What's your take on Richlite?

What is your take on the use Richlite fretboards?

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  • Poll closed .


Don't know exactly what it is and I am not going to 'learn' what it is because it is probably not standardized anyway.

I might someday buy a carbon fiber Guitar- never tried one .....but if it can be tuned and has interesting resonance ....I get it

But I don't want Richlite on a Guitar as fretboard when there is plenty of Pau Ferro and Granadillo around etc.

Do you want a cheeseburger with Parzea on it ? What if it just "comes that way ' with Parzea ?

What if they are out of Relish ?


there is this bit:
The process of creating Richlite is both simple and complex. Rolls of paper are saturated with a thermosetting resin before being cut to length and laid up by hand. Each sheet is carefully stacked, and the direction of the paper alternated, creating the ultimate balance and stability. The stacks are then pressed under even heat and pressure, which bonds the layers of paper together and cures the resin. Slowly cooled, the cured panels produce a solid, stable sheet of material. Richlite can be pressed in many various sizes and thicknesses, from ¼” (6mm) to 3” (75mm) thick and sheet sizes up to 5’x12’ (3660 x 1525mm).

this vid:

honestly, the piece of richlite i got for my next guitar project's fingerboard, the stuff is VERY hard. i sort of wonder why it's not just glued together and used as neck material. and the board does look like ebony. like some have said: if i didn't know what it was from the name, i'd think its just ebony...
Complete necks made of the stuff is the next step. I'm sure it's been done by someone, already. I'd like to hear that.


Like many other posters, I have a richlite board on a Martin (DCPA5). I'm totally fine with it. It doesn't feel quite like wood but there's nothing plastic-y or otherwise offensive about it at all.

Funny thing (not really) about my Martin. The one I have is a replacement, because the first one had a Pau Ferro board, which is not how this model is spec'd. I was OK with it until I discovered I had a severe skin allergy to it. So I sent it back and they were very good about sending me another one with the published specs. They told me that a select few models were made with Pau Ferro boards and bridges. I would have felt lucky to get one of those select few if it wasn't for the skin on my fingers turning into a horror movie.


Clouds yell at me
Gold Supporting Member
I've played a couple briefly. Don't see any problem with it. If a guitar I otherwise wanted had it, it wouldn't discourage me from buying it. I came close once, with a Jeff Tweedy Martin, went for something else that I liked a little better but the fretboard material had zero to do with that decision.

On the other hand, the main reason it's being used is that the woods that are traditionally used for the darker fretboards, in other words not maple, are getting scarcer. It remains an alternative in people's minds. Including my own, and I don't feel the least bit bad about saying that.

Way too late for the poll, my answer would have been "it's inevitable" but with a reservation. I don't know that richlite will be the main alternate to the traditional dark fretboard woods, could be baked maple, could be something else. And I'm not really an expert on forestry either, maybe there an be a comeback, I can just say it appears to me that guitar building will have to go to one or several alternatives.
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Richlite plays great, has great resonant qualities, lasts just as long as wood, is just as hard as wood, feels just as good, requires no maintenance, and is easier to work with and less likely to chip if you get it refretted... and it costs less!

Also, I can tell you that at least in the looks department, I'd much prefer to have an evenly black or evenly very-dark-brown colored richlite fretboard than the 8-shades-of-asymetrical-washed-out-garbage-light-brown fretboards you're starting to see everywhere these days.

At this point I think people who have a huge bias against it think that way simply because "real wood" is what's comfortable and familiar to them, or because wood is one step closer to a material that is produced naturally by the earth, as if that simple fact has any inherent value whatsoever when it comes to guitar making (it doesn't), or they believe it's not as good as wood because wood is what their heroes used (because it was the only thing available). They just have it in their minds that "if it ain't 100% REAL wood it ain't no REAL guitar" and "if HENDRIX, PAGE, or CLAPTON didn't use it, it ain't worth buying" or some other ridiculous nonsense, and are incapable of forming an opinion based on actual facts.

Or it could just be that guitar players are mostly hyper conservative when it comes to gear, and are totally averse to innovation or change in any way, shape, or form, and so will make up any excuse possible to convince themselves that the old ways, whatever they happen to be, are always better. Less scary thinking and learning that way, or the possibility of acknowledging that at one point you might not have been totally 100% right about everything.
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Silver Supporting Member
I've got no issue with it as long as the builder has been clear that's what they used to make the fretboard.

We've seen building and materials evolve over the years, mostly making a better instrument.


Silver Supporting Member
Just got my richlite fingerboard epoxied onto my guitar project today, seemed to go well. The funny thing is they saw: to rough up the gluing side w/ sandpaper, stuff is hard, sandpaper barely makes a dent!!!!!
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Silver Supporting Member
I don't care if it gave me the guitar prowess of Steve Vai, I'll never own a guitar that uses it.

Then again, if it could really do that ... :rolleyes:

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