What's the verdict on Richlite fingerboards?

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

  1. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

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    You are coming to conclusion that doesn't connect to your reason IMO.
    I think your guitars are in tune above the nut because they are intune above
    the nut.
     
  2. Starshine

    Starshine Member

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    If you're paying top dollar for a guitar, I can see wanting it to be all solid wood, but I have richlite on one of my Gibsons and it's a great fretboard material. Hell, I'd take it over rosewood any day, which is my least favorite of the "big three" fretboard woods.
     
  3. LoopyBullet

    LoopyBullet Member

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    I love it! They pretty much feels like a clean slate of real wood. I wish more guitar companies would use Richlite!
     
  4. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    My 65th anniversary (2014) Gibson BB King Lucille has a richlite FB. It's fine, no problems. Not sticky, kind of dry and smooth. I like it.

    dc
     
  5. Gus54

    Gus54 Member

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    Really? OK, then Gibson should go BACK to real Rosewood, real Maple, and ebony instead of that torrified crap and counter top "richlite". They are just suckin' up to "going green" and making the customer pay for the losses involved in all that crapola. JMHO.

    NO offense intended. If you love it, run with it.
     
  6. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

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    Smoke 'em if you got 'em, am I right? F**k those loser polar bears.
     
  7. Bertiman

    Bertiman Member

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    The nut effects the angle of the string and therefore the tension required to fret the note.... the closer the fret is to the nut the more pronounced the effect. This is why nuts that are too high will fret sharp on the first few frets.
     
  8. Rhythm Rocker

    Rhythm Rocker Member

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    There are more than enough clean minty used guitars out there with Ebony fretboards as an option. Plus you save $ over buying new.

    Just because someone prefers Ebony as their choice and preference, doesn't mean that they are insensitive to the environment
    and Planet. No one said F the trees and cut them all down. As I stated above, one can always purchase used if they prefer Ebony.

    And I love Polar Bears. Cheers.
     
  9. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

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    and i quote: They are just suckin' up to "going green" and making the customer pay for the losses involved in all that crapola. JMHO.
     
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  10. Rhythm Rocker

    Rhythm Rocker Member

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    ^Ya, I wasn't referring to that post. Just in general. Thanks.
     
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  11. Gus54

    Gus54 Member

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    Hahahahahah! You're killin' me! Made me spew coffee on the keyboard!
     
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  12. cutaway

    cutaway Supporting Member

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    I don't believe anyone has ever spewed coffee on a keyboard but ok
     
  13. Able Grip

    Able Grip Member

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    I only use rhino horn for my fretboards. I would consider elephant tusk though.
     
  14. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    I've yet to own a guitar with a Richlite board, but if it looks good and has no functional downside, seems like a total non-issue to me. "Because it's not what they used to use" is a groundless argument unless "what they used to use" is demonstrably superior, either functionally or aesthetically. But so far, even those strongly opposed to it's use admit it mostly looks and feels like ebony. I've yet to hear a convincing case for something meaningful, like poor longevity. If I start hearing luthiers complaining they can't refret the stuff, then I'll join the opposed camp.
     
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  15. grumphh

    grumphh Member

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    You forget that you have two separate issues here.

    One thing is that richlite is a perfectly good fretboard material (i certainly have no problems with it on my Steinberger) and i have no problems whatsoever with people designing guitars that incorporate synthetics into their builds - provided they still deliver sound- and playingwise.

    But the other thing is that guitar models are usually associated with a certain style of build, including the material spec.

    Of course specs can change over time (and have) - but changing specs for no reason at all (Gibson still use ebony, both in their most expensive and in their cheapest import lines) on a guitar that has had an ebony fretboard for 60 years is just a terrible move on Gibsons part.

    It's like trying to get people to accept that an injection molded plastic body can be used to build a Les Paul.

    Or, a little more relevant in Gibson history - changing the neck material to maple (arguably a superior material for necks than mahogany)... Well, that lasted for 7 years, and then they reverted back to old-school specs.

    Sure, Gibson have the legal rights to call any guitar they make a Les Paul - which just doesn't mean that it is one...
     
  16. bluegrif

    bluegrif Member

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    I suppose it depends entirely on one's perspective. I was only pointing out that if there is no difference in function, then it's a non-issue regarding the quality of the guitar. It only matters in that it's not what's been used in the past. So the perceived downside is for reasons other than it's appropriate use in a quality musical instrument. And actually, the analogies you've introduced are not relevant because both material changes you cite will likely audibly affect the guitar. The maple neck rather subtly perhaps, but a plastic body would radically alter the sound. The Richlite board OTOH, by all accounts, looks and behaves pretty much indistinguishably from ebony. So what you're really saying is you want them made like they've always been made, even though it makes no real difference. And don't get me wrong, if that's important to you, nothing wrong with that. It's your dollars and if you want your guitar to feature any given material then you should stick with those that do. For me, I couldn't care less so long as the sound, playability, and durability were unhampered.
     
  17. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    :rotflmao
     
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  18. grumphh

    grumphh Member

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    Those are the two separate viewpoints in a nutshell - and both are valid and can be held at the same time ;)

    It is completely true that a designer can design a guitar of very high quality (in this case quality means "great playing, sounding and functional") using a wide range of materials.

    But it is also true that it matters that "it is not what has been used in the past".
    Because in this case, what we are talking about is not an actual quality issue but only one of perceived quality.

    ...in the end perception is what the value of lifestyle guitars is based on, and that perception of quality is more or less arbitrary when it comes to lifestyle commodities such as guitars.
    After all, marketing has hammered the idea that even tiny differences in construction make for great changes in quality (=sales price) for many decades by now - charging absurd amounts for perceived quality differences between models and making it possible to have gazillions of models at lots of price points - despite the fact that the underlying construction is basically the same across all these price points.

    Which also means that changing out a rare material for something as mundane and plentiful as a countertop material will diminish the perceived (and therefor actual) value of a Custom.
     
  19. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    One other viewpoint that enters in, appearance. And that may be what really has Gibson and others in a hard spot. Accepting ebony is the traditional material, dark near black ebony is also part of that tradition. So when the supply becomes light and streaked ebony, will buyers reject that as non-traditional? I see mixed reactions. I am guessing a streaked multi-color fretboard on a Les Paul Custom will be a tough sell. And if the solution is to dye the ebony black? This seems like a rejectable option to many. There will be a lot of nasty posts about dyed fretboards coming.

    I think beyond cost and function, the issue is appearance.

    hunter
     
  20. grumphh

    grumphh Member

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    I think Taylor did approach that from the right angle - by simply appealing to our eco-friendlyness, and telling everyone that in order to have ebony at all, we will have to accept the streaked stuff as well.

    And from there you could grade ebony into three grades, namely black (traditional, at a premium of course ;) ), attractively figured and plain streaky stuff - not unlike some manufacturers already grade their figured tops.

    I honestly think that if LPC buyers were given the choice between figured ebony and richlite quite a few would opt for the figured stuff over the synthetic... And even that quite a few might pay a few hundred bucks more for black over figured ebony.

    The problem with the business model that Gibson has chosen right now is that 3000 USD is a rather steep upcharge for getting real ebony on a guitar that already is expensive enough to have real ebony as default...
     

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