Heritage H157 – In Black, Schaller Coil Tapped HB & Upgraded Electronics.

The Blue Book Says:

Heritage H157

– single sharp cutaway mahogany body, multiple white-bound carved solid maple top, mahogany neck, 22-fret bound ebony fingerboard with MOP block inlay, bound blackface peghead with pearl diamond/logo inlay, three-per-side tuners, tune-o-matic bridge, stop tailpiece, black pickguard, two humbucker pickups, four knobs (two v, two tone), three-position switch, gold hardware, available in Standard or Translucent finishes, 24.75 in. scale, mfg. 1989-present.

I say:

Top Summer Holiday Project here.

  • Bought off ebay, as a project, it came with some of the hardware, and some (non iconic) history.
  • The pickups appeared in the neck pocket.
  • The pickup surrounds were cracked.
  • The bridge and tailpiece were missing.
  • One of the Neck inlays had some serious damage.
  • The serial number had long since disappeared due to what looks like a badly finished respray, the frets have been replaced.
  • When someone has been “scraping” the binding following refinishing the previous “Old Sunburst” finish can be seen.
  • The wiring appeared to have been “pulled out” rather than cut or unsoldered, and in doing this the bridge earth wire had been broken off.
  • The tone pots in it were 250K pots not the more usual 500K pots, and what soldering was there was cracked and oxidised.

I must confess that I was a little worried about what I’d bought, but I managed to find some Schaller pickup surrounds and a tailpiece and bridge made by Schaller, I decided that other than filling two sinks in the neck the finish would have to stay “as is” because I didn’t want to get into yet another total refinish…

The Schaller pickups were a plus – I’ve always been a fan of them, and they have 4 conductor wiring, so the decision was made to add coil taps when I redid the wiring.

The full process of the refinishing and reconditioning of this guitar can be seen here:

https://www.facebook.com/pkbroadhurst/media_set?set=a.10154448660375506.1073741858.518830505&type=1

Make sure to click on the first photo and read the sequence of comments for what I did….  … and learned!

So now what do we have:

  1. A Heritage H 157 (effectively a handmade Les Paul Custom).  Bound Ebony Fretboard with wide/low refret.
  2. Schaller Gold Hardware (Unmarked – Pickups, Roller Bridge, Quick release tailpiece).
  3. Grover Tuners (light wear).
  4. Alpha A 500K “Push/Push” Volume pots that coil tap the pickups.
  5. Bourns B 500K “No Load” Tone pots.
  6. Sprague Orange Drop .022µF Tone Capacitors.

The neck is a slim “60’s” style more than a Fat “50’s” style neck., the refret job is a good one and the neck plays really well.  The paintwork could justifiably be called “relic” but to be honest now I’ve reground the surface and polished it looks OK – from a distance, the scratches an scrapes on the binding can barely be seen, and undoubtedly are part of the guitars checkered history.

The pickups are fantastic.  The hum bucker sounds are typical Gibson-esque fare – but with the tone in the 10 position the “no load” pots in the tone circuit give it much more bite and “air.”  When coil tapped (the push push switch is one of my favourite things from the Yamaha guitars that I’ve had – ‘tap’ – it goes “single coil” ‘tap again’ – it goes Humbucker!) the top end is much more delicate – and definitely does a good “Fender” impersonation.

The way it’s set up now with ernie Ball 10’s the string to string balance is great – full deep low end and searing highs – with a tone control that can effectively manage all stages inbetween.

Tone controls are great – Jazz to pop in one smooth easy turn.

Have a look at the pictures – I think you’ll agree this one looks rather different to when I received it…..

Comes with a sturdy SKB case as pictured.