Why has Gibson successfully done this but not Fender ?

Mike Eskimo

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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.

Yeah you can clearly see it on the upper bass horn when lemmo moves around. It’s the finish , not wear .

I remember when my old dearly departed friend John Bennett had Ferndale guitar exchange around here, and he has his wall of 15 sunburst pre-CBS Strat’s, the one ‘57 that he had and the couple from ‘60 were really nice and had noticeably thinner finishes.
 

irie

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They did...

Around 2012-13 Fender did the American Special line in a "Nitro Satin Finish" that was basically a bare guitar with a very thin satin nitrocellulose finish in honey burst. I dont think they ever did a tele but I know they did a Strat and a P-bass

They were awesome, all American made guitars for like $750.
 

bobio

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Might be interesting to add a poll to this thread "Faded finishes Yes or No"

I personally am not a fan of reliced, flat or faded finishes. "I" like 'em glossy :)

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SixStringSlinger

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I have a 2005 faded Les Paul Studio.

F743C1CE-103E-45B7-859A-A06C44E4FF3A.jpeg


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(These pics are from when I’d just gotten it home, and it needed some tweaking and cleaning)

Non-chambered body, ‘50’s neck profile and Burstbucker Pro pickups. All I’ve done is change the pots to ones that measure slightly over 500k. I’ve never weighed it but it doesn’t seem overly heavy to me.

The finish (and at least in part the wood underneath) feels great and it’s a little worn on the neck and where my forearm rests.
 

bottlenecker

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Yeah you can clearly see it on the upper bass horn when lemmo moves around. It’s the finish , not wear .

I remember when my old dearly departed friend John Bennett had Ferndale guitar exchange around here, and he has his wall of 15 sunburst pre-CBS Strat’s, the one ‘57 that he had and the couple from ‘60 were really nice and had noticeably thinner finishes.

I don't mean the obvious kind of wear like relics try to immitate, I mean the thing that happens when people want their guitar to look clean and shiny. Lacquer darkens with dirt and sweat, and people buff it out and shine it up. It gets a little thinner every time it's polished. That's what's happening on my 2017. My 60s guitars are way beyond that, but I might just have very corrosive sweat.
 

ponycar

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I bought myself a LesPaul Standard Faded tobacco sunburst for my birthday in 2007. 50s neck decent maple top. It was chambered and light. A popular movement appeared with a specific shop refinishing in gloss laquer. You can search it, last time I checked it's still around.
I thought about doing mine myself, but I bought three 2007 Gibson Melody Makers at the same time, also faded finish. They had an identical neck carve to the LP, wide and full. I hotrodded/ renished all 3 in various ways with the one constant being replacing the factory ceramic pickups with a variety of Seymour Duncan humbucking units. Such fun to modify inexpensive american guitars. I sold two during covid, at a profit. Here's the one I kept, originally black. I dislike the original melted pickguardand came up with this design. I utilized the original pickguard screw locations but relocated the volume and tone knobs. I could switch back to the original guard shape and pickups. Preferring my Melody Makers I sold the LesPaul in 2017.

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JohnnyCrash

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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....


I had one of the Faded SGs.

The difference in quality between the Faded and my ‘00, ‘01, and ‘10 USA models was noticeable. I didn’t include my Custom Shop ‘01 because that was even better in the attention to the nut and fit and finish.

My (admittedly) anecdotal experience (one Faded SG) is that it wasn’t very good compared to all of my other Gibsons. Maybe I got a lemon? I believe I sold it within a year.
 

LowCaster

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They did...

Around 2012-13 Fender did the American Special line in a "Nitro Satin Finish" that was basically a bare guitar with a very thin satin nitrocellulose finish in honey burst. I dont think they ever did a tele but I know they did a Strat and a P-bass

They were awesome, all American made guitars for like $750.
They did, Telecaster too.
 

telemnemonics

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Good question!
Guessing:
Gibson is known for old timey wooden guitars.
Fender is known for modern plasticky coated guitars.
The Beatles didnt strip their Fender finishes.
 

kuch

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back in the 90's I got a Gibson "The Paul" with the original PAF pickups and the "firebrand" headstock. I eventually sold it and got a 335.

It looks just like the solid mahogany bodies pictured above.....

edit: I guess it had a solid walnut body. But the finish was light and natural looking
 
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jrblue

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Those thin finishes with unfilled pores are junk from a "finish" standpoint. Ibn a very superficial way, they suggest the luster of a gloss instrument that has been handled for decades, and I certainly agree that a softer luster is way more appealing than the super glinty hyper-shine that machine finishing creates. But it is a myth that satin necks with unfilled pores are "faster" than gloss necks. They aren't, as they a far from as smooth as a finished neck. But it may be that the crap, rubbery "nitro" used on most production line guitars is grippier than real nitro. Factories love satin finish and unfilled pores. Anyone who has finished guitars will tell you that unfilled/satin finishes are just "a few sprays and done" while pore filling, especially, is a whole lot of work, most of it unpleasant. But it didn't become standard for no reason, and it didn't become standard because it was worse than easier methods. That being said, it's all personal feel and preference, and I certainly like any finish that encourages plays to handle and play their guitars rather than admiring their glossy perfection that must not be touched... or scratched!
 

drmordo

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When the Faded line came out, I was pretty offended because it seemed like Gibson was really cheaping out.

These days, I appreciate them much more because while they are much more affordable than a fully finished Gibson and the ones I have held played great. They are also very pretty in a more primitive way. That said, the Faded Cherry look is still my least fav. I may yet buy a Tribute Les Paul, but I picked up this guy for a decent price a few months back and really like him. I've wanted a DC for 20+ years.

les paul DC.jpg



As for Fender, I would literally throw money at them if they made a MIM Tele that looked like this:

gibson-les-paul-tribute-satin-honeyburst (1).jpg
 
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jvin248

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Wasn't anything magical about those Gibsons ... they just put no maple cap on the mahogany, skipped the pore filling and sanding back stage, and then used fewer sprays of finish with no sanding nor polishing. The guitars were priced to appeal to the segment of the market that wanted the cheapest guitar they could spend on to get the Gibson logo. They could buy the top end fancy Epiphone or the basement built Gibson and they valued the logo more than any other features.

PRS has done that from time to time too on lower priced models, some SE models, I think even S2 models.

It won't work on typical Fender woods other than Ash since Ash is the only wood Fender regularly uses with pores in it. I think I had an up market Squier I flipped that had that finish. I have an Ibanez shredder model with it. Mahogany is the wood of choice for that type of finish.

The typical buyers of those low-priced Gibsons thought they were 'in the Gibson club' but of course the players who owned top end Gibson LPs or even Custom Shop models looked down on them as if they had bought an Epiphone. Instead of being praised to be in the club they were somewhat shunned, and sales fell. And because of that, Gibson stopped making that model. Same thing happened with the $400 flat-black Explorer-like model Gibson did five years ago. Buyers rushed to finally get a Gibson Logo for cheap and ... that's what they got. Marketing and Branding is a twisted game.

Order one of those $85 Harley Benton LP kits and don't do any pore filling on the body and you can have the style and feel pretty easily. Do your own fretwork and setup on it to bring it up to Custom Shop playability and you'll have a great guitar.

.
 

KokoTele

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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”.

Fender needs things to be sought after when they're the supplier, not when they're on the used market. Every time Fender does something close to this, they sell poorly for a short time and then they move on.

Gibson did the faded series when they needed to produce guitars at a price point to compete, but decided that the cheap guitars were eating into the sales of more expensive models, and were cheapening the Gibson brand. It worked. Now people rave about Gibson's quality, despite the fact that it's pretty awful for a marquee company. I've got a $3000 artist signature Les Paul model here now that looks like the detail work was done by a hobbyist on the first attempt.
 




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