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I notice Gibson Les Paul Customs are back to ebony fingerboards
Old 11th June 2019
  #1
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I notice Gibson Les Paul Customs are back to ebony fingerboards

Didn't notice these configured like this a few months ago. They were all richlite.
Old 11th June 2019
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
Didn't notice these configured like this a few months ago. They were all richlite.
Is it a good Ebony or is it like Walmart ebony?

cheers,

audioforce
Old 12th June 2019
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
Didn't notice these configured like this a few months ago. They were all richlite.
Yeah, there are certainly (welcome) moves afoot by the new management to bring back some ebony for sure. I suspect Henry J was too proud/stubborn/petty to buy it from Taylor (which is likely where they are getting it).

I'm not against Richlite per se but I am kind of against it on $6000 instruments...
Old 20th June 2019
  #4
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YEA! I have Richlite on one of my LP supremes.

Gotta have ebony on the high end guitars - period. AND black ebony not the striped kind. That's for lower end guitars.

Are you listening Gibson?

It's going to be older guys who will buy the high end stuff mostly. Cater to us and give us the ebony we want.

I think the unfair, likely politically motivated, government ebony raid put gibson looking for an alternative. (There is a special place in hell for the unaccountable government bureaucrats that put Gibson CEOs through that.). Richlite is indeed an amazing substitute for ebony. If you did not know, most would think it ebony. But I like ebony better as it has a slightly softer dig to it. This and the fact that I love real ebony wood.

Last edited by piano; 20th June 2019 at 05:10 AM..
Old 21st June 2019
  #5
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foldback's Avatar
I can't imagine my Gibson Lucille without an ebony fingerboard.

Good music to all!
Old 21st June 2019
  #6
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Richlite reminds me of this song's lyrics - "When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around". How is it anything much different from particle board?
Old 22nd June 2019
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
Richlite reminds me of this song's lyrics - "When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around". How is it anything much different from particle board?
It's much different from particle board (which does have some wood in it.)

It's CARDBOARD!
Old 22nd June 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
It's much different from particle board (which does have some wood in it.)

It's CARDBOARD!
I dunno...guitars made from any material, wood, metal, masonite, plywood, plastic are all still called "guitars" and afaik particle board comes in various styles and densities from huge flakes of wood to wood dust and last I checked paper is basically somewhat similarly rendered wood with less binder.
Old 23rd June 2019
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
It's much different from particle board (which does have some wood in it.)

It's CARDBOARD!
I'm definitely in the camp that prefers Ebony.

However, as a guy who own both, it's an inaccurate put down to call it 'cardboard'. It is actually an amazing product replacement for ebony and far more stable and durable than wood.

I was quite skeptical of it but to be fair Richlite is indeed a winner. According to Gibson it is more expensive to use than Ebony.

All that said, would I rather have Ebony or Richlite? The EBONY for sure - but mostly because I am a purist and I LOVE wood.
Old 23rd June 2019
  #10
Interestingly they are now blowing out last year’s Richlite-equipped Customs here in the UK for “only” £2899 - presume the new ebony-laden editions are due any day. So if you dig Richlite, you could grab a “bargain” at one of several dealers...
Old 23rd June 2019
  #11
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I like the feel of Richlite a lot better than "good" ebony, which looks great but it's too damn hard. And I like the feel of Indian rosewood better than both.

And I think the whole synthetic-materials-in-my-expensive-guitar thing is a little silly. I'm sure some piano players lost their sh!t when they couldn't have their ivory anymore, but we all seem to have gotten over it.
Old 23rd June 2019
  #12
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It has been my experience that things are rarely as simple as we often like to imagine. Things aren't good because they are old or because they are new. Things aren't good because they are expensive or because they are cheap. Choices have consequences. Everything is a tradeoff.Things are good because they work and most especially because those tradeoffs work for YOU!

In this case I can see that woods can contribute to, or adversely affect, the resonance of a neck translating into overall tone BUT I can also see that Richlite may present a more neutral, transmitter-like effect that could also be a desirable tone component. Form follows function and so does choice of materials. If you like it, it's yours and who cares why?
Old 29th June 2019
  #13
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ProgFree's Avatar
 

Just chimming in to say I've played one and it was stellar. Great to see Gibson getting on the right track again!
Old 29th June 2019
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
I dunno...guitars made from any material, wood, metal, masonite, plywood, plastic are all still called "guitars" and afaik particle board comes in various styles and densities from huge flakes of wood to wood dust and last I checked paper is basically somewhat similarly rendered wood with less binder.
Quote:
Originally Posted by piano View Post
I'm definitely in the camp that prefers Ebony.

However, as a guy who own both, it's an inaccurate put down to call it 'cardboard'. It is actually an amazing product replacement for ebony and far more stable and durable than wood.

I was quite skeptical of it but to be fair Richlite is indeed a winner. According to Gibson it is more expensive to use than Ebony.

All that said, would I rather have Ebony or Richlite? The EBONY for sure - but mostly because I am a purist and I LOVE wood.
Quote:
Originally Posted by designguide.com
Richlite is an incredibly durable, extremely versatile, and highly sustainable material made from resin-infused paper. Originally developed over 70 years ago for ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alterna Corp
Richlite panels and slabs are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper, or FSC certified paper with 80% rapidly renewable content, which has been ...
Richlite is resin infused cardboard, formed under pressure.

MDF, particle board, etc is made from wood chips, scraps, and sawdust mixed with a resin binder. It has a fibrous consistency which Richlite, being paper, lacks.

Gibson lies about the cost of Richlite. You can get a Richlite cutting board for about 50 cents at Amazon. You can't get a comparable chunk of ebony for anywhere near that.
Old 29th June 2019
  #15
What's the shelf life of Richlite? Novel materials often degrade in unforseen catastrophic ways.
Old 29th June 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Richlite is resin infused cardboard, formed under pressure.

MDF, particle board, etc is made from wood chips, scraps, and sawdust mixed with a resin binder. It has a fibrous consistency which Richlite, being paper, lacks.

Gibson lies about the cost of Richlite. You can get a Richlite cutting board for about 50 cents at Amazon. You can't get a comparable chunk of ebony for anywhere near that.
John I know you could easily fill in for Tevye ("Tradition!) but really, wood is just cellulose infused with resin under the influence of slow growth and weather, right?.

Look I LOVE and appreciate natural wood and not only that, but tend to prefer old (sometimes rather ancient) hand or foot powered woodworking tools. I leaned Luthier work from various sources but the biggest influence was a 3rd generation violin maker from the Netherlands, and I already loved seedlac and French Polish before I met him so I share SOME of the love for tradition you have, but I am not as closed to new stuff as you seem to be.

I hate it when I see some gorgeous piece of natural, aged wood refinished by some housewife or teenager with cheap paint or a Faux finish, but for example there actually are (as we have discussed before) protected locations where the characteristics of particle board are useful. My DanElectro Silvertone has a maple neck with Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard but the body is masonite and pine plywood. It plays and sounds great.

Many years ago I read that Shugie Otis painted his fingerboard with clear fingernail polish so I tried it... and HATED it! I learned then that primarily, fingerboard materialis about FEEL. If the material is stable and can hold frets in place and not dampen string harmonics in an unpleasant manner, it's OK by me, especially since the traditional woods are becoming far more rare not to mention ridiculously controlled.

I'm assuming since Richlite is trademarked that it has a very specific formula or possibly is available with different formulae for different use cases. I don't love the stuff but it does seem to work quite well and if it helps Gibson's and others bottom line to stay in business that's fine with me. Things aren't necessarily good just because they are costly.
Old 3rd July 2019
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
John I know you could easily fill in for Tevye ("Tradition!) but really, wood is just cellulose infused with resin under the influence of slow growth and weather, right?.
You should understand that there's a HUGE difference between natural wood resins and synthetic plastic resins. Right?

Richlite is PAPER (not wood - it probably contains some wood pulp but also contains recycled cloth and other materials) held together with synthetic resin, formed under pressure. It's a form or cardboard. It bears no resemblance to real wood. It was originally developed for use in synthetic kitchen counter tops, like Formica was.

Quote:
Look I LOVE and appreciate natural wood and not only that, but tend to prefer old (sometimes rather ancient) hand or foot powered woodworking tools. I leaned Luthier work from various sources but the biggest influence was a 3rd generation violin maker from the Netherlands, and I already loved seedlac and French Polish before I met him so I share SOME of the love for tradition you have, but I am not as closed to new stuff as you seem to be.
If it ain't broke, DON'T FIX IT!

Henry adopted Richlite as a ploy to get guitarists stirred up about his feud with US Customs. No other reason. And I do not want a guitar with a cardboard fingerboard and don't understand why anybody would. It's not about "progress" and it's certainly not about ecology or conservation. It's about a stupid political feud involving an egomaniacal jerk who was going off the deep end.
Old 3rd July 2019
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
What's the shelf life of Richlite? Novel materials often degrade in unforseen catastrophic ways.
I don't think anybody knows except maybe the people who remodel kitchens.
Old 3rd July 2019
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
It has been my experience that things are rarely as simple as we often like to imagine. Things aren't good because they are old or because they are new. Things aren't good because they are expensive or because they are cheap. Choices have consequences. Everything is a tradeoff.Things are good because they work and most especially because those tradeoffs work for YOU!

In this case I can see that woods can contribute to, or adversely affect, the resonance of a neck translating into overall tone BUT I can also see that Richlite may present a more neutral, transmitter-like effect that could also be a desirable tone component. Form follows function and so does choice of materials. If you like it, it's yours and who cares why?
Ever play one of those Kalamazoo guitars with the molded MDF body? Not a desirable tone component. The resins used in that class of materials are HORRIBLE for musical instruments.
Old 3rd July 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Ever play one of those Kalamazoo guitars with the molded MDF body? Not a desirable tone component. The resins used in that class of materials are HORRIBLE for musical instruments.
Actually I have and in this case you're absolutely right. They bloze goats. The thing is about options is they are only good if they remain optional or prove themselves so superior to what they are an alternative for, they end up taking over. Since "superior" really just means "different" with a subjective value judgement tossed in, "taking over" isn't universally a good thing.

Apparently a few here like Richlite or at least don't mind it and I have no opinion beyond liking options in general since I haven't played any so outfitted. I suppose I may also be influenced by my concern over dwindling resources. I am utterly appalled that some countries can apparently confiscate guitars (and other things) sporting Brazilian Rosewood without rather specific and pita documentation. I certainly don't want to see that trend expand, even if that is a rather selfish interest.
Old 3rd July 2019
  #21
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
It's much different from particle board (which does have some wood in it.)

It's CARDBOARD!
I always thought cardboard was made out of wood?
Old 3rd July 2019
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
I always thought cardboard was made out of wood?
Cardboard is made of paper.

Some paper is made of wood, some of rags, some of rice, etc, etc.
Old 22nd July 2019
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Richlite is resin infused cardboard, formed under pressure.

MDF, particle board, etc is made from wood chips, scraps, and sawdust mixed with a resin binder. It has a fibrous consistency which Richlite, being paper, lacks.

Gibson lies about the cost of Richlite. You can get a Richlite cutting board for about 50 cents at Amazon. You can't get a comparable chunk of ebony for anywhere near that.
Cardboard is a derogitory word for what this high end recycled high end paper product is. It is also far more stable for a neck.

Yes, solid black ebony is more expensive.

Again, personally, I do prefer ebony.
Old 22nd July 2019
  #24
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Now if the could just get the neck joint correct,
The pot meter values correct, the pick guard shape correct, the pick up rings correct...the bridge posts correct.
And a few other issues...
Old 22nd July 2019
  #25
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How about a nice maple neck Les Paul?
Old 22nd July 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
How about a nice maple neck Les Paul?
And a neck volute?
Old 23rd July 2019
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipss36 View Post
And a neck volute?
???

Uhmm, at least one?
Old 23rd July 2019
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipss36 View Post
Now if the could just get the neck joint correct,
The pot meter values correct, the pick guard shape correct, the pick up rings correct...the bridge posts correct.
And a few other issues...

Interesting and I'd like to hear what Gibson's still not getting right in more detail.

I'm sort of looked down on by a lot of guitar guys because I didn't pay much attention to detail in the past. I've owned several Les Paul Customs that I bought new in 1972 and 1975, a LP Standard and Les Paul Deluxe new in 1976... all during the Norlin years except maybe the 1972 custom ....I don't remember when Norlin took over.

I'd see a color I liked and buy it. They seemed fine to me on stage and in the studio. My 20th anniversary black/white model developed a crack up towards the headstock at the back within a couple of years of buying it new. I'd generally watch it over time but it seemed under the finish and didn't seem to be expanding. I bought that guitar new at dealer cost for around $400 in 1975 and sold it to a guy in the 80s for close to two grand.... he didn't seemed concerned that it was a Norlin era guitar.

At the time in the 70s, there was a real LP expert I knew (a lawyer) who collected old 50s-60s Les Pauls (only if they appeared like new) and would constantly bring them in to show me.... he was like the guy in Spinal Tap (don't touch this one... don't even look at this one ). But I didn't really follow his conversations closely (look at the arch in the top of this one etc.). He was so protective of those guitars that even he wouldn't usually pick them up to play. Just open the case, remove cloths covering the tops, and let me look at them. He was constantly pointing out how much better his guitars were than the Norlins I kept buying.

So in the past year, I've decided to buy a black Les Paul Custom again ,which was the color of my first one. I had one shipped in to look at about this time last year. It felt right (not weight relieved) and I almost kept it but the richlite fingerboard....while feeling okay to me... brought up red flags and I dunno why.

I haven't seen this year's models yet. The other required thing I do to all Les Pauls is install a bigsby B7. Via vibramate now. Another thing many other guitar players criticize me for.

The January Gibson Namm booth was way too crowded to get a LPC off the wall to sit down with.

So... what's Gibson still screwing up with? I'm going to be a little more focused on details when I buy this next one. I don't know how picky I'll be about the pickguard shape, but it would still be interesting to hear what's up with the models.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #29
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Just make sure it has at least one volute, and you're good.
Old 23rd July 2019
  #30
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chipss36's Avatar
 

This is just my opinion.
First I believe the best les Paul ever made was in 1959, so why not build all les Paul’s similar?
The neck joint being long tenon, the pick guard the same shape, and thickness , the modern pickguard is not even close , a bridge post that screws into the wood, not the Nashville posts, a non wired abr1, the pickup rings back then were different plastic and different shape, why do they not mold nylon 6-6 nuts like they used to, it works well with the angle on the headstock....ie less tuning issues.
The pot-meters now adays in a les Paul don’t even read 500 ohms anymore.
Gibson does build one correctly imho.
They charge $6,499.00 for it.
That is insane....
Ironically one thing that sold like crazy and helped Gibson out of the nolin era, was an affordable 59.
6.5k is not affordable. That’s a lawyer guitar...
A 59 style should be called the “standard “ and be around $2499.00.

This is cork sniffing ,and I am a bit ocd, i will admit that, I know many nolins that sound killer and made some great records, volute And all... but ohhh my back...

Not so sure about rich-light though...

Last edited by chipss36; 23rd July 2019 at 07:15 AM..
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