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Heritage headstock


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Hello everybody!

I am new here and have a question that I hope someone can help me with.

I am very,very interested in buying a heritage standard 150 in dirty lemon. I own 2 more "modern" guitars (Mayones, jackson) and this heritage would be my first vintage inspired guitar with a 3 by 3 headstock.

I am in love with the looks of the heritage but I hear/read from a lot of people that these type of headstocks have a lot of tuning issues becaude of the angle and the way the strings go to the tuning pegs.

Is this all just a fable or is there any truth to this? And have any of you experienced tuning issues with your heritage guitars?

I'm sorry for the maybe stupid question but no dealer near me (i live in belgium) stocks heritage guitars so I can't try one out in real life. 

Thank you in advance and pardon my terrible English.

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Welcome, and your English skills are excellent. You guys have the best beer in Belgium!

If the nut is cut properly, and strung properly, you shouldn’t experience any tuning issues. If you compare both Gibson & Heritage headstock designs you’ll notice that Heritage actually has a more straight string pull which actually increases the likelihood of better tuning stability. Heritage is actually an improvement in design over the Gibson shape. However some folks just don’t like the Heritage shape, as it’s not as ornate.

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Thank you for the reply! And we do make some pretty good beers haha. And you guys have great food, went to America 2 years ago.

You are indeed correct, I did some research and the heritage headstock has a more straight string pull, compared to the gibson. That makes me like the heritage headstock alot more.

Thanks again, i'll be ordering one soon!

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Have had at least 20 Heritage guitars, no tuning issues at all

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Welcome to the HOC!

Like many on this site, I've owned and played many, many Heritage guitars.  I've never experienced any tuning issues.  However, I always have my guitars set up after purchase.  Either I do it or have a pro set it up if there are any nut or fret issues. 

Another factor that contributes to Heritage guitar tuning stability is the 17 degree neck angle. 

Here are a couple of comments pulled from off the internet that might add more clarity for you:

https://www.premierguitar.com/gear/builder-profile-heritage-guitar

"17 degrees was the standard for Gibson guitars in the 50s and 60s. Heritage is staying with the traditional design and feel, so they stuck with 17. That gives the necessary angle across the nut to eliminate the need for any string guides, like you have on Fender guitars..."

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The break angle that the D and G strings take sideways toward their respective tuning pegs is going to be more favorable than a Gibson head stock which has a much greater break angle for these strings. It is the extreme sideways tension against the nut slots which makes it very difficult for the strings to return to proper pitch after a bend or achieve stable tuning in the first place. Nut lube on the strings at the nut and bridge will help correct this problem a lot.

Also, there is a product called a "String Butler" which does a great job of fixing that issue too. But I'm not sure if they make one that fits a Heritage head stock.

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Funny, I was just thinking about writing a post about the headstock....pardon in advance if I am hijacking the thread.

 

All throughout the various guitar forums, customer reviews, and just about anywhere that Heritage is discussed (except perhaps here), you'll find the BIG complaint about Heritage to be their headstock.  "The guitar is sick.....but that headstock, I just can't get on with it." or some variation is what you'll often hear.

 

I was at a Guitar Center (I know), a couple days ago and I spotted an H-150 in the room in the mix with all the Les Pauls.  Up until this point I hadn't seen a Heritage side-by-side with the other brand.  They are just not as available around here.  I have to admit I was a bit turned off by the headstock.  Looking at it, the headstock just made the guitar seem puny, insignificant, or lesser.  I began wondering how many people have simply looked at the H-150 and viewed it as inferior without putting it to the test.  I started thinking I might want to switch gears and go to the evil empire for a bit.  I left pondering if I have become as shallow as all the bastards I make fun of behind my computer screen.

 

I returned to my house, where I picked up H-150 and started rocking out immediately.  Suddenly a rush of rationalism came flowing through my mind. 

  1. I don't look at the headstock while I play.
  2. I actually like the look of the headstock, just not when I'm staring at it side-by-side to the other brand.
  3. The tuning stability is fantastic and you don't hear the heritage owners complain about that nearly as often as the G-string owners.
  4. The Heritage tops are mind blowing even side-by-side (Yes, I do look at that from time-to-time while playing as does the audience)
  5. Heritage, while all the quality, to me is a players guitar that you can still show off, not just a trophy that is hands-off.
  6. I get to pay a fraction of the price of a G-son handmade guitar for a guitar that is arguably better.
  7. I buy used, but tend not to flip guitars.  These are still stellar deals.
  8. Heritage guitars play like a dream.
  9. I am thrilled to support Heritage because:
    • Heritage is much more ethically sound than G-Spot will ever be
    • I love the story behind the company
    • They're located in MI (I grew up there)
    • They stayed true to the manufacturing practices of the guitars they used to produce when that building still built G-thangs
    • Every Heritage I have played fills me with an aura of pride of ownership and a confidence to play better
    • I do not feel that I'm paying for some marketing branding hype (although it feels that is changing slightly)
    • I truly enjoy the people that own Heritage guitars.  It's a different kind of person who sees through the bullshit and is generally a very positive, snarky, supportive bunch of people.

There are likely many reasons that I did not touch on, but you get the idea.  The G-party headstock simply can't provide nearly the value that the Heritage guitar provides me.

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Headstock...again.  This point of contention is on a looper, I'm afraid.  The Heritage headstock, as most here know, is actually a Gibson headstock.  Not the traditional open book, obviously, but the Heritage design harkens back to the Gibson snakehead headstock design found on Gibson "A" and "H" mandolins...not that Heritage guitars need any faux legitimacy from Gibson.  All anybody needs to claim that, if they need it, is to remember who started Heritage in the first place, and where.  So I found it pretty nice that BlackSabbath88 and SeattleMI (only 31 posts between them) seem to have been converted pretty easily...and for all the right reasons.

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I have owned several Heritage guitars as have my friends.  No problems with tuning on any of them. 

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I have owned several Gibsons throughout the years, ranging in years from 1976-2018. I still have two of them. Nothing fancier than a Standard or Traditional Pro II. I am a basement type player. I don't have the time to actually be in a band. But I can appreciate a well-built guitar. I have only owned one Heritage, a 2021 H-150 Standard. I feel badly, sometimes. I have a 2014 LP that I got new. I did some serious mods on it. It was my #1 for almost 7 years, but now, after doing a couple relatively easy mods to my H-150, I hardly ever even open the case on it. I should just sell it, but with the mods, it's a fairly niché market. That money would be better spent going to a new Custom Core. Maybe I should just eat it and part ways, but I can't seem to do it.  

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I have an idea where the prejudice against the Heritage headstock comes from. Forty or so years ago Japanese guitars were not particularly well regarded, apart from perhaps the high-end Yamahas as used by Carlos Santana (which had Gibson-like headstocks). One popular brand in the budget to mid-range was Westone, made by Matsumoku, and here's the headstock from a Thunder 1...

Vintage Westone Thunder 1 guitar 80's Japan in SG14 Hertfordshire for  £295.00 for sale | Shpock

A quick glance at a Heritage, and one might think it was related to Westone.

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2 hours ago, bobmeyrick said:

A quick glance at a Heritage, and one might think it was related to Westone.

And a quick glance at the "Circle H" logo and one might think it was related to Hondo. 

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Thank You everyone who replied to my question. Very helpful tips/comments from some clever people here. First time i've posted on a forum
and very happy with the respone you guys gave me. 

So I had a day off today and had my wife's permission (very important! haha) to go guitar shopping. 
I found one store near me that had 1 150 standard in stock but in a colour i didn't like so much (heritage burst).
I played this guitar, tuned a half step down (I prefer to play in this tuning) for about 20 minutes.

Even with older strings on it, the guitar did not go out of tune once, it stayed in tune the whole time and played fantastic. I had to get used to the body shape/neck.
I understand now, why people say hertige standard guitars are custom shop quality guitars, they are just amazing.
So I ordered one in Tobacco Burst, but i'll have to wait a couple of months for it since the people at the factory build about 5 guitars per day,
the sales guy told me. 

I am beyond excited to recieve my guitar haha. Just one thing, I don't want to sound like an asshole, or insult the brand but I did play 2 gibson standards 2021
and they both seem to have tuning issues and other issues (finish wasn't great on the 50's goldtop). So i'm really glad I found Heritage guitars.

Again thanks for the help and tips, much apreciated. Best Wishes from Belgium. 


 

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15 minutes ago, BlackSabbath88 said:

 

Even with older strings on it, the guitar did not go out of tune once, it stayed in tune the whole time and played fantastic. 
So I ordered one in Tobacco Burst, but i'll have to wait a couple of months for it since the people at the factory build about 5 guitars per day,
the sales guy told me. 

 Just one thing, I don't want to sound like an asshole, or insult the brand but I did play 2 gibson standards 2021
and they both seem to have tuning issues and other issues


 

First thing...  Marv and Jim were building Les Paul's in/from 1956.  If anyone would know how to improve the string-pull on an LP, these guys would. Gibson was locked into the "open book" and it thus became a trademark even if the guys building it knew it could be improved.

Second thing... Reports of improved factory setups with the new owners might just be a factor. The "founders" were relying on the retailers to fine tune after shipping and humidity. 

Third thing...  The real Aholes are non critical thinkers who flame the Heritage headstock failing to realize "First thing" 

 

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20 hours ago, HANGAR18 said:

The break angle that the D and G strings take sideways toward their respective tuning pegs is going to be more favorable than a Gibson head stock which has a much greater break angle for these strings. It is the extreme sideways tension against the nut slots which makes it very difficult for the strings to return to proper pitch after a bend or achieve stable tuning in the first place. Nut lube on the strings at the nut and bridge will help correct this problem a lot.

Also, there is a product called a "String Butler" which does a great job of fixing that issue too. But I'm not sure if they make one that fits a Heritage head stock.

I think Heritage headstocks are fine for tuning stability. But what it comes down to is the way the nut slots need to be tapered towards the tuning peg. And I've found absolutely no difference in tuning stability between Gibson LPs and Heritage H150s. All the nuts are now cut perfectly on all of my H150s and Les Pauls. And if anybody can show a tuning stability difference on any of these guitars, I would give them $100! What I do know is that, Heritage, on my guitars, did TERRIBLE work on the nut slotting, and on the fret leveling, and I had problems with both of them in the tuning department. One of my H150s is a 2009, and the other is a 2015. Gibson on the other hand, of my three Historic Les Pauls (2010, 2014, 2020), did great work on two of the three of them, but one had the nut slots cut so high, that the notes were fretting sharp at the first fret. I fixed that fairly easily. On the Heritages, I replaced the nuts (and leveled the frets).

I have played some new Heritage guitars where the nut slots are cut much better than I've seen in the past. And the fretwork was great too. 

I've said this in the past, and I thought I was going to get lynched for it, but I thought someone really needed to step in, and up the quality game at Heritage. And from what I can see, the new guard has done exactly that! And not only at Heritage, I've played two of the new Harmony guitars that were OUTSTANDING. The pickups on the Juno I played were killer! 

Some good stuff is going down at 225 Parsons. I've thought seriously about selling my two H150s and trying a Custom Core, but I've put the kind of love into my H150s that they do on Custom Cores, and the wood on my guitars is seriously good, so it's really hard to sell them!  The only thing left on my Heritage guitars from stock is the body/neck, tuners, strap pins, and the pickguards, and they are both good weights, right around 9 lbs, which to me translates to solid LP/H150 tone. Two of my historic Gibsons are in the low to middle 8 lb range and they have a different sound to me, a little more airey, which I like, but a little less balls in the lower mids. That's another reason why I hang onto my H150s, they have a sound that's different than my Gibsons that I like. If I bought a Custom Core I would probably try to find one of the slightly heavier closer to nine pound weights. 

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11 hours ago, bobmeyrick said:

I have an idea where the prejudice against the Heritage headstock comes from. Forty or so years ago Japanese guitars were not particularly well regarded, apart from perhaps the high-end Yamahas as used by Carlos Santana (which had Gibson-like headstocks). One popular brand in the budget to mid-range was Westone, made by Matsumoku, and here's the headstock from a Thunder 1...

Vintage Westone Thunder 1 guitar 80's Japan in SG14 Hertfordshire for  £295.00 for sale | Shpock

A quick glance at a Heritage, and one might think it was related to Westone.

I was just going to post a picture of my Westone headstock for the same reason. They were at their peak just before Heritage started out, but I'm sure the look is just a coincidence

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5 hours ago, rockabilly69 said:

I think Heritage headstocks are fine for tuning stability. But what it comes down to is the way the nut slots need to be tapered towards the tuning peg. And I've found absolutely no difference in tuning stability between Gibson LPs and Heritage H150s. All the nuts are now cut perfectly on all of my H150s and Les Pauls. And if anybody can show a tuning stability difference on any of these guitars, I would give them $100! What I do know is that, Heritage, on my guitars, did TERRIBLE work on the nut slotting, and on the fret leveling, and I had problems with both of them in the tuning department. One of my H150s is a 2009, and the other is a 2015. Gibson on the other hand, of my three Historic Les Pauls (2010, 2014, 2020), did great work on two of the three of them, but one had the nut slots cut so high, that the notes were fretting sharp at the first fret. I fixed that fairly easily. On the Heritages, I replaced the nuts (and leveled the frets).

I have played some new Heritage guitars where the nut slots are cut much better than I've seen in the past. And the fretwork was great too. 

I've said this in the past, and I thought I was going to get lynched for it, but I thought someone really needed to step in, and up the quality game at Heritage. And from what I can see, the new guard has done exactly that! And not only at Heritage, I've played two of the new Harmony guitars that were OUTSTANDING. The pickups on the Juno I played were killer! 

Some good stuff is going down at 225 Parsons. I've thought seriously about selling my two H150s and trying a Custom Core, but I've put the kind of love into my H150s that they do on Custom Cores, and the wood on my guitars is seriously good, so it's really hard to sell them!  The only thing left on my Heritage guitars from stock is the body/neck, tuners, strap pins, and the pickguards, and they are both good weights, right around 9 lbs, which to me translates to solid LP/H150 tone. Two of my historic Gibsons are in the low to middle 8 lb range and they have a different sound to me, a little more airey, which I like, but a little less balls in the lower mids. That's another reason why I hang onto my H150s, they have a sound that's different than my Gibsons that I like. If I bought a Custom Core I would probably try to find one of the slightly heavier closer to nine pound weights. 

What I had in mind for measuring tuning stability was the ability of the G string to return to pitch after it went through being bent up a full step. If anyone is not doing any half step or full step bends, then I'm sure one could get by just fine with some nut lube or a self lubricating nut.  Which reminds me, anyone else remember Rendall Wall telling us we could use WD-40 on our strings? hahahaha

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8 minutes ago, HANGAR18 said:

What I had in mind for measuring tuning stability was the ability of the G string to return to pitch after it went through being bent up a full step. If anyone is not doing any half step or full step bends, then I'm sure one could get by just fine with some nut lube or a self lubricating nut.  Which reminds me, anyone else remember Rendall Wall telling us we could use WD-40 on our strings? hahahaha

Wait. WHAT??? 🤣🤣🤣

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24 minutes ago, HANGAR18 said:

What I had in mind for measuring tuning stability was the ability of the G string to return to pitch after it went through being bent up a full step. If anyone is not doing any half step or full step bends, then I'm sure one could get by just fine with some nut lube or a self lubricating nut.  Which reminds me, anyone else remember Rendall Wall telling us we could use WD-40 on our strings? hahahaha

I still don't think it makes a difference, with a proper cut nut, the Gibson and Heritage are equal, no matter how big the bend. It all comes down to how much care is done in cutting that nut, and how well lubricated it is. WD-40? I'll pass :) 

Some people can live with being a bit out of tune, especially people that insist on fixed wrap around bridges, but most of my electric guitar playing is done into a recorder, and I'm extremely picky about being in-tune, especially because I like to layer multiple guitar parts. And I love to do pedal steel style bends as that's a big part of the music that I tend to gravitate to. Just listen to someone like Jimmy Page bend his light gauge strings on his Les Pauls, he stays in tune just fine. There is no reason I would pick a Heritage over a Gibson (or vise versa). 

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It seems that every couple of years we hear about Rendall and his WD-40 advice, and once again, it seems that the original message has been totally misconstrued.  

Yes, I was there that day.  Yes, Rendall said using WD-40 on your strings was a good idea, but the whole thrust of this notion was to prevent oxidation and corrosion of the strings, nothing more.  After all, he said, the WD stands for Water Displacement.  And you treat the strings BEFORE they're put on the guitar!!!   Jeez Louise. 

It works.  I've done this for years at string changes:  lay your new strings out on some newspaper, spray them with WD-40, wipe them off with a rag, then install them on the guitar.  It may not do much for the unwound strings, but the wound ones definitely last much longer.  

  

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8 hours ago, LK155 said:

It seems that every couple of years we hear about Rendall and his WD-40 advice, and once again, it seems that the original message has been totally misconstrued.  

Yes, I was there that day.  Yes, Rendall said using WD-40 on your strings was a good idea, but the whole thrust of this notion was to prevent oxidation and corrosion of the strings, nothing more.  After all, he said, the WD stands for Water Displacement.  And you treat the strings BEFORE they're put on the guitar!!!   Jeez Louise. 

It works.  I've done this for years at string changes:  lay your new strings out on some newspaper, spray them with WD-40, wipe them off with a rag, then install them on the guitar.  It may not do much for the unwound strings, but the wound ones definitely last much longer.  

  

I'm going to try that sometime.

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