Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 3 of 5 FirstFirst 12345 LastLast
Posts 101 to 150 of 247
  1. #101

    User Info Menu

    Joe and others:

    At 11:55 a.m. the FEDEX truck pulled up my driveway and brought a large (undamaged) guitar box to my door. The 1993 Heritage JS had arrived. I carefully opened the box, hoping not to find the guitar in several pieces - and thankfully, everything was in tact. Artisan Guitars did a fine job packaging the instrument. They did all they were supposed to do.

    The guitar is actually much, much nicer than the pics that one of the guys posted on this site. The antique patina has darkened a bit with age, so that it is nearly identical to the pickguard. It looks more like the one that was posted a couple of weeks ago here - except no Rose on the pickguard. The overall condition is excellent - I can't find any dings, imperfections to speak of at this point. The original case will need a bit a mending around the edges to prevent further tares, but that is why God made black duct tape.

    The HJS has flat wounds on it - so its hard for me to get a complete acoustic sense of the guitar's voice. The neck is wonderful as Joe D. et al have commented. Nice short scale, wide nut, small/medium size frets, I think. Plugged in it has a very rich, warm tone - what you would expect from a 17" acoustic with a floating pick up. It is a Kent Armstrong Adjustable Floating Pick Up - documentation and original pick up in case. The action is a bit higher than I prefer, but once I decide on strings that will be easily remedied. The original black Grovers were replaced with gold ones and the pickguard bracket is also gold - don't know if the original bracket was black or not. The gold grovers look okay - I would have preferred black, but again that is something I can easily replace. Unless it has had fret work done recently (which I doubt), it has been played very little. It just doesn't have much sign of wear.

    I never come to a complete conclusion about a guitar until I have it properly set up and have used it for a gig or two: but my initial impressions is this is a very fine instrument, certainly the quality is consistent with my other Heritage (575). I am really excited about this one, even more so that with others. I couldn't sleep last night, I suspect the anticipation of its (safe) arrival. Thankfully, that happened! I'll try to post some pics in the next week or so.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #102

    User Info Menu

    FredH,
    Congratulations ! Its a beauty and I hope it meets all your expectations. In my opinion, the HJS was the finest product offering from Heritage guitars.

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk

  4. #103

    User Info Menu

    Boy, I've had a number of these Johnny Smiths, and I thought I've gotten over them. They, in general, are light, delicate flowers of archtops with a very lively acoustic tone that's on the bright side. This one may be different. And I figured this may be my last go around with this model, so I got it.

    This one was built in 1991 and was ordered as a personal guitar for Jay Wolf. As the highest volume Heritage dealer, he'd sold quite a few of Heritage's best. He told JP Moats that if JP could find some truly outstanding wood, he'd like one. He wanted it thicker on top for durability since HJSs tended to be very thin. He also wanted it to be less bright.

    Eventually JP, who did the wood sourcing for Gibson then Heritage, called Jay back will some excellent maple and spruce.

    Jay gigged with it three times in an orchestra then retired it to his personal collection, which includes a 1964 Gibson Johnny Smith.

    Jay claims that this HJS is likely the best Heritage made. Of course "best" is in the land of opinion, but I do respect Jay's opinion. He has a pic of Johnny holding the guitar and smiling.

    Jay's shop has a PLEK machine, although he has been setting up and working on guitars by hand for 56 years. Jay just PLEK'd and put a new set of strings on it. It should be a real player.

    Jay knows a lot of inside baseball in the guitar industry. He's a real gentleman and always a pleasure to talk with. I learned a lot today from him.

    Heritage Johnny Smith-p1_uqdlvvfvv_so-jpgHeritage Johnny Smith-p2_uggwo3gg4_so-jpgHeritage Johnny Smith-p3_ujt5ylnvv_so-jpgHeritage Johnny Smith-p4_ueurvn0vs_so-jpgHeritage Johnny Smith-p5_urczgktqt_so-jpg

  5. #104

    User Info Menu

    Oh, the early Heritages, including the Johnny Smiths, commonly had thinner 1960s style necks. I don't know about this one.

    Here's what I've been told about the thinner neck. Gibson used to have fat necks before they had adjustable truss rods, which makes good sense. When amplification occurred and chord melody emerged, a thinner neck had the advantage of thumb wrapping the lower two, even three, strings. Also, it's less stressful on the base of thumb to have a thinner neck when the thumb is positioned on the center of the back of the neck, especially with a lot of chord work.

    Now, anything goes. Most guys do single note solos and don't keep their thumbs centered on the back of the neck all of the time. They grip the neck like a rifle. A fat neck works fine there.

    Some say a thicker neck conducts nut vibration better to the soundboard. Maybe in theory that's true, but I am highly skeptical that it makes a noticeable difference. What is noticeable is the weight difference of a baseball neck after the third set, but that was in my blues days.

  6. #105

    User Info Menu

    MG, is the pic of Johnny holding the guitar going to you with the guitar?
    There aren't many pics of Johnny out and about.
    A fresh one with your new guitar in hand would be something special.
    we've talked offline but I have to say once again, congratulations! A Heritage Johnny with a thicker top is a world class guitar for the masses! And don't forget the rose!
    Joe D

  7. #106

    User Info Menu

    The neck you have on your HJS is LOVED by the overwhelming majority of the folks who play. It's viewed as a faster neck by many.
    Thats a heck of a guitar.
    JD

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I hope to get the pic. Jay said it was taken when Jay visited Johnny back in the pre-digital days. He'll need to rummage through boxes and scan it.

    On the thin neck issue, there's one more thing. Some argue that the thinner neck with less mass transmits nut (and fret) vibrations better than in a fat neck. That makes sense and is consistent with the preference for a low mass bridge on stringed acoustic instruments.

    Most of us choose the neck for comfort.

  8. #107

    User Info Menu

    That is probably the finest-grained spruce I've seen, and that maple is outstanding. Congratulations on a superb instrument, and play it in good health!

  9. #108

    User Info Menu

    Mark,
    Congrats ! I had the opportunity to play that guitar during a trip to Florida back in March. I dropped by Jay's shop and spent the afternoon with him reminiscing about the good ole days and he brought out some guitars from his personal collection.

    We spoke prior to my visit and he showed in interest in selling 3 NOS Heritage guitars that were not posted on his website at the time - your incoming HJS being one of them - and a Golden Eagle and matching Super Eagle were the other two. All three were in brand new unplayed condition and actually had original strings.

    It was a fun visit - wishing you many hours of enjoyment .

    Here are a few pics





    Last edited by QAman; 06-13-2017 at 04:53 AM.

  10. #109

    User Info Menu

    Beautiful, QAman.

    Note the flat neck heels on all three. JP Moats did that to improve higher fret access. Some other luthiers, like Aaron Cowles, did the same. Many don't.

    Here's a local obituary of JP.

    Heritage Guitar Inc. co-founder J.P. Moats dies | MLive.com

  11. #110

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    MG, is the pic of Johnny holding the guitar going to you with the guitar?
    There aren't many pics of Johnny out and about.
    A fresh one with your new guitar in hand would be something special.
    we've talked offline but I have to say once again, congratulations! A Heritage Johnny with a thicker top is a world class guitar for the masses! And don't forget the rose!
    Joe D
    She's a beauty Marty,congratulations.I just wanted to add to Joe's statement as to the photo. I have never seen Mr. Smith in ANY photo op with an HJS. I'd love to see that photo! Please keep after Jay about it. Do you think that the guitar is a lot warmer with the the thicker top? The HJS's are thin topped. My early model cracked with the thin top. But they are also soooo responsive because of it. Good with the bad I guess. Feel free to add more photos to this thread! Enjoy

  12. #111

    User Info Menu

    Beautiful score Marty, I remember talking to Jay about that guitar last year when I got that '39 L-5P from him and again later in the year when I got a guitar I have not shared here, a Hamiltone Stevie Ray Vaughn. Based on my conversations with him over that HJS of his, was it the left nut or right nut that you let go of to get it ?? LOL.

    And Jay is a great guy, I remember talking to him many times before I ever bought from him. When I got my L5 we talked maybe an hour. I told him I was giving him his street name, Jay The Gent. Becuase he is such a nice gentleman.


    Kudos...


    Big

  13. #112

    User Info Menu

    A big congrats Mark ! You keep Heritage in business and I will do the same for Gibson. 2 American icons !
    That thicker top has me drooling too. Nice score my friend. That axe may turn out to be your finest yet.

  14. #113

    User Info Menu

    I will harass Jay about that photo. I don't remember seeing Johnny with a HJS either, but I know he was very hands on with the Heritage guys in designing it. He even picked out the shade of rose natural that was an option for his guitar by pointing to a Playboy calendar on Marv Lamb's wall, indicating that was the shade he wanted. Johnny also wanted black hardware and a finger tailpiece. He came up with the rose inlays.

    I speculate that he wanted the thinner top, and he certainly approved of the faster neck.

    I don't know how many trips Johnny made to Kalamazoo, but he was the one who approached Heritage to build his namesake guitar when he was dissatisfied with Gibson.

    Quote Originally Posted by Archtop Guy
    She's a beauty Marty,congratulations.I just wanted to add to Joe's statement as to the photo. I have never seen Mr. Smith in ANY photo op with an HJS. I'd love to see that photo! Please keep after Jay about it. Do you think that the guitar is a lot warmer with the the thicker top? The HJS's are thin topped. My early model cracked with the thin top. But they are also soooo responsive because of it. Good with the bad I guess. Feel free to add more photos to this thread! Enjoy

  15. #114

    User Info Menu

    I don't know what it will sound like, but I will report back later.

    Yes, thin topped guitars are more vibrant but are prone to cracking. Pete Moreno continues to encourage me to put a small wood plug under areas of my guitars that appear thin to him in order to protect from cracks forming. I followed his suggestion on a HJS once, a stunningly beautiful instrument. When I sold it, it became an issue because there was an assumption the guitar must have had a crack. Not true, but I don't want to go through that again.


    Quote Originally Posted by Archtop Guy
    Do you think that the guitar is a lot warmer with the the thicker top? The HJS's are thin topped. My early model cracked with the thin top. But they are also soooo responsive because of it. Good with the bad I guess.

  16. #115

    User Info Menu

    Here's what Jay Wolfe sent me:

    Johnny Smith used to attend NAMM and spend time with Lane Zastrow & myself in the Heritage booth. He didn’t play much- just an occasional strum, but he’d pose for pictures while holding the Rose Heritage and sign things. I recall selling a few JS models during the show and when he was around he’d pose with the customer.

    I remember selling them in the standard trim, burst, for $3250. One potential customer later told me he bought one from Smith in Colorado for $5000 at JS’s shop. He said...” I realize I coulda’ bought it from you Jay for less......but......I bought it from “Johnny Smith”, which is priceless. Couldn’t argue that logic. He was known to sell them for full price at that time.

  17. #116

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I speculate that he wanted the thinner top, and he certainly approved of the faster neck.
    More acoustic volume ? Also I read that larger f-holes make for a brighter acoustic tone, is that correct ?

    Congratulations, it's an exquisite beauty !

  18. #117

    User Info Menu

    Johnny Smith played mostly acoustically by the time he switched to Heritages. He stated that he generally did not play in his home with amplification. So it may have been more important to him to have a thinner top at that stage in his life. This is speculation.

    Smaller f holes tend to favor brightness. This goes back to the early jazz days.

  19. #118

    User Info Menu

    Heritage Johnny Smiths have larger f holes than others. Is that correct ? So in spite of that they are brighter sounding. The thinner top is a factor. What else ?

    By the way, mine is not that bright. I like bright.

  20. #119

    User Info Menu

    Regarding the f holes, here is what I've read and have been told.

    In the early part of the 1900s as jazz was emerging, the flattop guitar could not project well through horns. The banjo did. The large round hole in the sound board reduced the volume produced and darkened it.

    Loar's design brightened the sound a lot, which created a louder percussive effect. This allowed the guitar replace the banjo.

    The arching of the top made a larger sound board, and this board had a larger surface area of wood with smaller f holes. A thinner top vibrates with greater excursion and is better able to produce higher frequencies at greater volume due to reduced mass per square inch.

    The sound holes are needed to allow the body cavity to breathe easily, which facilitates faster responses. Large f holes though would reduce the overall volume of the instrument.

    Why smaller f holes favor a brighter sound is unclear to me unless it allows the top to be carved thinner.

    Archtops generally are thicker in the center of the top then thin out a lot toward the rim. They are thin at the region of the f holes.

    Aaron Cowles, Epiphone and Guild had smaller f holes. The Heritage Johnny Smith has larger f holes, which with a thin top may make it fragile.

    Violins have been built with some of the same principles. It was necessary to project the sound loudly prior to amplification. This made the instruments fragile.

    Jay Wolfe wanted a somewhat thicker sound board on his custom built HJS. Supposedly this not only makes it warmer but also adds durability. It was still hand carved by JP Moats for a certain sound. I suspect that it will sound more like a Gibson JS. I'll soon know.

  21. #120

    User Info Menu

    The 2 HJS's I had were very nicely balanced. The lighter weight made the guitar seem more fragile but I'm not sure they were fragile at all. My HJS's held up extraordinarily well for there ages.
    I've gone on record saying that my HJS's made sounds that no other guitar made. Its hard to explain, but the difference in the sound was focused mainly when I "slid" my finger up or down the fretboard when playing a note. There was almost a repeating of the notes for a micro second. Sort of like a built in delay. I could never replicate that sound with any other guitar. The sound to me was beautiful. My GJS, while having the same dimensions, feels much bigger than the HJS's. And it feels a lot more substantial on my lap.
    Something about the upper fret access on both guitars.
    The 20th fret is almost unreachable on my GJS. As MartyGrass pointed out, the flatter heal of the HJS made upper fret access a breeze.

    You are making me want another HJS. Maybe an oversized one, with a Nice Rose.. Mikey.. Oh Mikey...

    Joe D

  22. #121

    User Info Menu

    I don't mean to convey that the HJS is super fragile. It isn't. I've had quite a few of them, six as I recall, and never had a whisper of a problem. But I do know that thinner topped guitars require care regarding humidity, temperature and battering. This is true most commonly in flattops. My Guild AA also has a thin top, as do the tops of two of my Super Eagles. They are protected species.

  23. #122

    User Info Menu

    Mark,
    Not sure if you received the guitar yet, and based on your expectations I think you will be very pleased . After playing the three guitars previously mentioned during my visit to Jay's - the HJS was in my opinion the better of the group - but for my personal taste it was a little too bright.

    As for the other two Eagles - they were carved so thin on the top it was alarming to me and I immediately passed. I've had hundreds of Archtops go through my hands and I've never come across thin tops like on those two Eagles.

    I had an Almond burst HJS that was a real beauty- very nice lows and thick highs. A physician friend of my came over one day to play an Andersen I had for sale and asked to play the HJS and fell in love . I wound up selling him the HJS and he is forever grateful.

  24. #123

    User Info Menu

    A couple thoughts:

    • The size of the f-holes (or any sound hole) influences to the natural Helmholz resonance of the "box" (volume). Larger holes will raise the Helmholz resonance.
    • Top thickness needs to be evaluated together with the arch radius (shape) and recurve shape and graduation. The stiffness is tied thickness, shape (e.g. a flatter radius will be less stiff) and cross-grain stiffness of the spruce billet used.
    • The bridge mass, down pressure and rim depth all can influence bass response as well.

  25. #124

    User Info Menu

    The guitar arrived. Unfortunately the pickup came off during shipment. The two fine wires that go into the pickup case are dangling and the pickup itself was tumbling around in the case.

    Connecting the pickup should be a quick resolder. But there are some slight scratches on the top. Otherwise the guitar looks mint.

    I called Jay and told him what happened. I suggested I take it to Heritage for them to resolder the pickup and for them to buff out the top. Jay has an account with Heritage. Jay called Heritage and said to put it on his tab. Jay also said they should buff the whole thing out since it's never been polished since 1991.

    This guitar is light. The top is only slightly thicker than what I recall my two tap tuned HJSs to be, but that's only if my memory is right. It's definitely thinner than my Super 400s. The neck is on the thin side, or as some would say, it's fast.

    The action is low. The set up is perfect. It was freshly PLEK'd, and it shows.

    It probably sounds different now than what QAman described. Jay told me it had the original strings on it prior to the very recent PLEKing, which would have made the strings 26 years old. He put a fresh set of Chromes on it.

    It sounds warm, balanced and lively to me. It is pretty loud. I can't find a dead spot on it yet and have no complaints.

    I took it to Heritage at 4 PM today. None of the luthiers were there, but the receptionist and two others were. They were very friendly, outstandingly so. One of them called Jay and put me in a room while I waited with over a dozen guitars and an amp to play around with while I waited. This lady came back and said she can take the guitar now or I can bring it in Monday morning. No one will work on it until Monday, so I kept it for the weekend.

    On the way home I took the guitar to Pete Moreno, a luthier extraordinaire. He told me I should have Heritage do the finish touch up and that it should be like new. He added that with the new equipment and people in buffing, he can't beat their work.

    I have the opportunity to have Heritage put a different humbucker on, like a Kent Armstrong or a Zoller. Honestly, I'm a big fan of the Heritage 3#. Ken Rambow, who designed and built it, went through many iterations of the Heritage floating pickup before he got the recipe right. Ken still builds them by hand in Kalamazoo.

    So that's the story.

    I'll post pics after I get it back from Heritage.

  26. #125

    User Info Menu

    MG,
    i am with you on the pickup choice. Some guitars are meant to be what they were designed to be. That pickup, while not loud is an absolutely PERFECT pickup for that guitar. Perhaps the thicker top can support a more powerful pickup but, really, do you need it? You made the right choice.

    You know, the way Heritage attaches the pickup is the most elegant solution. The block with the holes that accept the 2 metal studs that wrap neatly around the pickup on the INSIDE of the pup cover is the best design I've ever seen on a floater. Some of the fit and finish touches from Heritage are some of the best kept secrets out of Kalamazoo. For a period of time, Gibson was missing a lot of details. Heritage seemed to always "finish" a guitar just right.

    Sorry for the mishap. It will be as good as new within a week.

  27. #126

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7
    A couple thoughts:

    • The size of the f-holes (or any sound hole) influences to the natural Helmholz resonance of the "box" (volume). Larger holes will raise the Helmholz resonance.
    • Top thickness needs to be evaluated together with the arch radius (shape) and recurve shape and graduation. The stiffness is tied thickness, shape (e.g. a flatter radius will be less stiff) and cross-grain stiffness of the spruce billet used.
    • The bridge mass, down pressure and rim depth all can influence bass response as well.
    How does the Helmholtz resonance affect whether the acoustic sound is warmer or brighter ? Or whether the guitar produces louder frequencies ? If MG is upset with me for diverting the thread, I can delete and take it to another thread but my aim in asking is to understand my Heritage Johnny Smith (in my avatar photo) better.

  28. #127

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by medblues
    How does the Helmholtz resonance affect whether the acoustic sound is warmer or brighter ? Or whether the guitar produces louder frequencies ? If MG is upset with me for diverting the thread, I can delete and take it to another thread but my aim in asking is to understand my Heritage Johnny Smith (in my avatar photo) better.
    Helmholz resonance can affect undesired top resonances creating wolf tones at certain points on the fingerboard. In general (key phrase), larger f-holes will raise the frequency of these (e.g. instead of finding one at F#, you might find it at Ab etc.). In general, smaller f-holes will have increased bass presence but their size cannot be divorced from the top, its bracing, the back caarve and and the body volume (it is a complex acoustic system). Archtops compared to flat tops already have a high main air pitch due to the way the f-holes work.

    In regard to what affects euphonic aspects of tone such as "warmth" or "brighter" many, many things in your guitars materials, design and construction can. A combination of many small elements can contribute to these. One player's "warmth" is another's "mushiness" and another players "bright" can be another's "lack of bass". Impressions of sound are complex...

    Hope that helps

  29. #128

    User Info Menu

    I'm taking the guitar to Pete Moreno to drop fill the scratches and buff it out. Heritage generally won't do that stuff unless it's warranty work, although they agreed to in this case. But I really don't feel comfortable with them, sad to say.

    The supervisor who went over the guitar with me started out by saying it would be best to refinish the whole thing so that the finish matches everywhere. I pointed out that the stain on maple never fully matches when applied to spruce.

    He mentioned replacing the top. I told him that's not happening.

    He was considering just refinishing the top but was worried that sanding it may make it too thin. I assured him that wouldn't happen if the least amount of care were used.

    Finally I told him I expected the scratches to simply be drop filled. He was concerned that his team didn't do such things and he wasn't sure of the results.

    To be fair, the supervisor seemed to consider everything seriously and he was very attentive. But we decided Pete Moreno should do this.

    Honestly, if this wasn't a new purchase for me, I'd leave it as is. The marks are minor and very easily fully corrected. I needed to bring the guitar in to resolder the pickup, so the trip wasn't wasted. Actually, it was interesting to see this new approach to fixing things.

  30. #129

    User Info Menu

    Plus, You have an absolute genious of luthier at your side in Pete.
    He is on a Par with a younger Ronaldo Orlandoni. I'm sorry to all you young whipper-snappers, but they don't make them like these guys any more. When they get too old, they still do an amazing job, they just miss things and they take forever because of the frequent trips to go pee and they take nap's very often..
    I cant wait till this is done. You are gonna be doing cartwheels MG!

    Joe D.

  31. #130

    User Info Menu

    I jumped to conclusions with this guitar. TOTALLY!
    After a proper setup, its the best guitar I've ever played in my life.
    After a conversation with QAman, I learned a lot. It starts at the nut. The existing nut was not cut properly. Both E strings were cut way too low. The B string was cut too low. So rather than build it up, My luthier replaced it entirely. He cut it low enough to "just" clear the 1st couple of frets. This allowed him to setup the guitar with action typical of my Gibson Johnny Smith and most of the L5's I've played. He leveled the frets and crowned and polished them. Fretted notes feel exactly the same from the 1st fret all the way up to the 17th. The lowest action I've ever experienced with absolutely NO Fret buzz. He also re-cut the bridge saddle so its radius matched the radius of the fretboard. He also reshaped the bridge base so 100% of it came in contact with the top of the guitar. Before he said it was at 85%. Now the guitar plays better than any other guitar I've ever touched. It is clear and incredibly responsive. Its not a Buick Roadmaster. It is a Panamera Turbo now. The big girl flies!
    As for the sound..
    My Luthier rewired the entire guitar. He agreed that the wiring Heritage used was a joke. So he used breaded wire where he was able to. He replaced the jack because the existing crappy jack had begun to fail because the spacer between hot and ground began to compress. He ground off all the anodizing under the tailpiece and connected the ground wire to a piece of copper tape that is now sandwiched between the Tailpiece and the rim. We now have proper ground. However, the "South coil" on the Heritage #3 humbucker is dead. So the pickup is only functioning as a single coil. But because re-wiring is so perfectly done, I hear absolutely no noise at all now. And the clarity of the guitar is crisp and 100%. I will use the pickup for a while the way it is. Eventually I will replace it. But it sounds just fine the way it is now.

    The moral of the story..
    I know, from now on before I jump to conclusions about a guitar, I will know the facts. And I am not capable of tweaking my own setup. My Luthier is a magician. He will be the only one who touches my guitars from now on.
    Speaking of my Luthier, When I went to pickup my guitar he went over everything he did on the guitar in great detail. Then while it was laying on the bench, he plugged it in and ran his fingers across all the strings. We just listened. He said, "Joe, do you hear that"? He said, "THAT is the best sounding guitar I've ever heard in my LIFE"!!
    I agree..
    Guys, after a proper setup - Ive done a complete 180 on this guitar. It is absolutely the best guitar I've ever owned.
    I will be dedicating some recording time to it this upcoming weekend.

    Joe D

  32. #131

    User Info Menu

    Totally relate to that! I always bring my guitars to a luthier. With my Heritage Super eagle I had an experience almost 100% mirroring yours :-) glad you like it so much! You already sounded absolutely great on it as it was

  33. #132

    User Info Menu

    Glad it is working out so well for you Joe. I DID find what I think is the same pickup you need in that box that had Hammertone's Super Patrick acoustic pick guard... Let me know when you want the pickup.

    Enjoy yourself paisan...

    Big

  34. #133

    User Info Menu

    I love happy endings.

    The Floating #3 on my HJS broke during shipment. A friend, Rhoadsscholar, was kind enough to give me one that he had but never used. I had that installed. It was weak with a hum. I recently got the guitar back from someone who built a pickup for it. He said that the one he pulled off my guitar was operating on only one coil also and couldn't be repaired. The new pickup sounds good but I can't give a full report due to my very recent shoulder surgery.

    Joe mentioned the grounding on his HJS. That can be troublesome due to the black plating. What I've often had to do is pull the tailpiece off and grind the black off of the plate that comes in contact with the ground wire. Also, the ground wire is commonly embedded in the wood due to chronic pressure from the plate. I move the wire and make sure there is plenty of exposed copper to make contact.

    The next issue is that the strings may not be fully grounded due to the black plating on the finger hooks that hold the balls. Those hooks often need to be denuded.

    Someone once told me that guitars usually leave the factory half done. There's some truth there. It also seems that they are never done.

    Joe's guitar has been played by some amazing artists, I'm sure. Don Dean was known to host many jam sessions with Nashville's finest. Don did much of his own guitar work. Despite that, there was still room for improvement.

    But that's done with now. It's time to enjoy.

  35. #134

    User Info Menu

    Congrats JD! The Kent Armstrong Johnny Smith PUP that was installed on the HDA sure sounds good (as your youtube recordings so amply show). Perhaps that is the route you should go. After all, for you all things Johnny Smith (Pat Martino once told me that Johnny Smith was HIS all time favorite guitarist) is the ticket.

  36. #135

    User Info Menu

    Joe,
    Glad the set up made a difference. You can now focus on the music - rather than being distracted by guitar issues.

  37. #136

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankLearns
    Totally relate to that! I always bring my guitars to a luthier. With my Heritage Super eagle I had an experience almost 100% mirroring yours :-) glad you like it so much! You already sounded absolutely great on it as it was
    Frankie, I learned my lesson big time. I wanted to get this post up so I could correct my assumptions and not sour anyone on buying a Heritage Guitar. Its all in the nut. Heritages electronics suck too. But, you take the good with the bad.
    You know, I've never seen a Heritage Guitar with finish checking... Mmmm...

    Quote Originally Posted by BigMikeinNJ
    Glad it is working out so well for you Joe. I DID find what I think is the same pickup you need in that box that had Hammertone's Super Patrick acoustic pick guard... Let me know when you want the pickup.
    Enjoy yourself paisan...
    Big
    Thank you Mikey. You've done more than enough for me. I'm good for now. I actually like the way the pickup sounds. And I will have this guitar forever so I don't need to fix the pickup for somebody else.
    You are an Angel..
    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I love happy endings.
    The Floating #3 on my HJS broke during shipment. A friend, Rhoadsscholar, was kind enough to give me one that he had but never used. I had that installed. It was weak with a hum. I recently got the guitar back from someone who built a pickup for it. He said that the one he pulled off my guitar was operating on only one coil also and couldn't be repaired. The new pickup sounds good but I can't give a full report due to my very recent shoulder surgery.
    Joe mentioned the grounding on his HJS. That can be troublesome due to the black plating. What I've often had to do is pull the tailpiece off and grind the black off of the plate that comes in contact with the ground wire. Also, the ground wire is commonly embedded in the wood due to chronic pressure from the plate. I move the wire and make sure there is plenty of exposed copper to make contact.
    The next issue is that the strings may not be fully grounded due to the black plating on the finger hooks that hold the balls. Those hooks often need to be denuded.
    Someone once told me that guitars usually leave the factory half done. There's some truth there. It also seems that they are never done.
    Joe's guitar has been played by some amazing artists, I'm sure. Don Dean was known to host many jam sessions with Nashville's finest. Don did much of his own guitar work. Despite that, there was still room for improvement.
    But that's done with now. It's time to enjoy.
    I didn't think about the anodizing on the fingers. So just called Brian and he said, "yeah I took care of that.. I told you that when you were here.." too much for me to remember.
    I am thrilled to have this guitar. And I am glad I was patient and didn't do something stupid. Thanks MG.
    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Great news, Joe! Happiness is a fine guitar set up to perfection. Very much looking forward to new recordings!
    Thanks C74. The guitar is a treat. For sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Congrats JD! The Kent Armstrong Johnny Smith PUP that was installed on the HDA sure sounds good (as your youtube recordings so amply show). Perhaps that is the route you should go. After all, for you all things Johnny Smith (Pat Martino once told me that Johnny Smith was HIS all time favorite guitarist) is the ticket.
    SS,
    You know, this guitar did not have the same playability as my first 2 HJS's and it was NO WHERE near your HDA. All the ingredients were there but something was missing and I couldn't figure out why. ..
    The crazy thing is, I played my 165 for 4 days straight before I picked up the HJS18 from the shop. My 165 is an astroglide smooth player and I was worried that nothing anyone could do would make the HJS18 compare. I was not expecting it to feel so right. When I started playing it, I couldn't contain myself. The guitar is absolutely perfect. And it has actually surpassed all my other guitars, because it covers all the bases. Playability, Sound, That regal feel and last but not least.. The Rose and Johnny's hand Signature next to my heart when I am holding it..
    This guitar is everything.

    Thanks guys.
    JD

  38. #137

    User Info Menu

    Joe, Do you still swap out the TI E string on this guitar?

  39. #138

    User Info Menu

    nice joe D! and sounds like a great luthier.. he got it right from top to bottom...all the right tweaks & fixings..that's the way you work a neck , every detail from nut to bridge base!!...bravo

    and no more hum!!..time for some new vids!! haha


    cheers

  40. #139

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by rob taft
    Joe, Do you still swap out the TI E string on this guitar?
    Ha! I was waiting for someone to ask this question.. The honest answer? Painfully... The swapped out high E was on the guitar when I dropped it off. And it was buzzing like crazy! Now, it doesn't buzz at all. So, it probably would work fine with the standard E that comes with the set. JD

    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    nice joe D! and sounds like a great luthier.. he got it right from top to bottom...all the right tweaks & fixings..that's the way you work a neck , every detail from nut to bridge base!!...bravo
    and no more hum!!..time for some new vids!! haha
    cheers
    I talked to his boss today. His boss told me he is the best they've had there in 20 years. He is a magician.
    Thanks buddy!
    JD

  41. #140

    User Info Menu

    Hi Everyone,
    Here is the video as promised.
    This guitar is spectacular. Anyone can play it. It is a masterpiece of sound, workmanship and playability.
    The crickets still show up now and then. The pickup will be changed out eventually, but I can live with it for now.
    My plan for the day was to bring the guitar to the gravesite where Joe Pass is buried which is only 8 miles from my home, and play this for him. But the cold rainy weather did not cooperate. But Like Vinny says, Joe Pass is up in heaven with God right now. And I feel his spirit in me when I play.
    Thank you everyone for the great times I have here with you.
    Happy Holidays to everyone.
    Joe DeNisco


  42. #141

    User Info Menu

    Way to go Joe! Really loved this tribute. Sounds terrific, and inspires me to get the holiday tune book out, as well as listen to some Pass today! Thank you brother!

  43. #142

    User Info Menu


    It really sounds great. It’s awesome to see the transition: from you liking it to having it so well set up for your personal feel you’re just a crazy man having a ball playing it !!!

    Joyful Holidays Paisan

    Big

  44. #143

    User Info Menu

    No one commented so I will. What happened to your pick ? First time I see you playing without it. It definitely makes a difference.

  45. #144

    User Info Menu

    Bro this is your crown jewel ! Very impressed with your right hand finger style. Some songs must be played with your fingers instead of a pick. JP could not do it better. I was watching your hands and it was just like watching JP play.
    You hit your pinnacle of excellence. My wife watched it and said why can't you play nice and pretty like that. As you know she takes no prisoners. Bravo Bro ! OUTSTANDING rendition.

    P.S. thank you for the G. My man

  46. #145

    User Info Menu

    Sweet JD. OK, you have the Gibson Johnny Smith and the Heritage Johnny Smith. When do you add the Guild Johnny Smith to the collection?

  47. #146

    User Info Menu

    Very nice Joe, you should stick to fingerstyle, opens up a whoooooole new world.

  48. #147

    User Info Menu

    Very nice ...

    Can you recommend a good place to get a transcription of that and any other JS Christmas arrangements?

    I need to work up a few Christmas tunes myself


  49. #148

    User Info Menu

    Oh man Joe, that sounded awesome! That totally made my day. Masterful, authoritative playing and what a huge, beautiful sound that guitar has, absolutely incredible! (Incidentally, my wife made a similar comment to Vinny’s :-))

    What do you find wrong with the pickup? It sounds really good to me - crisp, clear and balanced. Fixing the electronics did improve the sound of this already great sounding guitar (it was the exact same on my SE - pickup wrongly wired - sounded much better after my luthier fixed it. I hope these things have improved now at Heritage under the new ownership).

  50. #149

    User Info Menu

    Sound? Terrific. All notes perfectly defined. Deeeeep basses and chiming high ends.
    Dynamics? A lot. That's usually the weak point of a solo performance.
    Sensitiveness? As much as in a Napolitan song.
    Technical skills? Plenty, and tastely used to serve your sensitiveness.
    Suit? Perfect match.

    Thanks buddy to share this with us.

    Have a wonderful Xmas.

  51. #150

    User Info Menu

    That was beautiful, thank you. What amp were you using?

    I love that Heritage too. I have a few including a 575 I bought 10 years ago hoping to get into more jazz. One day when the demands of life are less (career and kids etc etc) I hope to be lucky enough to do so. For now I noodle around a little when time permits and I'll start to visit here more, great site.

    I wasn't aware Joe's grave was in NJ, one day maybe a pilgrimage would be in order. I saw him once in a small room at Kean College during my short tenure as a music major there in 76 or so, incredible to say the least.