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Heritage Owners Club


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Everything posted by MartyGrass

  1. Thornton cousins. No Gibson here. I've told the story of the triple pickup H-157. I'll probably put in a TOM bridge (one is on the way). The translucent black is stock from Heritage and require nothing but a truss rod and bridge adjustment. The Throbaks sound very good. The H-157 staple/P90 I got new from Green Oak Guitars (Paul from HOC) and needed nothing changed. I recently got the H-150 Ultra from a forum member. Although it is older it arrived in nearly new condition. I replaced the bridge and tailpiece. It needed some fret work done and the nut slots filed. Aaron Cowles's son took care of that. It plays beautifully. The H-150 with the mini-toggles was made for a friend of Ren Wall a couple of decades ago. It has an ebony fretboard and now has P-Rails. The VSB H-157 is set up the same way. It came with abalone inlays. The final H-157 is as it arrived from Heritage. It is probably an Ed Roman special. It has SD Black Back pickups. http://www.edroman.com/parts/blackback.htm It required no additional setup or changes. Thorntons are always perfect. You can take that to the bank. Guitars are tools and art.
  2. This 1999 creation popped up for sale about a decade ago. Some on the HOC may remember it. I wish I knew more about whoever had it custom built. It's a quilt top translucent black three pickup guitar. The knobs, TRC, tuner buttons, and both back plates are made of ebony. The fretboard inlays are abalone. The pickups originally were Bill Lawrences. I had Pete Moreno do a lot of work on this. He put two humbuckers and a Phat Cat in. For the wiring, he consulted Mike Koontz in the Detroit area in building the harness. The goal was to have two knobs for volume on the humbuckers that were push-pull for coil splitting, a third volume knob for the Phat Cat that's also push-pull that is an off-on function for that pickup, and a single tone knob. They succeeded magnificently. After some time I sold it to get something to a guy on the Les Paul Forum. A decade or so later we reconnected and I got it back. This is not everyone's cup of tea. But if you want to burn up a few hours dialing in different tone, this works. It's a very good looker, too. Here is the original pics.
  3. Ok, I'll be the one to ask. Why the interest in the headstock thickness?
  4. I know what you mean by bling. But after a while you start to appreciate the extreme detail that adds nothing to its sound. I've had a chance over the years to talk with Marv Lamb, Aaron Cowles, Maudie Moore, and JP Moats about the design. They wanted to put everything into this instrument. The American spirit had been low with the Tehran hostages, the economy doing very poorly, and the Challenger exploding. Of course Gibson moved to Nashville hurting the Kalamazoo economy badly. But it was all starting to turn around. Heritage was now making and selling guitars with growth projections, inflation dropped to 4% and unemployment plummeted to 6%. Kalamazoo was recovering nicely. To change things up, here's someone wearing bling while playing a very simple instrument. That works, too.
  5. This plays really well and sounds magnificent. But as import, it reflects the feelings of the original Heritage owners.
  6. The difficulty i have with generalizations about production years is that most of the instruments every year were very good.
  7. Those days are gone. It's not so bad though. The original Kazoo guitars were pearloid.
  8. You will end up pushing everything through the pickup cutouts. Something I've found helpful is a heavy wire with a magnet glued to the tip to chase stray parts. Another homemade tool is like a spatula made from heavy coated wire. Instead of a flat plate, which a real spatula has, there's a loop on the end you put into the body. This guides the pots into place. The H-555 will require some patience.
  9. Maybe they sound the best. Here are two veteran players with uber tone and style. The guitar is old, dinged up, modded, and comfortable. The saxophone is oxidized about 90%. My drummer once complained to me that his mother cleaned the marks off his snare, thinking he would like a pristine skin. He didn't. He said all of the years he worked to put those marks down are as if they never happened. That same woman cleaned my drummer's dad's pipes. The dad was furious stating it took years to build up that caking and break the pipe in. Anyway, enjoy the sounds from these old men and their old instruments. They have arrived. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkE9_eE3MMU&t=185s
  10. Some of the reported breakage from dealers was obviously intentional. I personally saw a crushed hollowbody that had a clear partial footprint. Some had violent heel fractures. It is speculated that back when it took half a year for Heritage to fill orders, some dealers changed their minds regarding the orders.
  11. There certainly was backlash against the volute. It almost certainly helped but didn't fully protect against breakage.
  12. The "2" marking almost always is a minor cosmetic issue. I understand why they do stamp it that way. OTOH, they relic the hell out of a guitar purposely also. Rhoadsscholar, a deceased member, had a 1970s LP Custom in alpine white that was a 2. I learned a lot about the culture of stamping a headstock 2 when that guitar was getting some minor work done by a couple of the old Gibbons guys. One of the most important lessons though is that after a decade or so the 2 doesn't devalue the price. That's what the collectors said then anyway. Sometimes an employee on the line would really like a guitar. He or she would put a small scratch on it. The supervisor, whom they know well, would have to approve it being stamped a 2. The employee would then be able to get it below wholesale. The stamp machine was spring loaded and made a deep 2. But if the employee didn't set the spring, the 2 was very shallow. So the employee could then buff out the scratch and the 2. In the 1960s, Gibbons put out up to 400 guitars a day. It would have been hard to stop this sort of thing if the supervisors didn't care. Further, some of the luthiers could eliminate a deep 2 with some sanding and touch up. Heritage has not stamped many as 2s, not like Gibbons. Somewhere around 2012 or so they got a bad batch of nitro that checked. Employees got them cheaply without a 2 on them. A friend of mine got a beautiful wineburst GE with a single mounted pickup from the plant for less than $2K. He was going to get another and asked if I wanted to get the third one. But he died before that could happen. That was the notable Heritage rep Patrick. There was another time that Heritage had a flood. Some of the guitars had staining on the finish from water. Those were sold to employees cheaply. I ended up with one, a Super Eagle. There was no 2 stamp on it. The water mark was removed by Aaron Cowles. Bargains were marked BGN. These had more serious issues and came with no warranty. However they were deemed to be decent and durable. I have not seen a Heritage BGN. The 2s, BGNs, and unmarked discounts seemed to always be a part of life in Kalamazoo. It's not that there were a huge number, but they were around. AFAIK, all of the discounts that Heritage had were legit. I've never heard of employee sabotage. I was too young to know anything when Gibbons was prolific in Kalamazoo, but later I heard the stories. One last one is that a bandmate of mine got a LP Custom for essentially free. There was a gouge on the guitar. Gibbons would pull the hardware in such a case and saw the body in half. The employees could have the wood for their fireplaces. My friend's mom worked in finishing. She brought the two halves home. My friend put dowels in the body and glued it together. His mother finished it in black. Somehow they got the hardware. The pickups had small scratches so probably the hardware was slightly damaged cosmetically. He ended up with an excellent++ LP Custom at 15 years old for next to nothing. Back to the H-525. I'd have no hesitation.
  13. These are very nice guitars. They do almost everything well.
  14. https://www.mylespaul.com/threads/psa-be-super-careful-when-shipping-a-les-paul-broken-headstock.403949/
  15. I'm not trying to be argumentative about this but I have a different take on this. The TKL cases support the top of the neck but not the headstock. The site of the truss rod cavity is weak and very near the anchor site by the case. This serves in a sense as a fulcrum. The weight of the tuners, particularly the D and G tuners, produce a rotary force that transects the linear wood fibers at the weak spot of the truss rod cavity. The velocity and consequent momentum of the headstock weighted by the tuners with a 6 foot drop is capable of transecting the guitar. The case does little to protect from this rotary force. This is why the headstock should be packed into the case. A common way to break the headstock is to knock a guitar off its stand. This is less than 6 feet. About 12 years ago I discussed how Heritage packs its guitar with Vince Margol, one of the Heritage owners at the time. https://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo_gazette_extra/2007/11/guitar_hero_local_attorney_swo.html I specifically asked him why Gibbons and Heritage don't pack the headstock better. Vince was, presumably still is, a person familiar with the numbers. He said that the breakage/damage rate with shipping to the dealers was 2-3%. That's baked into the wholesale price. Not all of the breakage was the headstock but that was the most common. They have learned to accept that. There has to be care in packing the headstock because of the nitrocellulose. The material that touches the finish has got to be non-reactive in a broad range of temperatures for possibly a very long period of time. Loosening the strings makes sense if you know which way FedEx, USPS, or UPS is going to drop it. If the box is dropped so that the front of the guitar hits the floor, loosened strings theoretically helps. The opposite is true though if it is dropped the on the opposite side. Note on the attached pic how the headstock is free floating in the case. This is not a Heritage guitar, but it's close. I received two of these today by UPS, both surviving the journey.
  16. I don't the shipper did this. Could it be done by dropping the box 6 feet? Yes.
  17. I mean flexion. The vulnerability seems higher front to back or vice versa deceleration. Rotary motion would not impart that much energy. I have to believe that it's linear deceleration that creates the damage, for the the most part.
  18. The best way to pack a headstock is to make it unable to flex when dropped. To go to the extreme, take off the tuners. Pack under the headstock very tightly underneath and on the sides. Then pack it tightly on top of it. Fracture is caused by a rapid flexion, typically from dropping. If the upper neck and headstock are rigidly packed, there will be no fracture.
  19. It becomes complicated when asking for a partial refund. If the seller said he'd give $500 off or even $400 off if I'd get the repair done, then maybe. What he wanted to do was have FedEx pay for the damage. That would involve me getting the work done, he submitting the receipt and full documentation of the damage to FedEx then waiting a few months for payment. If I were FedEx I would not pay for the repair since the guitar headstock didn't look stable. I just wanted to extricate from the situation.
  20. I don't think the original break was repaired well at all.
  21. I'm curious whether he will get his shipping refunded from FedEx. He did box it well. As soon as FedEx dropped off the package to me I took time stamped pics of the outer and then inner boxes because there was some mild damage to them. This was before I opened either box. I did that every time now because I had a FedEx claim this year, which they rightly paid for. One of the requirements at FedEx is that there has to be documentation that the box shows some damage.
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