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  1. #1

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    Ok, guys. I am blown away.

    A little background.. Martygrass a friend to all on JGF for many many years found this one for me on Craigslist. He emailed me, told me what he thought of it and I immediately responded to the ad. I made an offer, the store owner countered and I accepted.
    The Guitar arrived via UPS at my office at around 10am today. You pay more, but I highly recommend having the UPs store pack, ship and insure expensive/rare guitar like this. It's worth the piece of mind.

    The guitar is incredible. Barely, if ever played. The color is beautiful. The wood is attractive, aged and resonant. The thin coating of lacquer protects a hand rubbed finish that must be seen to br believed. The thin finish also allows the wood to breath and project a sound that is bright with the bass strings that you can feel under you. The balance is amazing. I knew this guitar would sound good. The TI12's sound like round wound strings, minus the finger noise.

    Playability. Seriously guys, it can't get better. Everything was right at my fingertips. The magical 25" scale is fingerboard perfection. The action is low and the radious perfect. The 1-3/4" nut makes 6 string chords played at the nut a breeze. The neck is not as deep and full as I thought it would be but I played the guitar for 2 hours running through all my Johnny Smith stuff with absolutely no fatigue in my left hand.

    My wife and son commented on how clear the guitar sounded. I was amazed how this guitar makes different sounds than any other guitar I've owned. This is an absolute world class instrument. It will quench my thirst for a Johnny Smith for a long time to come.
    videos are forthcoming. For now, here are some pictures.

    Heritage Johnny Smith-image-jpgHeritage Johnny Smith-image-jpg
    Heritage Johnny Smith-image-jpgHeritage Johnny Smith-image-jpg

    The guitar is practically brand new. Easily the most attractive guitar I've ever owned. It's perfection. A guitar of a lifetime.
    Thanks for sharing this with me.

    Joe D
    Last edited by Max405; 07-02-2016 at 03:48 PM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    WOOOHOOOO!!!!

    I doubt people who don't love guitars have any idea what it feels like to hold one of these in your hands and realize it is exactly what you were hoping, and maybe you had not hoped for enough because now the guitar is showing you that it can fulfill hopes you didn't even know you had.

    It's gorgeous. I love these lighter sunburst shades and this one is perfection.

    Can't wait to hear what sounds you awaken from it.

  4. #3

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    Joes,
    The nicest looking HJS I've seen. The back is incredible !
    Glad it came it your way.....have fun with it Joe.

  5. #4

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    Just sublime! That shading on the top!

    I'm looking forward to a video clip some day!

    Enjoy that thang, Joe!

  6. #5

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    Joe, we need close ups of the spruce. It has a lot a figuring.

    I'm guessing this is a light guitar. Aaron Cowles tuned it and he goes lighter than most for the best high frequency responses without dulling the lows.

    My best advice to you is to never believe that this guitar is a poor man's Gibson Johnny Smith otherwise the GAS will never end. I know some feel that way and they're entitled to their lame opinions! From someone who knew and knows those who built JSs for Gibson and Heritage and who's had enough experience with both, it is naive to believe that one brand is better than another. You have to play the individual instrument to make a judgment.

    Big time congrats.

  7. #6

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    Joe, that is a seriously great looking guitar, and I know in your capable hands it will sound as good as it looks. Kudos to Marty Grass for all he does, and to you, congratulations, and play it in good health!

    P.S. That abalone - just so sweet!

  8. #7

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    Martygrass, I totally agree. This is a world class guitar. It takes second place behind nothing.
    The spruce is awesome in the sunlight. Here ya go.
    Heritage Johnny Smith-image-jpg

  9. #8
    IMHO Heritage does bursts like no other. Beautiful shading and flame on that one Joe. I am sure you will do it proud.

  10. #9

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    Things DO happen for a reason. Just as JGF Alumni "Mr. Sheets of Sound" had to go through lots of guitars to find out his guitar soulmate was a Gibson Barney Kessel, I think you had to go through a similar journey to find this guitar. This new HJS is a beautiful guitar and having spent a lot of time with the amazing guitar that I got from you, I am of the opinion that a top notch Heritage is every bit the equal of the best Gibsons. The early Gibson Johnny Smiths would have a neck profile that would not suit you and the later ones would have quality issues that would bug you (Why do you think Johnny Smith moved to Heritage?)

    Now you have a guitar to put in that empty display case.

    Congratulazioni! May this guitar inspire your playing and may you play it in good health for many years to come.

    PS, That pickguard looks great. Do NOT change a thing.

  11. #10

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    Absolutely great Joe! What a beautiful axe!
    i know what you're talking about :-) such a light, resonant guitar, loud, balanced, full voice.
    that burst is really something else - Heritage is right on top of the game IMHO.
    certainly not a poor mans version, just world class.
    And the HJS is also not just a blinged golden eagle for sure. It really is different.
    25" scale and 1.75 nut is a great combo.

    Enjoy!

  12. #11

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    Spot Joe's Heritage JS:

    Heritage Johnny Smith-13235201_788847374548100_3501339481854062233_o-jpg

    There's another Heritage hanging behind it, if anyone's interested.

    A good guitar is a good guitar.

  13. #12

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    Third from the back :-) I'd conjecture the one behind it is a golden eagle in a gorgeous almond sunburst or that nice deep brown old school sunburst.

  14. #13

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    +1, Good song choices to demonstrate a superb instrument.
    & wonder why Heritage do not include the UK in their marketing
    strategy? they could give Gibson a run for the money from what
    I see and hear.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    The early Gibson Johnny Smiths would have a neck profile that would not suit you and the later ones would have quality issues that would bug you (Why do you think Johnny Smith moved to Heritage?)
    Could you name some of these quality issues? What were the years in which the "later ones" were produced?
    TIA

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzNote
    Could you name some of these quality issues? What were the years in which the "later ones" were produced?
    TIA
    Ugly volutes on some 70's models. Plain woods on most 70's models. Overly thick finish on some late 70's models. I think they are great guitars up to about 73. From 74 to the end of their run, they are hit or miss, some have good necks, others do not.

    In Lin Flanagan's excellent biography (Flanagan spent a lot of time interviewing Smith for the book), Flanagan wrote:

    "Smith felt that the Gibson model was a well built instrument, but during the course of his endorsement arrangement he became aware that the factory was not tooling up correctly for all their work, and therefore the guitars were not consistent. Each neck was different, which he found to be a frustration and a criticism that he had to endure for several years. He expressed that he could have done better himself with a jack knife. He eventually complained to Gibson in no uncertain terms, asking them to terminate the contract if they were not prepared to build the guitar to his specifications."

    In 1989, Smith terminated his contract with Gibson.

  17. #16

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    Not sure, but i think the volutes started in 76. i have not seen any on earlier GJS's.

  18. #17

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    Oh My Goodness Joe,

    That guitar is so stunning !! Love, love, love, love, love that burst back. WOW, sunset in Maui !! Gorgeous. Told you that good things would fall in your lap, you're a great stand up guy... Can't wait to hear you play her.

    Frankly I think that Heritage took the Johnny Smith model and ran with it for 6 touchdowns, tying Gayle Sayre's record. Congratulations...

    Big

  19. #18

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    Smith also pulled his endorsement from Heritage in 2001
    due to alledged issues with carvers that left and changes being made without his approval. This info is also taken from
    Flanagans book. This was posted in response to Stringswinger
    Comments.

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by QAman; 07-02-2016 at 11:10 AM.

  20. #19

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    Steve, thanks for pointing that out.
    It seems that Johnny couldnt sit still for very long huh? I hope it was because he was unhappy with the product and not because of a monetary issue.
    JD

  21. #20

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    Guess what guys?
    I can play the elusive Johnny Smith built Emin9 chord on this guitar. Even with my little baby hands.

    7
    7
    7
    5
    2
    2

    yeah!

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Longobardi
    Smith also pulled his endorsement from Heritage in 2001
    due to alledged issues with carvers that left and changes being made without his approval. This info is also taken from
    Flanagans book.

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk
    Steve, I have no reason to doubt that's true, at least the second part.

    Heritage made bastardized (I mean that in the nicest way possible) versions of the Johnny Smith. There were several 16" and two 18" versions. I've seen one with a mounted pickup, also.

    You may think Johnny approved those variants, but I'm skeptical based on some other things Heritage has done on artist models that I know did not receive permission from the artist. The artists were never informed. But these were excellent guitars anyway.

    I don't think it's true that Heritage lost one of its more skilled carvers during that period of time.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Longobardi
    Smith also pulled his endorsement from Heritage in 2001
    due to alledged issues with carvers that left and changes being made without his approval. This info is also taken from
    Flanagans book. This was posted in response to Stringswinger
    Comments.
    Steve, I wonder about that.

    I think all of us who have been around guitars for awhile know that Gibson's from the 70's are hit or miss. I am sure that Johnny Smith had his issues with them. Johnny had issues with Guild over supposed building techniques, but Flanagan also posits that Johnny did not like the 24 3/4 scale on the 50's Guild Johnny Smith Awards. Perhaps Johnny became disenchanted with Heritage and that explained the move.

    Or could it be that Bob Benedetto, a guy who is not only one of the greatest guitar builders of all time, but who is also one of the greatest guitar Merchandisers of all time, got Johnny to make the move back to Guild?

    Why Johnny Smith, a guy famous for stretch chords, would endorse a guitar with a 25 5/8 scale is perplexing to me. I guess by that time, Johnny was no longer performing, so the longer scale was not a deal killer. But he did request a change to the Guild Benedetto Artist Award, to wit, that the neck contact the top all the way to the end. He could have required the 25 inch scale and 1 3/4 nut as well, but he did not.

    It is a real head scratcher, that is for sure.

  24. #23

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    Joe,
    I believe Johnny had monetary motives as well. I actually started a seperate post a few days ago seeking information on the manufacturing of Johnny Smiths under Norlin and why the Norlin period is perceived as a generally undesirable period.
    According to Marty, archtop quality was still good during that period. Yet I still see comments about the ongoing debate between Gibson and Heritage. So...I felt compelled to remind everyone that the same notable artisians that were making archtops during Norlin, were those same guys who founded the Heritage Guitar company. All of our negative comments about that period only solidify the black cloud of Norlin period, which some might argue carried over to Heritage. After all- Norlin period archtops are percieved as less than other Gibson periods, and Heritage guitars never really obtained the prestige arguably deserved.

    So, here is what I have say, for those Norlin owners - stop bashing Heritage, and for Heritage owners stop bashing Norlin Gibsons. Why.....because they were made by many of the same artisians, and negative comments just continue to solidify and repress market valuations for both.


    Instead, lets talk about the great archtops that we have experienced from both organizations and improve the perception......and quite possibly market value.

    Joe, Im sorry to have brought this into your post, but it needed to be said. Additionally, your Heritage Johnny Smith contains the finest presentation grade woods of any HJS ive seen, and if you ever want to give it up - please put me on the top of list.....its really spectacular and do enjoy it.



    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe DeNisco
    Guess what guys?
    I can play the elusive Johnny Smith built Emin9 chord on this guitar. Even with my little baby hands.

    7
    7
    7
    5
    2
    2

    yeah!
    OK, I tried that chord just now on three guitars,

    DA2...it ain't happening (25 3/8 scale)
    97 175 I can do it (24 3/4 scale)
    37 DA I can barely do it (25 scale)

    And at the risk of sounding like Donald trump, I do not have small hands (perhaps I have a short thumb, I do not do a lot of those thumb over chords).

    That is NOT a chord that I will be reaching for. Playing jazz on a guitar is hard enough already.....

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    OK, I tried that chord just now on three guitars,

    DA2...it ain't happening (25 3/8 scale)
    97 175 I can do it (24 3/4 scale)
    37 DA I can barely do it (25 scale)

    And at the risk of sounding like Donald trump, I do not have small hands (perhaps I have a short thumb, I do not do a lot of those thumb over chords).

    That is NOT a chord that I will be reaching for. Playing jazz on a guitar is hard enough already.....
    This is the 1st chord in the song Wait Till You See Her. I will play it at the beginning of each verse. That's it. Johnny plays it as part of chord runs which to me is insane.
    The fact is, such a small difference in scale length makes a difference in the geometry of a guitar.

    My DA has a 24-3/4 scale and I can't play it that guitar. That stopped me from buying another Herb Ellis, believe it or not. So, go figure..

    Thank you for trying to play that chord for me. There was no way I was playing it in the DA2 either.
    JD