What's up with Smartwoods?

acstorfer

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I had one, I got it as part of a trade for a guitar I was selling. So I took the cash and sold the Smart Wood and did well on that deal. It was actually a pretty nice guitar, didn't love the pickups, but that's never an issue with me in liking a guitar or not. They are easily swappable.

I am kind of surprised they didn't sell better, they were quite nice. And the exotic wood choices were kinda a neat concept. Maybe they were just poorly marketed? If I didn't have my favorite guitar ever, I would have kept it. I did however keep the case. I love that it is made of hemp!

 

rjshare

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judging by henry's "soon we'll have no more wood" comments recently i wouldnt be at all surprised if gibson werent gearing up another run of them or something along a similar concept.

i think they perhaps werent so popular just because a les paul has to be made of mahogany. anything made of a different material is simply a les paul shaped guitar.
 

Kalamazuu

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The swamp ash studios are still being made, but I don't believe they're considered smart wood anymore.
 

Hedcrash

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Personally, I've never been a fan of those bare-bones finish guitars such as the smartwood, vintage mahogany, and the special faded series. I prefer sunburst finishes or paint. I love that wood look in my furniture or in my wall trim, no so much in guitars.
 

River

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Personally, I've never been a fan of those bare-bones finish guitars such as the smartwood, vintage mahogany, and the special faded series. I prefer sunburst finishes or paint. I love that wood look in my furniture or in my wall trim, no so much in guitars.
This. Not that I agree, but I believe it's why they're not popular.

They would've been much better off as a jazzed-up Special w/P-90s than a jazzed-down Standard.
 

Rock Johnson

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Weird as this sounds, I think they didn't sell because of the inlays. In the public's mind, real Les Pauls have trapezoid or square inlays. Dots indicate an inferior or 'budget' model.

As silly as it sounds, I think if they'd put proper trap inlays on them, they'd have sold better.
 

Alex W

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Flat top (not carved) like a LP Special with PAF style pickups just looks sad to me. I don't know why but I really don't like it. With P90s like on a regular LP Special looks fine.

Personally I'd be open to at least trying a Les Paul made with a body like alder or ash, but I'd want it to have a carved maple top and be painted or stained like a regular Les Paul.
 

cousingrandpa

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I think they should have just made them like regular standards with the normal finishes, burst, wine etc. Most would have probably been ok with them then.
 

River

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I think they should have just made them like regular standards with the normal finishes, burst, wine etc. Most would have probably been ok with them then.
I agree that it should have been one way or the other. I prefer Specials, so an exotic-wood, flat-topped, naturally-finished P-90/wraptail bridge is something I'd have paid extra for. What I see in those photos, not so much.
 

cousingrandpa

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I agree that it should have been one way or the other. I prefer Specials, so an exotic-wood, flat-topped, naturally-finished P-90/wraptail bridge is something I'd have paid extra for. What I see in those photos, not so much.
Just imagine the guitar in the pictures as a black beauty, binding & all. I'm sure a smartwood like that would have done just fine in the market.
 

Dino Velvet

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They didn't sell well because a lot of them were just plain ugly. And the choice of gold hardware on some of them was not a good idea. But hey, there will always be somebody to declare it rare and valuable and sucker some newb into buying it.
 

cphelpsss

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i won a smartwood in a raffle and i like it.. its a plain unfinished top, with silver hardware. its very simple, and it actually looks good IMO.. Also the fact that i got it for free was great too. its def not a guitar id ever go for if i was looking at les pauls...it has a normal black gibson case though. not the hemp one. that one looks sweet though!
 

HOT-BRIT

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I had a Les Paul Smartwood a few years back it had carved top and a belly contour on the back, it was thinner and lighter than a regular Les Paul but it was very resonant and a nice player
 

JB6464

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Flat top (not carved) like a LP Special with PAF style pickups just looks sad to me. I don't know why but I really don't like it. With P90s like on a regular LP Special looks fine.

Personally I'd be open to at least trying a Les Paul made with a body like alder or ash, but I'd want it to have a carved maple top and be painted or stained like a regular Les Paul.
I have a 2007 Smartwood LP that has the same carved top and body as the regular LP's have.
Gold hardware,nashville bridge,and the body is not thin or tummy cut.
Mine has a awesome one piece Muiricatiara top on a one piece mohogany body and neck. The fret board is preciosa which is very simular to a rosewood fretboard in tone and feel.Being that it's chambered though to me it sounds real smooth and airey. Not your traditional LP sounds that's solid and having a maple top to give them that extra snap.
If my guitar was'nt chambered , i would say it would sound closer to a all mohogany 57 custom. But one thing that i did'nt like from the start is the horrible 490/498T pickups . I went through a number of low and high output pickups to find what this special guitar wanted to balance out the chambered body with the exotic woods used for the build . I settled on a pair of unpotted Seymour Ducan 59's and now it has that vintage vibe i've been looking for with an airey tone to go with it.
I think they are a love/hate type of LP. They are not overly fancy or sound exactly like a regular LP , but just slightly different.
 

Trapezoid

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I suspect the smartwoods are no longer made because Gibson made and promoted enough of them to get free of any environmentalist microscope they might've been under for using mahogany and rosewood. And I'll bet sales were modest because the idea that a Les Paul must be mahogany and maple is far too deeply entrenched in the human psyche to get dislodged by Curupay, Peroba, Ambay Guasu, Taperyva Guasu, or Chancharana.
 

rjshare

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it was also a crap name for them. what was so smart about the wood?

if they had been called and spec'd as the gibson les paul standard/studio exotic then the whole concept would have worked much better i think.
 

outskirts of infinity

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They're plain, ugly, have dot inlays and a pretentious name, and that silly leaf on the trc that reeks of self-important tree-hugging smelly hippy environmental nuttery propaganda.

No thanks, I'll stick with my planet-killing global warming-causing guitars. :slash:
 

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