#1
Hi guys. I'm hoping to be buying my first Les Paul this month, specifically the one below. Looking at the picture, does the rosewood fretboard look a little dry as its a light brown. The Les Paul's I've seen have a darker rosewood fretboard. Am I right or completely wrong? Cheers.

#2
Depends on the guitar.

Depends on how dry the fingerboard is, which you can easily sort out yourself.
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#3
My fretboard is a bit lighter.

I don't think you can tell from pictures like that.
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#5
Some rosewood fingerboards are lighter than others, some are darker than others. It's really not that big of a deal. If the color bothers you, maybe you can oil it up a bit once you get it?
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#7
most older LP's have EBONY fret boards the newer ones had Rosewood that maybe the difference your noticing
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#8
Quote by Robbgnarly
most older LP's have EBONY fret boards the newer ones had Rosewood that maybe the difference your noticing


Only the Customs have ebony fretboards (with a few exceptions here and there).

Gibson has traditionally built its lower end guitars of mahogany (body and neck) with a rosewood fretboard and plastic (pearloid) inlays. This includes the cheapest student guitars, on up to the LP Standard and ES-175, ES-335.

Higher end guitars (LP Customs, L5, ES-355) receive ebony fretboards, real MOP (or abalone) inlays and, often, maple bodies and multipiece necks. The highest end solid body in 1975, for example, was the L5S, with multiple-layer binding on the top and back of a maple body, with a bound multipiece maple neck, multi-layer binding on the headstock and MOP and Abalone inlays.
#9
Quote by aerosmithfan95
Some rosewood fingerboards are lighter than others, some are darker than others. It's really not that big of a deal. If the color bothers you, maybe you can oil it up a bit once you get it?


This is pretty much it. Rosewood doesn't really need oiling, by the way -- oil is mostly cosmetic (don't let it soak in!) with the side effect of helping keep liquid moisture (and sweat salts/acids) from penetrating. Both rosewood and ebony will last centuries without the need for any kind of oil additions.
#10
Quote by dspellman
Only the Customs have ebony fretboards (with a few exceptions here and there).

Gibson has traditionally built its lower end guitars of mahogany (body and neck) with a rosewood fretboard and plastic (pearloid) inlays. This includes the cheapest student guitars, on up to the LP Standard and ES-175, ES-335.

Higher end guitars (LP Customs, L5, ES-355) receive ebony fretboards, real MOP (or abalone) inlays and, often, maple bodies and multipiece necks. The highest end solid body in 1975, for example, was the L5S, with multiple-layer binding on the top and back of a maple body, with a bound multipiece maple neck, multi-layer binding on the headstock and MOP and Abalone inlays.

My old studio Lp had an Ebony fret board

I was under the impression that until the whole ebony importing fiasco, Gibson used Ebony on all LP's
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#11
Quote by Robbgnarly
My old studio Lp had an Ebony fret board

I was under the impression that until the whole ebony importing fiasco, Gibson used Ebony on all LP's


Gosh, no. It was pretty rare to find ebony on their "cheaper" guitars; your Studio was definitely an anomaly. The L6S from the 70's, for example, was a solid maple guitar/neck and most came with a maple fretboard (they were going for a bit of a Fender vibe). The cheaper versions had rosewood fretboards, and a few with black and burst finishes had ebony.

In the 50's, only the Customs had ebony fretboards. The "holy grail" burst was the Standard, and had a rosewood fretboard and plastic (pearloid) inlays.

The importing fiasco involved both rosewood and ebony for fretboards, but from different countries (India and Madagascar) with different laws.

In the case of ebony, Gibson was importing from a German firm whose inventories of Madagascar ebony were NOT cleared by that company with the government of Madagascar.

Gibson was well aware that the material was being sold to them as "grey market" and the customs paperwork was "jiggered" to slide it through. They'd even participated in a sponsored trip to Madagascar a couple of years prior that was designed to give them an understanding of WHY the wood was illegal. Nonetheless, they imported this wood this way for a year or so before the raids that seized paperwork.

There's much made about the government "returning" Gibson's wood, but that really wasn't quite the case. Gibson had already used a lot of the wood in production and it was gone and damage done. Pallets of wood that were seized were seized to determine if it was part of the shipments that hadn't gone through production yet.

In the end, Gibson paid what amounted to a $300,000 fine and a $50,000 contribution to a "green" federation and agreed to a "probation" period. Under that probation, they wouldn't be charged with a crime for this instance, but if any FURTHER crimes or misdeeds occurred, the government would go back and file further criminal charges with regard to the raid/seizure business. It was a slap on the wrist and a warning that they were being watched. Meanwhile, some small inconsistencies and minor loopholes (that Gibson tried very hard to exploit to avoid production halts) in the laws were patched to make it very clear to Gibson what they could and couldn't do.

With both current and future supplies of ebony and rosewood under scrutiny, they shifted to Richlite (a plastic material composed of resin and paper), obeche, roasted maple, granadillo, laminated rosewood strips and whatever they could find to fill in for their traditional fretboard materials. Now that they've managed to find legal (but probably slightly more expensive) sources of fretboard wood, they've mostly moved back to the traditional materials (though some guitars are still getting Richlite).
Last edited by dspellman at Apr 4, 2014,
#12
Quote by ryan2t69
Hi guys. I'm hoping to be buying my first Les Paul this month, specifically the one below. Looking at the picture, does the rosewood fretboard look a little dry as its a light brown. The Les Paul's I've seen have a darker rosewood fretboard. Am I right or completely wrong? Cheers.



It's difficult to tell; I'd guess that this rosewood fretboard is probably darker in person than it is in the photograph. A lot can change with lighting, and that fretboard is reflecting a diffused lightsource that will make it appear lighter than it would normally.

Note that what looks like a blotchy (light and dark) back on that guitar is also reflecting a diffuse lightsource, and will be more like the dark areas and very even when you see it in person. And thanks to the contrast setting on a lot of digital cameras, the burst looks a bit more "clowny" than it will in real life.
#13
^ yeah it was a bit different than any LP studio I have seen (2000 model), it had smaller than normal trapezoids on it. it deff had an Ebony Fret board though, which I thought was the norm
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#14
There's a possibility that it's not actually traditional rosewood. Gibson has been using a wood called Granadillo lately which is technically of the rosewoods family but is lighter in color. I've seen guitars with granadillo fretboards advertised as rosewood before.
Last edited by Seref at Apr 4, 2014,
#15
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#16
I like when dspellman posts. I always learn things about Gibson I didn't know before. Keep it up, homie.
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#17
First thing: no, that fretboard does not look at all dry. In fact it looks perfectly healthy, in the sense that it is one consistent colour. You can tell when a rosewood board is starting to dry out because it goes grey in random patches.

Even if it does become dry—which is pretty rare if you play it regularly—you can easily freshen it up with a little mineral oil once every year and a half or a deep conditioner once every two and a half to three years.

But the second thing which has come up in this thread: yes, the majority of Gibsons have had rosewood fretboards, not ebony, but some cheaper Gibsons have had ebony fretboards. From about 1986 right up until the end of 2012, there have been regular Studio models being produced with ebony fretboards. Since 2012 Gibson has still produced a couple of limited runs of Les Paul Studios in Alpine White with ebony fretboards and gold hardware for certain shops. The Goddess series of guitars had ebony fretboards and the original run of Swamp Ash Studio guitars also had ebony fretboards.
The 'mini trapezoid' inlays, also mentioned, were used on a couple of Studio, Special and Deluxe models throughout the '90s and early '00s.

So... yeah, old Gibsons were most definitely all rosewood other than the Customs, but ever since the early 80s they've used ebony pretty much wherever they've thought it would look good.
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#18
Quote by ryan2t69
Hi guys. I'm hoping to be buying my first Les Paul this month, specifically the one below. Looking at the picture, does the rosewood fretboard look a little dry as its a light brown. The Les Paul's I've seen have a darker rosewood fretboard. Am I right or completely wrong? Cheers.



What I would be more concerned about (and one of the reasons I don't buy this level of LP) is the tittypink plastic and binding they use on these things.

At this point, all the Gibsons I own date from pre-1980 (no plan there, just sorta worked out that way) except for one Axcess, which I ordered as a Custom (white binding, ebony fretboard, real shell inlays) because I just didn't care for the pink stuff.

Gibson DOES have access to proper cream plastic; the expensive reissues get it. I have NO idea why they still have the pinky stuff on some of their guitars.
#19
Quote by dspellman
What I would be more concerned about (and one of the reasons I don't buy this level of LP) is the tittypink plastic and binding they use on these things.

Gibson DOES have access to proper cream plastic; the expensive reissues get it. I have NO idea why they still have the pinky stuff on some of their guitars.

i'd be more concerned about the fact that it's an atrocious clown burst myself.

the pink probably helps the overall look of that thing. seriously.