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Sad Days At Heritage Guitars

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by deytookerjaabs, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

    Dec 6, 2015
    Wisconsin
    I was trying to figure out if you had a reason for this faith in the new owners, or if you really are just assuming that they know what they're doing, because they bought a business, and are, presumably, business people. If that made sense, businesses wouldn't fail. They're all run by business people, by virtue of them being in business, and therefore I can assume, by your logic, they all have a business plan.

    This could be their plan:
    Buy a small niche company with a following loyal to high end, luthier-built instruments, then fire all the luthiers and sell les paul knockoffs made to the common standards of high volume production. Everyone sells these things, they're easy to make, and people will always buy more.
    Sadly, that might work, for a while. Or maybe they'll die as fast as I wish the new "D'Angelico" did.
     
  2. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    We will know a year or two from now weather this whole thing is going to work. I hope so. I wanted to see as many American companies building guitars as possible.
     
    awasson likes this.
  3. 0utputXfmr

    0utputXfmr TDPRI Member

    68
    Feb 10, 2018
    York, Pennsylvania
    Not to get side-tracked, but what do you have against the current D'Angelico guitars?
     
  4. 0utputXfmr

    0utputXfmr TDPRI Member

    68
    Feb 10, 2018
    York, Pennsylvania
    Well, the new website looks pretty good, as do the 2018 NAMM guitars on Reverb.

    It's always disheartening to hear about people losing jobs they've had for decades. But I'm going to reserve my judgement on the management until the new guitars are out there in large enough quantities to obtain a worthwhile sample size.

    If the quality, marketing, visibility, & support all improve, then it would be fair to say that management simply had to make some very difficult, but very necessary decisions.

    If none of that happens, then the suspicions of some on this forum would be correct.

    But I'll give them a little time (including a first few months to work out the inevitable bugs) to see what the actual result is.
     
  5. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

    Dec 6, 2015
    Wisconsin
    They don't deserve the name.
     
  6. 0utputXfmr

    0utputXfmr TDPRI Member

    68
    Feb 10, 2018
    York, Pennsylvania
    ...and D'aquisto was once owned by Fender, now owned by Aria in Japan. I don't put a lot of stock in names anyway.
     
  7. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Holic

    If only we could have folks understand that very simple, very obvious, conclusion. And, it not only applies to goods and services...I'll leave it at that.
     
    ROADMAN and bottlenecker like this.
  8. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Colorado Springs
    I consider Hamer, G&L, and Heritage to be somewhat similar. To their enthusiasts, they are viewed as superior alternatives to Gibson, Fender, and Gibson, respectively. I do agree those three brands are typically nice guitars... but I have found nothing about them to be 'superior' to Gibson or Fender; they're typically on par with, a little better, or not quite as good. One post on this thread was talking about how wonderful his Heritage is, and mentioned how well it stays in tune. Wow. There's a high standard.

    I've played three- or four-hundred dollar Epiphones, Mexican Fenders, PRS SE's etc that played and sounded exceptional. And stayed in tune! I have literally NEVER played a guitar that cost 3x that amount of money, that sounded and played 3x better than those 3-400 dollar examples. Never. Not once. 10% better? 20%? Maybe.

    On the other hand, I view all-solid acoustic guitars completely differently. There is a WORLD of difference between most Olsons, Collings, Santa Cruz, Bourgois (sp?) etc over very nice "mainstream" acoustic makers. I have played a few $5000+ acoustics that I was blown away by the sound and even how the guitar vibrated in my hands, how 'alive' it was--yes, maybe even 3x times better than nice, lower level all solid acoustics.

    Just my experience.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
    william tele, ROADMAN and Dave W like this.
  9. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Tele-Holic

    Age:
    41
    981
    Aug 28, 2018
    Pittsburgh
    I have one of the korean guitars - ex-ss or something like that. GC blows them out at half price once in a while on their site (it was $799). I have no experience with the lower line (china or indonesia?).

    The korean dangelico is made as well or better than a japanese gretsch nashville I had. It's not a $5000 guitar or anything, but I'm surprised how good the workmanship is on it. The pickups aren't great, though (kent armstrong? They seem like rebadged korean pickups or something and low level and clean is about all they're good at).

    Some of their original guitars were a bit wonky (though they were hand made - I should probably say because they were doing a lot of work by hand that gibson would've been doing on jigs on guitars like an L-5).

    I wouldn't pay the $1700 regular price for the korean guitars, because their resale value is poor, but they're probably as good as any other plywood hollowbody made in japan or somewhere that would be $1700 or more).
     
  10. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Holic

    834
    Aug 17, 2013
    Essex UK
    All of which sent them to the wall where they needed to be bailed out. Sad state of affairs but you can’t be ‘nice’ in business anymore
     
  11. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    As a now part time builder Gibson must have spent a lot of money on , IMHO, are junk guitars- new Epiphones . When the original name of Epiphone- I'm talking early 60s here- were easily as good as or better than Gibson. They should have maintained the quality of Heritage guitars and Epiphones ( only the Elitist series are good) and promoted the Heritage range.
    But sales = $$$s. Cheaply, badly made Epiphones, were just that. Their other company acquisitions and investments meant they had to charge more for a Gibson. Quality control went down.
    I think i'll buy an original 60s ES-330 as I don't think Gibson will be around much longer. Sad as the BEST guitars I have ever played were a 1928 L-00 and a 61 SG Les Paul Jr. ( Also an Epophone 61 Casino/335 with mini-h/bers).
     
  12. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    Nashville


    Appreciating craftsmanship and flat out lying are two different things.

    Saying crap like "Gibson ghost builds Les Pauls" or "Collings has one piece big leaf mahogany backs unlike Gibson" ...means you've lost all credibility as those are both 100% false statements.

    Gibson never ghost built Les Pauls and it's reissues have had one piece backs for decades, don't take it personally as it's not a matter of opinion..I'm just pointing out the facts.




    As for my history in the craft, my experience started with appreciating and learning as much about guitars as I could when I started playing at age 11. I was accepted to a pretty good music school for jazz studies and finished with a contract major in composition. During this period I worked at a vintage dealer (where I studied in high school) giving lessons for a long time and was taught to do all my own work & all things guitar by the in house tech. That's also where my hands on experience of handling hundreds of "golden era" vintage guitars comes as well as thousands of others. I even convinced the dealer to do a temporary stint in dealing...Heritage guitars!

    A while after that (did 1.5 years of my master then switched to EE), when I moved to Chicago, I spent two years apprenticing at the "Chicago School of Guitar Making" though I never intended to build guitars for a living full time as I'm not suicidal. There I worked on everything from the design stage to personally taking part in building instruments for notable clients. I've also always been interested in the engineering of mass production techniques and have toured many factories from the old Heritage to PRS to Martin to many smaller facilities and have some good chums in the biz from a few builders to road techs to former Gibson engineers etc.

    That said, appreciating this stuff is a side hobby, the devotion is to the craft of music.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  13. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Meister

    Age:
    53
    266
    Oct 25, 2017
    Indiana
    Definitions of "poor performance" differ.

    It could mean someone who shows up hung over and does sloppy work.

    It could mean someone who is too meticulous to meet the new production quota.

    A guy who works 15% faster than his co-workers, but whose work is 30% lower quality, could either be the best or the worst performer in the shop - it just depends on who is defining 'performance' based on what they're trying to accomplish.
     
  14. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Tele-Holic

    Age:
    41
    981
    Aug 28, 2018
    Pittsburgh
    That's exactly why I said if you could build to a standard and you weren't limited by talent or resources, you would build to the Collings standard and not Gibson.

    Bourgeois comes to mind on the acoustic side also - some people don't like dana's taste in voicing, but the guitars are head and shoulders above Gibson's acoustics and every one gets the attention it needs to be great. There are some people who don't like the price, either, because they don't really gather what the difference is between Gibson or basic Martins (like D-28) and something like Bourgeois or Collings. The latter just do a better job, and in Gibson's case, they can't work to Collings' standard. It's OK that they can't, but they literally have never demonstrated the ability to, not even for a short period of time.

    Now gibson's specs are imprecise. On a $6,500 guitar, they advertise lightweight mahogany. What kind? Is it honduran? Is it quartered? On a lower priced guitar, those things don't matter, you can't expect them, but honduran mahogany moves less with changes in humidity - lower tangential, radial and volumetric shrinking by a fairly significant amount. The ills that a les paul can suffer (especially body hump) will be less with honduran mahogany, especially if it's actually sawn properly. The picture of the '59 custom shop made guitar looks pretty good - not perfect (I'd expect perfect at that price - like better wood than I'd be able to locate as a builder for any reasonable price - what else would you save it for? a $13000 guitar?).

    I believe they make a good guitar, and it should be consistently better from the custom shop than it is from the floor. But I also don't believe they can work to the level of collings. Before I bought a CL, I pinged the internet to find out what people think who own both, and every response was that the level of workmanship in a collings CL is clearly better than the R9.

    I'd give gibson a pass for things I wouldn't be satisfied with in a Collings, just because it's gibson.

    And I noticed in going to small shows around here where session musicians come up from nashville, when the guys were not signed to anyone, they always seemed to be playing something other than Gibson. I learned what collings was a dozen years ago by seeing guthrie trapp tag along with jerry douglas. I thought maybe they were a martin knock-off, and when I saw the prices, I wanted to believe they were just a hip thing like designer jeans.

    Once you get a hold of them, they're just better than gibson, and at any reasonable price level, better than martin (I've never had a vintage martin or anything they charge mid 5 figures for, but a run of the mill guitar from Bourgeois or Collings separates itself from 4 figure martins pretty easily, and in the slope D style - from Gibson).
     
    bottlenecker likes this.
  15. Zeonoid

    Zeonoid Tele-Meister

    468
    Dec 17, 2008
    Slovakia, EU
    marketing problem and on the top of the pricing problem (way too expansive guitars that doesnt have that one little mojo that makes a buyer buy it)
     
  16. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Tele-Holic

    Age:
    41
    981
    Aug 28, 2018
    Pittsburgh
    I haven't got a clue how you can't see a difference between Gibson and Collings instruments if you've seen any number of both, then.

    I figured you were either in sales/soft skill work, or an engineer. On the tool side of things (where I do most of my amateur work), I often run across engineers - who know they can make something better than anyone else, or tell me why certain details don't matter -they could be "engineered out". Most of those are software or mechanical engineers, though. I don't know anything about electrical work beyond house wiring, so I've got no dog there.

    The claim that in a relative price range that Gibson's work is as good as Collings is wrong. The workmanship isn't as good, and the materials aren't as good. They're (gibson) not exactly gluing together butcher blocks, but their effort in selecting materials is a notch below Collings, especially at a similar price level. Their workmanship is at least a full notch below.

    The only argument that you can make is that the extra attention to precision and consistency that collings has isn't necessary. But I think the price that gibson wants for work a notch lower isn't necessary, either. And they've "gotten" me when I was younger by not having the ethics to hold a defective guitar back - something I couldn't identify as a kid. Made me an easy target.
     
    drlucky likes this.
  17. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    Nashville


    First off, the point of a reissue is to be a reissue, if you can't grasp your head around the fact that reissue Les Pauls have variations in grain cuts/patterns because the originals did too no one can help you solve this riddle but you. If you honestly think this Garbage that no one who plays a Collings would buy a Gibson you're sniffing too much glue.


    Second, Guthrie has a deal with Collings, there is no group of session musicians from Nashville who play exclusive boutiques...that's total BS. Trapp has a Gibson 335 & various Tele's he gigs with most of the time (haven't seen the guy in 6+ months tho) and some fancy acoustics but anyone who's been privy to the Union knows there's no consensus on what guys play. But, there are a ton of Gibson guitars, old a new, and lots of other brands...many cheap...many vintage...just all over the place.


    Third, it's impossible to keep up with all this nonsense, lol.
     
  18. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    Nashville



    Nonsense. There's a term: it's called stay in your lane. This isn't about the difference between Gibson and Collings, it's about being able to stick to the facts of your argument.


    When you can't stick to the facts and have to lie to get your point across by saying Gibson ghost builds guitars or doesn't have 1 piece true mahogany backs you lose credibility because you're lying.



    And you'll continue to type 1000 words time after time to obfuscate the fact that you can't get a point across without making false statements.
     
  19. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Tele-Holic

    Age:
    41
    981
    Aug 28, 2018
    Pittsburgh
    It can also mean people who disagree with management, but you can manipulate things to place blame. A prior employer of mine would "build a case" against employees for a year and then toss them. Building a case was usually done by reassigning their workload to someone else and giving them a special position for a short period of time. When the special position time period was over, their workload was gone, they couldn't show the volume of work that goals require, and their reviews would change.

    In this case, it sounds like the first walkout occurred after 300 guitars were thrown away. All you have to do is go to court, if it's required, and state that the employees involved were not able to make numbers or quality standards. It sounds like they just didn't want to do things the way the new sterile factory does.

    I hate to say it, but the assembly line kind of work environment (which is a bit soul sucking) that they have now will probably make more consistent guitars with less variation. They might even be better, but as a hand maker, I may still at some point go to the company in the first video to pick through their guitars and get a good one, even if i had to come home and purchase it through a dealer. I wouldn't purchase from the production in the second video. It is exactly what I speculated - putting together a sterile production environment that reminds me a whole lot of a 1990s cabinet factory that I worked in, and the objecting poster above walked right into by saying they parted with most of their older employees and brought in a bunch of bright faced younger guys.

    I regret somewhat earlier mentioning that I got a kind of mediocre guitar with some marks on it from the older group, I should've been wise enough not to buy a guitar from their pick of 10% remaining after the other 90% were purchased by a dealer. That 90% probably had some dandies in it.
     
  20. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Tele-Holic

    Age:
    41
    981
    Aug 28, 2018
    Pittsburgh
    do you think Guthrie had a deal with collings 13 years ago? I didn't know who he was, and neither did most people. In all of the small shows I went to, I saw one vintage martin acoustic, no gibsons and I wasn't paying attention for fender, but there may have been one or two.

    Certainly people could buy both. I have both, but I wouldn't buy a '59 reissue, which looks like a $3,500 guitar for $6,500.

    I did have a reissue, by the way - it was the guitar that was defective. Granted it was in the mid 1990s, it was still on henry's watch. I was 19 at the time and buying my first "expensive" guitar. The neck had an S pattern in it from end to end, and someone at Gibson filed almost the entire bottom end of the last four frets off, it wasn't enough to make it right, but they decided to send it out, anyway.

    I hope they wouldn't do that now.

    I have seen the '59s in person, they are not to the standard of collings. People will play beat up telecasters that are vintage for the "vibe", so whether or not people still play gibsons isn't a statement of who has better workmanship, it's a statement that they see Gibson's value despite the workmanship.

    I can't disagree, either, that the selection and workmanship isn't necessary to make a nice playing and sounding guitar. Tokai can make a guitar as good as gibson can for half the money, and the only thing Gibson can do about them is make legal threats.
     
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