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  #1  
Old 03-21-2020, 07:45 PM
loco gringo loco gringo is offline
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Default Gibson Howard Roberts Fusions

Anyone familiar with or own this guitar? I've been interested in this guitar off and on since they first came out in the late 70's or early 80's. I really had forgot about them, so they haven't been on my radar for a long time. Some random googling of guitars brought them to my attention again.

It appears they went through design changes from the Fusion to II to III models. The III has a different control layout. I also think they went from maple to balsa center blocks somewhere in there.

Yeah, I'm wasting time on the internet looking at obscure guitars when I could be playing, but I am getting several hours of playing a day in right now.

Last edited by loco gringo; 03-21-2020 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:21 AM
terryj47 terryj47 is online now
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Originally Posted by loco gringo View Post
Anyone familiar with or own this guitar? I've been interested in this guitar off and on since they first came out in the late 70's or early 80's. I really had forgot about them, so they haven't been on my radar for a long time. Some random googling of guitars brought them to my attention again.

It appears they went through design changes from the Fusion to II to III models. The III has a different control layout. I also think they went from maple to balsa center blocks somewhere in there.

Yeah, I'm wasting time on the internet looking at obscure guitars when I could be playing, but I am getting several hours of playing a day in right now.
I worked for Howard in the late 60s at Benson. He did bring in his Epiphone HR guitar and share it but I know he used the "Black Guitar" when he played at Dante's in north hollywood and record jazz-style albums at Capital studios. There is info on the Black Guitar on the internet.

Howard was a "monster" player. I know he used 13's and probably 14's on his jazz guitars. He could bend them like a shredder using 9's! Well almost.
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:11 PM
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Livingston Livingston is offline
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Originally Posted by terryj47 View Post
I worked for Howard in the late 60s at Benson. He did bring in his Epiphone HR guitar and share it but I know he used the "Black Guitar" when he played at Dante's in north hollywood and record jazz-style albums at Capital studios. There is info on the Black Guitar on the internet.

Howard was a "monster" player. I know he used 13's and probably 14's on his jazz guitars. He could bend them like a shredder using 9's! Well almost.
Great reflection...thank you for sharing! I didn't know he played such heavy gauge strings. I do have 12 of his records (as a leader) and am familiar with his great playing.

Regarding the Howard Roberts Fusion guitar by Gibson, I've played a couple at stores over the years, but know little about the guitar itself. As you probably already know, it's a semi hollow with 2 x PAF's, 16" lower bout and 24-3/4" scale fretboard.

I noticed there are a lot of YouTube videos talking about the Howard Roberts Fusion model...maybe some good info there?
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Old 03-22-2020, 12:41 PM
loco gringo loco gringo is offline
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Originally Posted by terryj47 View Post
I worked for Howard in the late 60s at Benson. He did bring in his Epiphone HR guitar and share it but I know he used the "Black Guitar" when he played at Dante's in north hollywood and record jazz-style albums at Capital studios. There is info on the Black Guitar on the internet.

Howard was a "monster" player. I know he used 13's and probably 14's on his jazz guitars. He could bend them like a shredder using 9's! Well almost.
Yes, thanks for that.

I found a lot of info on the net about the Black Guitar and some mentions of the Benson amps. Very cool stuff. Also found info on how the HR Fusion came to be.

I remember the HR Fusions being in magazines in the 80's, probably Guitar Player as that's the magazine that I remember the most. It always caught my attention. I don't recall ever seeing one live in the wild. Interesting guitar.

I am currently listening to HR recordings on Tidal Hi Fi. I am on Antelope Freeway at the moment.
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Old 03-22-2020, 03:43 PM
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Doug Young Doug Young is online now
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I had one of the epiphone versions for a while, nice guitar, tho the Gibson's I've seen were a step up, I think. I saw one recently at Guitar Showcase recently, and it looks like it's still there:

https://www.guitarshowcase.com/listi...022145/5763712

Pricier than I recall paying - I think the epiphone only cost me 3-400 or so at the time?

I always thought these were pretty cool guitars, tho perhaps I'm biased by being a big Howard Roberts fan.
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Old 03-22-2020, 04:53 PM
loco gringo loco gringo is offline
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I had one of the epiphone versions for a while, nice guitar, tho the Gibson's I've seen were a step up, I think. I saw one recently at Guitar Showcase recently, and it looks like it's still there:

https://www.guitarshowcase.com/listi...022145/5763712

Pricier than I recall paying - I think the epiphone only cost me 3-400 or so at the time?

I always thought these were pretty cool guitars, tho perhaps I'm biased by being a big Howard Roberts fan.
Those are cool guitars. I think the "Fusion" moniker applies more to the guitar in the below link, though I find both guitars very interesting. I think the early versions of this guitar came with a stop tail and a solid maple center block. The later ones had the finger tail piece and balsa center blocks. I can't remember if the early ones were called Fusion or Fusion I, followed by Fusion II, or if they were all Fusion III's.


https://www.poshguitars.com/guitar-l...ts-fusion-iii/
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Old 03-23-2020, 08:19 AM
terryj47 terryj47 is online now
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Thanks for commenting guys.
The guitar I saw was Epiphone branded. Archtop, I think a slightly smaller body, Florentine cutaway, One HB pickup (as I remember) and a round or oval sound hole.
I just some him play it briefly at the Benson "plant".
HR used Benson model 200 and 300 amps in those days.
I can't think of a guitar player I ever met that wasn't an HR fan if they ever heard him.
The Antelope Freeway album was a bit of a disappointment to me. One of my favorite tracks was Winchester Cathedral from Jaunty-Jolly. Our band was invited to attend the session. He did the George Van Epps style rendition in two takes! You can find this (audio only) on Youtube. I used the Black guitar. Both amped and acoustic.

Here's the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o55Z5JdNUA4

Enjoy
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