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Mahogany used in Historics between '07 - '11

Guitar Magic

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Joined
Apr 16, 2015
Messages
54
I know it's not a popular topic to dig deep into the wood mysteries for some reason. The color of the plastics is a much friendlier topic which leads 90% of the discussions about Historic Reissues recently. There is the dangerous possibility to open a can of worms when someone tries to gather the infos about the wood sourcing of various years. For instance, when the news about the "magic mahogany" from Honduras appeared in 2007, everyone started to complain how their earlier Historics aren’t good enough anymore. These complains killed any further discussions just when it started to become really interesting.

I don't want to start any kind of war between the owners of Historics from various periods. I just want to buy a Les Paul that is made from the best possible wood materials. I don't care about the color of the plastics or pickups as I can change them easily. I care about wood quality. If the best mahogany was used in '95, then I search for a Historic made in ’95.

I have had a big collection of LPs from different periods and in my experience the two biggest factors in a Les Paul's tonal quality is mahogany then rosewood (given that the neck joint is tight and the weight is optimal).

For instance, the Madagascar rosewood used until 2008 was a top-notch material, so I know which years to look for a Historic with a good fretboard. I would like to know what years were the really good periods in regards to mahogany sourcing.

I noticed that the Fiji mahogany started to appear in 2009 but became exclusive later in 2011. It's really easy to spot the Fiji stuff, it looks very different and unique compared to the usual honduras mahogany variants from Central and South America. So what was the source of mahogany between the magic 2007 Honduran batch and the 2011 Fiji source?

I would appreciate if anyone could chime in who has any information about this stuff! Thanks guys!
 
Last edited:

Mark Kane

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Jul 18, 2001
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5,739
Everything considered, if I was to buy another Historic it would probably be '99 thru 2001. I never played a dud over this time period. My opinion is just based on great sound and good wood, not plastic, hardware, vintage specs, whatever...
 

Soulweb

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May 4, 2005
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1,827
I know it's not a popular topic to dig deep into the wood mysteries for some reason. The color of the plastics is a much friendlier topic which leads 90% of the discussions about Historic Reissues recently. There is the dangerous possibility to open a can of worms when someone tries to gather the infos about the wood sourcing of various years.

I think maybe you're overestimating the volatility of this topic. It's not that plastics are a much friendlier topic as much as it's simply more important, relatively speaking, to the people talking about such things. I think many people, myself included, are less obsessed about the mahogany used than the plastics. My 2013 is the best Historic I have ever owned. And I have owned a number over the years. I don't care if it's Mahogany from Honduras, or Africa, or Jupiter. It isn't an actual 1959 so as long as the instrument does what I want it to do then I'm happy. Why look a gift horse in the mouth?

And for what it's worth m6 '13 R9 is the warmest Historic I have ever owned. Maybe it's the newer Custombuckers, maybe it's the "fiji" mahogany. I really don't care. It just sounds and plays the way I like.


I don't want to start any kind of war between the owners of Historics from various periods.

Again, I'm not even sure where this is coming from. If you have to have a Historic from a specific year to make you happy, whatever the reason, nobody is going to flip out. If anything, congrats! Go get it and be happy.


I have had a big collection of LPs from different periods and in my experience the two biggest factors in a Les Paul's tonal quality is mahogany then rosewood (given that the neck joint is tight and the weight is optimal).

Again, your experience is your own. My experience over the years is different. I would go so far as to say that's not all all correct. That there are many factors that have a more dramatic effect on the shaping of the tone than the mahogany or the rosewood. But then, my personal experiences seem to differ greatly from yours.




My problem with the '13 and '14 Historics is that the rosewood is far from the earlier years' quality (it's dry and rough to touch) and the lightweight Fiji mahogany seems very bright tonally - which can be good for someone but I prefer the big, fat sounding LPs.

Again, a totally personal and subjective broad-sweeping opinion. Having owned a number of Historics over the years my own experience does not run in tandem with yours. But maybe the handful I have owned have been exceptions to the rule? Again, my '13 R9 is the warmest, woodiest, most articulate R9 I have ever owned. I have had braz boards, limited runs, whatever. In fact, most of the 13s I tried out when I bought this one were similar in tone and sound.


I would appreciate if anyone could chime in who has any information about this stuff! Thanks guys!

Since most of your post is based on opinions and therefore subjective, you're going to get much of the same here. However I think you're vastly overestimating how much of a hot-button topic it is.

If you're unhappy with a specific year, for whatever reason, pass it over. It sounds like you have already answered most of your own questions in your own post! ...With that kind of criteria for buying a new (used) Historic it would be nice for you to post a pic of the one that finally gets purchased.

And welcome to the forum!
 

mapat

Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
49
I think maybe you're overestimating the volatility of this topic. It's not that plastics are a much friendlier topic as much as it's simply more important, relatively speaking, to the people talking about such things. I think many people, myself included, are less obsessed about the mahogany used than the plastics. My 2013 is the best Historic I have ever owned. And I have owned a number over the years. I don't care if it's Mahogany from Honduras, or Africa, or Jupiter. It isn't an actual 1959 so as long as the instrument does what I want it to do then I'm happy. Why look a gift horse in the mouth?

And for what it's worth m6 '13 R9 is the warmest Historic I have ever owned. Maybe it's the newer Custombuckers, maybe it's the "fiji" mahogany. I really don't care. It just sounds and plays the way I like.




Again, I'm not even sure where this is coming from. If you have to have a Historic from a specific year to make you happy, whatever the reason, nobody is going to flip out. If anything, congrats! Go get it and be happy.




Again, your experience is your own. My experience over the years is different. I would go so far as to say that's not all all correct. That there are many factors that have a more dramatic effect on the shaping of the tone than the mahogany or the rosewood. But then, my personal experiences seem to differ greatly from yours.






Again, a totally personal and subjective broad-sweeping opinion. Having owned a number of Historics over the years my own experience does not run in tandem with yours. But maybe the handful I have owned have been exceptions to the rule? Again, my '13 R9 is the warmest, woodiest, most articulate R9 I have ever owned. I have had braz boards, limited runs, whatever. In fact, most of the 13s I tried out when I bought this one were similar in tone and sound.




Since most of your post is based on opinions and therefore subjective, you're going to get much of the same here. However I think you're vastly overestimating how much of a hot-button topic it is.

If you're unhappy with a specific year, for whatever reason, pass it over. It sounds like you have already answered most of your own questions in your own post! ...With that kind of criteria for buying a new (used) Historic it would be nice for you to post a pic of the one that finally gets purchased.

And welcome to the forum!

+1000
 

frenchphil

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Joined
May 30, 2010
Messages
1,217
I think maybe you're overestimating the volatility of this topic. It's not that plastics are a much friendlier topic as much as it's simply more important, relatively speaking, to the people talking about such things. I think many people, myself included, are less obsessed about the mahogany used than the plastics. My 2013 is the best Historic I have ever owned. And I have owned a number over the years. I don't care if it's Mahogany from Honduras, or Africa, or Jupiter. It isn't an actual 1959 so as long as the instrument does what I want it to do then I'm happy. Why look a gift horse in the mouth?

And for what it's worth m6 '13 R9 is the warmest Historic I have ever owned. Maybe it's the newer Custombuckers, maybe it's the "fiji" mahogany. I really don't care. It just sounds and plays the way I like.




Again, I'm not even sure where this is coming from. If you have to have a Historic from a specific year to make you happy, whatever the reason, nobody is going to flip out. If anything, congrats! Go get it and be happy.




Again, your experience is your own. My experience over the years is different. I would go so far as to say that's not all all correct. That there are many factors that have a more dramatic effect on the shaping of the tone than the mahogany or the rosewood. But then, my personal experiences seem to differ greatly from yours.






Again, a totally personal and subjective broad-sweeping opinion. Having owned a number of Historics over the years my own experience does not run in tandem with yours. But maybe the handful I have owned have been exceptions to the rule? Again, my '13 R9 is the warmest, woodiest, most articulate R9 I have ever owned. I have had braz boards, limited runs, whatever. In fact, most of the 13s I tried out when I bought this one were similar in tone and sound.




Since most of your post is based on opinions and therefore subjective, you're going to get much of the same here. However I think you're vastly overestimating how much of a hot-button topic it is.

If you're unhappy with a specific year, for whatever reason, pass it over. It sounds like you have already answered most of your own questions in your own post! ...With that kind of criteria for buying a new (used) Historic it would be nice for you to post a pic of the one that finally gets purchased.

And welcome to the forum!

a bit harsh aint it?

the OP question was quite honest , and i'm sure there are better years for tone wood, dependiing on the source, the growth of the wood, what do i know

as far as tone goes i agree there are other factors than wood only: pickups hardware material etc etc

the 13s have great review did you ever wonder if it was about the pickups? the CB have a great tone, i have a 2010 r9 and put CB in it and it sounded woodier

there is nothing wrong in searching for the best wood, i'd rather search for that than plastic,

to each his own and peace on earth
 

scubasteve00

Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2003
Messages
118
a bit harsh aint it?

the OP question was quite honest , and i'm sure there are better years for tone wood, dependiing on the source, the growth of the wood, what do i know

as far as tone goes i agree there are other factors than wood only: pickups hardware material etc etc

the 13s have great review did you ever wonder if it was about the pickups? the CB have a great tone, i have a 2010 r9 and put CB in it and it sounded woodier

there is nothing wrong in searching for the best wood, i'd rather search for that than plastic,

to each his own and peace on earth

I think at this point your only option is to chase plastic. The wood is gone, and is not coming back.
 

Tim Plains

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Aug 1, 2013
Messages
761
i find it bizarre that you claim to have had a large collection of Les Pauls from different periods and you are now asking others what is the best based on wood species. Have you ever played two same model guitars from the same build year and were both guitars exactly the same in terms of feel and sound?

I think if you want a newer guitar with the magic wood recipe of the 1950s, you need to look at either an early 2000s Brazilian or have a small builder make you one. That's just my opinion.
 

Soulweb

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May 4, 2005
Messages
1,827
a bit harsh aint it?

Mmm...I didn't think so. Two differing opinions presented in an adult manner. If this was a kid's show I could have fluffed it up a bit with smiley faces and balloons, but it's not so I didn't. No harshness implied. Nor did I think any harshness was present. I guess it's a matter of perspective.

For what it's worth I thought the OP was very articulate and well written. I'm interested to see what kind of guitar he manages to purchase under such strict criteria. Not for criticism are sarcasm, but simply because I'm curious to see what the OP ends up with. Let's face it, people have chosen plenty of guitars for far less valid reasons.

And now to end the post on a happy, non-harsh note...Dancing Blues Brothers! Gotta love 'em!
:blbros
 

frenchphil

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May 30, 2010
Messages
1,217
i agree with OP, i had a 2007 r8 and the roosewood looked and felt better than the rosewood on my 10 r9

i noticed that the 2010 was dry, looked diifferent, the 07 was like chocolate and butter

i dont know if that impacts tone
 

guitarguy1962

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Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Messages
159
I think it is pretty common knowledge that quality tone woods are getting harder to locate, and the problem will only get worse in the future. I love the Madagascar rosewood board on my 2002 R8. I doubt we will ever see rosewood of that quality on a new Gibson.
 

Unbound Dot Neck

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Jun 14, 2004
Messages
1,623
The OP was speaking beyond the usual BRW , quandry.
Body wood, still un obtainium from early 2000's
:jim
c
 

CDaughtry

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Messages
12,646
At the risk of bursting everyone's bubble, I asked Edwin this SPECIFIC question when Tom and I were down there this week. He said while they had a very small supply of "Honduras" mahogany in 2007, the vast majority of it was Figi mahogany, the exact same stuff they are using today.
So, unless you were one of the very lucky few who got Honduras(and you'll never know because there was no record kept), what is on your 2007 is exactly what is on the guitars they are making today.:jim
 

frenchphil

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At the risk of bursting everyone's bubble, I asked Edwin this SPECIFIC question when Tom and I were down there this week. He said while they had a very small supply of "Honduras" mahogany in 2007, the vast majority of it was Figi mahogany, the exact same stuff they are using today.
So, unless you were one of the very lucky few who got Honduras(and you'll never know because there was no record kept), what is on your 2007 is exactly what is on the guitars they are making today.:jim

that is first hand informatiion thanks charlie!
 

Soulweb

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At the risk of bursting everyone's bubble, I asked Edwin this SPECIFIC question when Tom and I were down there this week. He said while they had a very small supply of "Honduras" mahogany in 2007, the vast majority of it was Figi mahogany, the exact same stuff they are using today.
So, unless you were one of the very lucky few who got Honduras(and you'll never know because there was no record kept), what is on your 2007 is exactly what is on the guitars they are making today.:jim

Good information. As always.


I bought my R9 in 2013. ...I plugged it in and played it for about 20 minutes. After that I bought it.



" I'm an artist, and if you give me a tuba, I'll bring you something out of it." - John Lennon
 

emg32

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May 27, 2003
Messages
463
I can't vouch for its accuracy, but this thread indicates that as late as 2008, the website for the Custom Shop stated Gibson's mahogany was sourced from South America.

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/historics-reissues/151523-historics-honduran-mahogany.html

I've heard the exact same thing as CDaughtry. Everything since around 2007 has been exclusively Fiji Honduras mahogany.

The Fiji Honduras mahogany is actually very sought after and from many luthiers I know is very comparable to the old growth South American Honduras mahogany. Don't let the hype fool you that the only killer wood is the wood not being used anymore. The Fiji Honduras mahogany is some really kick ass wood.
 

TM1

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Mahogany period can be great or it can be o.k. or it can suck. I think that Charlie would know the answer to this, but Gibson has at least one person who travels sourcing wood for the company. I would guess that when wood comes in at the Custom Shop that it's tapped, weighed and graded. Personally, I think that if they tapped on a board and it just went "thump" instead of ringing, that they would put it aside or send it to the USA Division. I would also think that whomever they buy wood from would allow them to return boards that do not meet their specs. If not you could end up with a whole pile of lumber that's un-useable.
Knowing how picky my friend Ren Ferguson use to be about the raw wood supply at Gibson Montana, that there is someone at CS that's the same way. I know Montana has wood that sits and dries/ages for months before it's cut and months after that before it's used.
I have an 2002 R-0, a 2004 R-7(Custom), 2007 R-4 & a 2010 R-8 and the mahogany on all of them is primo as is the 2005 Montana Historic Hummingbird. There's not a tone-turd in the bunch. The R-4, R-8 & R-0 all have Brazilian Rosewood fingerboards from Historic Makeovers. I also see a number of Historics here in my shop. Guitars are like fingerprints, each one is different, but I don't think the mahogany on anything I see here is bad.
You need to play each guitar to hear what it can do. I do absolutely love the fact that the maple tops are glued using Hide Glue on the TH's. I think that aspect is very important if we're looking for a guitar that sounds like an original.. but, each one of those was different as well. I've played a number of `50's LP's that were not great.
 

1jamman

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Feb 28, 2013
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610
I Don't about tapping FB's and sorting out for only good 1's . I doubt that .... I've played some R guitars that were nothing to write home about . Maybe this year (2025 TH's) the selection process has a stricter standard ?

I have an R9 from 2009 that has MRW I bought late in the year ,so ..... Beautiful piece of RW too

OP ,IMO Find a guitar you really like for how it plays and sounds . When it was made doesn't make much difference .

Pickups can be changed . Not everyone thinks CB's are all that great . I haven't played a set I truly like or wanted to keep in a guitar . But that's just me. Tone.... It's subjective and personal .
 

tdarian

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Jun 25, 2008
Messages
3,566
I'm not sure if it is the years (2007 R6 and 2011 R7) or the weights (9.15 2007 R6 and 8.11 2911 R7) or if it is just how the world of guitars is, but the acoustic tone and vibrational feel could not be much more different on these two Les Pauls. The R6 is definitely the deeper sounding guitar, the R7 brighter, lighter, perkier overall, although certainly not at all thin.

I've swapped hardware (TP Studs, TPs, ABR-1s and Thumbwheels) back and forth as well as using other stuff of steel and brass on both. The core tone of the R6 barely moves at all with the hardware swaps, but the tone of the R7 is definitely impacted by swapping parts and materials.

A knuckle wrap on the R6 generates a tone, the R7 more of a "thwack".

I love both of these LPs but I'd want a 3rd one to track closer to the 2007 R6.
 
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