Other Guitars

Another Bad Idea From Gibson for 2015??

1

Having had a life-long love for ES 335, etc. guitars, I was intrigued by Gibson's announcement about a NEW ES355 for 2015. At first glance, it looks like a gorgeous guitar -- other than the choice of olive drab green as the ONLY color.

In checking the specs, the fingerboard material is listed as "RICHLITE". As a long time cabinet maker, I had never heard of a Richlite Tree..... Behold, it is a man made material made from paper and resin.

So we now have a "top of the line" (street price = $4500) guitar with a synthetic (cheap??) fretboard?? At that price range, I want real wood -- The Best wood, in fact.

http://www2.gibson.com/Prod...

2

I like the green for some reason but the Richlite demotes the classic....I would go for the Gibson Midtown at that point.

I am so pleased my ES-359 came with a pre-raid ebony board.

3

Urrgghh... why did they stain the wood inside black? At least no robo tuners here. ;)

4

senojnad, they don't have many options for fretboards now, particularly if they are trying to create a "green" image. Ebony is becoming scarcer and more difficult to import with CITES and all.

5

At least the Bigsby has atmospheric action...

6

I like the looks of that limited run cherry ES295 though!! Price...not so much..

7

Martin has been using the same material on some of their mid priced-to lower-high-end guitars. I played one not too long ago, and the tone and playability was to die for. I didn't realize it was an alternate material til I checked the specs later. This is going to happen more and more, but yeah, for that price....you should expect Ebony.

8

Martin has been using the same material on some of their mid priced-to lower-high-end guitars. I played one not too long ago, and the tone and playability was to die for. I didn't realize it was an alternate material til I checked the specs later. This is going to happen more and more, but yeah, for that price....you should expect Ebony.

– Mark StJohn

Agreed. I was playing the d16rgt the other day and it sounded and played incredible, I couldn't believe it when I found out it wasnt actually wood.

But this guitar is around $1500 canadian. If I am paying a few grand for a top of the line guitar, I expect real wood.

9

It looks like a Rally! Those are WAY cheaper and feature a real wood fretboard:

10

Here is my ES-355. I wanted it red. And I wanted a Varitone and a Maestro Vibrola.

Guess who gave me an idea...

11

Green isn't that bad colour... in right place

12

That's a terrible web site. I wouldn't mind a composite fretboard depending on how it plays. Not a big fan of the olive drab, though.

13

I wonder if Richlite is something like the Resinator fingerboard material used by Hagstrom. If so, I'd be quite happy with it. Not all that keen on the olive green though.

14

looks like the chris cornell but with humbuckers. not bad

15

I have a SG in that same color.. It was a sam ash exclusive back in 2001 or so..

16

I hate the richlite. I used to have a Midtown and loved how it played, but felt funny on my fingers. I would rather use baked maple or just normal Fender type maple on a neck. Are we running out of maple trees, too?

I had an ES- 335 years ago which I should have kept. Those were the days of the 1970s $250 GIbson ES-335s or Les Pauls or SGs. Since then, could not get anything that sounded like the Gretsch Electromatic I just got. Looks like a B. Setzer guitar with the Orange - 5420T. Would have to spend thousands to get a Gibbie like this Gretsch.

Before the pup upgrade on the Gretsch, I played a friend's Gretsch once in a while. Big improvement in tone in this new Gretsch. Next thing should be bone or good synthetic material. Maybe strengthen the input jack a little. Just some minor things like that. This guitar is one of my all time favorites, now.

17

If the actual sound and playability of the Richlite is as good as or better than ebony then why not? Why sacrifice more ebony unless there's a damn-good reason?

18

Hey Walter - I went to look just because of your comment. That cherry 295 is beautiful! The price is not what you would really pay though - I would guess it would sell for around $3000? Still a lot, but what a classy guitar. I wonder how long it would take me to put a TOM and a Bigsby on it?

19

Should have gone with carbon fiber.

20

I'm certainly a traditionalist, but the Richlite (or baked maple) boards don't bother me. As long as they play/feel/sound fine and don't look weird, they're okay with me.

21

The 2015 contemporary Les Paul Customs also have "Richlite" fretboards. Martin also uses it in some of their models. I don't know how "Richlite" sounds but it's gotta be incredibly stable and will last forever (Richlite is a phenolic resin that is used to cover skateboard ramps and countertops).

22

Richlite is a phenolic resin / cellulose compound material produced by Richlite Company. Like other phenolic resin / cellulose compound material it is a dense material made from partially recycled paper and phenolic resin. The paper is soaked in phenolic resin, then molded and baked into net shape in a heated form or press.

Originally distributed as a commercial kitchen surface in the 1950s, it has recently been adapted for use in skateboard parks as well as various other applications, such as residential counters, fiberglass cores and limited architectural applications.

Composition

The composition of Richlite is cellulose fiber and phenolic resin (a type of polymer) which is combined and baked for a smooth hard surface. The natural fibers are made from plant, animal and mineral sources. However most natural fibers are predominantly cellulose structure made up of continuous hydrogen and oxygen bonds.

Production

  • Cellulose derived from tree pulp is turned into large rolls of paper.
  • The paper is then soaked in phenolic resin and goes up to a heating chamber to be dried out before being rolled back up.
  • Then hundreds of these sheets are laid on top of each other and with the use of compression molding the stack is compacted.

Because of the resin's thermoset properties the resulting cooled material is hard.

The above is from Wikipedia.

Richlite is basically used paper (hopefully not Charmin) soaked in the stuff they make billiard balls out of. Since they've dyed it black, I guess that puts you behind the 8-Ball.

I see about a thousand bucks worth of guitar there. What's the other $3,500.00 buying me?

24

Knowledge that you are paying for a machine/process artifact that came from no human hand.

25

"I see about a thousand bucks worth of guitar there. What's the other $3,500.00 buying me?"

Ouch Bear I have to say that's a killer line. Kind of nails it in one.

From your description of Richlite it sounds closely related to vulcanised fibreboard - or fish paper as I believe you guys call it.

In other words, the stuff used for Fender pickup flats and old school circuit boards.

Who knows, maybe it sounds good?


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