Up for sale, a 1986 Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. This uncommon Gibson signature model was designed in collaboration with jazz guitarists, session veteran and educator Roberts, featuring a semi-hollow single-cutaway body with a curly maple top, maple back and sides, maple center block, and a maple neck capped by an ebony fretboard, loaded with the original pair of Gibson’s Tim Shaw PAF humbuckers.
The slightly scaled down thinline body measures 14 3/4“ across at the lower bout and 2 5/16“ deep, and this guitar has a resonant, immediate acoustic response with great natural sustain and glassy articulation. At the heart of this Howard Roberts is the pair of original Tim Shaw PAF humbuckers, which represent Gibson's first (and arguably most successful) attempt at recreating the magic of their late '50s humbucker design. Offered for only a few short years in the '80s, the Shaws have unoriented, rough cast Alnico V magnets, plastic spacers, and poly-coated wire, achieving the harmonic complexity, power, and tonal clarity of the original PAF. This guitar weighs 8lbs 11oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 11-49 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.
The maple neck has a very slender C-shaped profile carve at the nut, filling out with additional heft and shoulder in the upper registers, measuring .795” deep at the 1st fret and .980” at the 12th. On the ebony fingerboard, the medium jumbo fretwire exhibits a touch of wear beneath the plain strings on the crowns of frets 1-10 that becomes progressively lighter as you approach the octave. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 3/4“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the nut measures 1 11/16” in width. On the headstock, the modern set of Gibson Deluxe double line Kluson-style tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch, with greened keystone buttons. Singular small mounting holes from a different tuner set have been cleanly doweled and touched-up, just inset from the current tuner footprint.
All of the electronics function as intended, with the Tim Shaw PAFs governed by a three-way selector switch and independent pairs of Volume and Tone controls. The chrome-plated hardware has plenty of shine, including the pickup covers, ABR-1 bridge, and TP-6 tailpiece, which has fine tuners for minute adjustments. Plastics comprise the quartet of black speed knobs and the raised four-ply black pickguard, which has some requisite light scuffing along the strum path.
The gloss Cherry Red nitro lacquer finish has just enough transparency to highlight subtle figuring in the curly maple top, particularly dimensional on the lower bout, with some limited lacquer checking on the sides and back. Cosmetic wear is limited to a handful of minor nicks and finish scratches on the body as a whole, and some buckle wear on the back central to the lower bout. The smooth gloss on the neck profile is flawless.
The original black tolex hardshell case is included. The case has its Gibson silkscreen on the lid, functional latches and the original handle.