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Reviews & Ratings for Heritage H150 Cm in Guitars
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Company: Heritage Model: H150 Cm
Title: Heritage "Les Paul" Year: 1999
Rating (1=Low : 5=High): 5
Review: For those who don't know: When Gibson moved their operations to Tenessee back in the mid 80's a few of the old-time Gibson employees decided not to make the move and instead purchased the original Gibson factory in Kalamazoo Michigan and started their own company. The three old guys who actually make the guitars have each worked in that factory since 1959! The guitars they make are basically Gibson "copies", though I would argue that it's the Tenessee "Gibsons" that are the copies. Just about anything Gibson makes is also available from Heritage, with just enough design changes to prevent lawsuits. The H150-CM is basically Heritage's answer to the original Les Paul flametop. The guitar is entirely hand made. (No computer-controlled CNC routers, etc.) Their guitars are available in an almost endless variety of colors, unlike Gibsons. You can have them install your choice of pickups. Since I was satisfying lingering adolescent fantasies about playing guitar for Led Zeppelin, I ordered the guitar in Antique Cherry Sunburst. Custom upgrades included an upgraded flame maple top (highly recommended!), ebony fretboard, and hand made Seymore Duncan "Antiquity" pickups. The body and neck are fully bound, just like a Les Paul Standard. For some odd reason they accidentally put a single binding around the headstock as well. (That's usually an extra cost option.) The guitar ended up being a cross between a LP Standard (flametop sunburst) and a Custom (ebony board and bound headstock). The fretboard inlays are LP standard-style trapezoids, done in genuine mother-of-pearl. (No mother-of-toilet seat here!) The upgraded flametop is the bomb, though even a standard Heritage top has more flame than a run-of-the-mill Gibson. In order to avoid lawsuits, the width of the body is about 1/4" narrower than a Gibson, the pickguard is kind of oddly shaped, and the headstock is narrower. You'll never notice the difference in body width unless you are extremely picky, and it actually makes for a slightly lighter guitar. The narrow "Heritage" headstock isn't the most stylish thing in the world, but funtionally it is superior to the Gibson because it provides a much straighter string pull. The pickguard, frankly, looks goofy. My suggestion would be to order the guitar without the pickguard mounted. You'll probably find that you prefer to see the wood rather than plastic, and there won't be an little holes drilled in the guitar. If you want a Gibson style pickguard, you can buy on and install it yourself. (The drill holes don't match up perfectly, or I'd do that with my guitar. Oh, well. Live and learn!) The only problem I've had, and I've heard that it's pretty common with Heritage, is the plug in jack is kind of low quality and tend to hiss and pop a lot. I had a local guitar shop replace it with a really nice aftermarket jack with a chrom jack plate. Cost about $20, and solved the problem. Heritage has an excellent reputation for customer service and warranty work, but I couldn't stand to be without my "baby" long enough to ship it back to Michigan. Heritage uses very high quality hardware and electronics. Grover tuners are standard (not the cheezy things that a LP Standard has), and they use a Schaller bridge and stop-tailpiece. The Schaller parts are better quality than the standard Gibson stuff, and the saddles of the Tune-o-matic style bridge are also individually adjustable from side to side, so you can get the string spacing set just the way you like it. I'm not a big fan of the look of the tailpiece, though, and might switch it out for a Gibson ABR tailpiece if I can do so without otherwise modifying the guitar. The guitar has the thin "1960" neck profile. It plays beautifully! The Antiquity pickups are just fantastic if you like a vintage-style tone. Not being a millionaire rock star, I can't directly compare them to original PAFs, but from the reviews I've read the Antiquities are a remarkable imitation, and will probably sound exactly like vintage PAFs 40 years from now! The chemically aged nickle covers are cool, too, if you like that sort of thing. (I do.) The quality and beauty of the hand-rubbed nitrocellulos laquer is fantastic. The setup of the guitar, as delivered, needed a little tweaking to get it the way I like it, but the quality of the construction and finish was exactly what you'd expect from craftsmen with 40 years of experience. If you want to learn more about Heritage, and check out some pictures, go to Ed is the worlds biggest Heritage dealer. If you are interested, he's worked out a deal with Heritage to install the Gibson bridges and/or tailpieces, and he can even set you up with a Les Paul pickguard if you're into that sort of thing. And his prices can't be beat. He can also set you up with "multiple" wood upgrades if you want that AAAAA flametop to show off. Expect to pay at least $500 to $1000 less than a comparable Gibson, and also expect to get a much nicer guitar. You can load up a Heritage with multiple wood upgrades and fancy pickups and still come in way below the $2000 mark. (Then you can go to the nearest Gibson "historic" dealer and compare your guitar to the $12,000 '59 reissue in the glass display case until they toss you out of the place. I did that, and it was pretty funny.) Remember: REAL Gibsons are made in Kalamazoo! (For a similar deal on a REAL Fender, check out G&L. As in "George Fullerton and Leo Fender." Company was started back in the 80's by George and Leo in the ORIGINAL Fender factory, which started out as Leo's garage! How cool is that?)
Pluses: Hand made craftsmanship, classic design, amazing price Minuses: Long, LONG wait for delivery (6 months, and it almost killed me.)
Suggestions: Suggestions: Don't mess with perfection!

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