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  1. #26

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    Like many of you, I'm very excited about the new ownership and direction of Heritage Guitars. My only concern is (not the headstock!), but the insatiable desire to own these wonderful hand-crafted instruments.

    And for any headstock haters/detractors out there, keep in mind that you can custom order slight variations of their trademark design. For example, I've seen a slightly larger headstock with eagle inlay on a custom H157 that looks stellar. Also, you can order a slightly smaller headstock for their archtop models. And many find the simple addition of binding around the headstock greatly improves the design.

    Finally, for those who simply cannot abide by the design in any iteration, that's cool. Simply buy another brand that pleases your eye. No big deal. They are only guitars...and for many, a luxury item. Life is too short as it is. Let's celebrate the good things in life. The changes at Heritage Guitars is a good thing in my opinion. Hand made musical works of art made right here in the USA is a challenge in today's global economy. And that is reason enough for me to cheer them on.

    This photo of Marv (yes, he's really happy and proud of his work) holding my just sprayed H525 Custom is what its all about. Hand made, baby!!


    And the finished product...An amazing hollow body 'new vintage' tone monster!


  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #27

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    Oh boy that's gorgeous!
    And the neck looks more shallow than the 137/135 neck.
    You did good. Who cares how Marv felt about it...
    JD

  4. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe DeNisco
    Oh boy that's gorgeous!
    And the neck looks more shallow than the 137/135 neck.
    You did good. Who cares how Marv felt about it...
    JD
    Hey Joe, that's Marv's happy face!

    As for the neck carve, he followed my request for a thick '59 carve. Nailed it!!

  5. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    There's nothing wrong with that but it is not, as you suggested in your previous post, an indication of a commitment to quality. A change in the design of the peghead might be more pleasing to you (and obviously many others) but the quality of a guitar is not reflected by a cosmetic design change any more than it is by a change in its color.
    Kind of shines a light on the whole headstock argument.

    Coming from a non guitar world to guitar I never understood the headstock noise as I always preferred to think of it. It's very simple to me. Either a guitar plays and sounds well, or it doesn't. From my perspective, if anything, the peghead design is a nod to an original Gibson design...it's as if some are against the Heritage brand because it doesn't say Gibson on the headstock...for clearly, viewing Gibson loyalists over the years, if Gibson created a modern reissue with a peghead there'd be a certain number of Gibson loyalists who'd be all over it. Which I understand as I'm a Gibson fan and I'm closed off to allowing myself to sample anything that doesn't say Gibson.

    Jim, until you shared your technical expertise regarding the design reasons behind the Heritage headstock I hadn't a clue there was a very valid and strong case made for the reason behind the headstocks design. I never knew that. Thanks for clearing that up!

  6. #30

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    A friend of mine bought a Sweet Sixteen when they first came out, because he didn't want to take his D'A out to gigs anymore.
    I didn't like it at all, and wrote off Heritage ever since. It's too bad there aren't many places in NY that carry them, because I need a second jazz guitar, and don't buy guitars unless i play them first.

  7. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    While not everyone's favorite design, their peghead is, in my opinion, functionally superior to the traditional Gibson design.

    Why ?

    Thx

  8. #32

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    "it's as if some are against the Heritage brand because it doesn't say Gibson on the headstock"


    there are probably some, but not me. I just don't like the design. there are many other types of headstocks I like besides Gibson.
    as I said earlier in the thread, if it had scalloped sides I think it'd look much better. as is, it looks kind of 'cheap' to me--no offense to Heritage owners intended, just my opinion. but as for the guitars themselves, if they're priced lower than an L-5 or Super 400 etc, and sound/play as good, that can only be a good thing for some folks.

  9. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D
    Why ?

    Thx
    Less lateral pull makes it easier to prevent the string from binding in the nut. The smaller peghead makes it easier to build the neck from a single piece of wood without having to add glue-on "wings". It also adds less mass at the end of the neck making it less likely that their lighter hollow bodies will be head heavy. And on a purely speculative basis, I think the smaller peghead also helps prevent headstock and neck breaks that seem much more common on Gibsons.

    And cosmetically, I think they would have been just fine if they had just made a less arbitrary design at the top end of the headstock. It would have been easy to do something that has a bit more flow to it. Would that have made everyone happy? Absolutely not because there are clearly a lot of people out there who would only have been happy with a Gibson peghead and it's not a Gibson guitar.
    Last edited by Jim Soloway; 04-07-2016 at 05:44 PM.

  10. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    Less lateral pull makes it easier to prevent the string from binding in the nut. The smaller peghead makes it easier to build the neck from a single piece of wood without having to add glue-on "wings". It also adds less mass at the end of the neck making it less likely that their lighter hollow bodies will be head heavy. And on a purely speculative basis, I think the smaller peghead also helps prevent headstock and neck breaks that seem much more common on Gibsons.

    And cosmetically, I think they would have been just fine if they had just made a less arbitrary design at the top end of the headstock. It would have been easy to do something that has a bit more flow to it. Would that have made everyone happy? Absolutely not because there are clearly a lot of people out there who would only have been happy with a Gibson peghead and it's not a Gibson guitar.

    Jim, excellent points. What about the 17 degree peghead pitch? Is that what you are referring to when you comment on "...less lateral pull...".?

    If so, doesn't this more subtle peghead/headstock pitch also prevent some headstock breaks?

  11. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler
    Jim, excellent points. What about the 17 degree peghead pitch? Is that what you are referring to when you comment on "...less lateral pull...".?

    If so, doesn't this more subtle peghead/headstock pitch also prevent some headstock breaks?
    I didn't go there because as I understand it some Gibsons are also 17 degree but I was referring to the straighter string path to the tuners on the Heritage that results form the tapered headstock.

  12. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    Less lateral pull makes it easier to prevent the string from binding in the nut. The smaller peghead makes it easier to build the neck from a single piece of wood without having to add glue-on "wings". It also adds less mass at the end of the neck making it less likely that their lighter hollow bodies will be head heavy. And on a purely speculative basis, I think the smaller peghead also helps prevent headstock and neck breaks that seem much more common on Gibsons.

    And cosmetically, I think they would have been just fine if they had just made a less arbitrary design at the top end of the headstock. It would have been easy to do something that has a bit more flow to it. Would that have made everyone happy? Absolutely not because there are clearly a lot of people out there who would only have been happy with a Gibson peghead and it's not a Gibson guitar.
    but yet, many of their semi-hollows *ARE* neck heavy.

  13. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker
    but yet, many of their semi-hollows *ARE* neck heavy.
    I'v never played one so I can't comment. What I do know is that with a 25.5" scale length and a guitar that weighs just a shade over 5 lbs, mine balances very well.

  14. #38

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    I wish that I owned a Heritage but I don't really have a pony in this race. However, I have never found the Heritage headstock designs unpleasant by any means. The only thing that may be unpleasant is the Heritage headstock design on their LP-like models, but only because there is the definitive original LP design to compare it to. However, IMHO the Heritage headstock design on those guitars looks just as good (and just as appropriate) as the Gibson design. For those that object to the Heritage headstock designs I would like to see their car rims (while wearing sunglasses, of course.)

  15. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Fret
    Sore eyes might miss the classic miter of the bindings... though irrelevant for the sound.
    Yeah, I was wondrin' 'bout that. Maybe a labor cost cutting move?

  16. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    Less lateral pull makes it easier to prevent the string from binding in the nut. The smaller peghead makes it easier to build the neck from a single piece of wood without having to add glue-on "wings". It also adds less mass at the end of the neck making it less likely that their lighter hollow bodies will be head heavy. And on a purely speculative basis, I think the smaller peghead also helps prevent headstock and neck breaks that seem much more common on Gibsons.

    And cosmetically, I think they would have been just fine if they had just made a less arbitrary design at the top end of the headstock. It would have been easy to do something that has a bit more flow to it. Would that have made everyone happy? Absolutely not because there are clearly a lot of people out there who would only have been happy with a Gibson peghead and it's not a Gibson guitar.
    I guess if we removed the admittedly ' purely speculative ' and 'cosmetic' points, then the only structural reasons it may be superior to Gibson's ( as you said ) is the ' less lateral pull ' and also the fact that a more narrow allows for a no-wing headstock.
    I believe that a 'less lateral pull is better ' argument would have to include a discussion of headstock angle.

    You chose 'not to go there', but maybe that needs some discussion too.

    Thx

  17. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D
    I guess if we removed the admittedly ' purely speculative ' and 'cosmetic' points, then the only structural reasons it may be superior to Gibson's ( as you said ) is the ' less lateral pull ' and also the fact that a more narrow allows for a no-wing headstock.
    I believe that a 'less lateral pull is better ' argument would have to include a discussion of headstock angle.

    You chose 'not to go there', but maybe that needs some discussion too.

    Thx
    The "less lateral pull" benefit is to keep the string from catching in the nut when tuning or bending the string. To my knowledge, that's the whole story on that design. Aside from aesthetics, there is no reason to splay the strings over the headstock.

    The 17 degree headstock angle evolved many decades ago to enhance string vibration transmission to the neck. Whether that matters on an electric guitar is unclear. The angle also firmly seats the string in the slot during hard play. Fender addresses this with a string tree. A potential downside of the 17 degree angling is that the string can catch in the nut slot during tuning and bends. This is where a good set of files and some skill comes to the rescue.

    My belief is the headstock mass and the 17 degree angling contribute to neck breaks. That's the risk you take.

  18. #42

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    I follow Jay's store page on Facebook. Being he is the largest Heritage dealer he shard the following message with anyone reading his page. I share it with you as a public service:


    Recent changes at 225 Parsons Street-
    Things rarely remain the same, and change is inevitable. The Heritage management are very intent on improving quality and have decided to somewhat limit model availability for a limited period. Beginning Feb. 1, 2018 only 6 models are being made: H137, H150, H530, H535, H575, Eagle Classic- all in several colors BUT no customization for the time being. Fortunately we have a fine selection of those popular models currently not being made- including- Super Eagle, Golden Eagle, Sweet 16, Spruce top H575, H575 Custom, H525, H555, H157, Millennium H155, etc.
    Are any of the Company founders still there? Yes, including Jim, Bill and some of their long time employees like Ren, Pete Farmer & some others.
    How’s the quality? Well, Heritage always made solid guitars that sound vintage & great. Their fit & finish & setups often varied from just ok to pretty darned awful. As their largest Dealer, we simply corrected the poor setups (old Gibson habits), and the finish glitches OR sent them back as simply unacceptable. Most Heritage fans were aware of this and OK with it to some degree or another. When Heritage changed hands a few years back, the new guys took time to listen to complaints and vowed to improve. They did, and fit, finish and setup has improved dramatically in the past few years. Some of the biggest improvements involve the old historical physical plant, which the Heritage guys struggled with for 3 decades- including improved HVAC, lighting, electrical, dust control, spray booth and so many other critical areas. The changes were remarkable costly and appreciated.
    The new owners have now partnered with a large Global Distribution Company, who are charged with sales, marketing and Export distribution. Those folks have an even higher expectation & standard for QC, and it’s their intent to improve QC even more! We felt it was plenty fine as it was in 2016/2017 BUT we certainly support this impressive effort to improve further. We are excited for our future with Heritage Guitars and are keen to see & play 2018 models, with the focus on even finer QC. Improving an already great Guitar can’t be bad.
    So, stay tuned, check out our inventory, and please keep the faith. Heritage and Wolfe Guitars appreciate your loyalty and business.
    Sincerely, Jay Wolfe.

  19. #43

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    Wow... really surprised that the Golden Eagle, Sweet 16 and several of the others will no longer be made, at least for a while.

  20. #44

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    Interesting acknowledgement that Heritage QC was sometimes not always what it might have been. That was my experience the one and only time I've owned a Heritage (a 575 that was never quite right no matter what I tried). Would be happy to see them come out of this with a more consistent product. But is it true that many Heritage owners just accepted the poor set ups and finish? Most owners who talk of Heritage seem very happy and I've not heard dealers previously admit problems with the brand, but then maybe I was just not paying attention.
    Last edited by odel; 02-02-2018 at 12:02 PM.

  21. #45

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    it's over johnny


    new ceo banking on the name, not the quality??

    a few years down the line..heritage name be bounced around like all the rest!!! d'angelico, d'aquisto,etc etc

    even gibby is reelin

    hold on to your olde stock fellahs!!

    cheers

  22. #46

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    Oh man, I wonder why some of their heavy hitters aren’t on that list. That’s a shame but if it ultimately makes the company better in the long run then so be it. I wonder how this will affect the used market for the great archtops that aren’t being made for the time being. Might be kind of the opposite of the Gibson used market nose dive.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  23. #47

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    Will the 575 and Eagle still be carved? Everything else is pressed.

  24. #48

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    Not surprising at all.
    I'll bet that anyone who wants a lovely GE / SE / Sweet 16 can custom order one.
    Heritage will be happy to take really a lot of your money to build you one.
    Like, say, this one:
    Attached Images Attached Images The Heritage Guitar Company-namm18_heritage_1778-jpg 
    Last edited by Hammertone; 02-02-2018 at 05:32 AM.

  25. #49

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    Carved archtops are labor intensive, and probably not a money maker for Heritage,Gibson, these days. Also most of the old timers who coveted these instruments are passing on, and younger players are wanting different tools for their music.

    Most of my generation are semi hollow and solid body guys playing Jazz or newer improvisational music. And I'm 60 years old,LOL! I think flat tops are also more in fashion as well. It's a shame, but the good news is there are boat load of fine luthiers making archtops. And the used market is better than ever.

  26. #50

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    Long standing Heritage fanatic who has played and promoted my Heritage guitars around the world. But it seems like the title to this thread should be "game over".

    I'm not some lunatic that thinks magic fairy dust will be lost if the plant is brought up to OSHA standards. But, it does seem like some fundamental Heritage DNA is being lost. The increase in costs for customization last year was understandable, but already a regrettable change to one of the key appeals of the company.

    The Heritage catalogue has always been sprawling, I suspect due to the eagerness of the old crew to experiment, and cutting out modes that sold single digits over 30 years is definitely reasonable. But, this reduction seems excessive and extends to the company's most iconic models. Unlike other companies, with a million "reissue" or signature model variations, the arch tops have always been a core part of Heritage's identity.

    Hope this is a temporary situation while they upgrade quality control and pass the torch. I had hoped Heritage would handle its transition like Benedetto, carefully maintaining not just quality but the spirit of the company through well trained an mentored apprentices. Otherwise, the options for a classic Gibson style arch top are going to be limited to vintage or waiting two years for a Campellone.

    Finally, trying to sell change by suddenly publicly dumping on the old guys' attention to detail may be factually accurate, but is needlessly disrespectful to both one's business partners and customer base of the last 30 years.