Heritage 150CM-CL Reviews 5

The caption above this field on the review submission page says 'Please tell how, where and why you acquired this unit and how much you paid'. The answer to 'how' is . . . I worked my ass off slaving away endless hours for an ungrateful electorate in a horrible little municipality in the San Francisco Bay Area (there, now I feel better). Was it worth it to possess this little beauty. You better know it. I bought it because I love Les Pauls and I just didn't feel right about not owning one built by the wrinkled old hands of the men who built the holy grail of Les Pauls - the '59 and '60 Standards. The fact that it says 'Heritage' on the headstock instead of 'Gibson' matters not at all. I bought mine on the internet from Jay Wolfe of Wolfe Guitars in Jupiter, Florida. If you have to go to the internet to get one, you'd better call Mr. Wolfe because he's a kind, honest, PATIENT man; he's a featured dealer on Heritage's own website . . . and he'll make you an unbeatable deal on a Heritage. I got mine for $1250 (see below for features) including tax and shipping.

As I said, I love Les Pauls. I currently own a Gibson Les Paul Custom and a Gibson Les Paul Standard. I wanted a Les Paul Classic Plus, but after checking out every one I could get my hands on, I had to admit two things: 1) The overall quality of the Gibson LP Classic Plus (indeed, many new Gibsons) sucks. 2) The Gibson LP Classic Plus is hilariously overpriced. This isn't about Gibson bashing. I wouldn't trade my Gibsons (even with all their warts) for anything - they're mine and I'm keeping them, but reviewing a guitar built by the artisans who built the Gibsons of yore is gonna invite the inevitable comparison. Where quality craftsmanship, attention to detail, and value for the money is concerned, Gibson loses to Heritage BIG TIME. Before I go any further, let me say that the Heritage 150CM-CL is essentially a Gibson Les Paul Classic (Plus). It is not a Les Paul STANDARD. That's important, because in my opinion, Classics and Standards are two entirely different animals. If it's a Les Paul STANDARD you're after you might not like the Heritage 150CM-CL. But if it's a Gibson Les Paul Classic you want, check it out. The Heritage 150CM-CL I stole for $1250 was decked out with as pretty a bookmatched, AA flamed maple top finished in Antique Cherry Sunburst as you're likely to find and there's not a finish goof anywhere on the guitar. The flame runs edge-to-edge and under the right light it MOOOOOOOVES. Is the top equal to a Gibson LP Class 5? Nope, but for several hundred extra scooties, Heritage will put a top on a 150CM that will have you making in your pants. The hardware is all top quality. I got mine with the 'Nashville' variety - tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece as opposed to the standard Schaller bridge and tailpiece combo. I also got top-of-the-line Schaller machine heads which I personally like better than the stock Grovers. On the Gibby Classic you get the wimpy ABR bridge (which is not interchangeable with the beefier tune-o-matic) and those crappy, plastic Kluson-type tuners. Forget about it. The Heritage came with Seymour Duncan '59 pickups front and rear which I prefer to the Gibson's 496-R and 500-T pickup combination. As a little bonus, the Heritage trapezoid position markers are real Mother of Pearl not the plastic ka-ka Gibson uses on everything but the Les Paul Custom. On my Custom the markers are real MOP, but guess what? Whoever did the inlay work on my Les Paul Custom must have worked as a glazier before going to Gibson because you can SEE there's more putty holding those suckers in than I used replacing the windows in my house. On the Heritage? What putty? And the position markers are set into top-quality dark, tightly-grained rosewood. Not a pit in the fretboard anywhere, unlike some other brands (Gibson). All this gas has been about how good the Heritage looks, but how it sounds is even better. It will alternately rip your scrotum off and sing you sweet lullabies and everything in between. In short, it does EVERYTHING this style of guitar was meant to do (and probably a few others that I'm not crafty or skilled enough to coax out of it). And it's equally able in live and recording environments. Is the Heritage 150CM-CL as masterfully crafted as one built by some little troll that carves the neck and body with his pointy little teeth, uses only the rarest and most expensive materials on earth, sweats over every last finking detail, and cranks them out at the rate of one every three years? No. But for a mostly hand-built guitar from a relatively small, viable, well-respected company who obviously takes great pride in the guitars they produce, you will not find a better instrument or more value for your hard-earned money than what you'll get from Heritage. Period. $1250 for a piece of history (including the hardshell case)? Forget about it.

My only complaint about the 150CM-CL is that the headstock is a little plainer than what I think this guitar deserves. "The Heritage" is silk-screened on the headstock rather than inlayed. Other models in the Heritage line do have the name done in inlay, and I'm sure for a few extra bucks you good have it done on this guitar as an upgrade. Also, I would have liked an engraved truss rod cover and maybe some kind of decal on the headstock like on the Gibson. Still, this is a matter of taste and some people actually probably prefer the simpler, unadorned headstock.

As I said, you will not find a better quality instrument anywhere for this kind of money. It's fairly obvious that Heritage builds "heirloom" instruments that are meant to be savored for a lifetime, then passed on to one's ungrateful progeny who'll then sell it to the highest bidder before the steam leaves your dead, lifeless meat sack.

If a HEADSTOCK with the name "Gibson" on it is worth a thousand extra dollars to you, then don't buy a Heritage 150CM-CL (try getting a Les Paul Classic PLUS for under $2200- not a Classic, a Classic PLUS with Schaller tuners and Duncan '59s). But if it's a top-quality, great playing and sounding Les Paul (built by the original Les Paul builders) is what you want, then buy the Heritage . . . or suffer eternal shame and torment.

Rick "Star Wars" LaForce rated this unit 5 on 2001-11-06.

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