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H-150 Weights- an obsession?


MartyGrass
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58 minutes ago, High Flying Bird said:

A buddy's father owned a '59 Les Paul.  Even when I was 17 years old and in good shape I thought it was terribly heavy.  It felt hard too.  Solid!  I remember that day also because my buddy was trying to be a big shot and gave me a condom.  I used it on his girlfriend the next week... but that is another story. 

When I got my black 150 in '90 it was just as heavy as the '59.  It was just as hard and solid.  I popped my skull many times taking it off or putting it on.  It hurt my back playing it.  I sold it and a Fender twin because they were too heavy to take around or play.  Of all the Heritage guitars I have owned or played since they were all very nice guitars but the old black 150 didn't need an amp to sustain.  Marv told my dealer they built two of them so Roy Clark could choose one.  I didn't believe it until about a year later when I saw Roy playing an identical guitar as mine on Hee Haw.  Later, in person, Marv told me that Roy had set it on a dresser in a hotel and it fell and cracked the headstock. 

That was one heavy guitar.  We called it. "The Piano." 

Great Story!

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Just slightly off course discussion-wise - weight may be a factor with regards to tone and sustain, but there are other factors involved in the issue, such as construction, hardware, etc.  I'm sure that encountered guitars that were pretty light, and still sustained into tomorrow, and heavy guitars that sounded just plain dead.

As for the discomfort a heavy guitar can give you - my main gigging guitar for most of the 90s was a 1980 Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion.  It was a semi-hollow, and was quite the tone monster.  You'd think it would be relatively light - wrong!  I took it to work one time, and weighed it on a calibrated scale.  It weighed 13.5 lbs (courtesy of its larger than a Les Paul sized body, combined with a maple center block the entire length of the guitar [the early 'Fusions were notorious for being boat anchors]), which explained why by the time I got to the 3rd set, it felt like my left shoulder was ready to fall off.  After playing that guitar for years, I felt like I had no reason to complain about guitars that weigh 10 lbs - especially when you consider how heavy a bass can be.

 

Ellen - it's been a while for me, since I've been here

Edited by EllenGtrGrl
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7 hours ago, Dick Seacup said:

I am sometimes amused when I read posts--here and elsewhere--of people saying "I absolutely will not consider a guitar that weighs more than <x> pounds!"  What if it was the sonic equivalent of the second coming of <insert your own personal messiah here>?  You wouldn't at least ponder the possibility? What if it also had a neck to die for? Still no? Fretwork that was sublime? Not worth considering, eh? An oddity in the wiring that allowed you to get exactly *that* tone you hear in your head? Nope, weighs too much, hard pass, I guess. 

The way I view it, any particular guitar should be evaluated as the sum total of the parts (or metrics), not on any one factor alone. But, well, that's me. And I'm a little odd. So, there's that.

 

There was this one day that I had two H-150's in my hands and I went to hang them up on the wall (back then I had all of my guitars hanging on the wall 24/7) when at the very moment I reached forward with both arms at the same time (one on one hook and one on the other hook) did the nerves in my lower back provide me a mini-jolt to remind me of the time they once laid me out in a bed, unable to move for about a week. I then immediately sold both H-150's to Brent and swore off heavy guitars forever. (sort of...)

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1 hour ago, EllenGtrGrl said:

Just slightly off course discussion-wise - weight may be a factor with regards to tone and sustain, but there are other factors involved in the issue, such as construction, hardware, etc.  I'm sure that encountered guitars that were pretty light, and still sustained into tomorrow, and heavy guitars that sounded just plain dead.

As for the discomfort a heavy guitar can give you - my main gigging guitar for most of the 90s was a 1980 Gibson Howard Roberts Fusion.  It was a semi-hollow, and was quite the tone monster.  You'd think it would be relatively light - wrong!  I took it to work one time, and weighed it on a calibrated scale.  It weighed 13.5 lbs (courtesy of its larger than a Les Paul sized body, combined with a maple center block the entire length of the guitar [the early 'Fusions were notorious for being boat anchors]), which explained why by the time I got to the 3rd set, it felt like my left shoulder was ready to fall off.  After playing that guitar for years, I felt like I had no reason to complain about guitars that weigh 10 lbs - especially when you consider how heavy a bass can be.

 

Ellen - it's been a while for me, since I've been here

Good to see you back. Hope you are doing well.

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8 hours ago, Dick Seacup said:

Long before there was a HOC, I went through a Brentston-esque phase of buying and selling guitars. And I mean a lot of guitars (hence Brentston-esque). I bought a shit ton few (hi, hon!) keyboards with just the profits I made flipping guitars. When one of our younger sons was still in a crib, my wife was complaining to me she couldn't manage to put the mattress down lower and said son was able to climb out of his gayly painted prison. She eventually realized the issue wasn't the construction of the crib, but the guitar cases I had hidden under it (and forgotten about) that were preventing the desired operation from succeeding. This led to a less-than-fun discussion, but I digress.

Across all of those guitars that passed through my hands, not once did I ever think, "boy, this thing sure is heavy!" or "wow, this sounds fantastic for how light it is!" The ones I gelled with (I suppose some might say "bonded with") stuck around. The ones that didn't, well, I flipped them to fund other guitars (and keyboards and fun stuff). There are a few guitars I moved on that I wish I had back (<cough>Tonesucker(tm)</cough>) and a few that I foolishly moved out that I did get back (most famously, a Hamer Studio FM wrap-tail that...well, never mind, long story). At no time, however, did weight alone ever figure in to the calculus. 

I am sometimes amused when I read posts--here and elsewhere--of people saying "I absolutely will not consider a guitar that weighs more than <x> pounds!"  What if it was the sonic equivalent of the second coming of <insert your own personal messiah here>?  You wouldn't at least ponder the possibility? What if it also had a neck to die for? Still no? Fretwork that was sublime? Not worth considering, eh? An oddity in the wiring that allowed you to get exactly *that* tone you hear in your head? Nope, weighs too much, hard pass, I guess. 

The way I view it, any particular guitar should be evaluated as the sum total of the parts (or metrics), not on any one factor alone. But, well, that's me. And I'm a little odd. So, there's that.

 

I like the way you write!

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This has been and is one of the most enjoyable threads in quite some time.

Look at all the long time members coming out of the wood works and posting!

Nice

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6 hours ago, High Flying Bird said:

A buddy's father owned a '59 Les Paul.  Even when I was 17 years old and in good shape I thought it was terribly heavy.  It felt hard too.  Solid!  I remember that day also because my buddy was trying to be a big shot and gave me a condom.  I used it on his girlfriend the next week... but that is another story. 

 

Savage! Ha Ha

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6 hours ago, Dick Seacup said:

I had the exact same thought. Then I wondered if he left his over-the-calf tube socks on.

We both did. 

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10lb guitars are too heavy for this old boy. My H155, semi solid, gives me the same crankin tones as my old H150 did. that thing was just too heavy. but I'd love to try a custom core

 

Jim D showed me the blanks that make up the custom cores back in our last visit at the plant not that long ago, they all meet a weight criteria

 

 

very enjoyable thead

 

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I'm with you Chico.   The Millie is just about the perfect weight, while living in the H150/LP sonic territory.   I find that if I stand with my 157 for 30-40 minutes,  my fingers start to go numb and my shoulder and back cramp.   That makes for problems when you're trying to play guitar.    That's even with a wide strap.   I can hold my 535 and Millie lots longer.  

Obviously part of the problem is that we aren't quite as young as we used to be.  

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22 hours ago, PunkKitty said:

Good to see you back. Hope you are doing well.

Yeah, it's been a while.  The H-535 went bye-bye about 20 months ago (I've finally realized that '335-style guitars are a big, fat "meh" for me), so I quite hanging out here. 

My favorite local guitar shop is a Heritage dealer, so when I asked a couple of weeks ago to try out a Les Paul (I've only had a few Les Pauls over the years, so I wanted something different from the Fenders I've been playing lately) with a decently chunky neck, I was pointed at a couple of vintage speced Gibsons, and several H-150s.  Liking things a little different, I tried out an ebony H-150 Standard.  It sounded good, and had a Medium C neck with just enough heft to make my left hand happy (thin necks give me a sore left hand - after some digging online, I found out the H-150 Standard's neck is around .870" at the 1st fret [a chunkier Medium C]).  The Gibbys were a tad bit chunkier neck-wise, but sounded kind of blah, through the Marshall DSL I was using as my test mule, so Heritage it was.  Oh yeah, and at a better price to boot!  :)  The guitar's on layaway at the present time.  Then it will need the obligatory re-fret job with Jescar Evo Gold fret wire, since I have major allergies to nickel (which virtually all standard frets have).

Edited by EllenGtrGrl
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28 minutes ago, EllenGtrGrl said:

Yeah, it's been a while.  The H-535 went bye-bye about 20 months ago (I've finally realized that '335-style guitars are a big, fat "meh" for me), so I quite hanging out here. 

My favorite local guitar shop is a Heritage dealer, so when I asked a couple of weeks ago to try out a Les Paul (I've only had a few Les Pauls over the years, so I wanted something different from the Fenders I've been playing lately) with a decently chunky neck, I was pointed at a couple of vintage speced Gibsons, and several H-150s.  Liking things a little different, I tried out an ebony H-150 Standard.  It sounded good, and had a Medium C neck with just enough heft to make my left hand happy (thin necks give me a sore left hand - after some digging online, I found out the H-150 Standard's neck is around .870" at the 1st fret [a chunkier Medium C]).  The Gibbys were a tad bit chunkier neck-wise, but sounded kind of blah, through the Marshall DSL I was using as my test mule, so Heritage it was.  Oh yeah, and at a better price to boot!  :)  The guitar's on layaway at the present time.  Then it will need the obligatory re-fret job with Jescar Evo Gold fret wire, since I have major allergies to nickel (which virtually all standard frets have).

 

My baby sister actually bought a Les Paul recently. Historically she has always favored the Japaneese ESP/E-II/LTD guitars with the 25.5" scale length so this is a big move in a different direction for her. She knows I like Heritage but for the time being it seems that Gibson is the stronger brand name and they had a Burgundy color she really liked.  I think it was the Les Paul "Modern" Les Paul model she bought.

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So I have gigging guitars and studio guitars. I don't care how heavy my studio guitars are as i can play them sitting down. I never worry about weight when buying. If I like the guitar, I like the guitar and it will find its place in my life.

 

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9 hours ago, EllenGtrGrl said:

Yeah, it's been a while.  The H-535 went bye-bye about 20 months ago (I've finally realized that '335-style guitars are a big, fat "meh" for me), so I quite hanging out here. 

My favorite local guitar shop is a Heritage dealer, so when I asked a couple of weeks ago to try out a Les Paul (I've only had a few Les Pauls over the years, so I wanted something different from the Fenders I've been playing lately) with a decently chunky neck, I was pointed at a couple of vintage speced Gibsons, and several H-150s.  Liking things a little different, I tried out an ebony H-150 Standard.  It sounded good, and had a Medium C neck with just enough heft to make my left hand happy (thin necks give me a sore left hand - after some digging online, I found out the H-150 Standard's neck is around .870" at the 1st fret [a chunkier Medium C]).  The Gibbys were a tad bit chunkier neck-wise, but sounded kind of blah, through the Marshall DSL I was using as my test mule, so Heritage it was.  Oh yeah, and at a better price to boot!  :)  The guitar's on layaway at the present time.  Then it will need the obligatory re-fret job with Jescar Evo Gold fret wire, since I have major allergies to nickel (which virtually all standard frets have).

Nice. I bought an H150 earlier this year and then another last week. Also, just a *few* others.

Edited by PunkKitty
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2 hours ago, PunkKitty said:

Nice. I bought an H150 earlier this year and then another last week. Also, just a *few* others.

Two in the last 11 days?

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2 hours ago, PunkKitty said:

No. But two in the last 6 months.

So Brent's record is still intact

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 I don't worry too much about weight, but I also use wide 3" leather straps that are very comfortable. They actually feel better with heavier guitars!

 My 90's H150s are heavier than the post 2004s I have owned. Maybe it's the Brazilian rosewood??? Joking. But I kept them & sold the others.

I did get to check out a real 1959 Les Paul for a bit: I was surprised that it felt exactly like my 90s H150 when I rolled the body around to examine it. Weight was approx the same too. I was expecting it to be lighter.

But clearly with wood, there are variations.

Edited by bolero
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There was a bass player around Austin back in the day named Jim Fielder. A friend of mine was studying with him and Jim had invented a strap system for bass players that was pretty cool. It went over the shoulders and put some of the weight around the waist also. Seems like it would be great for Les Paul style heavy guitars. Has anyone heard of it? Not sure if Jim is still around or playing but I think I will ask around....I don't think he ever marketed it and only a few people I knew had them.

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Back pain is a very real thing.

If you believe some of our members are making up the lower weights taboo, consider yourself very lucky.

Don't mean to be a Danny Downer

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1 hour ago, rwinking said:

Jim had invented a strap system for bass players that was pretty cool. It went over the shoulders and put some of the weight around the waist also.

That reminds me of the harness that baritone sax players use...

Saxophone Straps &amp; Harnesses Online — Sax.co.uk

Also the Chapman Stick has a hook which fits into the player's belt.

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1 hour ago, bobmeyrick said:

Also the Chapman Stick has a hook which fits into the player's belt.

I'm thinking that Jim Fielder got the idea from the Stick now that I am getting my memory jarred a little. That bari player looks pretty dorky. If a bass player used one of those bari straps it wouldn't matter as they are usually dorks anyway. The trick would be to make one for guitarists that would still allow them to look cool at all times.

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