Has Gibson started unchaining itself from the millstone of tradition?

Is it just me or has anybody else noticed that Gibson Guitars seems to try to get us guitarists to slowly accept non-traditional woods in their Guitars?

If this move is conscious I can only applaud it in light of growing efforts to conserve our Mother Earth’s dwindling resources of precious woods. But if these changes have sprung from the mere desire to ”try something else” I think Gibson should be given credit for it, too.

Here are some recent examples:

The Midtown Custom uses traditional maple and mahogany for its body and neck, but features Richlite (a composite of wood fibres and resin) as the fingerboard.


The Raw Power -series of SGs and Les Pauls had been crafted using nothing but maple.


The Zoot Suit SG used plenty of dyed Stratabond – a fancy brand name for birch (or similar hardwood) plywood.


The current Melody Makers – Flying V, Les Paul, SG and Explorer – all feature maple bodies and mahogany necks. The dark fingerboard is also maple – torrefied (”baked”) maple!


The Les Paul Studio Swirl uses obeche for its fretboard, an African timber Gibson has started using more regularly these days.


…and more torrefied maple for the Les Paul Classic Custom’s ’board.


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