Braz Question -When did it end?

Discussion in 'Vintage Les Pauls' started by Pappy58, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    I have commonly heard that for all intent and purpose 1965 was the last year Gibson used Brazilian rosewood for fretboards. I am looking at a 1966 ES-330 the seller is advertising with Braz. It looks really nice in the pics, but I'm curious off it's possible for a 66 to have it? I know this isn't a Les Paul related question but close enough that some SME's on this board may know? :hmm:

    Thanks in a advance! :beer:
     
  2. bossaddict

    bossaddict Premium Member

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    I'm pretty sure both of my '65 Gibsons have IRW boards. Not saying it's impossible for a '66 to have Braz, but I would be very skeptical.
     
  3. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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  4. bluesriffdev

    bluesriffdev Senior Member

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    See if he's had a specialist look at it. There's the potential for it to be either BRW or IRW from 1965 - 1967 (I've read 1968 online but never seen one with it).

    You've got to remember that this isn't a part for one single guitar, e.g. pickguards; the whole model lineup (except for customs) were using rosewood, so supply would deplete quickly. Given the amount of guitars Gibson was pumping out by 1966, Gibson would have had to have either:
    • Lost their IRW supply line and switched back temporarily
    • Lost a whole bunch of BRW... In their own factory... and found it again later
    • Had really bad inventory management and didn't deplete BRW before switching (my guess is this one, that is IF this guitar even has BRW)
    I'd understand if you or the owner wants to omit part of the serial number, but how far into 1966 is it? What are the first few digits?
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  5. Jumping@shadows

    Jumping@shadows V.I.P. Member

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    I’ve seen BRW as late as ‘69 and heard of a ‘71 with it too, but as ever it’s hit and miss with Gibson
     
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  6. bluesriffdev

    bluesriffdev Senior Member

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    Really? I understand the embargo was not until 1969 but I really didn't think Gibson left it til that late. My understanding was that slabs were getting really small (hence why martin made the d-35) by the time the embargo was placed anyway. If that's the case, Gibson really didn't manage their inventory very well.
     
  7. RAG7890

    RAG7890 Premium Member

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    I have a great timeline graph Yuuki that details the changes. BRW till ~ ‘66 from memory. I’ll post it when I find it.

    I have no doubt anomalies exist through the years......I’ve also seen this myself.

    In the meantime, this may help people:-

    http://www.guitarhq.com/gibson.html

    Cheers, Rudi.
     
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  8. Pappy58

    Pappy58 Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone! :cheers: I did find another MLP thread on this topic and one on the other forum, but no concrete info can be found. Per RAG's link (which has mucho great info BTW, thanks!) says 335's went from BRW--->IRW during 66, so I expect that probably applies to 330's as well. Other aspects of the 66 design may turn me away (chrome, fox ear's, narrow nut) from this one unless the price changes. :yesway:
     
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  9. Oatie

    Oatie Junior Member

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    A wood expert can tell, I have seen S American rosewood on many Norlins. They have stripped the rain Forrest in so many places. They need to re- plant right away, take a tree, plant 2 more.
     
  10. Bill Hicklin

    Bill Hicklin Senior Member

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    The clearcutting of S American rainforests has very little to do with logging, and everything to do with bulldozing to create agricultural land.

    --------------

    As to BRW: it was getting scarce and (more to the point) expensive by the mid-60s. Martin introduced the D-35 with its 3-piece back as a way to use BRW slats that were too narrow for a 2-piece D-28. A few years later (1969 IIRC) they packed it in and switched to Indian. Over at Gibson, I suspect the attitude was more "rosewood is rosewood)", and they started ordering the less expensive stuff while continuing to use up existing older stuff (compare the PAF/Pat # overlap in the early 60s). Note that Gibsons (and Fender's) promotional materials never bothered to say "Brazilian;" BRW didn't gain, in the public eye, the status of Magic Unobtanium until the ban went into effect in 1992.
     
  11. bluesriffdev

    bluesriffdev Senior Member

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    Interesting that they never mentioned it was Brazilian Rosewood, when they did make note of Honduran Mahogany (at least in the 56' catalog; which I read recently and can recall). I wonder if there's any reason for this or if Gibson didn't think the fingerboard wood makes any discernable difference to tone; do people think Brazilian makes a tonal difference, or do they mainly prefer it out of it being 'old-hat' and subjectively better looking?

    Either that or the marketing team just wanted a word to describe the mahogany in the catalog :rofl:. Who knows? Does there need to be a reason for everything? Why am I here on Earth?
     
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  12. Bill Hicklin

    Bill Hicklin Senior Member

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    The marketing use of "Honduras mahogany" (which goes way, way back, well before WWII) has not been adequately looked into. One guess would be that it was a way of saying "genuine mahogany" as opposed to African and Philippine pseudo-mahoganies.
     
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