Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Equipment Notes - Part 5

My "jazz" guitar (deep-body f-hole arched-top acoustic-electric guitar) is a Heritage Golden Eagle. I have owned several nice jazz guitars in the past - a 1958 Gibson L-5CES, a 1961 Gibson L-7, a Hofner New President, an Ibanez 2355M and a Epiphone Emperor II). The Heritage is the prettiest, the best constructed, and the best sounding of all of these!

The history of Heritage guitars is very interesting. When the Gibson Guitar Corporation closed its Kalamazoo, Michigan factory in September of 1984 it moved all production to its other plant in Nashville, Tennessee (in operation since 1975). When this took place, some of the employees were asked to move to Nashville. However, since their families had spent many years in Kalamazoo, it made it difficult to uproot and move. Therefore 3 men, Jim Deurloo, Marvin Lamb, and JP Moats, decided to start a guitar manufacturing business. In 1985 when the company was incorporated, 2 other former Gibson Guitar Corporation employees, Bill Paige and Mike Korpak, joined as owners. Mike left the company in 1985.

The founders' biggest resource is and was the group of craftsmen they could draw from to begin operations. The owners themselves each had in excess of 25 years of hands on experience in making guitars. To this day each of the owners is directly involved in the manufacturing of each instrument.

Heritage started operations in the oldest of five buildings formerly owned and operated by Gibson Guitar Corporation. That building was completed in 1917 and has been a center for guitar manufacturing ever since. Much of the machinery that Heritage uses today was purchased from Gibson Guitar Corporation.

So essentially, the Heritage guitar is now what the Gibson guitar used to be during it's "glory days."

Here is a list of features from the Heritage catalog:
- 5 piece curly maple neck
- Multiple white bound head veneer inlaid with mother of pearl "The Heritage" and "Eagle & branch" designs.
- Back veneer inlaid with mother of pearl eagle and registration number (which was only used on the first 1000 guitars)
- 25 1/2 inch scale multiple white bound fingerboard with mother of pearl cloud inlays.
- 20 frets
- Single round Venetian cutaway
- Solid carved spruce top
- Solid carved curly maple back and rim
- Multiple white bound top and back
- Multiple white bound curly maple pickguard
- Single bound f-holes
- 17" body - 3" thick
- One Heritage humbucking jazz pickup mounted on pickguard
- One volume control
- Individual gold plated Grover Imperial machine heads
- Gold plated Heritage bail tailpiece
- Adjustable ebony bridge with mother of pearl inlays
- Mother of pearl truss rod cover

I found the electric tone of the guitar to be a little bright, so I added a tone control and mounted it on the pickguard next to the volume control (the tone control was added after the photo was taken).

What I liked best about this guitar (aside from the striking appearance) was the acoustic sound of the instrument. This guitar doesn't need to be plugged in to sound good - acoustically, it sounds as loud and as full as a flat-top guitar. The top and back of the instrument was hand carved like a fine violin. This is a very "live" sounding guitar, so I have to be careful about amp placement and volume or else it will feed back. I haven't recorded with this instrument yet, but I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity to do so because I believe the tone will be awesome!

Here is a photo:



Post a Comment

<< Home