Jump to content
Heritage Owners Club

Hello All! I'm infrequent here but member since 2009 ~ wondering about 'old vintage' vs 'new improved'


michaeljames
 Share

Recommended Posts

i have gleaned that post 2010 instruments are 'better' and have been continuing to get 'better'?

i don't know ~ my experience with a dozen or so pre-2010 instruments was always good.  seems that common 'thoughts' are that pre-2007 guitars were shoddy and unpredictable.  that doesn't make sense to me.  the whole point was to keep kalamazoo open wasn't it?  with artesians that had multi decades of personal experience?  just curious.  

i only have 1 heritage these days.  1988 march.  h150 gibby cut.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, michaeljames said:

i have gleaned that post 2010 instruments are 'better' and have been continuing to get 'better'?

i don't know ~ my experience with a dozen or so pre-2010 instruments was always good.  seems that common 'thoughts' are that pre-2007 guitars were shoddy and unpredictable.  that doesn't make sense to me.  the whole point was to keep kalamazoo open wasn't it?  with artesians that had multi decades of personal experience?  just curious.  

i only have 1 heritage these days.  1988 march.  h150 gibby cut.

 

I think it took them a while to get back in step. Yes Kalamazoo was the home of the great golden era instruments, but also the home of the many of the less than stellar cost cutter Norlin practices. I think it took them awhile to get the feel back in building guitars the way they wanted. And many of the pre-bandlab instruments had some serious quality issues regarding the way the frets and nuts were finished. I currently think the new Heritages look like they've stepped up their game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, rockabilly69 said:

I think it took them a while to get back in step. Yes Kalamazoo was the home of the great golden era instruments, but also the home of the many of the less than stellar cost cutter Norlin practices. I think it took them awhile to get the feel back in building guitars the way they wanted. And many of the pre-bandlab instruments had some serious quality issues regarding the way the frets and nuts were finished. I currently think the new Heritages look like they've stepped up their game.

Pretty much this....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

that seems to line up with what i've 'heard'...question:  were those initial owners/artesians/employees slouches?  chopped liver?  why did they bother?  they went bankrupt in their later years.  doesn't make sense.  however, the '88 h150 i have has imperfect fret markers and sorta looks like i did it myself...amature.

thanks again rockabilly ~ obvious you know WAY more than i do.  that's what is so nice about sharing...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, michaeljames said:

that seems to line up with what i've 'heard'...question:  were those initial owners/artesians/employees slouches?  chopped liver?  why did they bother?  they went bankrupt in their later years.  doesn't make sense.  however, the '88 h150 i have has imperfect fret markers and sorta looks like i did it myself...amature.

thanks again rockabilly ~ obvious you know WAY more than i do.  that's what is so nice about sharing...

There were seriously talented people onboard, but as I said they were subject to Norlin cost cutting practices so I just think it took them a while to get back in step. Some unbelievable instruments came out of that shop. Look at some Golden Eagles for example, or even some of of the custom H550, HH575s, it seems like some serious good archtops came out of that crew!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...then why the 'need' for a HOC back in the early 90s?  just seems wierd to me.  but i'm not trying to solve a puzzle.  if the company couldn't succeed with the original highly qualified people with a vision of being the best, and they are now out of the picture, this all seems to be nothing more than mental masturbation. sorry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, michaeljames said:

...then why the 'need' for a HOC back in the early 90s?  just seems wierd to me.  but i'm not trying to solve a puzzle.  if the company couldn't succeed with the original highly qualified people with a vision of being the best, and they are now out of the picture, this all seems to be nothing more than mental masturbation. sorry.

They weren't as talented as businessman as they were building. And a lot of those earlier guitar were great platform for modding, as you could easily find an H150 for around $1000, and then go to town on it. I bought my first H150 from Brentrocks (like many people here), and I thought it was a great sounder, but heavy. like many early H150 it hovered around 10lbs. Then I got a 9lb H150, that I bought used without pickups and I modded the holy hell out of it.

David Plummer Pure Handwound PAFs

Complete Faber Tone-Loc kit

Fret level and new bone nut 

And some new Gibson reflector knobs and 3 way switch ring. (it didn't come with either)

And then recently, I pulled the push-in Faber bridge inserts, which were an inprovement over the original Heritage pot metal bridge inserts, and put in the screw-in Faber BSW inserts, and wow, that was it, this guitar was finished. It rings like a bell.

And frankly I've never heard on a better sounding H150, there's probably one out there, but this one smokes. If you like the tones Mick Taylor used to get with the Stones with his burst you would love this guitar...

 

 

 

 

h150.jpg

Edited by rockabilly69
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That headstock looks like it was subject to some serious abuse.  Never seen anything quite like that before.

Not sure where this thread is headed, but quite a few incredible instruments made it out of Parsons Street way before the eventual buy-out.  Remember, back in the day, the builders took custom orders and would build just about anything one of the dealers or customers would request.  And the out the door prices were hundreds or thousands less than any competitor.  Yes, overall build quality and consistency has improved in recent years, but lets keep things in perspective. 

For example...

I'd put this '93 Golden Eagle up against anything produced by Gibson or any of the great luthiers of our day. 

WQa7BV.jpgTjA6C1.jpg

And not all H150's were boat anchors. 

This 2004 came from the factory weighing in at 8.1 lbs., and is a tone monster!

5vzjGv.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I SOLD A BEAUTIFUL H137 TO ONE OF YOU FOR A GRAND WITHIN THE PAST YEAR.  IT WAS A 2007 IF I RECALL CORRECTLY.  VERY NICE SPECIMEN!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

42 minutes ago, Gitfiddler said:

That headstock looks like it was subject to some serious abuse.  Never seen anything quite like that before.

Not sure where this thread is headed, but quite a few incredible instruments made it out of Parsons Street way before the eventual buy-out.  Remember, back in the day, the builders took custom orders and would build just about anything one of the dealers or customers would request.  And the out the door prices were hundreds or thousands less than any competitor.  Yes, overall build quality and consistency has improved in recent years, but lets keep things in perspective. 

For example...

I'd put this '93 Golden Eagle up against anything produced by Gibson or any of the great luthiers of our day. 

WQa7BV.jpgTjA6C1.jpg

And not all H150's were boat anchors. 

This 2004 came from the factory weighing in at 8.1 lbs., and is a tone monster!

5vzjGv.jpg

wow 8.1 lbs, talk about a rarity! And that Eagle is exactly what I was talking about above. I've played some killer Heritage archtops as my friend was a dealer for years but I've never owned one. I missed out on a great Eagle a few months back at a local estate auction. Bummer!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A company can't stay in business very long if you wind up only producing 4 guitars on a good day, spend an eternity (in manufacturing terms) hand carving neck pockets, hand cutting and fitting necks into their pockets, leave it up to no one in particular to oversee the books and take off every Friday to go hunting and so on, and so on. Heritage did a lot of great stuff, and they also shot themselves in the foot (in terms of running a business) on a regular basis. The new owners got off to a rocky start but I think they are on a much better course these days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, HANGAR18 said:

A company can't stay in business very long if you wind up only producing 4 guitars on a good day, spend an eternity (in manufacturing terms) hand carving neck pockets, hand cutting and fitting necks into their pockets, leave it up to no one in particular to oversee the books and take off every Friday to go hunting and so on, and so on. Heritage did a lot of great stuff, and they also shot themselves in the foot (in terms of running a business) on a regular basis. The new owners got off to a rocky start but I think they are on a much better course these days.

I agree 100% with this

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, MartyGrass said:

The difficulty i have with generalizations about production years is that most of the instruments every year were very good.

Exactly.  Great answer.  I have never owned a bad Heritage guitar.  The only new guitar I have seen is a buddy of mine's 150.  A Heritage that went out in 1989 can be the perfect match against any guitar.  Getting to meet the craftsmen and craftslady has been a plus.  I don't know the new people.  I don't need to.  I have my guitars... and I am pleased with them all.  535, 137 and 475.  They all deserve a better guitar player than I. 

img_5202_std.jpg

dscf5758_std.jpg

img_7455_std.jpg

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have seen many examples of both era's and in between. 

They have all had their little problems but for the most part they have produced some wonderful instruments!

I am especially proud of so many instruments produced in Kalamazoo MI USA. I'm born and raised in Michigan.

 

This one is Special! 

img_7455_std.jpg

Edited by skydog52
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, MartyGrass said:

The difficulty i have with generalizations about production years is that most of the instruments every year were very good.

Great point! Another difference that should be addressed is value. Back in the day the Heritage guitars were a great value, cost vs quality. Heritage guitars were an affordable  entry into craftsmanship. Now the cost is on par with small build boutique, or gibby custom. Apples and oranges 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Dick Seacup said:

That is gorgeous. Didn't you also have a gold top with an Atkins bar?

Yes.  Now it belongs to a buddy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, big bob said:

Great point! Another difference that should be addressed is value. Back in the day the Heritage guitars were a great value, cost vs quality. Heritage guitars were an affordable  entry into craftsmanship. Now the cost is on par with small build boutique, or gibby custom. Apples and oranges 

Yes I alluded to the fact that you could find H150's all day long for little money, and for a modder like me, they were a great deal. Not so much anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/9/2021 at 7:57 PM, MartyGrass said:

The difficulty i have with generalizations about production years is that most of the instruments every year were very good.

Not every guitar was perfect, but most were very very good.  I refuse to say any year was better than any year and compare guitars each to their own. 

I will put my 2007 555 Custom up against any Heritage being produced now for fit, finish, playability, weight, looks, woods, and tone. 

fUuzYti.jpg

 

 

Edited by Kuz
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve owned 3 Heritages, a ‘99, ‘01 and ‘11. I had to do fret work on all three to get them more playable. The ‘11 is an H150, the fret work was very poor IMO and I had to do quite a bit of filing to get them to where they should have been. It never bothered me though since the structural integrity of the guitars and the tone was excellent and the cost was absurdly low for what you get compared to other USA brands. I certainly would never say that the “vintage” Heritage guitars are better or worst than the newer ones though. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...