Richlite Curse

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Milspec, Jul 1, 2019.

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  1. Hobs

    Hobs Tele-Meister

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    I have no experience with Richlite, but I'm happy to have fingerboards made from abundant, sustainable domestic species. Ebony and rosewood may be pretty and traditional, but there's great tone and playability to be had from maple and other North American woods.
     
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  2. bricksnbeatles

    bricksnbeatles Tele-Afflicted

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    Fine, enjoy your warp-prone ebony. Who cares if the environment is screwed for those after you. :rolleyes:
     
  3. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    I do understand the need for changes regarding the way it has been harvested in some regions, but I really do not think that is the intentions behind the guitar makers on this issue. Just look at Seagull guitars right now for proof on that. They sell an Artist Studio acoustic made of solid rosewood back and sides, but with richlite fretboards. Can you really claim to be worried about the harvesting of rosewood when the body is still made from the species? Just how much wood does it really take to make a fretboard in comparison? Even their "Solid Wood Series" of guitars now include richlite boards, but (and this is the key) they do not state that in the specs on the website. They just skip the fretboard detail entirely in the description in most cases.

    To me, the fretboard choice is an important one yet they seem to be just sneaking this richlite into the mix hoping nobody notices. They all really seem to approach it like it has always been richlite from the beginning and there is nothing to see.
     
  4. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    That is the exact over-reaction that creates all this BS in the first place. It is not backed up by facts, trees are not something static that never regrow. Hell, I just spent 2 weeks clearing sucker growth trees off my property that were already 10 feet tall in just a few years.
     
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  5. bricksnbeatles

    bricksnbeatles Tele-Afflicted

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    1) It was a joke, as evidenced by the face
    2) Even if it's an exaggeration, it's rooted in reality— the exotic lumber trade is absolutely a contributor.
    3) There are facts (ACTUAL PEER REVIEWED STUDIES!!!) to back this stuff up
    4) There are thousands of species of trees— just because one grows fast in one region does not mean all trees can be replenished easily or swiftly.
    5) Anecdotal evidence is NOT evidence!
     
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  6. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    That made me curious...

     
  7. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    This thread has convinced me. My next guitar will have a fretboard made from
     
  8. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I wonder how people would react to all standard and lower model tele's and strats having Richlite boards and needing to spend custom shop prices for rosewood?
    Pau Ferro is a gateway fretboard.
     
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  9. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    B29E7EAF-F4C9-4B3F-A7AD-3059F229BD4E.jpeg
     
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  10. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Brazilian Rosewood, real clay dots and a Dodo bone nut?

    That would be a cool neck. Maybe a fossilized Saber tooth nut?
    Real Abelone inlay.

    They reserve such things for special editions, master built etc.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
  11. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    My apologies....I misinterpreted the comment.
     
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  12. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

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    It is clear that we are divided on this issue and the conversation keeps drifting off into other secondary disagreements so I am going to make this last comment and let it go.

    The guitar industry had to move away from Brazilian Rosewoods and Ebony due to shortages and cost (go hand in hand), but replaced them with other woods (India Rosewood being most common). They didn't install bakelite boards or formica, they shifted to using another wood. Now that there is a closing off of nearly all rosewood species due to land mismanagement and fear of the Chinese demand, instead of shifting to another wood option, we end up with a fake wood engineered abomination....and charged the same price. I feel that this change is both unnecessary and inappropriate for instruments. I also question the decision to ignore other wood species and the way that richlite is being marketed seems overly aggressive in hoping that their decision will be accepted.

    Guitars are a very personal thing and each component preference is also a personal thing in their design / construction. I will not accept anything short of a real wood fretboard....period. Thankfully, I prefer a maple on maple telecaster, but rosewood on acoustics and semi-hollows, so I will not be in the new guitar market for the foreseeable future. It also jacked up the price on the used market to rediculous levels for rosewood boards and guitars so that market is ruined for a buyer as well. This could have been avoided and should be avoided, but if nobody pushes for it, never will happen.

    I would have been happy to pay extra for rosewood with the proceeds going to support proper land management in those regions. That way both sides prosper. The corrupt harvesting is happening because those regions are very poor by global standards and the trees hold great value. Funnel money into the region to support the population takes away the incentive for corrupt harvesting practices. Hell, just providing energy support so they don't have to burn the rosewood would open the supply availability up by tons. Instead, we are just changing who gets rich from the corrupt harvesting companies to the makers of richlite and guitar companies that still charge the same price for cheaper goods.

    It all just leaves me sickened and remember that this restriction on rosewood usage is only beyond the country's borders, the trees are still being harvested heavily for drywall, flooring, construction, and burnt for fuel within the home country so it isn't like no trees are getting cut up.

    Hell with it, I'm done with the topic and remain fully disgusted over it.
     
  13. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    If Seagull has a guitar that is mostly rosewood but they’ve chosen Richlite for the fretboard, I’m thinking they’ve decided that Richlite is a better fretboard material. I’m going to have to try a guitar with one of these Richlite boards. I kind of doubt I’ll detect a difference between maple, rosewood or Richlite.

    I thought I’d notice the difference between rosewoood and maple but I can detect zero difference. Most of mine are rosewood but I’ve got a couple of Strats with one piece quartersawn maple necks and they feel about the same.
     
  14. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Curse? Hardly.

    One of my acoustic guitars, a Rainsong, was purchased so that I would not need to give ANY considerations to temperature or humidity variations for this guitar. It is carbon fiber - ALL of it.

    And guess what... it may not look traditional, but Rainsong definitely has "tone" figured out - it sounds and plays GREAT!

    And, beyond that, put it in the sun, put it in the rain, take it from soggy hot humidity to bone dry heat... the guitar is impervious to it and still sounds great. Rainsong rocks carbon fiber guitars.

    No, I won't be giving up my Martin OM-28V, nor my Eastman OM-All Mahogany, but I have no qualms at all about having a guitar made with modern composites - since it sounds so good and I can ignore all aspects of temperature and humidity with it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  15. stanger

    stanger Tele-Meister

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    The entire guitar industry has the same problem: the traditional hardwoods used for guitar making are becoming more scarce every year.

    Martin was the biggest victim of its own hype. For years, they bought the most Brazilian rosewood because they owned a sawmill to cut it, and Martin sold the wood to all the other guitar makers.
    When the Brazilian government banned the export of logs, Martin wouldn't pay the cost of cut lumber and began buy logs of E. Indian rosewood. Which they then cut and sold to the industry.

    That began the myth that Brazilian was superior rosewood to E. Indian.

    Rarity only increased the desire to possess it, so it was still traded and sold. The lust for the rarity long overcame the inherent tonal qualities of the wood.
    Back before it became scarce, the E. Indian, also known as Palisander, was then much more plentiful, was the most preferred species for all the Spanish guitar industry, and most of the rest of the world's other guitar makers, including Gibson.

    Now, any guitar that has Brazilian on it- a fingerboard and/or bridge, and/or a body made of it, cannot cross our borders. Anyone who takes an old guitar with Brazilian on it across a border will have the guitar confiscated and destroyed.

    That's going to be the fate of all Honduran mahogany guitars, E. Indian guitars, Madagascar guitars, African ebony guitars, and many other tone woods very soon.

    The entire guitar industry is trying very hard to get in front of all this by using alternative woods and other materials.
    Every artificial material that can acceptably replace wood has to go into widespread use. There will come a time when it won't matter how much you are willing to pay for a guitar that doesn't have a Richlite fingerboard, because that's all you will be able to purchase one. At any price.

    Eventually, nitrocellulose lacquer faces the same fate. It's both a wood-based product and an environmental hazard, and the only lacquer that will be available to the industry will be synthetic.

    That synthetic lacquer has been available for years and is already in widespread use by many of the top-range makers. As long as the finish is thin, it can be anything. It's the thinness that makes the difference, not the finishing material.

    You want what you want from mostly tradition. Tradition alone says this old stuff is the best. Synthetic materials will be made that have the same sound qualities and the same visual beauty as wood very soon, and once they are used, the tradition will soon fade.

    It's a new century. There will be many traditions that will disappear before it's over.
    regards,
    stanger
     
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  16. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, I can see things going that way too. They have even banned tru oil for sale in Cali.
    If I cant have nitro I prefer tru oil. Poly alternatives don't look or feel the same even when applied at their thinnest imo. I have most of the guitars i'll ever need and what I would like I will work towards getting in the next couple of years before all these new rules come into play. I will not be handing them in regardless of how extreme the regulations are they come up with. If a old guitar made from these materials already exists I see no point in destroying them even if travelling across borders/ internationally. I see the paperwork required for that as just another tax grab. If supplies of these materials are really at risk I think these new self appointed committees would be better spending their time and effort in replanting rather than world policing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
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  17. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    The ‘lust for rarity’ comment above is at the cold heart of it. An ugly, very human thing.

    Thankfully plenty of people are finally challenging the beliefs. With sense, we could all win. Including the lemurs and the birds and the local people.

    At the end of the day we are talking ‘musical instruments’ and so that has to be about the sound and tone.

    An interesting study using multiple guitars I’d not seen before

    http://www.leonardo-guitar-research.com/

    http://leonardo-guitar-research.com/Online_listening_test.pdf


    And another study here.

    https://asa.scitation.org/doi/10.11...__KLWVVTIf884sYMkKKlnmPqBfnkrep4l98E3hC9w5Xv4


    The musical returns we are getting from the use of ‘exotics’ are clearly not that great at all. In fact they are pretty nonexistent when put to the test.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  18. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    "Hey, you! You can darn well learn to live with richlite, cause this is my rosewood tree!"
     
  19. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    These committees are created by the same machine that pushes for population growth, increased building, construction and imports/exports. All of which are far more responsible for the depletion of land and resources than the rosewood being used on guitars necks.
    Maybe they should stop interfering with things and there would be no need to find solutions to the problems they create.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  20. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Oh yep... you do have to be careful who you vote for too. Those committees are also fundamentally empowered by the people who like the benefits - the cheap clothes sewn by the teeth of a southern Asian kid or the latest shiny, disposable gadget assembled by someone who will never afford to own one.

    Of course guitars are not remotely causing the impact on the environment compared to something like Hongmu furniture. That is the real juggernaut we cannot stop. We have big countries that now aspire to feel modern and consume like the western boomers did but in a world depleted to a point where it cannot support such a model.

    Who will lead the way forward? Innovation and exploring alternatives has to be a good thing in my book.
     
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