaty feel.

 

As for the meaning of the III, it's a generational thing.

 

The original Howard Roberts Fusion came out in 1979, had a maple centre block (all-maple construction bar the ebony fingerboard and headstock fascia, in fact), the old TP6 fine-tuning tailpiece (as on the BB King Lucille), set back further than it usually is on other models, an unbound ebony fretboard, 14-degree headstock pitch, and tulip/crown-headed Grover-like tuners with unusual built-in fold-out speed winders. Hardware was all chrome. Pick-up switch was up top as on a LP. The tone and volume pots were in the usual position for Gibsons.

 

At some point they moved the TP6 nearer to the tune-o-matic bridge, much as on 335s, LPs, etc., and at another point they put tulip Klusons on. I've seen pictures of 1982 models with the Grover-type tuners and the forward-shifted tailpiece. I've seen pictures of 1988 models with Klusons and the TP6. Whether either of these changes marks the official introduction of the Howard Roberts Fusion II is unclear to me. I'm also not sure whether the centre block on the 1988 version is still maple or not.

 

General wisdom appears to be that the Howard Roberts Fusion III designation relates to the switch to a 'chromyte' balsa centre block, the fingers tailpiece, bound ebony fretboard, and the weird control configuration with pick-up switch set between the volume and tone controls for the neck pup. That is all supposed to have happened during 1989. Not sure whether it all happened at once, though. Hardware also changed to gold with the introduction of the fingers. At some point they also went back to tulip/crown Grovers, but without the string winders. That said, I've seen guitars with fingers and Klusons which the owners/sellers designate HRIIs. So I'm really not sure what the HRII actually is - whether it is all-maple or maple/balsa, whether it always has Klusons or sometimes Grovers, and whether it has fingers or a TP6. Perhaps it can be any combination. An HRIII will almost certainly have bound neck, gold 'ware, fingers, chromyte and Grovers, though.

 

My guess is that RDL's is a year or two older than mine, unless the Klusons are a mod. It may be a II or a III, but it's not a I. FWIW, mine has no writing on the truss-rod cover at all, but it's definitely a III. I would really like to try one with a maple block and stop-bar (preferably the forward-shifted one) - just to know. Looking at the fretwear developing on mine, I also kind of wish they'd stuck with the unbound fretboards in the 1990s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I punch in my serial number I get the following info:

 

Your guitar was made at the

Nashville Plant, TN, USA

October 14th, 1992

Production Number: 135

 

However they also note that most hollow bodies and semi-hollow bodies were made at the Memphis plant.

 

Either way she was born in Tennessee and my grandfather "Emerald" was born in Fall Branch Tennessee back in the 1800's so it's got all the mojo I could ever hope for. Daddy like [thumbup]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I punch in my serial number I get the following info:

 

Your guitar was made at the

Nashville Plant, TN, USA

October 14th, 1992

Production Number: 135

 

However they also note that most hollow bodies and semi-hollow bodies were made at the Memphis plant.

 

Either way she was born in Tennessee and my grandfather "Emerald" was born in Fall Branch Tennessee back in the 1800's so it's got all the mojo I could ever hope for. Daddy like [thumbup]

 

Well that just goes to show! Unless the Klusons are a later addition (any reason to think so? - when I first saw the picture they seemed original to me - are the metal bits gold or chrome?), then Gibson was doing its usual thing of doing unusual things, and putting Klusons on some and Grovers on others. Mine is from March 1991, a good year and a half earlier. Mine also comes up as built in Nashville. Acutally I think that the move of semis production to Memphis either came a bit later in the decade, or was sort of in progress in the early '90s, so chances are ours really were made in Nashville. I even think mine says Nashville on the label, but I'm away from home now, so can't check. Nice you have a family connection to the origin of the instrument. I'm so far from Tennessee, the nearest I'd get would be sharing a bottle of Jack Daniels with my old man (also highly unlikely to happen).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that just goes to show! Unless the Klusons are a later addition (any reason to think so? - when I first saw the picture they seemed original to me - are the metal bits gold or chrome?), then Gibson was doing its usual thing of doing unusual things, and putting Klusons on some and Grovers on others. Mine is from March 1991, a good year and a half earlier. Mine also comes up as built in Nashville. Acutally I think that the move of semis production to Memphis either came a bit later in the decade, or was sort of in progress in the early '90s, so chances are ours really were made in Nashville. I even think mine says Nashville on the label, but I'm away from home now, so can't check. Nice you have a family connection to the origin of the instrument. I'm so far from Tennessee, the nearest I'd get would be sharing a bottle of Jack Daniels with my old man (also highly unlikely to happen).

 

All the metal bits are gold. Everything on the guitar is original as I knew the previous owner. He and his wife used to visit the local Gibson dealer every Saturday as I did, back in the day to see what new Gibsons had come in. We had a very friendly competition to see who could get there first and buy whatever new and exciting model came in. We both amassed quite a collection and just as importantly we all had a ball. Unfortunately Gary's wife died a few years later from cancer and he lost all interest in his music. I was at a different music store one day when he brought in several of his collection to sell on consignment. I bought the Howard Roberts from him right on the spot. Even more unfortunately Gary died a year after his wife did, also of cancer. This guitar has more mojo than you could have known. I can tell you that we were/are both purists and we did not make any modifications to our Gibsons. Gary was a hell of a guitarist and I'd like to think he lives on every time I take her out to play. And hell yeah on the Jack Daniels brother [thumbup]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MIne is 2nd hand. Original owner had a local luthier install the stud tailpiece (it an the tune-o-matic are TonePro, don't try this at home) and changed out all the gold hardware, and I think must have done the cream surrounds and pickguard, too.

 

Howard02.jpg?d=gNROPDmQ-qHeQ1_mtRmRebFTM7RMI_mFJ64jOE73s6jZhAB-jPg_YXOPfpSyIfXtXZixW0bHVU4%2540

 

Not sure why the pic didn't load, will try again later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I purchased a Howard Roberts Fusion new in 1995. I was looking for my first archtop guitar and tried the ES-335, ES-175, ES-135, and the Chet Adkins Tennessean, the only Gibson archtops I could come close to affording. ( I also tried a less expensive Epiphone Joe Pass, and a couple of Washburns). I played them all through a Fender '59 Bassman reissue and a '65 Twin Reverb reissue. It was one of those "mojo moments". The HRF was comfortable, played effortlessly, and from the first note, voiced the sound that was in my head. The other guitars were also highly satisfying, but the HRF spoke to me. I do not remember the MSRP, but I recall the store tag was around $1395. I think the Chet Adkins was priced the same, only the ES-135 was less expensive. I worked a deal with the store on a few items, and paid $880 for the HRF. I ahve been accumulating guitars and amps since 1994, and this guitar is my very favorite. It's voice is complex and beautiful, regardless of the amp, or board, it is going through.

GHRFii.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's just so many juicy elements to these models, the feel, the tone to die for, and that tailpiece just gives me goosebumps. I will never sell mine so if it comes up for sale in Iowa - you'll know I passed away. Gee I hope you don't see that for quite awhile yet [unsure][scared]

 

Thanks for posting that picture! [drool]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an Early 80s Howard Roberts Fusion I (with the stop tailpiece). I loved it, but everyone was playing those monster Strats, so I sold it for one of those... : (

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sam Ash has one on Ebay for $2099.00. If anybody lives near the store they would probably give someone a better deal figuring they wouldn't have to pay Ebay fees. I dunno..

 

Here's the link for anyone who is interested. I have nothing to do with that store or their gear for sale in case anyone was wondering. :)

 

*** Removed the link - auction ended awhile back. Looks like it didn't sell.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, I also bought a black one in 1995 ( @ garryrenfro ) and love it too. I can get such a big fat sound from it, and the action is like butter! Sooo smooth, just a total pleasure to play. Whether I'm playing BB king or AC/DC, this guitar is there! I'm kind of jealous of the red one and the sun burst, both to die for! Are they still making the HRF? @ revdavidlee, the tail piece gives me goosebumps too!! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, I also bought a black one in 1995 ( @ garryrenfro ) and love it too. I can get such a big fat sound from it, and the action is like butter! Sooo smooth, just a total pleasure to play. Whether I'm playing BB king or AC/DC, this guitar is there! I'm kind of jealous of the red one and the sun burst, both to die for! Are they still making the HRF? @ revdavidlee, the tail piece gives me goosebumps too!! :)

Congrats on your HRF - HNGD! [thumbup]

 

I think they were discontinued many years ago.

 

I think the tailpiece does a lot to the smooth feeling, especially on the fretboard when bending.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats on your HRF - HNGD! [thumbup]

 

I think they were discontinued many years ago.

 

I think the tailpiece does a lot to the smooth feeling, especially on the fretboard when bending.

 

Wow, discontinued.. Geeze, I have to say that I think this was one of the most under rated guitars ever. I think that tail piece is a work of art, and thanks, I never really thought about the tail piece having much to do with the smooth action. I'm just glad I have one now!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, discontinued.. Geeze, I have to say that I think this was one of the most under rated guitars ever. I think that tail piece is a work of art, and thanks, I never really thought about the tail piece having much to do with the smooth action. I'm just glad I have one now!

 

I have read that other HRF owners "hated" the individual finger-type tailpiece and they actually replaced it with a stop tail (gasp!) I don't understand that at all and I think it's one of the coolest designs ever made. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I think Gibson must not have been selling many of these as it was more associated with a jazz type guitar than a multi-genre type of guitar which, every owner of these fine guitars know, is BS. Mine will rock out with the best of my other Gibson guitars, plays superb blues as well. Really one of the best under-the-radar semi-hollow bodies Gibson ever produced. I'm thrilled I stumbled across mine when I did and it is, and will remain, one of my all time favorites. It just feels "perfect" to play. B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...