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H-530 Journey...not quite there yet!


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New user, and new (OCD) Heritage owner.

TL;DR - I got a strangely (not in a good way) put together H-530 with a bunch of QC issues. Had direct communication with Heritage, they did a warranty repair and setup free of charge (and are really awesome, lovely people). BUT I'm still not sure if I like what I got back and I'm at a loss.

Here's my story:

I bought an artisan aged H-530 off Reverb. What really kicked this off was an incorrect label inside the guitar.

  1. The interior label had SD Seth Lovers written on it. But this was a H-530! So I reached out to Heritage via their online contact form and almost immediately got a response. Heritage said it was QC issue and it most certainly has Lollar P90s. Their super nice rep told me he'd mail me a new, corrected label right away. I was happy!
  2. Now I get to playing and immediately notice that the neck pickup cover was slightly cracked from an over-tightened screw. And one of the bridge pickup cover screws was driven at an angle. So out of four front-facing screws, two were noticeably errant.
  3. The pickup toggle was incredibly loose, so much so that in the middle position it would audibly vibrate when I played with any real attack.
  4. New label arrives and unfortunately it looks like my 4th grader wrote it. Not something I'd be proud to put inside my guitar, and not written by someone who takes any pride in their handwriting. Maybe I'm OCD here, but if aesthetics matter, then they matter.

I take a bunch of photos and a video, send it along to the Heritage rep. He gets right back, says he totally agrees with everything, we agree that artisan aged doesn't/shouldn't equal sloppy QC. They ask if I want to send the guitar back and get it all looked at? I say yes, please, thank you!

Quick turnaround and I get the guitar back.

  1. The pickup toggle is super-tight, feels great (although it is now at a much different angle than any ES style I've ever played, which I'll have to get a little used to or get adjusted).
  2. The neck pickup cover and screws all look as they should, no errors or cracks. But there is a new, plastic shim under the cover itself that wasn't there before. I don't see it on any other Heritage that I can find. I believe it's to raise the pickup height, but I don't love how it looks. Again, easy to remove or change.
  3. The bridge pickup cover was pretty loose on one side. I was able to easily tighten one of the screws and it tightened up the cover. But I expected everything to really be pretty close to perfect considering it was being QC'd for a 2nd and 3rd time!
  4. The output jack is slightly loose. I'm pretty sure this will be a real easy fix but the reason it's loose is because the nut is tightened at an angle. Just was not expecting that.

Dropping off this week at my trusted, local repair shop and I'll see what he says.

Heritage has amazing customer support. The guitar feels GREAT. I'm still working on getting the sound I want in my current setup, but it sounds amazing already. The QC issues have thrown me a bit though, and I wanted to share my experience. Thanks!

D6FD5CBA-BC0C-4932-8FC2-EF8C35F66CB4_1_105_c.jpeg

BEAFACF8-ABA2-4E81-8790-F181CD455674_1_105_c.jpeg

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While I haven't seen any listed, but that "used" guitar sounds more like a factory reject, there is a company recently discovered selling "used" Heritages which were really factory rejects with no warranty.  So that is possibly why the label isn't right.

However, the "aging" process is not done internally, so the guitar is shipped out to be aged and sent back.  Looks as if someone was in a hurry to send it back out and sadly, this was the result.

My guess would be whoever disassembled the guitar to age it, did a poor job reinstalling the parts.

I feel bad your first Heritage looks like this.

As far as the new label goes, my guess it was someone younger.  Penmanship isn't what it used to be, kids learn to type sooner in life making penmanship a low priority.

 

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I received a H-530 that had a label for a H-535 with Seth Lovers. No issues at all with the guitar.

Heritage sent me a correct label and I installed it right next to the wrong label. No worries.

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I don't think I'd worry too much about any of that. Stuff gets loose over time & needs to be tightened anyway.

Handwriting....you should see some of the old labels! Again not something I'd fret about

Congratulations though, I've always wanted a 530!

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9 hours ago, mipreiser said:

New user, and new (OCD) Heritage owner.

TL;DR - I got a strangely (not in a good way) put together H-530 with a bunch of QC issues. Had direct communication with Heritage, they did a warranty repair and setup free of charge (and are really awesome, lovely people). BUT I'm still not sure if I like what I got back and I'm at a loss.

Here's my story:

I bought an artisan aged H-530 off Reverb. What really kicked this off was an incorrect label inside the guitar.

  1. The interior label had SD Seth Lovers written on it. But this was a H-530! So I reached out to Heritage via their online contact form and almost immediately got a response. Heritage said it was QC issue and it most certainly has Lollar P90s. Their super nice rep told me he'd mail me a new, corrected label right away. I was happy!
  2. Now I get to playing and immediately notice that the neck pickup cover was slightly cracked from an over-tightened screw. And one of the bridge pickup cover screws was driven at an angle. So out of four front-facing screws, two were noticeably errant.
  3. The pickup toggle was incredibly loose, so much so that in the middle position it would audibly vibrate when I played with any real attack.
  4. New label arrives and unfortunately it looks like my 4th grader wrote it. Not something I'd be proud to put inside my guitar, and not written by someone who takes any pride in their handwriting. Maybe I'm OCD here, but if aesthetics matter, then they matter.

I take a bunch of photos and a video, send it along to the Heritage rep. He gets right back, says he totally agrees with everything, we agree that artisan aged doesn't/shouldn't equal sloppy QC. They ask if I want to send the guitar back and get it all looked at? I say yes, please, thank you!

Quick turnaround and I get the guitar back.

  1. The pickup toggle is super-tight, feels great (although it is now at a much different angle than any ES style I've ever played, which I'll have to get a little used to or get adjusted).
  2. The neck pickup cover and screws all look as they should, no errors or cracks. But there is a new, plastic shim under the cover itself that wasn't there before. I don't see it on any other Heritage that I can find. I believe it's to raise the pickup height, but I don't love how it looks. Again, easy to remove or change.
  3. The bridge pickup cover was pretty loose on one side. I was able to easily tighten one of the screws and it tightened up the cover. But I expected everything to really be pretty close to perfect considering it was being QC'd for a 2nd and 3rd time!
  4. The output jack is slightly loose. I'm pretty sure this will be a real easy fix but the reason it's loose is because the nut is tightened at an angle. Just was not expecting that.

Dropping off this week at my trusted, local repair shop and I'll see what he says.

Heritage has amazing customer support. The guitar feels GREAT. I'm still working on getting the sound I want in my current setup, but it sounds amazing already. The QC issues have thrown me a bit though, and I wanted to share my experience. Thanks!

D6FD5CBA-BC0C-4932-8FC2-EF8C35F66CB4_1_105_c.jpeg

BEAFACF8-ABA2-4E81-8790-F181CD455674_1_105_c.jpeg

I'm not a fan of the aging on the H530, as my close friend went through three of them and didn't keep any. And on the first one, the bridge was misplaced to the point of him not being able to intonate it correctly. He couldn't get the saddles back far enough to compensate for the sharp intonation of the E and A strings.Which was an absolute shame because that guitar sounded and played great. And seems to me on the aged models it might be easier to skip something as it little thing won't jump out as much as it would on a pristine example. 

As for your niggles, none of them sound serious to me, as when I get a new guitar, many times I have to tighten jacks and pots. I live in the Utah desert, where when guitar wood drys, the pots and jacks frequently become loose. And, you want that shim under the P90, as it will put the pickup where it needs for optimal tone.

If I were you, these are the things I would have checked by your tech...

does the truss rod work correctly? Better to find out sooner than later!

do notes go sharp at the first fret? If so, have your tech cut the nut slots a bit deeper. In the past Heritage has had problems cutting nuts

does it intonate properly? Are the saddles maxed out in forward or backwards in the slot?

do all the electronics work?

are the strings aligned on the fretboard, and over the pole pieces? Yours looks good in the picture provided.

If it passes all these tests, forget worrying, and enjoy your guitar. And as for the label, Heritage labels always looks like they were filled out by children.

Edited by rockabilly69
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Your story reminds me of some of the earlier Heritage guitars.  While usually the labels were legible and correct, sometimes they were very sparse and occasionally just plain wrong.  I have some that say only H-535.  Others give the finish and serial number.  Some have signatures.  There were a lot of variables.

The P-90 shims depended on who put the electronics on the guitar.  The slanted screw may be from the pickup originally being mounted without a shim and a shim was added at reassembly.  Adding the shim later may have required more pressure to seat the screw since that screw was originally placed deeper into the wood when there was no screw.  The cover can also crack from that.

The toggle switch can be tightened up.  It's not as easy to do that in a thin hollowbody as it is a solid body.  I got a new G&L Fullerton a few weeks ago with a loose toggle switch.  That was shocking to me because G&L has very high assembly standards (up to know at least).  They got an out of specs switch that can be hand tightened.

The toggle switch throw angle is pretty easily adjusted.  Just loosen the round nut on the top, twist to the desired angle and tighten.  Some guys, Johnny A most famously, have them rotated for a faster action.  Some move the toggle in a different direction to prevent accidentally switching pickups.

You bought a new guitar and deserve to have everything good.  There is an irony though.  This is an "aged" guitar.  Aside from the label, these changes you note are among those you'd see from a 1960s thinline that has been seriously used.

I use shims and like the higher signal to noise (hum) ratio of a higher pickup.

All of the work you put into your guitar will bond you more strongly to it.  It's worth it.  The 530 is a highly versatile and comfortable guitar that will serve you well.

 

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Incorrect labels are not exclusive to Heritage.I have a 1964 ES330 which describes the guitar as ES330TDC (the C indicating

the guitar is cherry finish).Someone must have had poor eyesight,because it's sunburst !!

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On 7/20/2021 at 6:43 PM, rockabilly69 said:

I'm not a fan of the aging on the H530, as my close friend went through three of them and didn't keep any. And on the first one, the bridge was misplaced to the point of him not being able to intonate it correctly. He couldn't get the saddles back far enough to compensate for the sharp intonation of the E and A strings.Which was an absolute shame because that guitar sounded and played great. And seems to me on the aged models it might be easier to skip something as it little thing won't jump out as much as it would on a pristine example. 

As for your niggles, none of them sound serious to me, as when I get a new guitar, many times I have to tighten jacks and pots. I live in the Utah desert, where when guitar wood drys, the pots and jacks frequently become loose. And, you want that shim under the P90, as it will put the pickup where it needs for optimal tone.

If I were you, these are the things I would have checked by your tech...

does the truss rod work correctly? Better to find out sooner than later!

do notes go sharp at the first fret? If so, have your tech cut the nut slots a bit deeper. In the past Heritage has had problems cutting nuts

does it intonate properly? Are the saddles maxed out in forward or backwards in the slot?

do all the electronics work?

are the strings aligned on the fretboard, and over the pole pieces? Yours looks good in the picture provided.

If it passes all these tests, forget worrying, and enjoy your guitar. And as for the label, Heritage labels always looks like they were filled out by children.

Thanks rockabilly69! Great info, I really appreciate it. I've checked everything you listed and it passes.

 

On 7/21/2021 at 10:23 AM, MartyGrass said:

Not exclusive to Heritage.  It's Kalamazoo lexdysia.

LOL

 

On 7/21/2021 at 8:34 AM, MartyGrass said:

Your story reminds me of some of the earlier Heritage guitars.  While usually the labels were legible and correct, sometimes they were very sparse and occasionally just plain wrong.  I have some that say only H-535.  Others give the finish and serial number.  Some have signatures.  There were a lot of variables.

The P-90 shims depended on who put the electronics on the guitar.  The slanted screw may be from the pickup originally being mounted without a shim and a shim was added at reassembly.  Adding the shim later may have required more pressure to seat the screw since that screw was originally placed deeper into the wood when there was no screw.  The cover can also crack from that.

The toggle switch can be tightened up.  It's not as easy to do that in a thin hollowbody as it is a solid body.  I got a new G&L Fullerton a few weeks ago with a loose toggle switch.  That was shocking to me because G&L has very high assembly standards (up to know at least).  They got an out of specs switch that can be hand tightened.

The toggle switch throw angle is pretty easily adjusted.  Just loosen the round nut on the top, twist to the desired angle and tighten.  Some guys, Johnny A most famously, have them rotated for a faster action.  Some move the toggle in a different direction to prevent accidentally switching pickups.

You bought a new guitar and deserve to have everything good.  There is an irony though.  This is an "aged" guitar.  Aside from the label, these changes you note are among those you'd see from a 1960s thinline that has been seriously used.

I use shims and like the higher signal to noise (hum) ratio of a higher pickup.

All of the work you put into your guitar will bond you more strongly to it.  It's worth it.  The 530 is a highly versatile and comfortable guitar that will serve you well.

 

Thanks MartyGrass, I feel the same about the extra work more strongly bonding me to the guitar. That's been my experience as well.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in, I appreciate all of your replies. After taking the H-530 to my tech (quick plug for an AMAZING luthier, great guitar player, and even better human - Randy Hughes at https://www.hughesguitarsandrepair.com/), the guitar looks like a real keeper. He was able to straighten the neck using the truss rod, and will do some other work to make it mine. Thanks again for your input!

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On 7/23/2021 at 6:44 PM, mipreiser said:

Thanks rockabilly69! Great info, I really appreciate it. I've checked everything you listed and it passes.

 

LOL

 

Thanks MartyGrass, I feel the same about the extra work more strongly bonding me to the guitar. That's been my experience as well.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in, I appreciate all of your replies. After taking the H-530 to my tech (quick plug for an AMAZING luthier, great guitar player, and even better human - Randy Hughes at https://www.hughesguitarsandrepair.com/), the guitar looks like a real keeper. He was able to straighten the neck using the truss rod, and will do some other work to make it mine. Thanks again for your input!

I'm glad you have a solution to your problem and you are happy with the guitar!

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