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Johnny Smith in Heritage years

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I love Johnny Smith and his official biography "Moonlight in Vermont".

This book has some article about Heritage guitars,so I write down them.


・He has big frustration that gibon could not make guitars correctly,

for example, each neck was different so he said he could have done better himself with a jack knife.

・Gibon had fallen some considerable way behind with royality payments.

・So he left Gibons and enter into an agreement with Heritage in 1989.

・Smith felt that the guitar that Heritage subsequently built in his name was excellent and consistently built instrument that he was proud enough to own himself.

・His signature designs are 25 inch scale length(for playability),20 fret(for warmth of sound),floating pickup,the micro adjusting tailpiece, blackfinish hardware.

・Each guitar's internal label was personally signed by Smith(I don't know all the guitar until 2001 signed by him or partial).

・He also gave the model its"Rose"title.

・He also had reservations about the aesthetic of the headstock,but he could not persuade Heritage change it.

・Royalty check is 500 USD for the sale of first ten guitars. 


Sorry for my english is poor.

Thank you.

IMG_9092 (1).jpg

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Great information! Thank you.

That is on my bucket list for sure.

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Originally they agreed on two finishes- burst and natural.  As time went on, lots of the original specs were transgressed.  They were still great instruments.

The finishes branched into rose natural, red and green.  There may be more.

The sizes ranged from 16-18 inches across and up to 3 1/4" deep.

Some were tap tuned.

The neck thickness varied from a little on the thin side to medium.  No baseball bats I'm aware of.

The major specs remained true.  The woods were ultras, the tops thin, there were no mounted pickups, and the neck block was consistent.  I've scoped a few of their bodies.  I saw no issues and attention to the tapering of the bracing.

Less popular but equally impressive is the work they put into the American Eagle.  I've only closely examined two.

There certainly are other Heritage archtops that are home runs.  The Johnny Smith is a marvel though.

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I have a pickin' buddy who has some serious vintage guitars. Heritage made him a special archtop back in the (early?) 90's too. He still has it, thinks very high of it and it appears to get better and better every year. 



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