Fretboard on the new SG Tribute

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Worblehat, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2018
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    I've been GASing for the current SG Tribute for a while and I might get one in a couple of month.
    Today I was at a guitar store to check it out in person. They had three of those guitars in the show room:
    1. Gibson SG Tribute 2019 (vintage cherry satin)
    2. Gibson SG Tribute (vintage cherry satin)
    3. Gibson SG Tribute (natural walnut)
    As far as I know the first batch of SG Tributes (released in the end of 2018) is usually labelled "2019" whereas the later exemplars don't have a year in their name as Gibson does not want models associated with a specific year any more. They just call it their "core line" or something like that.
    From what I've read so far these models are essentially the same except for a different nut material (according to Gibson's website).

    Now when I saw them side by side I immediately noticed something with the fretboards. While the 2019 had the usual brown rosewood color the other two models had a very weird looking fretboard. They were kind of grey. Looked like a layer of dust. But it wasn't. I could not wipe it away.

    Have you seen something like this before? Is this just a very dry fretboard or did they actually use different wood on the newer models?
    19sixty3 likes this.
  2. Super fuzz

    Super fuzz Member

    Jan 23, 2016
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    I can talk from my own experience. My 2014 SG Standard's fret board was grey when I bought it. It had been sitting in the store for more than a year and the board was really dry. It was so dry that the oil from my fingers left finger prints on the fret board.

    Now I really have no idea what wood is used. According to the Gibson website, it's supposed to be rosewood, but it has always been lighter than the fret board on my 2009 Les Paul studio, which has always been a dark reddish-brown. In fact, my SG's fret board has very little if any red in it.

    I'm sure it is rosewood, probably just a lighter colored piece than typical.
    Worblehat likes this.
  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

    Sep 29, 2009
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    Tucson AZ
    Think about it this way:

    Gibson went bankrupt in 2018. They got rid of their CEO, Henry J,
    and probably a lot of other employees as well. (likely those nearing
    but not qualified yet) for retirement, so they could discount their
    pensions. Anyone that Gibson owed money to was told to get in line,
    and receive a fraction of what they should have got.

    They hired some new management, and likely some new designers
    and engineers, and craftsmen... and since they went bankrupt and failed to pay their bills to their suppliers, they probably had to find some new suppliers of wood and other necessities. I don't know this for sure, but it seems likely.

    One of the things the new management decided to do was to stop
    labeling guitars with a year class. Guitars labeled with a year class
    are likely to be those assembled or partially assembled when the
    bankruptcy took place, and the company was 're-organized."

    If you think about it like that, does it seem any wonder that there
    will be anomalies a player might notice? There are sure to be more.

    We return to one of our proverbs here at ETSG:

    This has actually always been true, because "general statements" about
    Gibson guitars have always been doo-doo. Gibson guitars are mostly
    quite individual, and attempts to categorize them or describe them in
    general terms are mostly futile. Or blowing smoke. Just my humble
    opinion, as a Gibson fan and player. All the Gibsons I've owned have
    been very individual, and resist being classified.

    My guess (as good as yours maybe) is that this characteristic will
    continue. And IMHO that's a good thing.
    19sixty3 and Worblehat like this.
  4. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2018
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    Thanks for your opinions on this! So I guess it's just a variation in the wood and maybe a dry fretboard. This means there is a chance that there are other newer SG Tributes out there with different looking fretboards which is good because this grey stain really turned me off. Therefore Colonel's advice "play it before you buy it" is as valid as ever.
    19sixty3 likes this.

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