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  1. #1

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    Hello all: I've been thinking about adding a Gibson Johnny Smith to the herd. I own a 93 Heritage JS and love the guitar. I have had it for several years and truthfully, it really took me some time to get used to it. I know that several members of this group have had experience with both and wondered what their opinions are about the differences between the two models? I recall at the time I got my HJS someone on this forum told me that the HJS was about 97% similar to the Gibson model. I wondered if there are other opinions as to how the two compare. I have not played a GJS, but am attracted to it for the same reasons I bought the HJS, the nut, the shorter scale, the thinner body, floater, etc. etc.

    Having said all of that, I also would like to know your thoughts on 1970s Gibson Johnny Smiths. The 1960s model represents, in the opinions of many, the Holy Grail of GJS. I've read mixed reviews about the 1970s models. Obviously, there is a significant difference in price with the 1960s model more desirable, collectible and more expensive. From what I have seen, the 60s GJS are probably more than I want to spend at this point, assuming I could even find one in decent condition. So if I do add a GJS, from a price perspective, it would probably be a 1970s model. But again, I am still thinking about whether I want to do this should the opportunity come up to buy one.

    I am not looking at a particular guitar at this point. I was tempted a few times last year to pull the trigger on a few that became available but have managed to restrain myself.

    As always, I appreciate the wisdom of this group.

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  3. #2

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    I prefer the Gibson when they are done correct. As far as QC and sound Heritage maybe the same or better. The knock on the Heritage is I much prefer the looks of the Gibson JS. The Heritages look like they tried to cut corners to keep price done. The JS Gibson s in early 80’s we’re pretty good and they stepped it up.

    Bottom line hands down I prefer the Gibsons.

  4. #3

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    I only played one Gibson Johnny Smith (mid 60s) and did not personally feel its sound or aesthetics were different enough or was better to justify switching or adding to my collection. Furthermore, my (90s) Heritage JS was superior in acoustic volume and clarity/balance. Given that Heritage craftsmen actually built the earlier GJSs also (when they were younger and less experienced), I was not surprised in the results of my comparison.

  5. #4

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    70s Johnny smith are all great playing guitars. Are all pretty darn nice plugged in and vary acoustically. I know this isn't real helpful because you probably won't get the oppruntnity to play a bunch of them. There are defiantly some stellar ones. As with most gibsons they all possess the "signature sound" and a few really stand out.

  6. #5

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    Aaaahhh the Siren Call of the Gibson Brand strikes gas into the hearts of the most stalwart players. I've owned three Heritage Johnny Smiths and I own a early 2000s Guild Artis Award Johnny Smith (signed by Mr. Smith). My Heritage JS's are an early 90s and one of the very last 3 JS's Heritage ever made. I believe both were special ordered for Mandolin Brothers and have amazing woods and builds. And this is from a guy that has a Citation, 5 Unity's and a couple of Triggs guitars AND 2 ghost built Heritage DA's... SO I think I know what quality is.

    I get sorta tired of hearing people kick Heritage quality, especially when they are comparing them to Gibson stuff from the late 60s and 70s. My goodness... I let a late 80's custom shop Gibson Johnny Smith double pass by, it was the most gorgeous example of a Gibson Johnny Smith I'd ever seen. The woods were SICK... SICK !!! I mentioned it to Joe (probably one of the most seasoned Gibson and Heritage Johnny Smith owners in our cadre) and he said "Oh man it's a double pickup version, the resale value wouldn't be so good". Or something like that. At the time the stock market was taking a serious dump on me and I passed. It languished on eBay for another 10 days or so and then was gone. But with the money I would have spent on it I got two really wonderful Heritage Johnny Smiths. I've been playing the heck out of them lately because AS MENTIONED they've got the slightly narrower body depth, a slightly wider nut and that 25 inch scale... They're so comfortable... They're both loud and sweet acoustically (how I have top play 95% of the time in this senior building I live in) but I have plugged them in.

    Those G Brand sirens are calling, you feel like Ulysses tied to the mast of the ship trying to resist... Probably your best bet for finding a few to play all in one place would be a big guitar show... Good luck...

    Big

  7. #6

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    I have played a few Gibson Johnny Smiths (60's and 70's) and one Heritage Johnny Smith. All were pretty tame acoustically (and I believe that they were all designed to be amplified as was Johnny Smith's personal D'Angelico). Where the Gibson was clearly superior to my ears, was the amplified sound. I am pretty sure that this is due to the pickup. To my ears, the Heritage pickup is brighter and I prefer warmer. But pickups can be changed. I am sure that I would like a Heritage Johnny Smith as much as the Gibson if the Heritage had a handmade Kent Armstrong Johnny Smith pickup installed. One of the 70's Gibson that I have played had a volute and a plain back. I would rather have any Heritage example than one of these as a matter of cosmetic preference.

  8. #7

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    IMO the Gibson JS pickup is one of the best floaters ever made. Jimmy put one on my DAQ much to his dismay.
    I had a 1979 JS but wasn’t fond of the really flat fretboard. I traded it for a 1980 Super V which had the BJB pu. I like the JS pu better. IMO the pickguard jack on a JS is cheesy. I think the LeGrande is a superior choice if the top is carved not too thin. Thin tops and floaters sound too bright. A 70’s Guild AA with a DeArmond is another great option.

  9. #8

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    My Heritage JS is a 1993 with a Kent Armstrong pickup, replaced presumably by the previous owner. It is one sweet guitar. I use it for solo gigs and playing in an ensemble. It has sufficient power to cut through five other instrument when needed. Acoustically, and that is how I used it the most, it is loud, with sufficient balance. I do a fair amount of classical music, reading violin and piano score, so I really appreciate the clarity and sustain of each note that is produced. It is a very comfortable guitar to hold, light, well balanced with a neck to die for. My interest in the GJS is not to replace the HJS, but to compliment it. Thats why I was interested in comparing the two. And yes, the Gibson sirens are tapping into my chronic GAS, but only if it is the right one. I almost pulled the trigger on Joe D's when he had it for sale last year. But I had just scored a Gibson L5 Premier and had to resist. Should one like Joe's come up again, it would be harder to restrain the GAS demons!

    Thanks to all for the great advice. This forum is really amazing with the collective amount of wisdom and experience. I feel blessed to be able to tap into it.

  10. #9

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    Thanks, Big Mike. I'll be the brave Ulysses as long as I can...but the siren call of "buy me, buy me" lingers forever.

  11. #10

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    What you say makes a lot of sense! Never thought about it that way, but my 93 HJS was made most likely by the same skilled, but more experienced craftsmen who were making GJS in the 60s and 70s - well at least until 1974 anyhow. The quality and sound of my HJS is really excellent and reflects a lot of experience and expertise.

  12. #11

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    The HJS has a shorter body than the Gibson. Also, my anecdotal experience is that the HJS is a more delicate instrument, meaning the top is thinner. All of these instruments were hand made, so there can be significant differences among them.

  13. #12

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    Marty is right on the money.
    Even though the 2 guitars share almost identical specs, they just feel so different.
    The necks are similar. If you get a GJS with fretless frets, you might not like it.
    The body shape and thickness are very close but the build is very different. The Heritage feels thinner and lighter all over and the finish on the H doesn’t check. The Gibson feels amazingly solid. almost vault-like. It will feel just like your L5 Premier. Vinny is on the money in his praise for the JS pickup. It is a wonderful pickup. I’ve said this before and even I thought I was nuts. The original thin unshielded cable that came with the GJS guitar has a definite affect on the the sound of the guitar. It’s like a microphone. Run your hand over it while it’s plugged in, and you hear the sound of it through your amp. It absolutely picked up string sounds in my amp and in my headphones. The sound was different using a rubber coated, better shielded cable.
    The Gibson by virtue of its more substantial build, feels commanding in your hands. The Heritage has Johnny’s signature on the label. The Gibson was actually played by Johnny and the Heritage was not.
    In my lifetime, I will own another GJS.
    Oh I forgot.. The Rose on the fretboard still makes me giddy..
    Good Luck. It will take years to really learn the nuances that make each guitar special. Years of unbelievably rewarding playing. Each guitar has made me a better player. Both guitars are top notch instruments which reward the owner each time he picks it up and plays it.
    Enjoy the ride.
    Joe D

  14. #13

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    Well I owned & played both. I can only speak for my pieces, the Heritage was the better guitar, although I liked the original Gibson (late 60s) pickup better. The Gibson neck was a bit slimmer, fretboard not perfect. The Heritage neck was deadass straight and the fretboard was flawless. The Gibson felt a little more light and airy, the Heritage guitar felt more solid overall. Just from my experience with the two examples, I would take the Heritage in a heartbeat.
    But then again, that Gibson was the first really expensive archtop I owned, and its mojo was well,

  15. #14

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    I've owned both pieces and still own Joe's early HJS. Presently I have just two archtops. The HJS and my Triggs NY 17". Though the two are both 17",floating pickup archtops, they are different animals. The Triggs is built heavier like a GJS. You know you have a substantial instrument in your hands. The tone (full scale 25 1/2") is warm and full. Able to be played softly as well as country swing. The Heritage is much smaller feeling. Light and comfortable (shorter scale 25") Still with a warm tone,but delicate. I sometimes compare it (in my mind,I don't own an ES125) to an ES125 in easy of play and it feels like it "fits" into your body. You want to play her. I remember my GJS's as being similar to my Triggs. I guess what I'm saying is that they are truely different guitars. And both wonderful.

  16. #15

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    Thanks to all of you guys, Joe, Big Mike, etc for the great comments. Please keep them coming! From what I can tell, the two Johnnies really are two different animals. Joe, I knew that you had owned and played both, so your comments and those of the others were really helpful. But you know, you probably have convinced me that adding a GJS is a worthwhile effort. So let the hunt begin! But you also know that you are all complicit in my GAS attack. If my wife complains, and she never does, I'll just say the guys on the forum made me do it
    So now the fun begins, trying to find the right one. The prices seem to be all over the place: Ebay recent sales start at around 4k and up. Reverb sales are in the 4-8k range, depending on the year, condition, etc. So from your experiences, where's the sweet spot for a late 60s or early 70s model? Other suggestions? I've seen a 68 (without original case) recently go on Ebay for 5800; and late 70s (blonde, no less) go for about 6700 on Reverb. There is a 74 on Reverb asking price $5995, but the pickup has been switched out and the owner was certain what the replacement was, BJB???

    Again, thanks for ALL of your help in enabling my GAS. I hear the Gibson sirens calling once again

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredH
    Thanks to all of you guys, Joe, Big Mike, etc for the great comments. Please keep them coming! From what I can tell, the two Johnnies really are two different animals. Joe, I knew that you had owned and played both, so your comments and those of the others were really helpful. But you know, you probably have convinced me that adding a GJS is a worthwhile effort. So let the hunt begin! But you also know that you are all complicit in my GAS attack. If my wife complains, and she never does, I'll just say the guys on the forum made me do it
    So now the fun begins, trying to find the right one. The prices seem to be all over the place: Ebay recent sales start at around 4k and up. Reverb sales are in the 4-8k range, depending on the year, condition, etc. So from your experiences, where's the sweet spot for a late 60s or early 70s model? Other suggestions? I've seen a 68 (without original case) recently go on Ebay for 5800; and late 70s (blonde, no less) go for about 6700 on Reverb. There is a 74 on Reverb asking price $5995, but the pickup has been switched out and the owner was certain what the replacement was, BJB???

    Again, thanks for ALL of your help in enabling my GAS. I hear the Gibson sirens calling once again
    The JS for $5995 looks pretty nice. Not the outstanding wood but seems no issues. I happen to like BJB pickups this would be a non-issue. I owed an L5c with a BJB and it was a fantastic guitar with great sound out of the pickup. If you are super worried you can always contact Kent Armstrong and have him build you a JS Pickup I believe he could make you one right to the specs or maybe what he has will work. Not sure how much lower you can go but clearly I think it is worth pursuing.

  18. #17

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    Thanks, Mark. There is another one - 1970 Blonde - in Long Island. Looks all original, but the price is very high (or more than I'd want to spend). It looks very clean. Do you know anything about the dealer (Long Island Vintage Guitars)? There are lots of two pick up models available, but I'd rather not go there. Someone suggested that I consider a two pu model and have a new pickguard made to incorporate just one pick up. Thoughts? Thanks

    F

  19. #18

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    Fred

    If a double has caught your eye it’s not that hard to change it to a single - what you suggested isn’t intrusive at all. Simply save the pickguard assembly, the neck pickup is attached to the neck itself, a good repro bound tortoise L5 style guard and some Schatten controls would give you that classic single pickup look. I actually prefer the double - being a GB10 fan I know the value of the blended pickup sound.

    Its a G brand stigma that’s easy to resolve

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredH
    . Someone suggested that I consider a two pu model and have a new pickguard made to incorporate just one pick up. Thoughts? Thanks

    F
    I have done that it's not a problem, BUT it's a roll of the dice as far as color change in the guitar. The double pickup guitar pickguard is quite a bit larger. The one I did was a sunburst and had no problems. A blonde could be different. If it's a case queen you would probably be alright if it sat out in the light a lot you might see a color shift.

  21. #20

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    I hate the double pickup deals and would go to the one pickup wonder in a heartbeat. I don't care what the color issue is under the guard. It is an easy conversion just get a new guard ( oh I have a few) and then you get rid of the excess pickguard material and the guitar will acoustically be better for sure. I would go with the a single volume control on the guard and nothing else it would be a winner. As far as the color being a bit off because of exposure to light and ect...........just look and any blond D'angelico and Super 400 that is 40-50 years old. Guitar finishes age at different rates. and my opinion adds to the magic.

  22. #21

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    I don’t know that there is necessarily a sweet spot for the year of GJS. I’ve had 4 of them, and I kept the 1968 for myself. It needed a refret and it’s had a somewhat extreme life that may have altered it. It’s far more resonant than any other GJS I’ve played. The 1969 was pretty good, but I didn’t especially care for the 1976 or 1980. Even though I preferred the late 60s ones, I tend to think it’s more about the individual guitar than the year though.

    Then again, my favorite Super 400 CES is also from about ‘68, so I may have an affinity for some Gibsons from that period. The Super 400 actually even has a wide nut and a very ‘50s shaped neck, despite being made in the late ‘60s.

  23. #22

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    Well, despite my best intentions to begin thinning the herd, another guitar has joined the stable. After checking out about 4 Gibson Johnny Smiths, circa 1966-1978, I got serious about a Reverb posting for a 1974 GJS. After weeks of prolonged online discussions with the owner about all the usual questions one would have about a vintage guitar, I decided to make an offer on it. I came to the conclusion that most of the 60s GJS I had inquired about were either too expensive for my budget, had issues that I was not comfortable with, or had a no return policy, I decided that the 1974 was worth pursuing. I got it from Willie's American Guitars...it was shipped just before the big freeze hit Minnesota and Philly respectively. They were great to work with, fair, honest and willing to spend the time answering my endless questions.

    When it arrived, I WAS NOT disappointed. Overall, it was in excellent condition for a 45 year old instrument. The original JS pickup was switched out many years ago by the original owner and Willie's was able to confirm that its replacement was a BJB. The input jack had been moved to the tailpiece at the same time. It was a professional job, no issues. Unlike most guitars I have purchased, the set up was darn near close to perfect....I was surprised. Most of its life, I was told, the two previous owners (both of whom live in Deluth) had flatwound strings on it. Willie's changed them to rounds and I was glad they did. I am guessing they are 12's.

    All of you folks who described the differences between a HJS and GJS were dead on right. Wow, two guitars with similar or identical specs but with a totally different feel. The HJS is lighter and a more delicate instrument. The GJS is built like a tank, similar in feel to my L5 Wes Mov and the L5 Premier. It is very loud acoustically, with a neck to die for. While it doesn't have the same kind of flame as my 1993 HJS - its not as elaborate - the sound both plugged in and acoustically is to die for. I am still getting used to the BJB pickup and I did contact Kent Armstrong to see what he could do for me if I decided to swap it out. The jury is still out on that for now. The only issue the guitar has and it is a strictly cosmetic one is that there appears to be what I will call some very mild lacquer checking on the lower bout in certain kinds of light. It certainly doesn't look like scratches or abuse because overall, this one has been well taken care of throughout its life. I don't know enough about guitar finishes to know whether it will buff out or not.

    But most importantly, it plays REALLY, REALLY well. And from what I can tell, even though it is a Norlin Era Gibbie, the quality of the build, sound, etc is spot on. No disappointments on this end. Two days after it arrived, I had a really light gig with an ensemble group I usually play with twice a month. I decided to use it to see how it cut though a five piece group, including keyboards and piano. No problem at all.

    What strikes me is that how different it sounds compared to my HJS. I play the HJS a lot and am really used to it. The GJS has a similar, if not identical neck, so if I haven't had any transition issues. But the GJS has a very robust, warm sound. Joe D said it well when he said that they were two, really different, but really excellent guitar. I found that it took me awhile to get use to my HJS when I purchased it several years ago. It definitely stretched me as a player.

  24. #23

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    Congratulations and thanks for the thorough comparison.

    Would love to hear them!

  25. #24

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    The GJS are the best playing guitars all of them. I have the BJB on a Legrand and I'm surprised how well balanced it is. Congratulations on your new guitar. Norlan era got beat up pretty bad by most people's recollection, I think they still made some pretty great archtops. Enjoy!

  26. #25

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    I recently did some work on a Super 400 from 1975. Norlin with plain wood but great playing and sounded wonderful plugged in. Naturally not a huge acoustic sound compared to real acoustic but still plenty and warm sound. My take is Norlin era can be fine. It is weird because played may from 60’s that did not feel
    and play like this one.

    You did well pics will be needed!

  27. #26

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    Hi There,

    I'd apologize for reviving this old thread but reading over it, I see everyone seemed to be getting along... I am new here, and recently stumbled on a Heritage Rose (one that I have yet to play). The only other one I ever played said "take me home". I was very taken with it both in sound and playability. Not in any position at that time to consider buying it, I walked away.

    My question is, as these are fairly difficult to come by, and other than...whatever someone is willing to pay for one, what would folks here consider to be fair value for this guitar in say excellent to mint- condition. I see there is one (not one I am considering) currently listed on Reverb at 5k that has had some work done, and shows wear the extent to which it is tough to appraise without seeing and playing it. And given that it is not yet sold, the whatever someone is willing to pay for it is not applicable as of this writing either. While I get that Heritage is not the name Gibson is, in this case comparing to the GJS, I would think that the scarcity of this model would boost it's value some.

    Thank you in advance for your input.

    David

  28. #27

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    How scarce a guitar is does not necessarily equate to being worth more. While Heritage JSG’s are generally great guitars I would take a Gibson JS over one any day no question. As for simple playing them as a player much less different.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Telerious
    I see there is one (not one I am considering) currently listed on Reverb at 5k that has had some work done, and shows wear the extent to which it is tough to appraise without seeing and playing it. And given that it is not yet sold, the whatever someone is willing to pay for it is not applicable as of this writing either. While I get that Heritage is not the name Gibson is, in this case comparing to the GJS, I would think that the scarcity of this model would boost it's value some.

    Thank you in advance for your input.

    David
    Is it the blond one? Any time I read that the guitar had to have the board planed because of upper neck rise (or bowing), I get worried that the bow will continue happening after the work has been done. It happened to me.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Is it the blond one? Any time I read that the guitar had to have the board planed because of upper neck rise (or bowing), I get worried that the bow will continue happening after the work has been done. It happened to me.
    Thanks for writing Woody. Yes it was, and (consistent with what you experienced) the rise or bow in the board and supposed correction is more of a concern to me than the shoddily replaced strap button. While I bought a '49 L4 that had a reset neck, I paid way less, the reset was done reasonably well, and I am not worried about problems going forward. As for this HJS on Reverb, I would steer clear. The one I am looking at is a different one, and one that seems to have been well cared for with no issues.

    David

  31. #30

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    There are many more Gibson models produced throughout the years, than any other company he was associated with throughout his career.
    So there are different people as well owners at Gibson during the production of the JS models.

    All of us have differe t likes and dislikes as well. So you need to keep in mind, which lines up with your tastes.
    I prefer the aesthetics of early Gibson JS models, but the 70s with plain wood are some of the best sounding ones produced. Also neck shape is a big consideration as well!

    I also prefer the more solid build of Gibson's to the lighter built Heritage style of construction. But again this a personal tone and feel preferance.

  32. #31

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    I haven't played a HJS in awhile, but remember it as nice guitar.
    For those who own them:
    Does it have the massive heel where the wood curves from the neck to the bottom of the heel, as found in other Heritage models like the SE, GE and others?

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Telerious
    Hi There,

    I'd apologize for reviving this old thread but reading over it, I see everyone seemed to be getting along... I am new here, and recently stumbled on a Heritage Rose (one that I have yet to play). The only other one I ever played said "take me home". I was very taken with it both in sound and playability. Not in any position at that time to consider buying it, I walked away.

    My question is, as these are fairly difficult to come by, and other than...whatever someone is willing to pay for one, what would folks here consider to be fair value for this guitar in say excellent to mint- condition. I see there is one (not one I am considering) currently listed on Reverb at 5k that has had some work done, and shows wear the extent to which it is tough to appraise without seeing and playing it. And given that it is not yet sold, the whatever someone is willing to pay for it is not applicable as of this writing either. While I get that Heritage is not the name Gibson is, in this case comparing to the GJS, I would think that the scarcity of this model would boost it's value some.

    Thank you in advance for your input.

    David

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    I haven't played a HJS in awhile, but remember it as nice guitar.
    For those who own them:
    Does it have the massive heel where the wood curves from the neck to the bottom of the heel, as found in other Heritage models like the SE, GE and others?
    I don't own one yet but I think that the angle is steep which actually translates to less meat on the neck from about fret 9 or 10 to where the neck joins the body. I am not sure about the GJS but recall clearly on the Guild that Benedetto designed for JS, that angle is slack ("fastback" in car terms ) by comparison. David

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    I haven't played a HJS in awhile, but remember it as nice guitar.
    For those who own them:
    Does it have the massive heel where the wood curves from the neck to the bottom of the heel, as found in other Heritage models like the SE, GE and others?
    I know what you mean.

    The heel is quite variable. I have a Super Eagle next to me with a flat heel though.

    Here's a pic with a Gibson in the center, a Golden Eagle on the left, and a Super Eagle on the right.

    Heritage Johnny Smith vs. Gibson Johnny Smith-neck-heel-jpg

    For those who think Gibson makes thin heels, I have four of them with the same fat heel shown on the Golden Eagle.

    My guess, and it's only a guess, is that it takes less time to carve a fat heel.

  36. #35

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    Telerious,
    I’ve had 3 Heritage Johnny Smith guitars.
    Each one of them were fantastic guitars. Each one i bought for between $3600 and $4,000. Each one I sold for less than I paid. If I was patient I would have sold the guitars closer to what paid but I am just not patient.
    The stock pickups are not very good. The tops are vibrant and thin so I think the pickups used on them are weak by design. The necks are incredibly comfortable. Of the 3 I had, the 2nd one I had was by far the one I shouldn’t have sold. It was a brown sunburst. I miss that guitar. I think about it often.
    I had a Gibson Johnny Smith and loved it. It was pretty much immaculate and it is very to find one in that condition. Everything about that guitar was top notch. I paid $6300, changed the frets and the pickguard Sold it for less than I paid. (Notice a trend here..) I miss that guitar more than any guitar I’ve ever owned. I’ve written off having another one like it in my life.

    The guitars had a VERY different feel. Even though they were made in the same shop, by the same staff of extraordinary luthiers, they didn’t feel like the same model.
    Attached Images Attached Images Heritage Johnny Smith vs. Gibson Johnny Smith-f3e97f80-b672-4aee-9470-660fe79ba41d-jpeg Heritage Johnny Smith vs. Gibson Johnny Smith-72a03d94-d566-434b-8d85-8064e1ecae83-jpeg Heritage Johnny Smith vs. Gibson Johnny Smith-7f253467-18e7-4356-9295-5915db5ff0b3-jpeg 

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Telerious,
    I’ve had 3 Heritage Johnny Smith guitars.
    Each one of them were fantastic guitars. Each one i bought for between $3600 and $4,000. Each one I sold for less than I paid. If I was patient I would have sold the guitars closer to what paid but I am just not patient.
    The stock pickups are not very good. The tops are vibrant and thin so I think the pickups used on them are weak by design. The necks are incredibly comfortable. Of the 3 I had, the 2nd one I had was by far the one I shouldn’t have sold. It was a brown sunburst. I miss that guitar. I think about it often.
    I had a Gibson Johnny Smith and loved it. It was pretty much immaculate and it is very to find one in that condition. Everything about that guitar was top notch. I paid $6300, changed the frets and the pickguard Sold it for less than I paid. (Notice a trend here..) I miss that guitar more than any guitar I’ve ever owned. I’ve written off having another one like it in my life.

    The guitars had a VERY different feel. Even though they were made in the same shop, by the same staff of extraordinary luthiers, they didn’t feel like the same model.
    Thank you for this Joe! I am curious how long ago that was that you sold the instruments for so little. That said, if a good guitar shows up, it can be tempting shell out and take our chances as far as the piggy bank is concerned. I only started following threads here or elsewhere when I began my search of the HJS and Rose. Last time I looked at these guitars I think they were selling for somewhere in the neighborhood of 4K.

    The one I looking to purchase is from 1996, with Natural finish (btw I love the burst on yours pictured ) and it has no inlay on the neck which also appeals to me. It comes from a gentleman who passed away who's wife is selling it. I see this as a privilege to carry notes across the bar so to speak, assuming it all works out.

    As for the pick up, I guess I am less concerned as I primarily will play this one for it's acoustic properties supplementing if necessary with the pick up. I have a Gagnon (modeled after Benedetto but impeccably crafted) that he built me with an inset KA. The guitar is sort of single pickup L5 that looks like a Manhattan and is a gorgeous instrument. Of course if this Rose sounds and plays as I expect it might, then I will have questions about pick-ups, pots and so on

    David
    Last edited by Telerious; 12-03-2020 at 03:06 AM.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I know what you mean.

    The heel is quite variable. I have a Super Eagle next to me with a flat heel though.

    Here's a pic with a Gibson in the center, a Golden Eagle on the left, and a Super Eagle on the right.

    Heritage Johnny Smith vs. Gibson Johnny Smith-neck-heel-jpg

    For those who think Gibson makes thin heels, I have four of them with the same fat heel shown on the Golden Eagle.

    My guess, and it's only a guess, is that it takes less time to carve a fat heel.
    Thanks for sharing those Marty. The Heritage Rose I am looking at seems to have a heel similar to your Super Eagle judging from the picture I have of that instrument (it's en route I have yet to play it).

    David

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405

    I miss that guitar more than any guitar I’ve ever owned. I’ve written off having another one like it in my life.
    My friend, we've enjoyed some of the best guitars ever made in the history of the world. That is no exaggeration either. It has been a banquet of the highest order.

    To make a comparison, imagine being a judge at a Miss Universe pageant. How do you determine THE winner, and would it be the same one if you chose a week later?
    Last edited by Marty Grass; 12-04-2020 at 09:15 AM.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Telerious
    Thanks for writing Woody. Yes it was, and (consistent with what you experienced) the rise or bow in the board and supposed correction is more of a concern to me than the shoddily replaced strap button. While I bought a '49 L4 that had a reset neck, I paid way less, the reset was done reasonably well, and I am not worried about problems going forward. As for this HJS on Reverb, I would steer clear. The one I am looking at is a different one, and one that seems to have been well cared for with no issues.

    David
    As I posted a while back in this thread, I owned both at the same time. The Heritage was a far better guitar both in fit and finish, and sound. Maybe I just had a Gibson lemon. The only reason I sold the Heritage is because 17" guitars became too uncomfortable for me. Otherwise it would still be my main axe.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    As I posted a while back in this thread, I owned both at the same time. The Heritage was a far better guitar both in fit and finish, and sound. Maybe I just had a Gibson lemon. The only reason I sold the Heritage is because 17" guitars became too uncomfortable for me. Otherwise it would still be my main axe.
    I fully understand the sizing preference. I always wanted to like the ES 335 but for the size, and weight combination. I am okay with 17 inch archtops that aren't also heavy. I've ended up with a CS 356 and love that instrument -wishing only for a fatter neck profile.

    David

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    I know what you mean.
    The heel is quite variable. I have a Super Eagle next to me with a flat heel though.
    Here's a pic with a Gibson in the center, a Golden Eagle on the left, and a Super Eagle on the right. For those who think Gibson makes thin heels, I have four of them with the same fat heel shown on the Golden Eagle. My guess, and it's only a guess, is that it takes less time to carve a fat heel.
    Thanks. I'm thinking of the curvature of the heel, not its size where it terminates. I'll post a few pix that are self-explanatory to show what I mean. Here's one. This is a Roger Luxus heel profile from the late 1950s.
    Attached Images Attached Images Heritage Johnny Smith vs. Gibson Johnny Smith-rogerluxus-ed-heel1-jpg 

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    As I posted a while back in this thread, I owned both at the same time. The Heritage was a far better guitar both in fit and finish, and sound. Maybe I just had a Gibson lemon. The only reason I sold the Heritage is because 17" guitars became too uncomfortable for me. Otherwise it would still be my main axe.
    I might add that my GJS was from 1969, just as Norlin was buying CMI/Gibson. Maybe they were getting lazy/sloppy.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    I might add that my GJS was from 1969, just as Norlin was buying CMI/Gibson. Maybe they were getting lazy/sloppy.
    I have a 1969 Gibson Johnny Smith and it is an outstanding guitar. It is one of the best sounding archtops I have ever owned and the fit/finish is as good as it gets. It is extremely stable and plays like butter.
    Keith

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass
    My friend, we've enjoyed some of the best guitars ever made in the history of the world. That is no exaggeration either. It has been a banquet of the highest order.

    To make a comparison, imagine being a judge at a Miss Universe pageant. How do you determine THE winner, and would it be the same one if you chose a week later?
    You are so Right DMG. Absolutely no exaggeration.
    I will always cherish the privilege of having each and every one of them. For what we do, it doesn't get any better. For me, the standard brand name stuff is as good as it can ever get. Even the crappiest guitar I have is capable of 1000% more than I can ever get out of it.
    We are fortunate to have such great instruments in our lifetime. In my minds eye, I see a poor little child, Living under a bridge with more potential than i'll ever have. All he ever wants is something that will make a sound when he puts his hands on it..
    I have NOTHING to complain about.
    Enjoy your stuff guys. We are fortunate.
    JD

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by floatingpickup
    I have a 1969 Gibson Johnny Smith and it is an outstanding guitar. It is one of the best sounding archtops I have ever owned and the fit/finish is as good as it gets. It is extremely stable and plays like butter.
    Keith
    Keith, I am so happy to hear YOU say this. You have experienced the best of the best. You play beautifully. And you and I share the same opinion. The Gibson Johnny Smith is an OUTSTANDING guitar.
    I always likened it to a bank vault sitting on my lap.
    JD

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Telerious
    Thank you for this Joe! I am curious how long ago that was that you sold the instruments for so little?

    David
    Not that long ago.. 2018.
    I think the prices people are asking for stuff right now (for the most part) are ridiculous.
    And notice.. Buyers are not stupid. Most of the stuff you see on Reverb at ridiculous prices will start growing mushrooms on them before somebody pays the outrageous prices people are asking. We should always be fair to a fellow musician.
    For the amount of enjoyment I get out of a guitar, I should sell it for less than I paid. And I guarantee, it is a better guitar after I pass it on than what it was when I bought it.. 1000%.
    Joe D

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by floatingpickup
    I have a 1969 Gibson Johnny Smith and it is an outstanding guitar. It is one of the best sounding archtops I have ever owned and the fit/finish is as good as it gets. It is extremely stable and plays like butter.
    Keith
    In high school I had a Les Paul from around that time ('68) and later an ES 175 ('70 sans volute) and those were plain-jane compared to the Johnny Smith. Both were very well made.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Not that long ago.. 2018.
    I think the prices people are asking for stuff right now (for the most part) are ridiculous.
    And notice.. Buyers are not stupid. Most of the stuff you see on Reverb at ridiculous prices will start growing mushrooms on them before somebody pays the outrageous prices people are asking. We should always be fair to a fellow musician.
    For the amount of enjoyment I get out of a guitar, I should sell it for less than I paid. And I guarantee, it is a better guitar after I pass it on than what it was when I bought it.. 1000%.
    Joe D
    I agree and will happily drop the price for a guitar I am selling if I see it go to someone who cares, and will give it a good home (regardless of their level). Though I find it more difficult to low-ball than I used to to get a guitar, unless I've followed it long enough to see the mold forming! I also see the loss of a few dollars as the price of admission to play some of these instruments.

    I was still curious as to whether there is an established baseline value on the HJS. I've now figured out that no there is not, so while a great playing and sounding HJS is less to purchase than a similar quality GJS (and yes I get they will sound and play different), it will also return fewer dollars if I go to sell it.

    David

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    Telerious,
    I’ve had 3 Heritage Johnny Smith guitars.
    Each one of them were fantastic guitars. Each one i bought for between $3600 and $4,000. Each one I sold for less than I paid. If I was patient I would have sold the guitars closer to what paid but I am just not patient.
    The stock pickups are not very good. The tops are vibrant and thin so I think the pickups used on them are weak by design. The necks are incredibly comfortable. Of the 3 I had, the 2nd one I had was by far the one I shouldn’t have sold. It was a brown sunburst. I miss that guitar. I think about it often.
    I had a Gibson Johnny Smith and loved it. It was pretty much immaculate and it is very to find one in that condition. Everything about that guitar was top notch. I paid $6300, changed the frets and the pickguard Sold it for less than I paid. (Notice a trend here..) I miss that guitar more than any guitar I’ve ever owned. I’ve written off having another one like it in my life.

    The guitars had a VERY different feel. Even though they were made in the same shop, by the same staff of extraordinary luthiers, they didn’t feel like the same model.
    But why did you sell them so cheaply? I sold a Heritage Johnny Smith on Reverb for $5k.

    https://reverb.com/item/3200909-heri...ard-1998-amber

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    For the amount of enjoyment I get out of a guitar, I should sell it for less than I paid. And I guarantee, it is a better guitar after I pass it on than what it was when I bought it.. 1000%.
    Joe D
    I've always felt this way too. I don't mind taking a slight hit on resale, seeing how much use and enjoyment I got out of the thing. Sort of like you're "renting" the guitar.

    Here an interesting biz practice. The upscale violin shop that my wife deals with offers full price back on an instrument if you return at any time to upgrade.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by floatingpickup
    I have a 1969 Gibson Johnny Smith and it is an outstanding guitar. It is one of the best sounding archtops I have ever owned and the fit/finish is as good as it gets. It is extremely stable and plays like butter.
    Keith
    I have heard that from many others too, I'm happy for you. As I stated earlier, I probably just got a lemon.