Why has Gibson successfully done this but not Fender ?

Mike Eskimo

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Jump in your way back machine to the early 2000’s when Gibson put out 3 or 4 American made Les Paul Jr/Special models for about a 5 yr period that had incredibly light, thin, basically unfilled finishes.

I think most of them had “faded” in the name somewhere.

They even had a Les Paul Std with some flame that were quietly notorious for having huge necks . (Possibly some were also chambered ?)

Regardless , they are now of course sought after guitars and though a lot of people couldn’t believe that Gibson would put out a guitar so “rough” , they sold a lot of them.

And I’m sure their profit margin was higher due to way less detail finish work.

1662565530508.jpeg


I would love a finish like that on a Telecaster.

One that came out of the Fender factory - not one I bought from USACG or Warmoth .And I wouldn’t care whether it was Mexican or American - just a decent piece of wood that isn’t hidden under the standard thick candy coating .

I am not talking about a relic guitar at all.

In this very recent video from Norm’s Rare Guitars shows Lemmo playing a 1958 Stratocaster and in the light, in the close-ups while Lemmo is playing (and Norm is hysterically switching between pick ups) you can see how thin that finish is. They could do it in 1958 - why the hell not now ?!

 
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John C

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I would imagine that there are some current regulatory issues that allow Gibson to use that kind of finish inexpensively in Tennessee that Fender can't use inexpensively in California. I believe that Fender had to build a special spray booth several years ago that is completely sealed (not allowing any residue, solvent, vapors, etc. into the atmosphere) in order to continue using nitro finishes; the urethane finishes don't have to have that level of of control under California regulations. Tennessee doesn't have that level of environment regulations, allowing Gibson to use their version of nitro finishes on all their models instead of just the most expensive models.
 

KeithDavies 100

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I have a Gibson 333, which was a 335 with a similarly "thin" finish, and slightly stripped back style. They only sold them for a while - anecdotally because they were cheaper than a full 335 but otherwise identical, and Gibson felt it hurt the sales of 335s.

I love mine. It somehow feels more like a "working" instrument, and not a valuable thing that I need to handle with kid gloves (though that probably says more about me than about anything else!)

This one isn't mine, but looks just like it:

1662566923288.png
 

loopfinding

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they weren't highly regarded for a long time. i have an SG special from right before the faded - pretty much same specs, just a gloss nitro finish and dot inlays (instead of the leftover moon inlays they had from the gothic series). the fadeds of that era are now selling for around the same with shortages, but over the last 15 years they were going for almost 200 dollars less than mine on the used market.

the neck on the SG specials and special fadeds from that era is also pretty chunky, but unlike the les pauls, the standards only had the slim 60s neck. and the neck pickup was the same as the standard (490R), it just had a hotter bridge (498T) and they were uncovered. people didn't realize those things for a while, i guess cause it was a "budget" model, despite probably being more inline with a lot of people's preferences.
 
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FuncleManson

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The faded series models are nice. I have a Flying V with the crescent moon inlays and an SG special. I'm not sure how sought after they are though, at least where I'm at. I've had the SG for sale on Facebook marketplace for some time with little interest.
 

schmee

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They were never highly regarded from what I've picked up on... like a notch below the Studio models... they are now? I had one of the 335 types, it was a real P.O.S. quality wise....
 

loopfinding

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I have a Gibson 333, which was a 335 with a similarly "thin" finish, and slightly stripped back style. They only sold them for a while - anecdotally because they were cheaper than a full 335 but otherwise identical, and Gibson felt it hurt the sales of 335s.

I love mine. It somehow feels more like a "working" instrument, and not a valuable thing that I need to handle with kid gloves (though that probably says more about me than about anything else!)

This one isn't mine, but looks just like it:

View attachment 1025871

they also had the cavity route/plate that people scoffed at (which is dumb, it's not an acoustic guitar). i'd love to have that on my dot for pickup swaps/joint touch ups without completely destroying the value.
 

Mike Eskimo

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I have a Gibson 333, which was a 335 with a similarly "thin" finish, and slightly stripped back style. They only sold them for a while - anecdotally because they were cheaper than a full 335 but otherwise identical, and Gibson felt it hurt the sales of 335s.

I love mine. It somehow feels more like a "working" instrument, and not a valuable thing that I need to handle with kid gloves (though that probably says more about me than about anything else!)

This one isn't mine, but looks just like it:

View attachment 1025871
I like that
They were never highly regarded from what I've picked up on... like a notch below the Studio models... they are now? I had one of the 335 types, it was a real P.O.S. quality wise....
Don’t know nothing about birthing no babies and I sure as heck don’t know about “highly regarded”. All I know is about “sought after”.


But - the finish . That’s whT this thread is about .

I’m kind of a very thin finish on a telecaster body.

So there are a ton of people on this forum that really like those thick plastic body finishes?

Man I love the way the lake placid finish looks on a 60s Tele but I sure as hell would rather have it be sprayed thin without a clear coat and I could see some grain. But that’s just me.
 

Mike Eskimo

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I would imagine that there are some current regulatory issues that allow Gibson to use that kind of finish inexpensively in Tennessee that Fender can't use inexpensively in California. I believe that Fender had to build a special spray booth several years ago that is completely sealed (not allowing any residue, solvent, vapors, etc. into the atmosphere) in order to continue using nitro finishes; the urethane finishes don't have to have that level of of control under California regulations. Tennessee doesn't have that level of environment regulations, allowing Gibson to use their version of nitro finishes on all their models instead of just the most expensive models.

This makes sense
 

FSRCustomTeleHHGT

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Fender made some Squiers, including Strats and Teles, around that same time period with similar finishes. No one wanted them and they moved on. Fender would make them if anyone still though they were a good idea. And the Gibsons were not highly regarded at the time. They still aren't. But as a curiosity, they have value. If they had actually been highly-regarded, Gibson would still be making them. Hope that answers your question.
 

scotabilly

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I had a faded cherry SG, back in the mid 2000's. It was pretty light, but not set up to play, and I never got into that satin finish. I prefer the glossier finish. I thought about having it buffed out, but ended up selling it.

Same thing with the Fender Highway 1 Strats. Didn't really care for the feel of the finish, although I liked the idea of a thin finish. I've read that Fender went with thicker finishes back in the 70's due to dealer and customer complaints about cracking and peeling. My '82 Tele had over 1/16" of finish. That's also why they used those "gaskets" beneath the neck plate. To that point, I have an Am. Vintage '57 Strat, and the finish is cracked and chipped off near two corners of the neck plate.
 

Peegoo

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They are great guitars; as always, play before you buy because there can be a few dawgs in the mix.

I have a faded SG that has a huge neck, and it is a peach of a guitar. I pulled out the open-coil pickups years ago and replaced them with a covered set from a 1970s Explorer.

I also have a faded Flying V, originally walnut brown, that I shot with fiesta red about 10 years ago. It's a fantastic player.

Geno-PRS-Party-5-Mar22.jpg
 

schmee

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I like that

Don’t know nothing about birthing no babies and I sure as heck don’t know about “highly regarded”. All I know is about “sought after”.


But - the finish . That’s whT this thread is about .

I’m kind of a very thin finish on a telecaster body.

So there are a ton of people on this forum that really like those thick plastic body finishes?

Man I love the way the lake placid finish looks on a 60s Tele but I sure as hell would rather have it be sprayed thin without a clear coat and I could see some grain. But that’s just me.
Yeah, the finish I liked at the time, so bought that 335. Unfortunately that's ALL I liked!
Of course things change over time. I remember you couldn't give away a budget Gibson LP and SG they made of Walnut bodies. But they still double in price over time! Ditto to a lesser extent for the 'GEM' models.
heck even the disliked all maple L6S's doubled in price from as low a $450-500 to over $1000 over time.
 

AAT65

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PRS has very nice looking Satin finishes on several of the guitars in its S2 line - thin, showing the wood grain. They sell them a bit cheaper than the gloss finishes, which makes me think they are quite a bit cheaper to make😀
 

Mike Eskimo

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But they make "Thin Skin" and "Relic Ready" guitars. They just cost a fortune.
Even those are way thicker.

And if it’s that flash coat lacquer/stuff, I’d rather have a poly finish from the mid 70s. I had that thin skin relic ready on my GE Smith . just having that guitar for a couple years I realized that it wouldn’t take much to tap on that thing and peel it like a boiled egg.

And… They did make a Les Paul standard with some very nice looking flame and finishes in variations and Cherry no cherry lemon burst etc. and they did make one of those with a much thicker 50s profile neck.

In fact there’s a 7 1/2 pound (!) one on reverb right now.

Only thing that saves those things from skyrocketing is, I believe, That most or all are chambered ?

those Les Paul forum guys don’t even pick up the guitar unless it’s over 9 pounds
 

bottlenecker

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In this very recent video from Norm’s Rare Guitars shows Lemmo playing a 1958 Stratocaster and in the light, in the close-ups while Lemmo is playing (and Norm is hysterically switching between pick ups) you can see how thin that finish is. They could do it in 1958 - why the hell not now ?!



Do we know they finished them that thin, or is it 60+ years of wear? My 2017 nitro tele is already getting thin where my forearm rests.
 

Jakedog

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Fender has done it. They called them “Rustic” and “Sandblasted”, and they actually charged more for them. I had a rustic Tele. It was nice. I didn’t keep it because I never bonded with the glossy finished fingerboard. I hate those. The satin finished maple boards from the old American Standard line were awesome. Never liked when they did the back of the neck satin and the front glossy.
 

ReverendRevolver

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They do what they want because it's selling quite well, so why not?

When Gibson was making those, fender was making things it no longer does in thier OPP US lines. Specifically, the Highway 1s had atypical finishes.

Fender just sucks at making it easy to find finishes that aren't glossy on US opening price point models, generally.
 




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