Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 44 of 44
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Rich Severson does interesting, fun and informative videos for Youtube. I always enjoy them.

    He's now a Heritage fan but not to the exclusion of all else. In other words he holds his credibility as a guitar performer and teacher. In this video he's hawking a used Heritage H-550. What I found remarkable is that he compared the sound to a carved spruce top guitar, a Golden Eagle. The guitars have the same dimensions, strings and pickups and are run through the same amp. There's a remarkable difference in sound. I shouldn't be surprised but I am. Both sound good but the spruce top sounds much more open and bright. I understand the sound box construction differences and it makes sense.

    The video is worth watching in its entirety for jazz guitarophiles. Those short on time, just listen to the first minute or some to get a sample of the H-550 tone then got to 5:00 for the second guitar.




    Here's another video showing the Heritage H-576. This is a thinner hollowbody with a 16" width. It has the "anti-feedback" thin partial centerblock like the H-550. Like the H-550, the H-576 went the way of the dinosaur. I got one of these, and it is a very nice guitar. You can get a sense of the tone difference of the shorter 24.75" scale, lighter strings, and smaller sound box. The pickups are likely some type of Seymour Duncan, another difference.

    BTW, the hand care advice is probably not that helpful.

    MG

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    Marty G,
    Thanks for sharing. I find Rich’s videos quite informative. He samples a variety of electric guitars at different price points.
    Last edited by QAman; 08-10-2019 at 10:45 AM.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Grass View Post
    Haven't been called Mary in a while, but thanks!
    Oops- took care of it.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Does he says early on the top is pressed, and then later say it's laminated ??

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I love both. My 2 favorite guitars are the L5 and Tal Farlow. IMO at low volumes carved sounds better and at higher volumes laminated. Rich is a great player and seems like a really nice guy. I enjoy his vids very much.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    +1 to that , and I repeat ad nauseum the Tal Farlow is sorely underrated.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    I used to own a H-550 some years back. Very nice and Tal Farlow like in specs.
    The fixed Schaller tuneomatic was different as well as a bit more bracing under the pickups. Definitely had little or no feedback at very loud band volumes, even in a rock band setting!

    Just didn't care for the larger size and the Schaller pickups. But a steal for a player looking for an excellent Jazz guitar!

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    I love Rich Severson's desire to share his vast guitar and life knowledge. He makes purchasing his videos really affordable and simple. Love Golden Eagles too. Good to see one of the old guard posting a Heritage thread too Marty! Feels like 2010 all over again.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    I have (yet) no experience with Heritage guitars but have owned and currently own several prime specimen with both carved and laminated woods , including 2 Borys models , a Victor Baker, Steven Andersen, Robert Benedetto, Bryant Trenier and a string of Johnny Smith, L-5, L-7 and Super-400 (C + CES) guitars. To sum it up : on stage with a drummer + horns the larger electrified archtops are hard to beat, both lam-top and carved top, ESPECIALLY so without any keyboards. When playing softly (on stage/off stage/studio/at home) it doesn't really matter, it's a matter of taste and personal preference. I've just come home from playing a 5 hr wedding reception this afternoon, outside - my lam-top Trenier was perfect for that gig, along with bass and tenor sax since it's small (16"), light and so responsive, like an acoustic guitar.
    For this reason I am always a little sceptical re the above mentioned videos : almost always the guitars are presented in a controlled , quiet and acoustically neutral situation, played softly at a low volume so the sound is not quite representative of how the guitar would perform in a band situation. For me as a band musician THAT is much more important. I need to know how feedback resistant it is, how is the bass response, does it have enough cut when comping (without having to turn up), along those lines. The live cuts with Henry Johnson gave me a much better idea of how a big box Heritage guitar sounds like ! I wish there were more videos of him with a band....
    When preparing my stuff before a gig I choose the guitar (and amp) according to the expected volume level, band size, open air/enclosed venue, just like a drummer won't schlepp his biggest bass drum to a trio gig in a restaurant but might just do so for a garden party.
    With luck I will recieve my very first Heritage archtop in a few weeks and will post my findings eventually ....

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    With the guitars you've already owned,you might be not as impressed with Heritage guitars. They are certainly fine instruments, but once you have had champagne it's hard to appreciate beer.
    But who knows everyone has different ears and tastes.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    I agree with you in respect to the degree of overall finesse, build quality, aesthetics, rarety and market value of a Trenier, Benedetto or Stephen Andersen guitar but in this particular case I'm going for the stageworthyness (funny word...) of the instrument : can it perform the way I need it/like it ? Having the known fine-tuning adjusters to choose from (string type/gauge, action, pickup choice) I'm pretty sure that I can get close to my ideal . The deal-breakers for me usually are things like neck shape, body dimensions, can I bond with an instrument or not, is it inspiring to play, easy enough to manage on long gigs ?

    I would not directly compare a manufactured guitar (Gibson, Heritage, etc) to a handmade one that cost more than double. Does an expensive and rare vintage guitar necessarily sound better than a newer one ? Likewise : does curly maple sound better than plain maple ? Do you drink Champagne when you're thirsty or would you rather opt for the beer ?

    The Benedetto (Fratello, from the original Florida workshop) I found used for a great price and kept it at home as an investment, sold after a couple of years for a nice profit (ca. 25%) which helped to finance my new appartment. I NEVER bonded with it, beautiful and exquisite as it was. Same story with several Johnny Smiths, L5, the Andersen, an 18" Borys, a '64 Super-400CES, '62 Super-400C. I do pine over my Borys B120 I got from Roger in '91, my first Super400CES (a '68 model, wonderful in all respects). The Trenier stays, as does my '63 SuperCES and the Victor Baker.

    One more thought : when players like Henry Johnson and Kenny Burrell choose a Heritage guitar for their gigs then these must have a certain quality. Any luthier (working alone or in a larger workshop) worth his salt will put in just as much effort in a guitar for the single "celebrity" customer as for the anonymous Joe Doe, wouldn't you think ? Word travels so fast these days that any noticeable discrepancies will be discussed and dissected on the various forums in no time, with all the consequences for the maker(s).

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Each used Heritage comes with a neck dimension chosen by its original purchaser. Most Golden Eagles, and Super Eagle's, I've owned had C shaped necks on the thinner side. That's some 12 or more Eagles I've owned. Sounds like neck comfort is critical for you, so I don't see how you find a used instrument that you'll be happy with. But hey, I've purchased over 80 arch tops each bought blind, so you'll get no beef from me by sampling a dozen Eagles acquired via the internet.

    On the plus side is since the company changed hands Eagles have now become more expensive. Barely 2 years ago Jack sold a stellar Eagle here on the forum for less than $2k. I often see that identical instrument listed today for $3500. It wasn't that long ago one could commonly find Golden Eagles priced at or below $3k, but those days are gone.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by gitman View Post
    I agree with you in respect to the degree of overall finesse, build quality, aesthetics, rarety and market value of a Trenier, Benedetto or Stephen Andersen guitar but in this particular case I'm going for the stageworthyness (funny word...) of the instrument : can it perform the way I need it/like it ? ... I would not directly compare a manufactured guitar (Gibson, Heritage, etc) to a handmade one that cost more than double. ...
    I evaluate archtop guitars on their individual merits, and have directly compared custom built archtops to factory-built Gibson and Heritage guitars - they are all simply guitars. While I have had plenty of reasons not to buy many Heritage or Gibson archtops, I have found reasons to purchase examples of both, that are as good as anything built by Benedetto, D'Angelico, D'Aquisto, Andersen, and so forth.

    One can generalize about the qualities of archtops from various larger companies as well as individual makers, but all that that is meaningless when evaluating the qualities of an individual instrument. I'd be happy to compare my Heritage SE acoustic archtop or Super Patrick to ANY similarly configured instrument from ANY builder. Same for my Gibson Bozeman L-7C. Or any of my other carved, acoustic archtop guitars, for that matter.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 08-15-2019 at 10:55 AM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post
    I'd be happy to compare my Super Eagle acoustic archtop to ANY similarly configured instrument from ANY builder. Same for my Super Patrick.
    What do they look like?
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    What do they look like?
    Right. Sorry for breaking form - I've posted these pix a bunch of times:

    Last edited by Hammertone; 08-11-2019 at 05:54 PM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Here is something to chew on that is in the same sort of comparison.

    I have a 2000 Vestax NY 4. This is one of the original run of these and is 18 inch box with a press top but it is a solid top. I assume same as the Gibson formed top guitars they now are selling. I can tell you my Vestax DA is an amazing winner for acoustic sound. It actually has more sound and sounds much better than many carved top guitars I have heard. It has plenty of volumn and while it is not a real D'angelico it has better sound than many Johnny Smith Gibsons and some acoustic L5's, if not more than a few. With the floater it sound like the typical carved top guitar not a laminate. It sounds better than some custom carved boutique guitars that will remain un-named.

    I simply point this out because may luthiers are going to a lot of work carving and getting things down and frankly this guitar acoustically might have you scratching your head and wondering? I am not saying that carving and graduation of the top are maybe over-rated but that sometimes one never knows how would will respond. Also the guitar being press-formed by not carved does not in anyway act like a built in laminated guitar.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Well a couple of observations from owning several Heritage guitars as well as playing a bunch of their Golden Eagles. They generally come in in Old Style Sunburst finish and have fairly thin neck shapes.
    While it.s possible to order a larger neck shape and various finishes. I hardly come across them. Probably only one 535 with a 50's neck shape, and occasional natural or other Sunburst finish.

    The Golden Eagles also tend to have thin tops as opposed to Gibson's And to my ear they sound quite bright and lacking of midrange. But Eastmans and some Benedetto Archtops also follow this build style. And perhaps that's what many players like. For me I prefer the older thicker top and back style of build used by Gibson.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Heritage necks: There was an evolution in neck thickness, from fat to thin, over decades with Gibsons then Heritages. The use of truss rods and electrification were forces toward a thinner neck. The truss rod allowed it. Amplification opened up chord melody playing commercially, favoring a thinner neck to wrap the thumb over the lower strings. The thinning of the neck did not happen quickly at all.

    The early Heritages had thin necks. Some customers asked for different carves. Eventually the default was what I'd call a medium depth, with or without shoulders. In the mid to late 2000s there were an escalating demand for fatter necks, particularly between 2010 to 2015 it seems.

    I own a couple of more recent Golden Eagles. One has a fairly fat neck and one on the plus size of medium. Another one is from about 2005. That's what I would call a medium. I've owned four or five Heritage Johnny Smiths. They were all halfway between thin to medium.

    Tops: The carved archtops are variable. The ones with floating pickups and cross bracing tend to have thinner tops but not always. The ones with mounted pickups tend to be more like the L5CES but not always. I can't explain the variability. There were different builders with different ideas. The dealers and their customers had input in some cases. The new Heritages mostly are mediums, by far.

    The point is that there are trends in Heritage builds, but each is hand built by a team. The members of the team have changed a lot over the years.

    The thin topped carved guitars have to be pampered. The sound boards are livelier and more prone to checking, feedback and cracking. My observation and from what I've been told, the thin necks seem to hold up about as well as the fat ones. If there is a difference in durability, it won't be noticeable in the first 50 years.

    If you are finicky, you should try before you buy. That's good advice for all makes but especially the pre-2018 Heritages.
    MG

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Marty Grass , Thanks for the information. But I still stand by my earlier observations about Heritage guitar especially the Golden Eagle model.
    I personally don't care for their builds overall. They definitely had a set of parameters they felt were best for their instruments.

    Gibson's while they are more plentiful and there for varied in build spec. Seem to to have heavier builds,which translate to quite a different acoustic response.
    Also their neck shapes varied as well from thin, medium, fat,etc. They tend to have more shoulder or D profile as opposed to the thinner C shape.

    Again this is always a matter of personal taste. But I do find it I interesting that a comparable Gibson model retains its resale value vs the Heritage equivalent.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    But I do find it I interesting that a comparable Gibson model retains its resale value vs the Heritage equivalent.
    Because some have to have a Gibson. Try buying an L5CES today. I'm sure every poor jazz player has a spare $9k laying around. It's irritating, to some, how many forum members go on and on about Gibson arch tops when they acquired them at 1970's prices, or even 1998 prices. Have you priced a Heritage arch top lately? They're a grand more today, if not more, than just 2 years ago. They're no longer the exceptional used buy as they once were.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    I suspect that a lot of what we think of as the difference between solid and laminated tops has a lot to do with the thickness as well as the difference in materials. A lot of laminated archtops use very heavy plates to counter feedback. That in turn results in a very specific basic tonal quality. When I had my Kingpin ii, it was a much lighter build than the typical Gibson-type archtop and it had a much more lively acoustic tone. The difference was really obvious.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    With the guitars you've already owned,you might be not as impressed with Heritage guitars. They are certainly fine instruments, but once you have had champagne it's hard to appreciate beer.
    But who knows everyone has different ears and tastes.
    But their web site says:

    "The World's Finest American-Made Musical Instruments"

    -- Isn't it crazy that "archtop" and "luthier" are spelling errors on this forum?

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    Here is something to chew on that is in the same sort of comparison.

    I have a 2000 Vestax NY 4. This is one of the original run of these and is 18 inch box with a press top but it is a solid top. I assume same as the Gibson formed top guitars they now are selling. I can tell you my Vestax DA is an amazing winner for acoustic sound. It actually has more sound and sounds much better than many carved top guitars I have heard. It has plenty of volumn and while it is not a real D'angelico it has better sound than many Johnny Smith Gibsons and some acoustic L5's, if not more than a few. With the floater it sound like the typical carved top guitar not a laminate. It sounds better than some custom carved boutique guitars that will remain un-named.

    I simply point this out because may luthiers are going to a lot of work carving and getting things down and frankly this guitar acoustically might have you scratching your head and wondering? I am not saying that carving and graduation of the top are maybe over-rated but that sometimes one never knows how would will respond. Also the guitar being press-formed by not carved does not in anyway act like a built in laminated guitar.
    I could not agree more. I've owned a NYL4 purchased from John Reynolds of Golden Age Fretted Instruments out of New Jersey. He carries a fraction of the arch tops he once did. Having owned 4 of them I'd classify Vestax as great guitars, and the NYL2's are nice too, especially so after a pickup change.
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Sorry fellas, but unless we're comparing actual handmade carved tops ,there's no real contest. Yes I've tried Vestax as well as Gibson Formed , Martin American Archtop, and others. These just don't have the same sweetness for lack of a better term, compared to a good Gibson,

    . But side by side your ears can tell the difference acoustically. Amplified is a little closer,but still at lower volumes you can tell.
    Obviously laminates vary and can be quite good, and feedback resistant as well.
    Even an L-5 CES with 2 Humbucking pickups and a thick top has a different tonal response than a Tal Farlow LOL!

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    Sorry fellas, but unless we're comparing actual handmade carved tops ,there's no real contest. Yes I've tried Vestax as well as Gibson Formed , Martin American Archtop, and others. These just don't have the same sweetness for lack of a better term, compared to a good Gibson,

    . But side by side your ears can tell the difference acoustically. Amplified is a little closer,but still at lower volumes you can tell.
    Obviously laminates vary and can be quite good, and feedback resistant as well.
    Even an L-5 CES with 2 Humbucking pickups and a thick top has a different tonal response than a Tal Farlow LOL!
    I remember playing all the Guitars in the Chinery Blue Collection. Had the opprotunity to give them the once over and a few of them I mananged some some quality time. I know it has been many long years but I remember one in particular ( you won't get the name) that was a complete dud. It had zero sound and zero acoustic grab to it. It was supposedly carved and I think it probably was, just very wrong.

    I find with Gibson Johnny Smiths a few of them have been very heavy and lack any real acoustic quality even though a good one is incredible. Those are carved for sure but different in respect to most archtops. I had a Heritage Super Eagle Acoustic that was beautiful and I owned in for about 30 days, then sold it...it was ok but sure did not hold a candle to even anyone of my 17 inch Barker Guitars and the Vestax NY was better. The guitar was not over built or necessarily bad it simply lacked some real warmth and definition, but again it was not a dud guitar.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    Here is something to chew on that is in the same sort of comparison.

    I have a 2000 Vestax NY 4. This is one of the original run of these and is 18 inch box with a press top but it is a solid top. I assume same as the Gibson formed top guitars they now are selling. I can tell you my Vestax DA is an amazing winner for acoustic sound. It actually has more sound and sounds much better than many carved top guitars I have heard. It has plenty of volumn and while it is not a real D'angelico it has better sound than many Johnny Smith Gibsons and some acoustic L5's, if not more than a few. With the floater it sound like the typical carved top guitar not a laminate. It sounds better than some custom carved boutique guitars that will remain un-named.

    I simply point this out because may luthiers are going to a lot of work carving and getting things down and frankly this guitar acoustically might have you scratching your head and wondering? I am not saying that carving and graduation of the top are maybe over-rated but that sometimes one never knows how would will respond. Also the guitar being press-formed by not carved does not in anyway act like a built in laminated guitar.
    Same Experience here. I have a Vestax 2000 Nyl-3 and a Nyl-4. The nyl-3 looks like and sounds like my ‘57 D’A New Yorker. The Nyl-4 sounds like my GJS (thanks to Joe D!)

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Well you might want to define which era Johnny Smith Gibsons you found to be weak. I found most to have a pleasant acoustic sound with a nice midrange quality lacking in the more Modern thinner top guitars.
    And this could just be how we each hear things we have a preference for. Not necessarily good or bad, just different.

    The one thing is when Norlin era Gibson's which includes some of the Heritage owners made them. They tended to have fairly Plain Jane maple backs and sides.
    They felt that these actually sounded better than the highly figured wood.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    I could not agree more. I've owned a NYL4 purchased from John Reynolds of Golden Age Fretted Instruments out of New Jersey. He carries a fraction of the arch tops he once did. Having owned 4 of them I'd classify Vestax as great guitars, and the NYL2's are nice too, especially so after a pickup change.
    I may have tried that guitar, pricey but nice, before he moved across town to a larger space a couple of years ago. I was just there in June. I would say he has more inventory overall now, and more in the store than shows up online. Doesn't seem to be a lot of turnover on archtops, though. He's got a few that have been there for quite a while.

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    [QUOTE=jads57;972000]Well you might want to define which era Johnny Smith Gibsons you found to be weak. I found most to have a pleasant acoustic sound with a nice midrange quality lacking in the more Modern thinner top guitars.
    And this could just be how we each hear things we have a preference for. Not necessarily good or bad, just different.

    The one thing is when Norlin era Gibson's which includes some of the Heritage owners made them. They tended to have fairly Plain Jane maple backs and sides.
    They felt that these actually sounded better than the highly figured wood.[/QUOTE

    With Gibsons from anytime generally from the late 60s forward you must evaluate the guitar individually. Norlin era was no considered as good but frankly not true many of those were fine guitars. The Norlin era had those plain jane backs and the not so nice yellow and black sunburst. The key is that the figure of the maple has zero to do with the actually sound of the guitar. Even a spruce top that may not be tight straight grain, even appear inferior can sound wonderful.

    I would have nothing to do with a GJS double pickup, if I found on that was really good I would convert it to a single in a heartbeat. Most of the doubles are just heavier due to the pickups but to me it take away the acoustic properties. Also most buying JS Gibsons are neck-pickup players who could care less. I just find at times the JSG can vary after the initial 6-9 years they came out. I believe Johnny Smith even got on them about the QC he mentioned this in the past. Also, Johnny Smith himself was a superb repairman and knew all about the construction of archtops. Gibson could not go changing things for convenience as they do at times with him knowing something was wrong. Johnny Smith necks are supposed to be 1 3/4 at the nut end of story. The carving goes into the neck and the fitting of the neck is different that the L5 of Super400. I just find some Smith's I have played heavy and over built and the weight seem to be in the neck block.

    I have owned 2 GJS myself a 1973 and the other might have been just before then, both were single pickups and fine guitars. I in fact the 1973 was used pretty good not beat up but not mint or even excellent and it really had a smooth acoustic sound stood with any guitar. The other was in mint shape beautiful cherry sunburst and I thought great but sound wise not a good as the very used one. The mint one ended up getting pickguard gas and I had to get the pickguard changed in a hurry once it started.

    At certain periods of time maybe the first GJS the QC and attention was great those but the prices are pretty high. I played Johnny's person guitar in Colorado is was a blond one and long time ago but of course stock as they come and it was fine. No better or worse than what came off the line and that was in 1979. I also played his D'angelico New Yorker that day and let just say...……...that was a guitar. If I recall it did have more bass response than his GJS and of course it was hard to get past the ICON of jazz guitars with a floater.

    I had too an Norlin era L5 from 1978 with BJB pickup fantastic guitar wish I still had it although a plain jane back and black and yellow sunburst. The bottom line is as always trust but verify...….play every Gibson archtop and evaluate individually.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    My experiences are similar to Deacon Mark's. Some archtops are heavy and acoustically nothing to write home about. OTOH, some of them are sensational as electric archtop guitars, IME.

    The best acoustic-electric guitars I have played were virtually all thinner plate carves than the ones mentioned above. Even the more interesting acoustic-electric laminate-body guitars featured thin laminates. I remember Herb Ellis' '53 ES-175 (owned now by a forum member) having a thinner laminated top plate than the contemporary ES-175 with the figured woods. You could turn off the volume on Ellis' guitar and strum it acoustically in a duo or trio, or when backing a singer, with a telling effect--not bad for a laminated guitar. OTOH, many of the contemporary ES-175 guitars with the heavier builds sound simply fantastic as electric guitars.

    The same is true for the esteemed L5CES. It's a real battleship of a build. Carved, but kind of heavy. It's not the acoustic instrument that, say, a Heritage Golden Eagle typically is (with a floater), but try to beat it as an electric jazz archtop.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    As far as plain non flamed maple goes like the Norlin days, Jimmy D’Aquisto was adamant that plain sounded better than flamed but said customers insisted on the nice flamed maple.
    I had a plain Jane 1978 Super 400 and a flame monster 2014 S400. The Norlin sounded way better. Also my 1977 Byrdland sounded better than my 2014. The year a Gibson was made means nothing. It is hit or miss regardless of when it was made. Even the Crimson custom shop made some turds. Just because wood looks great doesn’t mean it will sound as good as it looks. I have 3 L5 Wesmo’s and they all sound different and have different weights. I have 2 Tal Farlow’s and one has way better sustain. Every guitar is a dice roll. It comes down to a wood tone stack. Also I have had guitars sound great from day one and others take years before they sounded great. Wood is unpredictable.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    And this is why Archtops are so interesting. The very one that sounds great acoustically can be a headache to gig with,and the opposite as well.
    I'm just happy I found one that seems to be a happy medium for me at least
    Elferink Tonemaster archtop 16&1/2"x3" thicker top plate with a floater.

    But in fairness I don't play louder Rock gigs with it. And the Heritage 550 would definitely be able too do that!

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    I just keep thinking there are so many more solutions available once you decide to amplify an archtop, or if the archtop already has a pickup. And you pretty much ought to be able to dial in the sound you want, or close - what with all the options available. The only real issue may just be volume.
    But if the intent is for the archtop to be used only as an acoustic, if you don't like the sound or it just isn't there, you don't have a lot of options. Maybe different strings, and / or a bridge, but then what ???
    I think the odds are good you'll never be stuck ( or shouldn't be ) if you'll be playing amplified. However if the guitar doesn't have ' that sound' acoustically, and that's how you'll be using it, there isn't a lot you're going to be able to do to improve it.

    Just my two cents......

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis D View Post
    I just keep thinking there are so many more solutions available once you decide to amplify an archtop, or if the archtop already has a pickup. And you pretty much ought to be able to dial in the sound you want, or close - what with all the options available. The only real issue may just be volume.
    But if the intent is for the archtop to be used only as an acoustic, if you don't like the sound or it just isn't there, you don't have a lot of options. Maybe different strings, and / or a bridge, but then what ???
    I think the odds are good you'll never be stuck ( or shouldn't be ) if you'll be playing amplified. However if the guitar doesn't have ' that sound' acoustically, and that's how you'll be using it, there isn't a lot you're going to be able to do to improve it.

    Just my two cents......
    That's true to a point, there's a lot more to tweak with pickups and an amp. But if that's all that mattered, we'd all be playing solidbodies I've been through upgrading capacitors, pickups, nut, etc., with a couple of Epi Joe Pass Emperors, and it can help, but marginally.
    Fooling with modeling amps & settings helps, too, but you can only take away tone, and add volume & distortion.

    I have a flatop Martin I've experimented with trying to get a jazzier sound. It has a Fishman Aura system with piezo saddle pickup, tone control & microphone modeling- I've tried it with a couple of Rolands & Fender modeling amp- no amount of tweaking will get it to sound like an archtop like an L5.

    To your point, in both cases, the guitar's acoustic quality makes it sound the way it does.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    I was pretty shocked at the improvement when I re-wired my L5ces.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    So here's an interesting one. Dennis Buddimer used an Ovation acoustic to mimic an L-5 acoustic in some of his session work.Go Figure!

    Maybe the key is all of us just practicing a lot more,LOL!

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    Lawson-Stone, how did you reword your L5?

    I recently bought an ‘82 L5 and replaced the whole harness and pickups (put in some ‘62 Gibson hums) and could not believe the improvement!

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    ... [ ] ...The one thing is when Norlin era Gibson's which includes some of the Heritage owners made them. They tended to have fairly Plain Jane maple backs and sides. They felt that these actually sounded better than the highly figured wood.
    Interesting. Gibson, unlike other builders, did not use quarter-sawn maple for the back plates of their carved arch tops. They made the switch to quarter-sawn wood and began with very plain wood. They have continued to use quarter-sawn wood up to today, but now it's highly figured.

    I always wondered why they made the switch. Quarter-sawn wood is typically more expensive than flat-sawn or rift-sawn wood. Old Gibson arch top back plates rarely have any problems of which I'm aware, and I wonder if the switch was made because they got different wood suppliers, or because the flat-sawn wood they had previously been supplied with was no longer as well aged or stable.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by 6v6ster View Post
    Lawson-Stone, how did you reword your L5?

    I recently bought an ‘82 L5 and replaced the whole harness and pickups (put in some ‘62 Gibson hums) and could not believe the improvement!
    I ordered a complete "re-wire" kit with all the pots, caps, switch, and jack already soldered. I just connected them to the pickups and mounted everything.

    My L5ces had a very odd problem. The Neck volume never really turned the volume down the zero, and the tone control seemed to have very little effect at all. I tend to think of a guitar's wiring as a complete system, and didn't want to replace piecemeal. I also did not trust my skills operating on an L5ces. So I found a wiring harness made by "Jackson Electronic Luthier" that used outstanding components and simply did the pickup connection and mounted everything else.

    Loved the outcome. The volume/tone give me the outcomes I wanted.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I ordered a complete "re-wire" kit with all the pots, caps, switch, and jack already soldered. I just connected them to the pickups and mounted everything.

    My L5ces had a very odd problem. The Neck volume never really turned the volume down the zero, and the tone control seemed to have very little effect at all. I tend to think of a guitar's wiring as a complete system, and didn't want to replace piecemeal. I also did not trust my skills operating on an L5ces. So I found a wiring harness made by "Jackson Electronic Luthier" that used outstanding components and simply did the pickup connection and mounted everything else.

    Loved the outcome. The volume/tone give me the outcomes I wanted.
    Lawson you scored and did it correct. Best to start all over with new pots and wires. That replaces all the time and headache if things are not correct. Those pre-wired harnesses are super. Can I ask what they charge for those harnesses?
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark View Post
    Lawson you scored and did it correct. Best to start all over with new pots and wires. That replaces all the time and headache if things are not correct. Those pre-wired harnesses are super. Can I ask what they charge for those harnesses?
    This is the one I used

    Sold for $99 on Reverb. Not cheap, but I had confidence in the components, soldering, etc. Like I said, just connect the pickups, feed it all inside, and mount the hardware.

    Loved the results.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    This is the one I used

    Sold for $99 on Reverb. Not cheap, but I had confidence in the components, soldering, etc. Like I said, just connect the pickups, feed it all inside, and mount the hardware.

    Loved the results.
    I thought a new harness would sell for $400 minimum. How is it worth their time to create these so cheaply?
    "You've got to be in the sun to feel the sun. It's that way with music too." - Sidney Bechet

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    I bought one from a dealer in NC Atlantic Customer guitars. I needed to replace a 335 style guitar for a customer and for $75 it is easier to buy than make really. If all I did was solder and do wiring then I can see doing my own but these days not needed. What I got had CTS pots and it was great.

    Sometimes though the customer wants to keep all things original and I get that so then I have to solder and wire. That is not my favorite repair but a must for sure.
    specializing in repair and setup, does your guitar play like it should?

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop View Post
    I thought a new harness would sell for $400 minimum. How is it worth their time to create these so cheaply?
    Actually I tried pricing one myself using the same components and I couldn't do it. Buying it pre-made turned out to be the best idea. I love the results, which is the thing that matters.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town