What's the verdict on Richlite fingerboards?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by PLAYLOUD, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. sahhas

    sahhas Supporting Member

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    i need to read through this whole thread. I'm working on my next guitar and have thought about using richlite for the fretboard.
    I used to have a GL streinberger for about 12 years and honestly loved the feel of the Phenolic fingerboard....I also liked the feel of my Parker Nitefly guitar I had after the Steinbverger (it was carbon-glass construction)...so I'm curious if the Richlite feels similar to Phenolic?
    i know some people didn't like the feel of steinbergers, but I did like them....
    just curious...
     
  2. james...

    james... Supporting Member

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    I actually forgot there was richlite on my Midtown Custom for a while. I seriously thought it was ebony for like a year, then was like...oh yeah...
     
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  3. JCW308

    JCW308 Supporting Member

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    I have it on my Martin acoustic and it's been fantastic over the years. Stable, looks great and sounds wonderful.
     
  4. rushrocker

    rushrocker Member

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    One of my Martin's has a richlite fingerboard. I own 8 acoustics (5 Taylors, 2 Martins, 1 Eastman) and it is the only one with richlite fingerboard.

    There is no doubt in my mind that it is a bit tackier/stickier than rosewood or ebony.

    I could not figure out for the longest time why this particular guitar had that "maple fretboard" feel to it. And at the time I did not know it had richlite. Finally I put two and two together. It doesn't produce quite the finger-drag that a glossy maple board does (I hate it so much) but it's not as smooth as rosewood or ebony. Somewhere in between I suppose.
     
  5. killer blues

    killer blues Member

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    If a Gibson is a custom model it better have an ebony fingerboard or it's a non starter for me,
     
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  6. lizardking

    lizardking Supporting Member

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    Maybe dumb question. Is Richlite different than Micarta. I have a Martin acoustic with some kind of plastic-y fret board and I hate it. Feels like playing on, well, plastic. LOL.

    So to answer the question, I didn't buy it. Got it as a gift. I picked out the one I wanted in the store and when the person went back to buy it for me somehow, this is what I got. And no I didn't want to turn around and return it, because it seemed rude.
     
  7. DustyRhodesJr

    DustyRhodesJr Supporting Member

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    I saw a mini-doc on Godin guitars, and one of the things that came up was their recent
    use of Richlite boards.

    Mr Godin said it is something like 10 times harder and more durable than ebony, and wont
    crack or split and doesnt change with the weather.

    So it sounds like it is really good stuff- Mr Godin would certainly know more than I know
    about it.
     
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  8. FlatTire

    FlatTire Member

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    Try giving your wife a cubic zirconia ring for your 25th anniversary. It does the same job after all. That's how I feel about richlite.
     
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  9. SupremeDalek

    SupremeDalek Member

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    I have had my Martin for 7 years, richlite and all, and I have never had an issue with my fingerboard at all. It's very, very stable and very, very smooth. It's not an attribute that I hunt for, but I wouldn't turn down a great that had it. Richlite or not, I don't care. It plays great and that's what counts.
     
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  10. rockabilly69

    rockabilly69 Supporting Member

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    Richlite seems like a nice alternative to ebony, but people who say it feels like ebony, well I disagree, I don't think any richlite board feels like the ebony on this guitar. Maybe Gibson had better stock years ago, but the ebony of this guitar is a smooth as I've ever felt on any fingerboard. The Richlite I've felt seems to drag in comparison. So much so, that when I was looking to buy a new Martin gigging guitar, I went the steps it took to get to ebony and wound up with an HD28.

    A good piece of ebony is sublime...

    [​IMG]
     
  11. GreatGreen

    GreatGreen Member

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    "I like real wood because it has the word 'REAL' in the name and I don't like richlite because I know it's 'FAKE' because it doesn't grow out of the GROUND but a TEST TUBE so I know it's BAD and not GOOD.

    What? No, I've never actually played a guitar with a richlite board. But I don't need to actually try it to know it's NOT GOOD because it's BAD.

    Nothing UNNATURAL goes in MY guitars. Oh, except for a man made plastic finish, metal parts, a bunch of plastic for the pickups and pickup rings, knobs and switches, tuners, and inlays throughout the instrument.

    There's nothing like my old Les Paul with a REAL ebony fretboard even though half the frets are made entirely of giant blocks of mother of pearl inlays."

    - a complete idiot


    Now, if you *actually* don't like richlite for a reason a human adult might come up with like "I've tried it and don't like it because of tangible reasons that make logical sense" that's one thing, but this snake oil guitar forum IF IT AIN'T A 59 LES PAUL IT AIN'T A GUITAR garbage needs to stop. People who talk like that sound like a toddler who won't try new food and it's embarrassing. It makes every one of us look bad and it makes those people in particular look terrible. Stop it.

    Form your own real decisions based on your own real experience, please.


    note: and before you ask, no I'm not affiliated with any richlite companies, nor do I own any guitars with richlite boards. I'm open to the idea though.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  12. tnvol

    tnvol Ufologist Silver Supporting Member

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    I had a Martin acoustic with it and it felt great. I didn't realize it sucked until the internet told me so.
     
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  13. sahhas

    sahhas Supporting Member

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    For my next guitar project I just got my richlite fingerboard in the mail. What an interesting material! It’s very black, it looks like ebony honestly.
    It is also very dense.
    It has a nice ring to it when you tap it. And it doesn’t really smell like plastic, it smells more like some kind of wood. Honestly if you handed it to someone and didn’t say what it was, I think most people would think it’s wood
     
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  14. Salfordlad

    Salfordlad Member

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  15. Coopster

    Coopster Member

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  16. Drew66

    Drew66 Member

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    I have a Martin (Mexican built) that I got for a very good price with a richlite fretboard. I like it and I’m not sure I would have realized it wasn’t ebony if I hadn’t looked up the specs before I bought it. I’m not sure I would want to pay for an expensive guitar and get richlite though.
     
    sahhas likes this.
  17. MusicalMan

    MusicalMan Member

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    I like Richlite and know firsthand that it is a great material for a fretboard - even on my $5500 LP Custom I play the heck out of. Anyhow, this is brought up plenty on the interwebs and I just find it silly to read about the stigma. Hey, to each and to their own. If someone isn’t comfortable spending the kind of money on their guitar like I did that has Richlite or whatever, have at it. My guitar rocks and haven’t regretted buying it when I did years ago. Just felt like adding my comment to the Richlite opinion pool in this thread. It’s not like I’ve ever been booed off the stage for being called out for playing on a “countertop” fretboard :D
     
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  18. YYZ

    YYZ Supporting Member

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    But did you ever find the reason? o_O
     
  19. MusicalMan

    MusicalMan Member

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    Well... yeah, because I suck at playing guitar, haha!
     
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  20. Maggot

    Maggot Member

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    The first guitar I owned with a composite board was an aluminum-necked Kramer with Ebanol. It was so black and so nice! Since then I've played a number of guitars with Ebanol or Richlite boards, and I've liked most of them.

    There's no reason I need a piece of endangered tree on my guitar so I can be authentic, although some of mine have em. I think guitar makers should be applauded for trying to find effective, sustainable fingerboard materials. The 50s and 60s are over, and while I like the old designs, an instrument doesn't have to be a fetish object.
     
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