Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 3 of 8 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Posts 51 to 75 of 197
  1. #51

    User Info Menu

    I think this is exactly what Gibson should be doing right now. World does not need a million different Les Pauls, it needs more excellent Les Pauls (etc.)

    My assumption is that they
    a) want to set up their building processes properly, which leads to
    a.1) Less models, but more guitars being made in stable numbers, distributed and sold = revenue
    a.2) better QC handling
    a.3) cost overview, so that they can be priced accordingly so that they actually have a business going forward
    b) Going forward adding models into those set processes so that they can produce them in stable numbers too, and do them with good QC
    c) Finally bringing back the customizable elements, after they get the basics rolling

    Sounds cold and industrial (compared to the vintage & warm vibes Heritage has emanated before), but this is what e.g PRS & Suhr have done extremely well. Let's hope they go down that path, and not the "buy a famous name, flood market with cheap models" -path. With Suhr and PRS (the US models) people might grumble about the price, but you don't really hear or read much of "lousy QC"/crap/"lol it's got paint stains on the binding" comments about those brands..

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52

    User Info Menu

    Let’s face it - none of us want to pay full retail for a carved Heritage or Gibson. We wait for blow out deals and mint used ones to appear at bargain prices.

    Just look at the inventory turns on these high end Archtops - they are dismal. We see many NOS that have aged for years .

    Since the internet - it affords us 24/7 global shopping and presents a problem for local retailers trying to make a profit.

    Additionally - most guys plug in to Amps anyway, and complain about feedback on true acoustic carved Archtops- so the direction we are seeing with both Gibson and Heritage does not surprise me at all. In fact - it’s a prudent business decision .

    As Hammertone stated, Heritage will certainly make you a custom carved Archtop .....and so will Gibson Custom , but be ready to open the wallet.

  4. #53

    User Info Menu

    Excellent tactic to create pressure at the top end of the market range and get a better feel for demand before bringing back the better models with price increases - if the QC is there, then possibly justified from customer and supplier point of view

  5. #54

    User Info Menu

    There was a time when very high end custom and hand built instruments, always a money losing proposition, were supported by the sales of high quality lower production cost (less expensive) models. When you have control of both markets and you're the best game in town, there's a direct connection between all the musicians who want quality guitars and the support needed to keep the prestige alive.

    I'm no expert, but when Gibson hired corporate minded people to find ways to make more money, cut corners on quality, few people noticed at first, but the Japanese were watching. They listened to the distant grumblings and they listened to the fantasies of the average guitar buyer, the collectors, the players, and the non players who were addicted to the magic of the guitar as an object. Gibson name and image banked on the loyal and blind devotion of mysique supporters, the Asian market gave great looking, great sounding and after endorsements, great prestigious guitars that every and any collector could afford. Why live with an itch saving for a Gibson when D'Angelico player George Benson chose a custom built guitar you can buy now? New.

    BUT there's always the rare privilege of having a hand built instrument? Enter Eastman and hand built affordable hand built guitars in the "guitar as a piece of art" market. The gut punch and the shot to the head.

    There goes 80% of the buyer's market that is swayed by the cost variable in the equation. Yeah, I owned a Gibson. I worked at Ibanez. I watched the care the Japanese took in making sexy guitars and masterful questionable trade dealings with mega-retailers. Their focus was ALWAYS on what the customers wanted. If it was something that looked like a 335, they made it, cut corners on the middle models, put the high end ones in the hands of major players, always gave a high quality baseline product to the kid starting out and took the market.

    Heritage had some equation they worked under, and for those here in the forum who appreciate the best quality instruments in the time old tradition, they are spoken highly of. But their ability to make that sustainable depended on the market of the gullible and the income of the practical. Yup, Asia has that one tied up. Adoration and nostalgia among a few supporters won't make it.

    Just to be clear, I make the guitars I play. I know and love a hand built guitar. Just to be clear, it breaks my heart to see D'Angelico as a name on a guitar John D'Angelico would have at the very least kept his distance from, no less given his name to. But that's business between his estate and their needs. A D'Angelico that JD made is an absolute work of art on all levels. A custom hand builder plays by different rules.

    There's room for purists. There should be. There's a reality to taking the market. That's the truth.
    If it were me, I'd set up a factory in Korea or China to build hand built guitars for Heritage and use the absurd labour differential to my advantage, sell them in that niche between D'Angelico and Heritage, use real tough lacquer, top electronics and take that market. Take the profit and keep the flagships in the spotlight. Get rid of the mindset that says admins and lawyers can steal the lifeblood profits. (Japanese corporations do not allow the inordinate profit disparity that marks the American corporate structure. One BIG difference). Well that's just starters.

    But their problems are their own doing and the competition is something to work with. Not my business. I've got to practice and tame the beast I can put my fingers on.

    What do I know?

    David

  6. #55

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by QAman
    Let’s face it - none of us want to pay full retail for a carved Heritage or Gibson. We wait for blow out deals and mint used ones to appear at bargain prices.

    Just look at the inventory turns on these high end Archtops - they are dismal. We see many NOS that have aged for years .

    .....
    Perhaps this reduction in sales of high end arch tops is inevitable with the increased quality / playing ability of far less expensive guitars. I would love to drive a Porsche, but my Prius gets me to the grocery store just as well and costs far less and I'm not as worried about who I park next to in fear of dings. Same goes for guitars. I use to own a Golden Eagle Custom (gorgeous guitar), a couple Benedetto's etc. but now my thought has changed to spending $1000 - $2000 gets me close enough and I don't need to pamper the guitar as much.

    I definitely have no interest in buying a new high end guitar at normal retail and take the huge hit on resale when the "new guitar excitement" has passed... and it almost always passes. In many cases I could likely give away a guitar I paid $1,000 new and still lose less money than reselling an L5 or GE that I purchased new.

    Though I still long for a vintage L5 or my old GE back, my money is better spent in other ways... (for now...)

  7. #56

    User Info Menu

    The founders of Heritage turned their calling of making beautiful hand crafted guitars into a business, Heritage has been sold to a business that makes guitars, their approach/motivation will be different. Hopefully the new business owners of Heritage guitars have an understanding of what they must do to keep Heritage alive and healthy for the long-term and I sincerely hope that the long-term future does not necessarily mean fewer archtop models of lesser quality.

  8. #57

    User Info Menu

    Jay has received his share of problem Heritages over the years. Heritage gave his guitars an extra look over before shipping because of his high return rate. I saw the guitars on their racks waiting to be shipped to Jay. They were always among the best in woods and finishes. Jay's return rate was because Jay has high standards.

  9. #58

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    Jay has received his share of problem Heritages over the years. Heritage gave his guitars an extra look over before shipping because of his high return rate. I saw the guitars on their racks waiting to be shipped to Jay. They were always among the best in woods and finishes. Jay's return rate was because Jay has high standards.
    Every Heritage I bought from Wolfe over the years has been darn near perfect and have top shelf wood. He does have very high standards!

  10. #59

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler
    Every Heritage I bought from Wolfe over the years has been darn near perfect and have top shelf wood. He does have very high standards!
    Both Heritages that I own/have owned came through Jay Wolfe's hands. No complaints.

  11. #60

    User Info Menu

    Any time a company hand makes guitars like Heritage, there will be inconsistancy from one to the next. Funny how we all want a perfectly excuted guitar in fit and finish on the outside like the cheaper CNC imports. But we get really picky when one person or a small # of people are in involved
    I think one of the big differences is FEEL! A PRS or Tom Anderson plays perfectly, and that's great. But to me they lack a feel for lack of a better word. Than the Gibson or Fender's they are based on. Much like Japanese car vs. an Italian car.
    The Japanese one is usually near perfect and dependable, but the Italian one is sure more fun to drive. That's when it works,LOL!

  12. #61

    User Info Menu

    It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Heritage and Gibson. They have had pretty much an identical business philosophy that has worked until now. Both banking on the Gibson name. Both mass producing guitars that were almost right,sending them out and letting the dealers or customers deal with the issues. The archtop market is receding. There is lots of options that didn't exist in the past with much lower prices, and less issues. The guitars sound good, different but good.The current crop of players are many years removed from the guys that burned a signature sound in to our heads. It doesn't look good for both these companies from where I sit and that's sad.

  13. #62

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jads57
    Any time a company hand makes guitars like Heritage, there will be inconsistancy from one to the next. Funny how we all want a perfectly excuted guitar in fit and finish on the outside like the cheaper CNC imports. But we get really picky when one person or a small # of people are in involved
    I think one of the big differences is FEEL! A PRS or Tom Anderson plays perfectly, and that's great. But to me they lack a feel for lack of a better word. Than the Gibson or Fender's they are based on. Much like Japanese car vs. an Italian car.
    The Japanese one is usually near perfect and dependable, but the Italian one is sure more fun to drive. That's when it works,LOL!
    Which brings up a big point, jads57: Tastes for high end guitars are so subjective and I've been so surprised at how often eye appeal takes precedent over playability. My Johnny smith doesn't have much figure on the back, a subtle hint of curl but nothing spectacular. But that back is perfectly quartered, the cross grain silk is crazy. Now as a builder, I'd take that tight grain quarter out of the lumber yard in a second. To me, I have a better chance of a better build. And that guitar does just that. It's got a pianistic even tone and a response quick off the attack. But a flame thrower it's not. To many, it's a second string instrument.
    I like your analogy of the cars too. But here's another way you're spot on with that analogy. I worked for Ibanez and nah, I've never been surprised by the individual character of any of their high end guitars: they're kinda great all 'round-reliably great. But never the exceptional individual. Even going through the stock of GB10's we'd send to George each Christmas, it was always a tough job to find the "best" of the bunch. You know though, a lot of that was the hard work of a crew of set up techs in Bensalem who's job it was to get those guitars, ALL those guitars to be their best when the box was opened at the store. We'd even the action out, level high frets, trim and polish fret ends against seasonal shrinkage, buff out factory inconsistencies, and make sure it was just right. That was the mandate from the highest level and we were a full time crew that made sure it felt like a million. I've pulled L-5's off the wall of Guitar Center and been shocked at my lack of enthusiasm. From set up stuff! A half hour with that guitar and I might have had an instrument I'd have fallen in love with. Maybe. Who knows? But it looked great, and felt ...good at best. $15,000 good? Hell no. Cuz I'm not the obsessive collector that Gibson is counting on I guess.

    Yeah I saw these things a long time ago. Too bad.

    David

  14. #63

    User Info Menu

    I think people on this thread keep conflating the changes at Gibson with those at Heritage. They share obvious DNA, but are very different companies. Heritage was never a mass producer of guitars, but a small boutique that produced very limited numbers of factory made guitars. The original owners will unlikely be studied in business schools, but they've always been pretty up front about their distaste for the Norlin years and blamed slips in quality on Gibson massively ramping up production during that era. I suspect their indifference/hostility to growing the company came in part from their wariness in going down that road again.

    That's the company we Heritage fanatics knew and loved. But, a business model based on the immortality of 80 year old artisans is obviously not sustainable. Change was inevitable. Some romantics may have preferred that the company close with the retirement and passing of the original owners and workers. But that would have been a kick in the teeth to a community that has already been hurting and the young luthiers they had taken under their wing in recent years.

    i have no objection to the new owner, or involvement by foreign investors. They've already apparently sunk a lot of costs into fixing up the factory and have every right to recoup those. But, it seems they are using PRS as a growth model. I'd have preferred they followed what Howard Paul did at Benedetto. Keep the legacy of the guitars intact, while boosting growth through better and modernized business paractices (website, cough cough).

    i wish the new owners the best of luck, but doubt I'm the only longtime customer feeling abandoned as the company chases dreams Rock musician millions.
    Last edited by ingeneri; 02-03-2018 at 04:07 PM.

  15. #64

    User Info Menu

    This makes good business sense in the current market. Like others have said, Heritage will very likely accept your custom order for a Super Eagle, Golden Eagle, etc. Just bring the checkbook.

    FWIW, I played a gig last night. All jazz/standards. BIG audience. I really wanted to take one of the nice archtops--I had promised the pianist I'd use my Super Eagle--but the weather was so doggone cold that I didn't want to see the finish on the guitar craze with cracks. So, I took a Strat and a Tele. I played the Strat the entire 3.5 hours...and the sound was VERY jazzy. The pianist was quite complimentary about the sound I got, as it turned out.

    The reality is: (1) we all know that the sound of our archtops just kills; (2) the solid-body and semi-acoustic guitars get the job done, just fine, at the gig--and don't feed back.

    I suspect that this drives a lot of decision making by players, especially the younger ones.

  16. #65

    User Info Menu

    Funny how feel is so subjective. I never was able to bond with what Heritage or those same guys made at Gibson in the 1970's. Norlin Era Gibson. Occasionally they both wer able to make some fine playing instruments, but it was real hit and miss. Again nothing wrong with them but just didn't feel right enough to keep them.

    On the other hand I seem to bond much easier with the newer Gibsons 1990's till present, w/out any problem. I'm not a brand guy at all, and have owned vintage as well as small boutique makers guitars.
    I'm really happy some guys love their Heritages, but asthetically as well as feel Heritage seemed off for my tastes. And I tried owning a bunch H535,H550, Roy Clark, Milleniun Ultra.

  17. #66

    User Info Menu

    As a "friend" of Jay Wolfe on Facebook and consider him a friend of all who love guitars, myself especially, I want to share this news he posted on his Heritage Custom Guitars Facebook Page. It's a little sobering but hopefully a glimpse of a good future for Heritage. Herein is his post:

    Feb. 24, 2018
    FYI- Re- Dramatic changes at Heritage Guitars
    As Heritage’s largest worldwide Customer/Dealer I was alarmed upon hearing they’d let go a dozen employees. The rumors are flying. So, I reached out to find out what’s up. I listened to explanations from Jim Duerloo, Archie Leach. They are OK with what has transpired and see no serious problem with continued Guitar building going forward. Jim felt they had way too many people anyway and Archie pointed out that the remaining shop staff is double what it was when he acquired the Company.
    My observation is from a guy that receives and inspects more Heritages than anyone else, and what I’m witnessing is quite different than what some understandably unhappy former workers are saying. They’re saying that the new guys are lowering QC standards, but this is exactly opposite of what the new folks say and do. Heritage always made a solid and toneful Gibson style instrument BUT the fit, finish & especially the setups would vary from just pretty Okay to awful. These “old Gibson habits” and standards are a long standing and well known Kalamazoo standard. Wolfe Guitars has suffered with this shoddy Gibson style finishing for 3 decades and we learned early on to either return them or deal with it. We became really adept at correcting the many Kalamazoo glitches.
    When Mr. Leach took over he vowed to do better, and he has repeated this mantra to me so many times. Has he delivered? YES, in a big way. Since he’s taken over we’ve seem BIG improvements in the new “bone” nut, vastly improved setup, vastly improved finish, and hardware fit. Still solid-toneful Gibson style instruments BUT they now look and play WAY better than before. WAY BETTER! Heritage are now delivering the absolutely finest Guitars ever, and no one knows this better than I.
    So, why release a dozen workers? Archie has partnered with a large worldwide distribution Company- Bandlab, and those guys “insist” the QC MUST be even better! Archie agrees and told me the long time workers have resisted the changes and continued their old ways. This is unfortunate, but I support their herculean effort to make the “best Guitars to ever come from Kalamazoo.” Am I concerned? Just a bit, as I’ve seen the results of their efforts, and I believe they’ll get the job done. I will say this- the last few Guitars we’ve received are truly the finest I’ve ever seen & played from Kalamazoo, so the proof is here in my shop for anyone to see & play. Their intentions are good, so I will give them a chance and I hope you will too.

    Sincerely,
    Jay Wolfe, WOLFE GUITARS, Jupiter, Florida-USA


  18. #67

    User Info Menu

    I wish them the best, and will seriously look at their new guitars once again. As a former owner of a few Heritage guitars, workmanship wasn't the issue, at least for me. Aesthetic and feel were the primary reasons in going back to Gibson.
    And while there are definitley some Gibsons I wouldn't touch. There are some seriously good ones available.

  19. #68

    User Info Menu

    We'll see how this plays out.

    Fewer employees produce similar number of guitars... Maybe there is something they can do different, and still put the same attention into each.

    If the people let go, were not up to snuff, then they could end up better, quality wise.

    I have a Heritage 550 Custom which is probably my best playing and looking guitar, all around. Antique natural finish is amazing, and it plays effortlessly, and sounds wonderful. Bought it 2nd hand from a forum member, and it is a definite keeper.

    I've played other Heritages that were just OK, like my old teacher's 535. Not terrible, not great, just kind of middle of the road.


    If I had the money at the moment, I'd definitely look at a Super Eagle.

    In the end, I think high end guitars are pretty individual, both on a model to model basis, and within individual examples.


    I had heard in the past that Heritage more or less "pre sold" their planned production to dealers after NAMM. That allowed them to get by with minimal marketing expense.

    Maybe this year's dealer take was less robust than usual.

    PS: I like the Heritage "BatMan" headstock design.

  20. #69

    User Info Menu

    There have been significant changes at the Heritage plant over the last two years. I've seen improvement in the facility and have heard that there is improvement in quality control.

    Today I learned there were quite a few firings of workers there this week. I don't know the inside story, but here are some links to the Heritage Owners Club. You can get a sense of the emotions stirring.

    Some very disturbing news from 225 - Heritage Guitars - Heritage Owners Club

    Change at Heritage Guitar - Heritage Guitars - Heritage Owners Club

    I know that some of Heritage's guitars were less than perfect. But I've had some grand slams and many others that are truly top shelf. I have kept some of the best.

    This saddens me because some of the guys I've come to know.

    We've seen Guild, Gibson and now Heritage go through some dramatic changes.

  21. #70

    User Info Menu

    The note from Jay is masterfully written. As a marketer by trade, I'm very impressed. A key question for marketers is how to take advantage of "brand halo" while creating enough distance between new product and old product to support the emotional desire for new product without damaging brand perception.

    Given that the biggest competitor to new Heritage guitars is old Heritage guitars, how does one provide incentive to buy new product, disincentive to buy old product, and maintain some kind of continuity in the brand "story", without damaging brand equity? This letter answers that question. Kudos to Wolfe's marketing acumen!
    Last edited by Hammertone; 02-24-2018 at 06:45 PM.

  22. #71

    User Info Menu

    I'm not trying to slam older Heritage guitars at all. They seemed to have the same range of quality that the 1950-80 Gibsons had. Most were good to excellent with a few sub-par. The custom built archtops were commonly stellar, probably because the Heritage owners had a big hand in the builds. The routine archtops were more variable.

  23. #72

    User Info Menu

    They let go the old guys with old skills to try something new? Bet they were drawing the bigger paychecks. But that couldn’t have anything to with their dismissal. No. That’s not it. Unh uh.

  24. #73

    User Info Menu

    on the other side of the coin

    someone on the heritage forum (that mg linked to) pointed out that jay wolfe also has an invested interest, because he probably has a fairly good stock of recent heritage product

    not agreeing or disagreeing

    just found it an interesting possibility


    cheers

  25. #74

    User Info Menu

    ?I just spent a great deal of time on the HOC Forum, being a long time member there it was interesting to read more of the back story...

    Now remember that Heritage is committed to making fewer models, Les Paul types and laminated Semi-Hollows, and fewer guitars period until they get their process and QC where they want it. They instituted strict new methods to streamline the process and improve on the quality of the end product. Many of the employees saw this as a challenge to help and if they had new ideas they suggested them and they were tested. Some other employees were resistant to the changes instituted and felt it was a slap in the face to the old way. At some point Heritage had to downsize it's employee rolls (fewer models, fewer total guitars coming out of the factory). It appears Friday was blood letting day, many people were let go. A few older employees quit.

    Before you shoot from the hip here read the comments in many of the threads there. Remember that soon Gibson will likely close the Nashville plant in it's entirety and before they do try to bring some of the more experienced employees that want to go with the more efficient processes that are suggested (as at Heritage).

    I got downsized from IBM when I was 45 years old. My office had a lot of old guys that were used to doing things their way, when Corporate big shots came out as a courtesy warning us in 1990 - a lot of the old stubborn guys literally told the Corporate guys FUCK YOU we're gonna do it our way no matter what you say... Well shit boys 18 months later (after I'd seen the handwriting on the wall for my lowly position and had already signed up for an "early retirement bridge") news came down one rainy Friday that Corporate had closed our office (and two other resistant satellite offices) lock, stock and barrel... The employees that had the seniority could take the early retirement bridge, those that were not qualified or could not afford to retire from their very high paying jobs were given 90 days to interview at other IBM locations for available jobs... That was the last time IBM offered one of those golden parachute packages, ever.

    We'll hope Heritage can pull it together making Les Paul clones and 335 type laminated guitars first, and then MAYBE they will get it together enough to make fully carved iollowbodies again... Gibson should be following suit in the next 6-12 months I believe... Think of all those folks in Nashville man... Brutal.
    Last edited by BigMikeinNJ; 02-24-2018 at 10:29 PM.

  26. #75

    User Info Menu

    Sounds like bs to me. I thought they weren't even making their nicest guitars now? So I'll believe the qc is "better than ever" when they start making sweeties and golden Eagles again...

    I'll hold my breath for Heritage. My 575 is the best guitar I've ever owned...the Heritage story should have a much better ending, if this is going to be it.