Hamer or Heritage?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by JimH, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Howdy guys - I'm a new fella , seems a cool forum.

    Ok, to business,
    I'm on the verge of selling my Gibson LP to fund a new guitar, it's a 2002 standard - good guitar, but I fancy a change and can't afford to keep it.
    I've got a Heritage '35 special from wolfe guitars, which is great, and I'm really interested in their P-90 equipped 137, but also really like the look of the Hamers - and am particularly interested in getting a 25.5" scale on a double hunbucker guitar. TRouble is it's incredibly difficult to get these guitars in the UK so I'd be looking at an unplayed import most like through wolfe guitars again. Any thoughts on value and relative merits of these two companies?
    Thankyou

    Jim
     
  2. edwarddavis

    edwarddavis Supporting Member

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    I hera a ot of great things about hamers never had one, Heritage are nnice too but value wise if you are gonna keep it a long time a hamer is nice but resale is tough. I would keep the LP if possible they hold their value more but thats my opinion. Buy a used hamer and you can get a much better deal.
     
  3. xroads

    xroads Member

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    I'll second what edwarddavis said: Hamers and Heritages have low resale prices. If you plan to keep it, thats not an issue, but if you plan to sell after a short time, you will tkae a hard hit. In that case, I would buy used.
     
  4. BarneyFife

    BarneyFife Supporting Member

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    I was at Wolfe Guitars last month playing the Heritage 137 and Hamer guitars with the P-90s. Graham let me play several of the 137s. All of them played really well, but be aware that each one sounds different. So make sure you express to Jay or Graham exactly what type of tone you are looking for so they could match it up to the specific 137 on hand.

    Tha P-90 equipped Hamer I played was a red one that also played and sounded nice. It really had a strong fundamental tone.

    Again, I would describe to them exactly what you want and let them match you up with the guitar. They are really good at doing this.

    I think both brands are nicely made and bargain priced.

    My .02
     
  5. guitardude5

    guitardude5 Member

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    I have owned several different Heritage guitars over the years. I had a H157 quilt top, H140 gold top, STAT, and currently own a 535.

    I would have to disagree with xroads and edwarddavis on resale. I lost about $150 on the 157 and actually made money on the other ones. All in all, I have made some good money with Heritage guitars. Plus I had to opportunity to own some really nice guitars. Just like anything else - just be patient and you will get the right 'deal.' I think losing $150 on a high end (wicked fancy top) guitar is really good, don't you?

    Either way you go, I know Jay will take care of you. I have been buying and trading with Jay since I started playing back in '92. He has treated me right, and I would recommend him to anybody.
     
  6. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    I have a dual pickup H-137 that I bought from Jay Wolfe, and I can't say enough about how much I like it. The incredible price is a bonus. Between the PLEK set up and the Lollar P-90s it's been perfect.

    The only change I made to it was to change the 10s on it to 11s. A very small tweak on the trussrod and some minor intonation changes on the bridge (something you can't do on a lot of this type of guitar) and I was good to go.

    Jay would have done all that for me but I was in a hurry.

    It's a fabulous guitar.
     
  7. hawkeyeinexile

    hawkeyeinexile Silver Supporting Member

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    i'm a big fan of Heritage, but if you're really into 25.5" scale on an H-137, that might be tough. does Hamer do that on theirs? i don't know. but Jay & Graham are definitely the go-to guys for questions like these, since they deal both brands. they might even be able to custom-order a neck for you (Heritage does that scale on some of their jazz boxes). me, i dig the idea that my Millenium DC was made @ 225 Parsons St...;)

    :cool:
     
  8. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    Good point. I forgot about the 25.5 preference.

    The guys at Heritage will change scales for you on other guitars but the 137 might be a tough one and would have to be custom made.

    I saw a pic somewhere of Larry Carlton's LP Special and he had the original one piece bridge removed and a TOM and stop tailpiece installed (clearly he wasn't interested in keeping the vintage spec), so anything's possible.

    Found it.

    http://www.larrycarlton.net/online/lC_LP_special.jpg
     
  9. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    I was in Florida this week and had a chance to go to Jay Wolfe's to look at the H137's. I played about 6 of them unplugged before plugging in the two I liked best. Actually, five of them were pretty similar (though one was significantly heavier than the others), all nice, but one had a personality of its own, kind of snarled and had a somewhat nasally tone even unplugged, with a lot of overtones when I picked and bent the strings different ways. It was also the lightest one.

    I'd say to have a look at that one, but I'm afraid it's sold. (It gets here Tuesday.)
     
  10. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    I totally lucked out, since I bought mine without playing it. It was the second guitar I bought from Jay in a month so he sent me a good one I'd guess.
     
  11. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    That's great. The ones I played were all really nice guitars, I'd have been happy with any of them.
     
  12. stevieboy

    stevieboy Clouds yell at me Gold Supporting Member

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    Here's a pic I snapped before saying goodbye for a week.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Karmateria

    Karmateria Member

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    Wolfe is a great source for both brands, and they usually set stuff up really well. The Hamer Monaco Superpro is 25.5" and is chambered. here's one they have in stock.

    I wouldn't worry about the resale about either, if you consider that a 1959 les paul was worth 1/3 of its retail in the mid 1960s. This is a fact that most people usually ignore when discussing new collectibles.

    Karma

    Wolfe Monaco
    [​IMG]
     
  14. rbisherw

    rbisherw Guest

    I recently purchased my first Hamer and have owned a Heritage (535) in the past. While the Heritage was a nice guitar, the Hamer is without question the best guitar I have ever owned and is without peer in my herd with regards to fit and finish.
    The Hamer is so good, I recently sold my Gibson R6 and I am evaluating my purchase criteria.
    THis is from a "Gibson" guy who at one time thought Gibson could do no wrong. I still own (and will more that likely hold on to) an R8 and Historic 63 ES335, but experiencing first hand the bang for the buck, with incredible quality that Hamer offers, is an eye opening experience.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Brian D

    Brian D Member

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    This is based on a very limited exposure to both guitars.

    Hamer guitars seem to be more consistent in build quality and tone than Heritage. Not necessarily better, but more similar from one to the next. I've played a handful of different ones, but all were solid bodies. I haven't had the good fortune to play a semi-hollow version yet. All of them were great, and two were absolutely outstanding. To me they are one of the best "bang-for-the-buck" electric guitars out there, especially if you are into Les Paul-ish tones (although they have their own sound as well).

    Heritage guitars seem to vary a bit more from one to the next, as Barney stated. Unless you have somebody you can trust to help find it for you, I'd be more cautious about buying one without playing it first than I would with a Hamer. I've only really played one Heritage, a semi-hollow version, and it was a very nice guitar. I've also noodled on a few unplugged in the music store. They do the "Gibson" thing very well, and perhaps have a bit more of a Gibson feel to them than Hamers do - for better or worse. The one I played had a sweet, even tone, and played very well.

    Either way, both are great guitars.

    You may also want to post a question over at the
    Birds and Moons Forum, if you haven't already. If you're not familiar with it, BaM is a PRS-focused forum but many of the guys there own other brands. I know a few of them own Hamers, and Heritage as well I'm sure. They are a great bunch, and appreciate guitars of any size, shape, color, or brand name. Try posting in the "Guitars In General" section.

    Good luck!
     
  16. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Wow,

    Excellent and knowledgable responses all round, thank you.

    Hmmm, well leads me to think I really need to decide what I want more clearly - no consensus on Hamer V heritage it seems, although both highly rated, I get the impression that their new stuff is better that the older stuff, is that fair? Which really rules out used in the UK as those brands are so scarce anyway. Also I reckon you're right on LP resale, It would probably cost me the whole of the LP sale to fund getting a 137, which seems strange - selling a LP standard to get a junior from a less valuable brand. - But economics isn't that important if you like the guitar - but that's another issue. Seems nobody has got a bad word to say about either brand.

    What sort of money do the Hamers go for? - similar to heritage?
     
  17. JimH

    JimH Member

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    OK guys, decision made, sort of. LP junior style guitar with 90s. Was almost certainly going for Heritage 137 as recommended, but now considering the very local Gordon Smith for same type of guitar -anyone heard of these guys?
     
  18. Mutley

    Mutley Supporting Member

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    I remember seeing a Gordon Smith on eBay some time ago and looked him up on the internet. Small shop and will customize.

    I too have been to Jay Wolfe's shop. He and Graham are both first class people and I have bought two guitars from him (Heritage). A H535 that Jay let me A/B with a '66 335 (the 335 won by the smallest of margins in the tone test, but lost big time in the $$ test) and a custom H157. Excellent value. He has a ton of Hamers too. Last time there I played the prototype for the H-137 and it was tough to get out of there without pulling out the plastic. Great tone and feel.

    Heritage IMHO is the best value out there for musicians who are looking for good wood, tried and true build quality and tone. They have their own Plek machine too.

    I'm a fan. . .
     
  19. Phil M

    Phil M Member

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    I've owned both, and still have a '96 Heritage H-150. The only reason I own the Heritage is because it was a wedding gift from my wife. It is just an OK guitar with some flaws. A local Heritage dealer only stocked their jazz boxes but would not stock the LP style because he thought they sucked for the money. I have played many Heritage dogs and have to scratch my head when I hear guys slam Gibson Les Pauls and praise the Heritages. I would love to try one of Jay Wolfe's H-150s because they look great in the pics that I see you guys post; they just don't look like any that I've ever put my hands on.

    On the other hand, I've NEVER played a Hamer that was a dog. Every single one I've played was a solid, well made guitar that played really well. As I've stated many times, I wish I had kept my honey colored Heritage Mirage II. What a PLAYER!

    So, between the two, sight unseen I'd go Hamer.
     
  20. hawkeyeinexile

    hawkeyeinexile Silver Supporting Member

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    well, i don't know 'bout overseas but Jay Wolfe usually has a 48-hour approval period, so it's hard to beat him (Heritage or Hamer). but now that you mention Gordon Smith...i've seen the operation (online only) before and was very intrigued.

    so, since yer in Manchester (?), we'd all like you to tour the operation and report back to us forthwith (not fortnight) :D ...oh, and make mine double cut in TV yellow ;) [prices look good, H-C reviews generally very positive...]

    :cool:
     

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