The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion III Red, 1995 (No Longer Available)


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The Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion III, the last iteration of the Howard Roberts models, appeared in 1991 and was built until the model was discontinued around 2010, though it went out of production between 2003 and 2005. The first Fusion models appeared in 1979.

Here we’re looking at a Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion III dating to June 12 1995 and built at Gibson’s Nashville plant. This example carries a gloss red finish with gold plated parts, and is in very good, condition. The guitar is complete and original. It plays well, has a good feel and is well balanced, and sounds good. It’s currently strung with a flatwound jazz string set.

Howard Roberts was a prominent American jazz guitarist, session player and teacher, born in 1929 and died in 1992. As part of the key LA session crowd The Wrecking Crew, Roberts played on many recordings, TV show and movie scores.

Roberts had helped design his signature Epiphone oval-hole archtop electric, introduced in 1961, based on the ES-175 design, with an oval soundhole and a single ‘floating’ or neck mount pickup. This use of the ES-175 body allowed Gibson’s parent CMI (Chicago Musical Instruments, also the owner of the Epiphone brand since 1957) to use existing forms and jigs. These Epiphone guitars were built on the same production lines as Gibson until US production halted in August 1970, with the first Japanese built models arriving in the USA in spring 1971.

Gibson introduced the Howard Roberts Custom in 1973, based on the Epiphone models, and this was built until 1981. The Howard Roberts Artist, built from 1976 to 1981, visually upgraded the woods and binding used, and gold plated the metal hardware. The Howard Roberts Fusion model is quite different from its predecessors, with thinline semi-hollow construction; the body has F-holes instead of an oval hole, is thinner and has a center block of ‘Chromyte’, a Gibson marketing term for what’s basically lightweight balsa wood. This adds significant feedback resistance without also adding a lot of weight. With these changes, a pair of humbucking pickups were added, the 490R and 490T models. The body is laminate Maple, with a Mahogany neck and an Ebony fingerboard; neck binding was added in 1978.

Early models, the Fusion and Fusion II, used a combination tune-o-matic bridge and TP-6 fine tuning stop tailpiece, though some models use a basic stop tailpiece. The Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion III added a gold-plated Oettinger-style ‘finger’ tailpiece with an adjustment screw for each finger. This tailpiece also appears on Le Grande models. However, the adjustment screws on this tailpiece are for string tension, not pitch; they allow balancing of the ‘feel’ of each string. The Oettinger style tailpiece dates back to the 1920’s when it was a relatively common but higher end banjo tailpiece.

This Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion III is sold with its original brown hard shell case.


Price: $3,000.00 CAD $3,800.00 CAD
  • Model: Howard Roberts Fusion III
  • Year: 1995
  • Finish Red
  • Class: Used
  • Serial Number: 91635550, dated to June 12 1995 at Gibson Nashville
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Very Good
  • Date Posted: 25/04/2023

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 7.92lbs 3.6kg
  • Scale Length: 24.75in 628.6mm
  • Nut Width: 1.704in 43.28mm
Gibson Website

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