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Heritage Owners Club

Are Heritage guitars still ok?


lavern23
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I knew I’d get your attention with the subject title.  I’m wanting a 530 or something if the like and stopped by a local shop that have been a Heritage dealer for years.  Asked if they had any in and said they were purchased and the company is “weird now , kinda squirly “.  They said they could still order them but a lot of luthiers left and we’re waiting for the dust to settle. I told them I was interested in a 530 and he says “have you tried an Eastman?”  It was a nice guitar but just not what I’m after.  Has a finish check or crack at the input jack.  Needless to say I left empty handed.

So what’s the word?  

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I have 2 2021 H-150s, a Standard and a Custom Core. I have seen no problems with either one. They are both finely crafted instruments. 

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They’re now under new ownership, and it’s definitely a more “corporate” setting. I (being nostalgic) preferred the way things were, but, continuing in that fashion they would most likely would have folded. They have gotten a lot more organized, and their initial quality is improved. It’s really quite different, but they still build great guitars, so that’s a win.

Edited by davesultra
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This can be (and has been) debated for the next 1000 years. It's really a matter of opinion I guess. The Heritage Guitar Co. that existed in 1985 is an entirely different one than what exists in 2022. Which is better or worse is just a matter of opinion. But, that can be said about any Guitar Co. really. It's like a Team. You may have an untouchable baseball team in 1995, but as the players change, so does the Team and by 2022, that Team is really only the same in name. It's now a whole different group of people, yet they still have the name. Can say the same thing about bands too- how many of us have seen bands on the Summer circuit at Fests, etc and you're thinking "I don't know who anyone on the stage is!" Some might hate 'em, but some might think the new music they're making is great, so they keep following the band, even though it's only the same band from 1979 in name. So- it's' a weird thing.

All comes down to play it and you either like the guitar or you don't. 

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19 minutes ago, zguitar71 said:

Fear not, they are great. It sounds like the dealer is mostly interested in selling Eastman guitars. 

Ding, ding, ding!  We have a winner!

Have the dealer order an Eastman T64/vT as well as an H-530.  Compare the build quality, feel and tone for yourself.  That will help you make an objective decision.

 

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Went to a local known Heritage dealer by me. Saw a single 535 on the wall, when I asked why only one and he said they sell as soon as they get them.

Talking to the factory, every Heritage built on the line has been purchased.  Orders are backlogged and they are going to hire more staff to keep up with demand.

More Heritages are sold in a month today then were sold in an entire year a decade ago.

 

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Whenever I try to evaluate the Original Heritage guitars versus the New Heritage guitars, I try to stick to evaluating the guitar and not the people. We all love the people who build the guitars and we love it when they get a paycheck and feed their families. No arguments there. But trying to include an emotional attachment from the people/friends who work there when trying to evaluate the differences in the guitars produced between the original owners and the current owners is going to produce some really skewed results. Do we want to judge the guitars or do we want to judge the people? Pick one. Not both at the same time.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the replies so far.  Im not so worried about the guitars so much as is the company or maybe both.  I have 1 heritage and it’s great.  Just thought I’d get another and to hear what I heard today caught me by surprise cause they used to say Heritage was better than everyone.  I also noticed today that their models of Taylors they stock are on the lower end.  I always try to support my local people before buying big box.  They carry G&L, Taylor, now Eastman and Furch.

Attached is a pic of my Heritage Eagle classic.

 

7922635D-D6D5-4E02-989A-A2E7A03BF0CF.jpeg

Edited by lavern23
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As Lavern 23 asked a simple question, Is Heritage OK? 

Simple answer YES!

We can still get the most popular models and they appear to be as good as ever!

Can you get an array of customs at more than affordable pricing? NO

 

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I'll echo what was said before.   The company is stronger now than it was 10 years ago.   The guitars are more consistent and the quality is excellent.   What they don't do now is have 25 different models that can be customized with every whim you can think of.    The product line was brought into a more manageable half dozen models that are popular and selling well.    The most obvious deletions are the wide variety of archtop guitars, which are labor intensive to build, and much lower in demand that solid body and semi-hollow styles.   They still have the Eagle Classic and 575, so at least they do have archtops.    (try to find a new archtop in the Gibson catalog these days...)

IF you REALLY want something different,  they have the Bespoke program, which would be a true custom shop deal, but you'll pay for that option. 

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My opinion is that Heritage has made great guitars since their inception.  But they also had some lemons.  That meant that the buyer needed to evaluate the individual instrument.  The HOC was very helpful in that regard, at least in the used market.  Members provided reliable opinions to guide purchasing.

The new Heritage has better consistency but a narrower set of choices.  Nothing wrong with that.

Here are some of the unusual builds from the earlier years that show off the old guys' versatility and quality.  Their reputation was primarily by word of mouth back then, some of it good and some not.

 

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34 minutes ago, MartyGrass said:

My opinion is that Heritage has made great guitars since their inception.  But they also had some lemons.  That meant that the buyer needed to evaluate the individual instrument.  The HOC was very helpful in that regard, at least in the used market.  Members provided reliable opinions to guide purchasing.

The new Heritage has better consistency but a narrower set of choices.  Nothing wrong with that.

Here are some of the unusual builds from the earlier years that show off the old guys' versatility and quality.  Their reputation was primarily by word of mouth back then, some of it good and some not.

 

51494289265_7ae3e78945_c.jpg

51552598147_c2d78441b9_c.jpg

51638844400_fcd231ca73_c.jpg

50038446322_2ac57ca45f_c.jpg

51677599306_b59e5d6a11_c.jpg

50978103617_dfc23e0517_c.jpg

50464963831_baac4653ec_c.jpg

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MartyGrass: thanks for sharing the pics.  The old guys, as they have been called were truly artists/craftsmen in their trade.  I totally get the need for streamlining a product line.  My dad always told me that guitars were like women, you needed to dance with them before a sight unseen commitment.  With that said who do you all look to as a stocking dealer for Heritage cause it seems my local shop has moved on to lesser options?

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16 hours ago, lavern23 said:

I knew I’d get your attention with the subject title.  I’m wanting a 530 or something if the like and stopped by a local shop that have been a Heritage dealer for years. 

Check your private message’s 

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5 hours ago, lavern23 said:

MartyGrass: thanks for sharing the pics.  The old guys, as they have been called were truly artists/craftsmen in their trade.  I totally get the need for streamlining a product line.  My dad always told me that guitars were like women, you needed to dance with them before a sight unseen commitment.  With that said who do you all look to as a stocking dealer for Heritage cause it seems my local shop has moved on to lesser options?

Wolfe Guitars located in Jupiter, FL is pretty much the highest regarded dealer. I’ve never purchased from him myself, but I did sell him an H-157 a year or so ago.

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42 minutes ago, kennyv4 said:

I purchased a H-535 from Wolfe Guitar several years ago.  Great selection, no pressure sales.  A great place to buy a Heritage guitar. 

For sure! I think many of us in this Group can testify that Jay Wolfe is so great to buy from! I know I have purchased many over the years and I am 110% satisfied! Love Wolfe Guitars!

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When the new group bought out the original Heritage they dumped a lot of their smaller dealers.  That caused some hard feelings.  I understand that.  It isn't the same company these days.  I can appreciate that they are building some very nice guitars now.  I am glad they are. 

I think there is a band wagon going through that has a sign that says the new Heritage Guitar company build better guitars than the old group.  I will not be riding on that wagon.  Three of my friends and I have 10 Heritage Guitars between us.  A 550, 3 150s, 3 535s, a 475 and two 137s.  Only one of these was built after the old guys left.  

Buy used young man.  A original Heritage will be a fantastic guitar. 

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18 hours ago, High Flying Bird said:

When the new group bought out the original Heritage they dumped a lot of their smaller dealers.  That caused some hard feelings.  I understand that.  It isn't the same company these days.  I can appreciate that they are building some very nice guitars now.  I am glad they are. 

I think there is a band wagon going through that has a sign that says the new Heritage Guitar company build better guitars than the old group.  I will not be riding on that wagon.  Three of my friends and I have 10 Heritage Guitars between us.  A 550, 3 150s, 3 535s, a 475 and two 137s.  Only one of these was built after the old guys left.  

Buy used young man.  A original Heritage will be a fantastic guitar. 

He is wise.

Best to try out the instrument first or buy from someone you can rely on.  It's not like you are buying a hammer or a pair of jeans.  Guitars are highly personal and subjective purchases.

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On 1/7/2022 at 8:15 PM, HANGAR18 said:

Whenever I try to evaluate the Original Heritage guitars versus the New Heritage guitars, I try to stick to evaluating the guitar and not the people. We all love the people who build the guitars and we love it when they get a paycheck and feed their families. No arguments there. But trying to include an emotional attachment from the people/friends who work there when trying to evaluate the differences in the guitars produced between the original owners and the current owners is going to produce some really skewed results. Do we want to judge the guitars or do we want to judge the people? Pick one. Not both at the same time.

Bullseye, Danny.  The subtext which informs so many of the posts specifically about Heritage's instruments, past and present, right here. 

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I am blown away by what the used Heritage's are going for. I buy to play, not to sell. Ten years ago on this forum you could get anything for a good price. Not so much now. .

I have a bumper sticker on my car that says "Capitalism Bums Me Out."

Oh well, when I kick the bucket my wife and or daughter will benefit but I ain't selling yet. I will have a letter to each of them in the cases to not let shady guitar guys take advantage of dead guys' families.

The old ones are great. My main two gigging guitars are both old Heritages. The new ones that I've played are also great. However, you can't get the H170 or H-162s or cool guitars like that new.

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1 hour ago, yoslate said:

Bullseye, Danny.  The subtext which informs so many of the posts specifically about Heritage's instruments, past and present, right here. 

On this forum, I always felt uncomfortable saying what I did about the quality flaws of the older guitars, but there is NO doubt to me, that Heritage is building the best guitars they have since I've known of the company. Yes, some of the older ones are killer, especially some of the custom jobs I've seen, like Pressure, MartyGrass, Yoslate, and Kuz have commissioned, but I've seen many of the older ones sold in stores with some terrible nut slotting, fret filing and monkey soldering, etc. My friend Eric was a Heritage dealer and he carried all the standard models, so I played many of them from the so called golden years (preBandLab), and many people that bought them had problems with them.

I had to do extensive work on all 3 of my older Heritage H150s to get them where I wanted them, but they all turned out killer. I had to replace the nut and do fret dressing on all of them. I sold one because it was ridiculously heavy, but the other two I've kept for good reason. When I first started getting into Heritages you could find a good H150 for around $1000 and then go to work on it, so the old ones were a bargain, especially if you could find one with a weight and finish that you liked. And then for a few hundred dollars more, you could get, new wiring, pickups, and hardware, etc, and you had a seriously good sounding guitar. My older 2006 H150 smokes!!! I bought it for $1200 and then put about $500 more into it so was a SERIOUS bargain! But many of the new guard H150's and H530's that I've played, were turn key, and were both good sounding and playable with no modding at all. I think the company is building some great guitars, and although more expensive, are still reasonably priced.

Yes I know many of you guys are pissed about the way bandlab took over, but I don't care what they did, as long as they build good guitars and provide good customer service now. I have been looking at custom cores but waiting till I find exactly what I want. It's a new company better to start fresh.

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33 minutes ago, bolero said:

My Heritages are still ok. Seasonally I might need to tweak the truss rod a bit.

I have to do that to almost all of my guitars, except my Gibson L5s guitars, because those 5 piece necks are just plain solid!

Edited by rockabilly69
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