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Heritage Owners Club


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Everything posted by MartyGrass

  1. You may be right about a third changing the pickups, meaning most don't. But it is those who do change pickups who get the most ink (or press or copy or keystrokes). Pickups are just one variable in the chain made of at least a dozen. Schallers seem decent enough. Long ago I had the sense that they must be "pickups of a lesser god" because I read so often about dumping them for something else. I admit I did that. I agree that a different set of pickups, like SD 59s or Gibson Classics, probably won't raise the value of the guitar much except with those who happen to like the particular set you put in. It's a different story if you replace the pickups with Throbaks or other high end pickups. On that topic, I don't know why the "plug in" systems for pickups swaps haven't become the default in the market. The companies would probably sell more pickups if they were easier to exchange. My guess is Heritage went with Schallers because they could get a good price when buying the bridge, tailpiece and pickups in large lots. Like Gibson Classics and SD 59s, those pickups sound good for most purposes.
  2. I wouldn't change them.
  3. The traditional thin MOP from Custom is classy.
  4. Yes, they will do Heritages. Last year I sent them some specs. They sent some prototypes until the holes lined up. I liked the MOP on ebony TRC. You're not supposed to look at them sideways!!
  5. Pete Moreno has some pics of this guitar. He did a fair amount of work on it. He has a couple of albums of weird guitars he's help build over the decades. He built this one. ZZ Top came to Kalamazoo to pick it up. Pete had lunch with the band at some small restaurant. ZZ Top was working on a comeback and the bandmates were changing their appearances. Pete said that their table got a lot of looks.
  6. Guitars are like people. Everyone wants to change them to suit themselves.
  7. I agree with Kuz. These aren't sacred instruments handed to mortals from the gods. I will bet that in another 20 years Gibson and Fender will still dominate in prestige. That doesn't mean they are or will be better guitars. But those names were the trailblazers and the tools of the early masters, and that will never change. I have had a few Fenders in my day. Some were good instruments. I have found G&L to be more consistently right and a better value. Despite G&L having Leo at the helm and now over 40 years of history, G&L remains the bastard child of Fender. The same seems to be the case with Heritage and Les Pauls. Guitars are tools in a sense. My experience in medicine has never shown me a surgeon who is strongly brand loyal to instruments, only shapes and weights. None ever spoke of the vintage bone saw or spinal cord retractor that he wished he had. No one longed for that 1968 pacemaker reissue. It is unspoken but clearly the case that there is a push for continuous improvement. Guitars are more than tools. They are art as well. But there is still more. Guitars seem to capture lost youth in the older players or perhaps whisper a shortcut to mastery and fame in the younger players, given the right instrument. I wouldn't hesitate to alter a CC to my liking. That would be foolish. OTOH, I would not pay that much for a guitar that was defective or not to my liking. We love guitars. There's a thin line between love and insanity.
  8. To be fair to the question, I have never played an original New Yorker. If I had one, I doubt I'd ever play it for fear I'd harm it. I grew up with Kalamazoo guitars- Gibsons and Heritages. While my eyes may have wandered, they are good enough for me.
  9. The pickup on the Excel is an old George Benson. The Dearmond 1100 was recently placed on the Excel's big brother, the New Yorker. Patrick was mostly misunderstood. He was blunt, for sure. But he nearly always was right on the facts. He felt strongly about opinions yet knew the difference between facts and opinions. He helped many people behind the scenes. Back when he was a member the Heritage factory organization was primitive. Orders were lost and mixed up. Patrick would help dozens of guys get their orders through. One guy he helped was a close friend of John Sebastian, a Heritage endorsing artist. This guy is a professional guitarist in Germany who waited over a year only to get the wrong guitar. Another six months later another guitar arrived in the wrong finish and with a set pickup, which he didn't want. Patrick fast tracked the Golden Eagle he specified and salvaged a customer for Heritage. There are lots of these stories from HOC and the Jazz Guitar Forum members, although they are not as extreme. Patrick would help almost anyone behind the scenes. OTOH, he was opinionated and didn't mince words. He did clash. That wasn't his usual MO though. The original Heritage owners all saw him as a friend. The day he died I called Vince Margol, Ren Wall, and Billy Paige to let them know. He was due to pick up some guitars the next day in Kalamazoo. The emotion in their voices was blatant. He was a character. But he knew guitars thoroughly.
  10. This guitar was from the 1990s and was built by the original Heritage owners as a limited run of D'Angelicos. This guitar is one of the last ones they built. It came without a pickup, like the early D'Angelicos were made. Rob Doolittle, a Kalamazoo luthier from Kalamazoo Guitar Company https://www.kalamazooguitarcompany.com/ installed a Dearmond 1100 pickup, which was made in a limited run for Guild about a decade ago. This pickup was built as a true copy of the 1950s originals. https://www.djangobooks.com/Item/dearmond-rhythm-chief-1100-gold Pickups get a lot of hype, but this one really does sound great with that single coil sparkle and little hum. The tone and volume pots are under the pickguard. Gary Hines, who is a member of HOC and a superb luthier, got this pickup for me. Rob Doolittle put in the end jack and installed the pickup. I am indebted to both. Here are the pre-installation pics.
  11. It's in the process of getting a Dearmond 1100 pickup installed.
  12. There were a few who worked on it the last few months. Pete Moreno- Kalamazoo, MI Gary Hines- Portland, OR Rob Doolittle- Portage, MI
  13. This is a 1996 built instrument that has strong similarities in the body with a Super Eagle. The dimensions are the same. It's tap tuned. I received it as essentially NOS months ago. Two superb luthiers brought it to life. The fretboard and setup was done by Gary Hines, and there is no better anywhere. I added the TOM bridge but retained the ebony one to swap out as needed. Lastly, the original floating #3 pickup was removed and stored while a low output single coil pickup was built and installed. This was made by a local man who built pickups for Heritage and now runs his own business. To me, it sounds much like a slightly hotter Dearmond 1100. The original soldering job and pot were suboptimal. That's being corrected now. Currently it has Chromes 12s on it. Even with those it sounds very good acoustically and has a nice bottom end. Archtops are cruel mistresses that demand attention. They are worth it though. Function and art together.
  14. Marv Lamb and Floyd Newton were masters of this finish. The goals were to do this symmetrically, tastefully, and with smooth color transitions. Bad jobs are asymmetric or have discreet bands of color. The guitar below is a great format for this burst because of the maple neck.
  15. Something is wrong. You should be able to get enough volume out of it to squeal with feedback. Yes, it is a low output pickup, meaning the mids are scooped a little. But it's a very decent pickup. There may be a short in the coils. The resistance should be higher.
  16. I've noticed that Heritage put some of it's limited series parts on its mainstream archtops. Here are examples. The D'Angelico MOP block bridge inlays appeared on the Golden Eagle. I hadn't seen that before, but it works. Their Gretsch ebony bridge showed up on another Golden Eagle. That's stranger. There's nothing wrong with that. It provides a window into the practical and frugal thinking of the original owners. I like it.
  17. I got this from a friend who got this from the famous Patrick, who was the Heritage New York representative until he died unexpectedly a little more than five years ago. This is one of the first ghost built D'Angelicos that Heritage made. JP Moats, Marv Lamb and likely Aaron Cowles built this. Aaron built the two Gibson ghost built D'Angelicos a few years earlier. The all worked to copy the D'Angelico originals as best they could and had Johnny Smith's D'Angelico to examine for this purpose. D'Angelico did not make every guitar in a model the same. They were custom built. But here are the specs on this guitar. Depth 3 3/8", width 17", nut 1 11/16", scale 25.5". It is cross braced. You can see how the braces are tapered and how thin the top is. The plates are also tuned. I'd call it a medium neck. The pickup is a Kent Armstrong. This guitar has been well taken care of. It must be thirty years old now. It plays very well.
  18. I've had a number of these over the years. Without exception, each was well made. But I have to confess that my passion for the HJS is routed in two things. First, my guitar teacher when I was a kid had a Gibson JS. Second, Johnny Smith is as much of a guitar hero to me as Jimi Hendrix. There are a few differences between the HJS and a Golden Eagle. The nut is wider and the scale is shorter on the HJS. For some, that's a big deal. The bracing and top carve seem about the same. The neck block is close enough. The rest of the differences are ornamental. OTOH, soon it will be St. Patrick's day.
  19. Most won't set up their acoustic archtop to get the maximum tonal breadth. As a kid I got this 1928 L-5 from a studio jazz player who was very old school. He showed me. You want heavy strings, preferably round wounds, with a high action. This drives the top. Nowadays almost everyone compromises and depends on the pickup. I'm in that camp. You'll get less of the potential from the body chamber but a great amplified sound. There are H-575s that are carved as acoustic instruments with floating pickups but damned few of them. I see them as electric archtops that are built to last and sound wonderful through an amp. Here is a video featuring the Queen of the H-575. It contrasts her tone with a solid body. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VxpqYZ-ACU
  20. I'll bet they are guarding the secret sauce on the specs. Last I heard these are wound in Tennessee. When you find out the details, let us know. Then go after the HRWs.
  21. Hey, you're still here! Good to know and welcome back.
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