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HOWARD ROBERTS FUSION guitar, questions and answers

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  • HOWARD ROBERTS FUSION guitar, questions and answers

    i intend to buy one of these next year.....

    trying to find out the following;

    of the three models, fusion 1,2,and 3 when did the original center block change to balsa?
    ( i have heard some stories of the guitar with the maple block being too heavy)

    also when did gibson introduce the fingers tailpiece instead of the stopbar 1,2 or 3?
    (did gibson change the control layout at this time too?)

    and finally....when did the neck profile change to the slimmer style from the original chubby job 1,2, or3?

    finding much info about this fine guitar is hard man.....

    thanks in advance folks

    PS ideally i am looking for a balsa block model to save weight along with a slim neck and original control layout......if i have to change the fingers over to a stop tailbar,have you done this mod,is the balsa stable enough for it?

  • #2
    sat night tops slots

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    • #3
      Not sure if I have correct information on this, but it seems to me that a lot happened in the beginning of the 1990s, like the balsa center block, and the finger tail piece. Mine is from -97, but I wouldn

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      • #4
        cheers........my concerns with trhe center blocks are all of a weight issue........i have heard the originals- maple- can be too heavy!

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        • #5
          Well, for some reason all pics of Howard Roberts I

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          • #6

            Hey Hahavishnu,

            I have owned several HR Fusions and I have done research on them, plus have spoken to others close to Howard Roberts on this issue.  In answer of your questions:

            1. "when did the  original center block change to balsa?"  -- answer:  In 1989 (10 years after the introduction of the HR Fusion), the block was changed to balsa.  Originally it was a combination of maple block with spruce fittings to the laminated maple body.  The HR Fusion II and III both have balsa blocks.

            2.  The "finger" tailpiece was introduced in during the HR Fusion II series.  A stop tailpiece sounds like crap with a balsa block generally.

            3.  When the HR Fusion II was introduced, the cutaway was widened noticably.  The toggle switch was moved to the lower bout, similar to an ES-335.  A bad move, in my opinion.  The potentiometers were then spread out to the ridiculous positioning that they are in now on the HR Fusion III.  Prior to that, they were more spread out than a Les Paul, but not as far as they are now.

            4.  HR Fusion III had the wider neck.  The fact is, the original did have a somewhat slimmer neck, but only in the lower positions, close to the nut.  As the neck approached the body, it widened more. 

            5.  The HR Fusion I had two brass "sustain sisters" (Gibson's name for larger, heavier brass bolt housings) under the bridge and (I believe) tailpiece.  This is one of the major contributors to the guitar's weight,  Otherwise, the guitar would have been about 8 lbs (slightly lighter than a typical ES-335).  Think about it....wny would these guitars (with a lower bout of 14.75") weigh so much?  Some are over 12 lbs!  However, these guitars would sustain all day, and yet they had a really warm, bouncing tone (I am talking about their clean tone), because of the thicker (2.25") body that was a bit jazzier and warmer than the ES-335 and they had more sustain.

            I wish that I had never sold mine, but I would have had to sit down to perform with it for 3 hour gigs, and as a singer/guitarist, that would not have been possible.

            Good luck finding one, man......because all of the "Alex Lifeson fanatics" have bought them up, and the sad fact is, for that purpose, that particular guitar is unnecessary.  The HR Fusion I is a unique guitar, there is nothing like it anywhere.  The closest you will find to its sound now is the ES-337 and even that is far away.  It was a perfect guitar for the guy who wants a jazzier, warmer, more hollow tone than the ES-335 and wants more sustain and presence than an ES-135 or HR Fusion III. 

            - Eric

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