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  1. #1

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    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.
    MG

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  3. #2

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    ?I posted Jay Wolfe's comments in another thread here.

    Announcement From Jay Wolfe re: Improved Heritage Quality...

    You're uniquely situated Marty because you're right there buddy and we both have swapped and sold amazing Heritage guitars to each other. I have my 5 guitars (Golden Eagle, American Eagle, Sweet 16, H150, Heritage HDA Excel) and would never let any of them go.

    My hope is if/when Gibson gets sorted out it's new owners (or those paying the bills) demand the very best of the company employees, not allowing any of the old bad habits that let not up to par guitars out the door...

    Big

  4. #3

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    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.
    MG

  5. #4

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    l keep seeing posts about how great their Heritage is. Maybe somebody forgot to tell me, but I have only played one stellar sounding Heritage (Sweet 16 w/floater), I really don't feel Heritage made great sounding or great playing guitars overall. They made usable functional guitars with fairly mundane aesthetics.

    And my apologies for angering some of you, but really? You have a Heritage that comes close to a really good Gibson Johnny Smith?
    And yes I played Heritages version of a J.S. And way too many Golden eagles,etc. I even owned 3 or 4 models with H550 being the best of the lot.

    As harsh as this seems, I believe this is why changes are happening. It looks as though Pete Farmer might actually be making some high quality guitars. At least from a NAMM video I saw recently. And hopefully this will be the new bar they meet for all production

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    l keep seeing posts about how great their Heritage is. Maybe somebody forgot to tell me, but I have only played one stellar sounding Heritage (Sweet 16 w/floater), I really don't feel Heritage made great sounding or great playing guitars overall. They made usable functional guitars with fairly mundane aesthetics.
    I'm no stranger to Gibson by a long shot. Nor am I with Heritage. I can't generally say one brand is better than another in the carved archtop realm.

    I have a bias since I have access to guitars that have been built by the best at Heritage. Maybe I've been spared some losers because of this. But that alone wouldn't explain why some of the best Gibson luthiers found Heritage to be of the same build quality. That includes Aaron Cowles, Pete Moreno, JP Moats, and Marv Lamb, among others.

    It's not fair to compare the Gibson JS to the Heritage because the body sizes are different. But Johnny found the build quality at Heritage to be as good or slightly better, at least in the first few years of Heritage production. My Heritage JS is a work of art and great skill.

    Patrick (RIP) was as critical as any reasonable person could be. Several of his Heritages were at the top of his heap.

    I have known people who have received several disappointing Heritages, so I know it can happen. But I'm very happy with mine, and they keep my L-5 and Super 400 company as equals.
    MG

  7. #6

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    Using a football analogy, fans are the lifeblood of a club but I wouldn't allow any fan to tell me how to manage my club.

    I hope it okay to opine: the trouble with The Heritage is that it has allowed some of its biggest fans to tell them how to run their business. That goes for the Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul Historic department.

    It is fun to play fantasy football club manager or guitar manufactory owner as long as it is not your own money at stake. I am guilty as well; oh, boy, how much I would love to see Gibsons in a full spectrum of Pantone or RAL Greens. Oh, boy, why not do some of those garish PRS Private Stock finishes, etc....

    Every fan sees himself as Customer Number One. It is his private sandbox.

    Patrick (RIP) is not here to rebuff me and maybe I should not say this but following his stories over the years and taking them at face value I always felt he was meddling in The Heritage business as a superfan sometime Heritage salesman who was his own best customer. The Super Patrick, for example, should not have been made. I know one-man workshops who will tell you in no uncertain terms to sod off if you come to them with a proposal like that.

    Gibson ran into the same problem when they allowed 1959 LP Collectors private access to the business. It is great for the collectors' egos, no doubt but the end result were too many Collector's Choice guitars that the market soon got jaded and ran out of moxie. I know a Gibson dealer where I am and his great fear was Gibson releasing yet another CC and having to stump up cash to buy stock of highly expensive guitars with a very small market. The last time I dropped in he still had Les Paul Historics unsold from 2010. And CCs, one of each...Count the hundreds of thousands he has hanging on the walls. He is Old Money so he can afford them but old money becomes no money when you don't recapture it in sales. Even I didn't buy my Les Pauls from him. I never wanged on his guitars though. It was just a polite "how do you do".

    The gentlemen at The Heritage are very nice polite mid-Western folk of the old school who aim to please and are accommodating to a fault. I lived in Indiana so I am kind of familiar with those values. Whilst I congratulate Dr Marty Grass for personal access to the luthiers who gave him the best guitars they know how to make they should have made this the standard for everybody. It should not require a secret handshake. That is no way to run a business. You do not want any of your fans to feel second-class and some to feel they have got one over the rest.

    If I have a piece of advice for the new owners as a non-fan, it is this: meet and greet your fans but don't allow them near the inner workings of the business. Your best fans are your worst enemies when it comes to business. Don't allow your fans to treat you as their own private luthiery workshop. I would have told Patrick to sod off a long time ago if I were to own The Heritage. Your job is to sell what I make, not tell me what to make for your own personal pleasure.

    Second piece of unsolicted advice: don't position yourself as a cut-rate over-the-top ersatz Gibson. You don't need to do that. In fact, distance yourself from the old Gibson. Stand on your own two feet. Look at Collings Guitars. Great business model to copy. You won't mistake Collings as wannabe Gibsons but yet it is clear where they got their influences. Yeah, they cost just as much as or more than the equivalent Gibsons, too. No need to be cut-price...

    There are those fans who want The Heritage to remain cut-price for their own selfish reasons or else lose them. Fuk you, go make more money. I will gladly lose these penurious mendicants. Case study: look at Collings Guitars.

    The Heritage is like a box of chocolates: you never quite know what you are going to get. And as a business, that is not the image you want. To put it nicely, protean; to put it unkindly, unreliable.

    Cloud Maple? Give me a fukking break. That is some hokey shit...

    Yes, The Heritage is like the old Gibson but it is the old NORLIN Gibson with its old bad habits. I am surprised The Heritage has survived as long as it has but that is a testament to the durability of the legacy Gibson designs that they mostly copied.

    Rant over.
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 02-26-2018 at 04:10 AM.

  8. #7

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    Scuttlebutt says that 12 workers were let go. It also says that these are the workers who are resistant to change.

    Football manager analogy again: when you have players who do not want to play your way you move them out and find players who want to play for you and your way.

    It is better to see 12 workers leave than a business fail because when it fails nobody is left with a job. There will always be new hires so when old jobs are lost new jobs are created. That is just business.

    The Heritage has hired Edwin Wilson. That is a good move. I hope Ren Ferguson joins them as a consultant and starts a flat top department. Peter Farmer does great work going by reports coming out of NAMM 2018.

    Going forward, support the new owners. Breast-beating and lamenting the passing of the old ways is just that: reactionaries reacting with none of their own money at stake.

  9. #8

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    Heritage guitars were, and to a large extent are, built the old school way. They even use very old equipment for some builds. Many people feel good about that. It's not logical though.

    I have reservations about how Heritage has run over the last 30 years. Patrick had a lot of criticisms. Nonetheless, both of us got some primo instruments from them. I never ordered a build. But I have bought new from people I know and trust. I have not been disappointed.

    If I had to bet on a factory archtop without seeing it, I'd put my money on American Guilds. Coming from Kalamazoo, that saddens me, but my experience has taught me that. Fortunately, I rarely have to go on blind faith.
    MG

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass View Post
    Heritage guitars were, and to a large extent are, built the old school way. They even use very old equipment for some builds. Many people feel good about that. It's not logical though.

    I have reservations about how Heritage has run over the last 30 years. Patrick had a lot of criticisms. Nonetheless, both of us got some primo instruments from them. I never ordered a build. But I have bought new from people I know and trust. I have not been disappointed.

    If I had to bet on a factory archtop without seeing it, I'd put my money on American Guilds. Coming from Kalamazoo, that saddens me, but my experience has taught me that. Fortunately, I rarely have to go on blind faith.
    I have never played a bad Heritage, but must admit that most that I have tried have not been stellar either. My Heritage built D'Angelico replica is an awesome guitar, but the inlay work is terrible (I think it can be fixed when the guitar gets a refret). My Heritage 535 was an overly bright guitar and it had Duncan 59's. I have never had a semi hollow that was as bright. But the workmanship on that guitar was first rate. Perhaps if the body had been as thick as it's Gibson 335 counterpart, it would have been warmer ? Reading Jabb's comments tells me that some terrible Heritages are out there. But as we all know, some terrible Gibson's exist as well.

    I have played some of those terrible Gibsons (and that includes some pre Norlin examples). But I have played (and owned) many superlative Gibsons. American Guilds have indeed all had terrific workmanship.

    Buying sight unseen is always a crapshoot. Play before you buy or have a return option is smart money when it comes to guitars.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  11. #10

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    I want to clarify I'm no fan of Henry J (Gibson CEO) in any shape or form! But the fact is there really is no comparison between the newer Gibson Archtops and every Heritage archtop I've ever laid my hands on.

    Personal tastes and costs of these guitars aside. I really wish Heritage made the great archtops some of you claim to own. But after 30 years of trying dozens of them and only finding one Sweet 16 that was great, is not a good record.
    I'm 60 years old and a pro player since age of 17. I've also over that time played hundreds of vintage, boutique archtops from D'Angelico, D'Aquisto, Barker, Benedetto,Megas, Andersen,Comins,Buscarino, Campellone, Unger, even Hutchins Gibsons.
    And yes Gibson did make some real dogs over many decades as well!

    I'm not saying I'm not biased nor the only person who can have an opinion. I'm saying I have a researched and experienced opinion about Heritage Guitars. And while their laminate models are generally good quality guitars, not so much in the Carved Top range.
    Aarron Cowles may be the exception of the above people mentioned in above posts. But I believe he had Unity Guitars if I'm not mistaken, and was not a full timer at Heritage. I'm not an expert on that.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass View Post
    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.
    My own experience exemplifies this. My carved Heritage JS was a phenomenal guitar in all ways, one of the best, truest, easiest playing necks ever. My 555 's neck was like a crooked boner, ...er, ... banana, sorry.
    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  13. #12

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    Aaron has told me that JP Moats, Marv Lamb, and Jim Hutchins were at the same level as Aaron as far as producing a great acoustic instrument. He also said Jim Deurloo was excellent.

    Aaron left Gibson prior to Heritage. He did piece work for Heritage for maybe 20 years. I never heard Aaron criticize Heritage more than Gibson. He repaired quite a few of both. In fact, Aaron's personal favorite guitar was comprised of Heritage H-550 thinline body and a Heritage neck Aaron carved. Here's a link. His personal guitar is in the lower left corner, is deep red, and has a Bigsby.

    Jubal - Photos

    I don't disagree that both Gibson and Heritage could have done better. Their model was taking untrained people off of the streets and teaching them how to build guitars. Most of them took a job at Gibson because Gibson was hiring and it was indoor work. That is less true with the first 30 years of Heritage, but it was still often the case.

    The problem with the carved top Heritages is that the result depended heavily on the carver. The same is true with the necks. Maybe that is very obvious, but it explains a lot. Further, the best Heritages probably don't get on the market as much as the others.

    JP Moats built my Heritage Johnny Smith. The quality is as good as one of the best Gibson builds. The body is smaller than a Gibson, so there should be a difference in tone. If you don't like that difference, you'd be better off with a Gibson. It's not a matter of quality, at least with my guitar.

    The old timers from Gibson and Heritage are dying out. I've had conversations with many of them for many years. They find it curious that so much is said about their work since the 1950s. They were just doing their jobs, some better than others. No one got close to wealthy. They were blue collar. It amuses them mightily that their solid bodies from 1959 are worth as much as their homes or more.

    I'm just giving you my perspective. We in Kalamazoo see things differently I guess.
    Last edited by Marty Grass; 02-26-2018 at 05:19 PM.
    MG

  14. #13

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    I know jaDS 57 ,HE knows more about guitar gear than any 10 players i know having said that i still like my golden eagle but the 2 other heritage guitars i owned were sub par and over priced mickmac

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass View Post

    JP Moats built my Heritage Johnny Smith. The quality is as good as one of the best Gibson builds. The body is smaller than a Gibson, so there should be a difference in tone. If you don't like that difference, you'd be better off with a Gibson. It's not a matter of quality, at least with my guitar.
    MG,
    Based on my experience, I agree on the quality statement. In fact, The fit and finish on all my HJS's were top notch.
    The only differences I've been able to perceive are;
    the Heritage tops are carved a little thinner which results in a much better acoustic sound on the Heritage.
    The necks, while having the same general dimensions, feel very different. My Heritage JS is more comfortable to me for some reason.
    The Heritage bridge fitaments are a joke.
    The Heritage Electronics are pretty close to a joke.
    The Heritage used an extra inlay of Abalone on the neck.

    My Gibson JS (17") feels way more SOLID than both of my ex-HJS's (17). Ronaldo told me he always felt the thickness of the wood used on the sides had something to do with that.

    My Johnny's are the bookends of my lineup and I sincerely hope that life doesn't get in the way and I never have to part with either of them while I am still alive.. They compliment each other perfectly. It helps that my HJS is 18"

    Once again, thank YOU for that..

    Joe D

  16. #15

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    The 'uproar' Marty referred to can be read about in painful detail, almost immediately after the purge, via his links he included in his original post, to the Heritage Owners Club. Most of the comments here drifted to build quality. That horse has been beaten to a pulp over the years. I must either be the luckiest Heritage guitar owner, or the most mediocre at finding build flaws. Each of my Heritage guitars have been exemplary in tone, feel and build quality. Over the years that includes two H157's, three H150's, one H155, one H550, two H575's, one H535, one H555, one H530, one H525, one Sweet 16 and one Golden Eagle. OK, I didn't care for the tone of the Sweet 16, and sold it. In fact many of the guitars listed are long gone. Eight remain and are the best of the best.

    More importantly, Heritage's new owners terminated over a dozen employees, and another few decided to quit rather than work for the new regime. THAT is why there is an uproar!

  17. #16

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    Wow, big shock the two guys who come out of the woodwork to crap on any and every Heritage thread use the occasion of people losing their jobs to....crap on a Heritage thread. Real class act.

  18. #17

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    I don't know if there's anything more to say except that these changes are an effect of modernity. Most of these guys who lost their jobs are probably in a world of hurt.
    MG

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitfiddler View Post
    The 'uproar' Marty referred to can be read about in painful detail, almost immediately after the purge, via his links he included in his original post, to the Heritage Owners Club. Most of the comments here drifted to build quality. That horse has been beaten to a pulp over the years. I must either be the luckiest Heritage guitar owner, or the most mediocre at finding build flaws. Each of my Heritage guitars have been exemplary in tone, feel and build quality. Over the years that includes two H157's, three H150's, one H155, one H550, two H575's, one H535, one H555, one H530, one H525, one Sweet 16 and one Golden Eagle. OK, I didn't care for the tone of the Sweet 16, and sold it. In fact many of the guitars listed are long gone. Eight remain and are the best of the best.

    More importantly, Heritage's new owners terminated over a dozen employees, and another few decided to quit rather than work for the new regime. THAT is why there is an uproar!
    Git' you're not the only lucky Heritage owner. I've owned some 20 Heritages, all archtops of all sizes, and not 1 of those archtops had a single issue. And each were later sold to buyers who had nothing to say about their purchase that was nothing less than gratitude. You're right, this horse has been beat to beyond dead, countless times on this forum. And we're not going to convince anyone about how great Heritage guitars were, no more so than those who've claim they owned poor Heritage guitars and so that means, in their mind, every Heritage archtop was trash. Is it possible product varied, absolutely. But how can product vary so much if not one of the 20 archtops I owned had a single issue or than an occasional refined bridge fitment. I only wish Patrick were here to set some of these naysayers straight. As the saying goes, opinions are like ***holes, everyone has one.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by ingeneri View Post
    Wow, big shock the two guys who come out of the woodwork to crap on any and every Heritage thread use the occasion of people losing their jobs to....crap on a Heritage thread. Real class act.
    I know huh! And not one word of compassion for those who've had their employment lives turned upside down and not given any advanced notice. Well you know what, shame on them! Their hypocrisy speaks loudly for if these were Nashville employees released without notice I'm betting they'd exercise some freakin' compassion. Hypocrites!
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    I have never played a bad Heritage, but must admit that most that I have tried have not been stellar either. My Heritage built D'Angelico replica is an awesome guitar, but the inlay work is terrible (I think it can be fixed when the guitar gets a refret). My Heritage 535 was an overly bright guitar and it had Duncan 59's. I have never had a semi hollow that was as bright. But the workmanship on that guitar was first rate. Perhaps if the body had been as thick as it's Gibson 335 counterpart, it would have been warmer ? Reading Jabb's comments tells me that some terrible Heritages are out there. But as we all know, some terrible Gibson's exist as well.

    I have played some of those terrible Gibsons (and that includes some pre Norlin examples). But I have played (and owned) many superlative Gibsons. American Guilds have indeed all had terrific workmanship.

    Buying sight unseen is always a crapshoot. Play before you buy or have a return option is smart money when it comes to guitars.
    My 1990's era blonde Heritage Golden Eagle was the finest guitar I ever owned or played, and I've got some honeys to compare. I sold it in the early 2000's to cover a debt and I have grieved that guitar deeply ever since. I really think about where it went, is it being played well, does it have a good home... It has bothered me more and more with each passing year.

    i likely have exaggerated how great it was with the passing of time, but I remember it being love at first chord, and I never stopped loving it. I actually sounded like a musician playing it.

    had my name engraved on the truss rod cover!

    Heritage Guitar Uproar-jb-guitar01-jpg
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  22. #21

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    Lawson, your Heritage was a beauty. I understand the regret. I will be keeping my Heritage built DA replica. Jay Wolfe told me that he regrets ever selling it (He sold it to Patrick2, whose estate sold it to JD, who sold it to me) and that he would like to buy it back. He will have to buy it from my widow after I am gone, lest I too will share a similar regret to yours.
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  23. #22

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    Lawson, I too understand from previous sales and don't want to ever part with my five Heritage guitars, three of which I bought from Fran Amato (Patrick's HDA Excel, his favorite single pickup Golden Eagle, and an H150 - and American Eagle and a recent buy of a soft cut Sweet 16 (the American Eagle and Sweet 16 both have stellar Bubble Maple Jabbs).

    Big

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    My 1990's era blonde Heritage Golden Eagle was the finest guitar I ever owned or played, and I've got some honeys to compare. I sold it in the early 2000's to cover a debt and I have grieved that guitar deeply ever since. I really think about where it went, is it being played well, does it have a good home... It has bothered me more and more with each passing year.

    i likely have exaggerated how great it was with the passing of time, but I remember it being love at first chord, and I never stopped loving it. I actually sounded like a musician playing it.

    had my name engraved on the truss rod cover!

    Heritage Guitar Uproar-jb-guitar01-jpg
    No you're not exaggerating. I owned too many GE's to remember. Each one unique to themselves and nothing other than fantastic acoustic archtops. But you were lucky, in that I always wanted to own a GE with the old style tailpiece with the black engraved shield like yours. You're absolutely right, you should regret the selling of that fine Golden Eagle...man was that a specimen....just look at that guitar! Sorry
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    No you're not exaggerating. I owned too many GE's to remember. Each one unique to themselves and nothing other than fantastic acoustic archtops. But you were lucky, in that I always wanted to own a GE with the old style tailpiece with the black engraved shield like yours. You're absolutely right, you should regret the selling of that fine Golden Eagle...man was that a specimen....just look at that guitar! Sorry
    I don't even have the serial number! I do know it was an early copy. That tailpiece I think was characteristic of the early run of these. I had them make a different pickguard with the "hotter" pickup and a tone control along with volume. I actually did gigs with it: playing in a local bookshop for a gift certificate, that sort of thing. That and my Polytone and I was in heaven. I also played in a regular jam session for about a year, and every time I pulled it out of the case, the room would noticeably quiet for a moment.

    The worst is, I sold it via one of those "We put it on eBay for you" outfits. I am almost allergic to credit card debt and had run up a bill of about $10K, so I was hyperventilating to get that paid off and foolishly sold the HGE. I got it... get ready... trading an 80's ES175+$500. And sold it.

    God will make me go to the spanking room for idiots before he lets me in heaven, I know.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Patrick (RIP) is not here to rebuff me and maybe I should not say this but following his stories over the years and taking them at face value I always felt he was meddling in The Heritage business as a superfan sometime Heritage salesman who was his own best customer. The Super Patrick, for example, should not have been made. I know one-man workshops who will tell you in no uncertain terms to sod off if you come to them with a proposal like that.
    Well, it's really no big deal. Heritage is a dinky company that makes guitar stuff. Like many other similar companies, they had/have within their operations what is essentially a "Custom Shop" to handle special requests, prototypes, whatever. The SP was hardly a stretch - it just combined features from other Heritage production models and was made with one or two dead-easy-to-do modifications that didn't require re-tooling, new jigs or other major changes to workflow. Most Heritage custom-featured instruments are like that as far as I can tell. It's just that this one apparently required lots more yelling than usual.

    I'd love to see some examples of more unusual Heritage custom orders - most of the ones posted around here seem pretty straightforward to me. My understanding is that Heritage charged/charges extra $$$ for these simple requests. Seems like a win.


    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  27. #26

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    I've been researching the Eagle a bit recently. The dimensions suit. And this sounds pretty ok to me, too.

    "Really welding was my talent, I think, but I sort of swished it aside." Wes

  28. #27

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    Or these, they sound great to me. L5 without the syrup?

    "Really welding was my talent, I think, but I sort of swished it aside." Wes

  29. #28

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    Hmm? Played Gibson archtops nearly all of my life. Great guitars. Been playing Heritages since about 1992. Also great guitars.

    The Super Eagle I own has been owned by several forum members. Patrick called it "Lady Rose." Exceptional archtop.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post
    Well, it's really no big deal. Heritage is a dinky company that makes guitar stuff. Like many other similar companies, they had/have within their operations what is essentially a "Custom Shop" to handle special requests, prototypes, whatever. The SP was hardly a stretch - it just combined features from other Heritage production models and was made with one or two dead-easy-to-do modifications that didn't require re-tooling, new jigs or other major changes to workflow. Most Heritage custom-featured instruments are like that as far as I can tell. It's just that this one apparently required lots more yelling than usual.

    I'd love to see some examples of more unusual Heritage custom orders - most of the ones posted around here seem pretty straightforward to me. My understanding is that Heritage charged/charges extra $$$ for these simple requests. Seems like a win.



    There are a ton of mods on that guitar, beginning with Patrick supplying the lumber for the body. The carving of the top and the back was done by Marv Lamb because of his way of tuning. The pickup, the circuit, the tailpiece, and the bridge were all supplied by Patrick. In fact Patrick delivered the strings. Pete Moreno installed the pickup. Patrick was there when the neck was rolled to supervise. Lastly, Marv also shot the finish.

    Every detail, including feuds over charges, was managed by Patrick.
    MG

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass View Post
    There are a ton of mods on that guitar, beginning with Patrick supplying the lumber for the body. The carving of the top and the back was done by Marv Lamb because of his way of tuning. The pickup, the circuit, the tailpiece, and the bridge were all supplied by Patrick. In fact Patrick delivered the strings. Pete Moreno installed the pickup. Patrick was there when the neck was rolled to supervise. Lastly, Marv also shot the finish. Every detail, including feuds over charges, was managed by Patrick.
    All true. If I was running a Custom Shop and a customer sent me the wood, pickup, circuit, tailpiece, bridge, and the strings, I'd be OK with it. But the design of the guitar and the way it was made were very much in keeping with what Heritage was doing - it's not as if Patrick asked for a guitar so different from what they usually build that they couldn't use most of their standard processes, jigs and so forth. In other words, it shouldn't have been difficult to make the instrument itself. It was probably harder to deal with the customer than to build the guitar!
    Last edited by Hammertone; 03-04-2018 at 10:21 PM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post
    All true. If I was running a Custom Shop and a customer sent me the wood, pickup, circuit, tailpiece, bridge, and the strings, I'd be OK with it. But the design of the guitar and the way it was made were very much in keeping with what Heritage was doing - it's not as if Patrick asked for a guitar so different from what they usually buld that they couldn't use most of their standard processes, jigs and so forth. In other words, it shouldn't have been difficult to make the instrument itself. It was probably harder to deal with the customer than to build the guitar!
    The customer was finicky and assertive- not a good combination when you're trying to run a profitable business.

    Patrick had strongly held opinions, like some current members on the forum. He was vocal about them and had a temper. He sometimes fought with the Heritage factory owners like brothers. But...I've seen Patrick change his mind and be open to new information. For example, he hated the American Eagle, I mean hated it, until he picked one up for me and drove it to Kalamazoo about a month later. In that period of time he found it to be one of the finest guitars he's ever played and started to actually like the outrageous ornamentation. He cleaned it up, restrung it, set it up, and took a lot of pics with it.

    Despite all of the ups and downs he had with the Heritage owners, they were very saddened at his demise. I called one of the owners the day Patrick passed. I told him that I had some bad news and that Patrick died. The owner seemed a bit upset and said he was a nice guy, too bad, etc. A moment later he realized it was not the Patrick who had worked at Heritage until recently but our Patrick. Then he was speechless and in shock. The owner contacted me later to express how depressed the other owners were. They sent something to Patrick's wife.

    Patrick and I were planning on buying directly from the Heritage owners two Golden Eagles with mounted pickups that had some lacquer checking. One of the owners told Patrick that they were exceptionally good instruments. The price was ridiculous, something like $2700 each. Two days before we were going to pick them up Patrick died.

    I enjoy telling these stories, but there is a point to them. Heritage was small enough to have a personal relationship with the guys building the guitars if you took the time to stop by. Any day you could walk into Heritage, go down the stairs, and chat with one or more of the owners or very senior luthiers. You could watch the factory in operation. It was small and informal.

    Now it is very organized. Access to the production areas is restricted. It looks like a modern facility. Something has been lost and something gained.
    MG

  33. #32

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    Patrick's guitars were made by the principal owners of Heritage. Those guys were semi-retired from day-to-day stuff when Patrick would request a special guitar. When they accepted an order, they had the time to dive into an unusual request...and Patrick's guitars (after his first, blonde Super Eagle) were unusual requests.

    The results were pretty amazing. Patrick knew what he wanted, and Jim, Marv and the guys (Maude, too) knew how to realize Patrick's dreams.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post
    All true. If I was running a Custom Shop and a customer sent me the wood, pickup, circuit, tailpiece, bridge, and the strings, I'd be OK with it. But the design of the guitar and the way it was made were very much in keeping with what Heritage was doing - it's not as if Patrick asked for a guitar so different from what they usually buld that they couldn't use most of their standard processes, jigs and so forth. In other words, it shouldn't have been difficult to make the instrument itself. It was probably harder to deal with the customer than to build the guitar!
    I have to believe there isn't a Custom Shop anywhere that'd let you bring in all your components and have them do the assembly. The first concern would be legal / liability, because it always is.
    If you've ever had a job in a manufacturing environment, you learn real early that ' our standard is our standard and custom is custom. '....And then you get to a point in the build process ( and your learning curve ) where you had better understand that you have all you can do to make a buck with your standard items, ( where you hopefully know your costs) vs custom things, where covering your costs is a wish and a guess......
    When a company goes through a bankruptcy / change of ownership, once the new bean counters come in, a lot of times, they learn real fast these guys former owners didn't have a clue what their real costs were. ( Remember Chrysler Corp, and parts of GM as examples ). But going forward, they may finally get real accurate numbers for their product line, rather than answers like: " Well Johnny usually makes our necks but it's deer hunting season, so he wasn't here, so Virgil made these necks but painted the backs off center, so we had to re-do them etc etc etc "....
    None of this is new, but I guess if you've never been a part of it, I guess it's harder to understand. And sometimes telling a customer ( or ' prospect /suspect' ) ' no ', is the smartest thing you can do.
    I kept thinking of that after reading the Johnny Smith bio. Either they came to him, or he went to J.D'A , then Guild etc etc, and told them how he wanted his guitars built, in some cases down to the carves and assembly. Now we learned from that bio know he flew a plane.
    Now how far do you think he'd have gotten telling any small aircraft manufacturer how to assemble the plane he wanted to buy ?
    They'd have pretty much have thanked him for his business shown him the door.

    Just my 2 cents.

  35. #34

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    I am guessing that as much of a pain that it was for JP and Marv to build Patrick's guitars, the sales work that Patrick did for them more than compensated.

    There sure is a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on around here. But this IS an Internet forum, so that is expected.

    Times change. Old ways of doing business no longer work. Innovation is key.

    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  36. #35

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  37. #36

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    This is John Henry v. the steam drill, or Gibson goes to Nashville--all over again.

    It sort of seems inevitable, but such changes are always going to cast management as heartless and tone deaf.

    When textile mills switched to the Jacquard loom in the 19th century, loom workers no longer had to "design" fabrics. The design was built into the continuous loop of wooden Jacquard punch cards that fed the loom the design for the fabric. All workers had to do was make sure that the loom didn't run out of colored threads for the shuttles. Many workers were laid off because one worker could now attend several looms. Hand-crafted fabrics were out the window. Management looked glassy eyed at the workers and said, "buh-bye."

    CNC to Heritage--"buh-bye" to workers and the old Gibson carving table.

  38. #37

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    PS: Going to hang onto my hand-carved, imperfect Super Eagle, for sure.
    Heritage Guitar Uproar-dsc02158-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-lady-rose-front-jpg

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    PS: Going to hang onto my hand-carved, imperfect Super Eagle, for sure.Heritage Guitar Uproar-dsc02158-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-lady-rose-front-jpg
    That piece of crap? I'll do you a favour and take it off your hands for only $100. As in, send me the guitar AND $100.

    In the eternal Venn Diagram o' Marketing version of Twister, one lands on one of three spots, if not on two or all three:
    -it's new!
    -it's improved!
    -it's old-fashioned!

    I just tossed this onto the bonfire last night. Hey, it was cold outside and we had marshmallows handy:
    Attached Images Attached Images Heritage Guitar Uproar-heritage-se-sbc-label-jpg Heritage Guitar Uproar-heritage-se-sbc-back-jpg Heritage Guitar Uproar-heritage-se-sbc-front-jpg 
    Last edited by Hammertone; 02-28-2018 at 06:09 PM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  40. #39

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    Same four guys on my P.O.C. label. I'll send to you for your next bonfire. ;-)

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    Same four guys on my P.O.C. label. I'll send to you for your next bonfire. ;-)
    We need all the heat we can get up here.
    Besides, it needed new strings.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 02-28-2018 at 05:01 PM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  42. #41

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    May I chime in ?
    Heritage Guitar Uproar-heritage-sweet-16-1412180-jpg

    Heritage Guitar Uproar-dsc_0053-jpg
    Make a jazz noise here

  43. #42

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    Here's a Floyd Newton spray, like the Sweet 16 above he did. Floyd's finished thousands of guitars in his work for Gibson then Heritage.

    Some may say they've seen as good elsewhere. I'd agree, but Floyd did these all day long for decades. He was highly consistent and reliable. Some might say they've seen better. We might have an honest disagreement then.

    There are no paint blobs, smears, noticeable asymmetries or abrupt transitions. This is a classic Gibson triburst.

    Floyd was one of these blue collar, humble workers who were the heart and soul of what was so great about vintage Gibsons.

    I don't really have much of a point in this post, but I love the pics.

    MG

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass View Post
    Here's a Floyd Newton spray, like the Sweet 16 above he did. Floyd's finished thousands of guitars in his work for Gibson then Heritage.

    Some may say they've seen as good elsewhere. I'd agree, but Floyd did these all day long for decades. He was highly consistent and reliable. Some might say they've seen better. We might have an honest disagreement then.

    There are no paint blobs, smears, noticeable asymmetries or abrupt transitions. This is a classic Gibson triburst.

    Floyd was one of these blue collar, humble workers who were the heart and soul of what was so great about vintage Gibsons.

    I don't really have much of a point in this post, but I love the pics.

    I'd say, worth 10,000 words, easily.
    Best regards, k

  45. #44

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    Lady Rose above was a Floyd spray.

  46. #45

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    Heritage Guitar Uproar-1c8cdf70-c394-468e-82ad-0480d90ae22a-jpegHeritage Guitar Uproar-0bc2b8e6-50dc-4e77-8ae3-a7ed2d59fa51-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-7c37c5bf-2872-4ac8-9152-5f264540166b-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-66487015-c572-4348-88dd-77b918c17a3b-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-a87fe071-3a45-484e-bb55-c2519d40e8ae-jpg

  47. #46

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    Heritage Guitar Uproar-35d99adf-d1cf-4d50-acc6-dba9141622cd-jpegHeritage Guitar Uproar-c8bd3c4f-1ebf-4646-8d8d-a01e60b415fb-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-4e272b95-93f3-49d8-9767-728e70c27c8e-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-8ecb2a8b-79e4-48d0-887b-1294f8a58bf7-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-617215c5-c5c1-4a42-8820-984e7ea228ce-jpg

  48. #47

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    Heritage Guitar Uproar-4cf3627b-3a48-44e1-ba4d-e4ea4f191008-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-113cdb57-ef82-4738-8c8a-c9fa20e301c0-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-5810536e-8f94-4fb7-98d7-b5784f002e7b-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-27dec04d-ca95-4967-be43-6fcbdc6257b2-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-31e89b07-e6f2-4ee3-9797-daf2020d856d-jpg

  49. #48

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    Heritage Guitar Uproar-385c0ce7-45ab-4cb8-9541-b78548e4e09c-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-f44fb1fc-2f96-425f-89d3-26987030bd78-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-b496385b-aba7-48c2-9a89-2d1b2ffa655d-jpgHeritage Guitar Uproar-2f12902a-168e-4c9b-a3da-9f57d778d733-jpg

  50. #49

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    Wow. I need a cigarette.

  51. #50

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    Breakin' my heart here. Missing my Golden Eagle so much.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town