Two guitars of the same model - one is better than the other

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by JCantrell, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. JCantrell

    JCantrell Member

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    I have two guitars of the same model: Heritage H-157. Both purchased this year, I bought the black one first, it's a 2007. Beat up a bit, but plays well and sounds great. Pickups were swapped to JB/Jazz at some point and it became my #1 pretty quickly.

    Enter the red one a month ago or so, Custom 5 in the bridge and 59 neck. Bought new from the shop, though it had been sitting there for a number of years. Didn't really need another but I loved the black one so much I wanted to get another and this is probably my last chance at a new one for a long time. Ended up paying less for it than the black one due to how long it had been in the shop.

    Recently I have been realising that the red one is a much better guitar, it plays and feels better and sounds more alive. I'm not sure if it's just the pickups and the strings (they seem quite different to what I normally use) but it just seems like a plain better guitar.

    I'm not sure what I should do with the black one. Is it possible that a good setup, maybe different pickups/pots and new pickups will bring it up to the standard of the red one? I still like it, but the red one is just flat out better, it sings more and feels more alive. The black one is probably better for heavy drop d riffing that's about it.

    I guess I just wish the black sounded as vibrant as the red. Anyone else been in a similar situation and what did you do? I've been contemplating selling the black but not sure if I would regret it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Sirloin

    Sirloin Supporting Member

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    The black one has a hole where the pick guard was. That’s where the tone escaped.

    But seriously, until you have the exact same strings, pickups and electronics in both guitars, there’s no way to tell.

    How do they compare unplugged?
     
  3. FuzzyAce

    FuzzyAce Member

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    Could be a number of issues for why they sound and feel different. If you want them to be more similar I would say set them up the same for starters (same strings and action, check the neck relief).
    After that, play them acoustically side by side and hear what the differences are. Personally I would embrace their differences and just hone in each guitar to my liking. Get them playing well with proper setup, and possibly change up the electronics in the black one. Could be you just prefer the pickups in red? Nickel covers will sound different right off the bat.
     
  4. jwguitar

    jwguitar Supporting Member

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    those custom 5 neck pickups are really good. I have one in a Washburn idol. One of my favorite pickups by far.
     
  5. JCantrell

    JCantrell Member

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    The red one rings like a bell, the black one is pretty muted in comparison. The black one is also heavier
     
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  6. JosephZdyrski

    JosephZdyrski Member

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    This sounds exactly right.

    No two guitars are exactly the same. No matter how good QC is. It just can’t happen. Everyone is in someway unique.

    Chances are the OP just has really good ears and most people wouldn’t even notice the difference.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
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  7. Scary Uncle G.

    Scary Uncle G. Member

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    I have owned four Les Paul R0s over the years and no two were alike. That’s the nature of guitars and why I don’t like to buy them sight unseen online.
     
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  8. Benz2112

    Benz2112 Supporting Member

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    Put a setup and new strings on both guitars, and a/b from there. It can just be the honeymoon phase of having a new guitar.
     
  9. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    :agree

    After decades of buying literally hundreds of guitars, turns out most of the keepers were ones that I didn't get online. Just the way it worked out.

    /rick
     
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  10. Lung plunger

    Lung plunger Member

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    Sweet guitars. Good suggestions on the setup etc. Also check the pots and caps, maybe the red one has higher value pots or the black ones have drifted in spec. I'd definitely put some aged covers on the pickups though, love the look of those Heritages.
     
  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

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    .

    -Raise the screw poles on the black one 1/8th inch, adjust the pickup heights until you get the same/close to the same tone from both red and black guitars by ear. Don't try to set the heights to a catalog factory spec distance. If in doubt, lower them level to the trim rings and adjust the bridge up until volume parity with the neck. You can also look for the youtube video series "joe walsh gibsonuk setup" where he shows how to adjust pickups by ear.
    -Measure the kohms of the pots, measure the uF of the tone caps in both guitars. All those components have ten to twenty percent tolerance ranges and it matters, a lot.
    -Get new caps that match the measured values in the red one to put in the black, or just get a couple 0.033uF (expect 0.047uF as stock), can try 0.022 or 0.01uF too using alligator clips.
    -Replace pots with ones that match the red measured pots, or just get pots measuring on the high end of the spec (say 550kohms).
    -If still fighting too much muddiness then use the 0.047uF tone cap(s) you pulled to put in line with the hot lead of the muddy pickup(s).

    Most likely, the pickup height setup and the tone cap swap will bring them in line with each other. .... or you'll be back here asking how to improve the red to sound as good as the newly adjusted black ;)

    Edit: note above about pickup covers .. those will tend to add muddiness to pickups, but they also provide noise shielding for recording near a computer/power lines/etc.

    .
     
  12. Bertiman

    Bertiman Supporting Member

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    As said above, get them set up the same with new strings on both and take it from there... I'll differ in one way from some of the above, I wouldn't put too much weight on the acoustic sound of the guitars as I've seen plenty of exceptions to that rule. Test 'em through your rig.
     
  13. Gig Young

    Gig Young Orson Welles; Mercury Theater 1935 Silver Supporting Member

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    After all the suggestions and still flat--

    Sell
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
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  14. muzishun

    muzishun Member

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    Give it a little more time.

    They probably aren't really that different, or better than the other.

    I like having two of the same model with different setups, even just having one tuned to Eb...Or different strings
     
  15. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    I often buy two or three guitars, that are the same or similar. I go back and forth, adjusting them both and improving the sound and playability. There is always a clear standout, as my favorite. I'll change pickups or wiring on my least favorite, making it into something different, that plays like my favorite. Three to nine years later, I'll sell the least favorite guitar to try something different. I always try to keep my favorites, using the lesser examples for trades.
     
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  16. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    I actually wouldn't even expect them to sound and feel the same ...
    but there's a fine line between better / worse or just different.
    I couldn't get rid fast enough of a guitar that's clearly inferior, but I actually have a few "doubles" of stellar guitars, each having a unique personality.
    only you can decide, after bringing them up to comparable specs,
    ymmv,
    Rhino
     
  17. TA22GT

    TA22GT Member

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    I like that two of my same guitars sound different because I can only play one at a time and it makes the other one worth picking up.

    Kind of like having one sounding cleaner/heavier than the other?
    I just realised a long time ago that it's almost impossible to have them play/feel/sound alike so I went for "different".
     
  18. mwym

    mwym Member

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    First level the playing field by using the same strings (new sets) on both guitars.

    Compare the dents/slots on saddle's on both guitars. Even if they seem equal or close to equal (depth and shape), try exchanging bridges of them 2. From that single photo it seems that both guitars have exactly the same hardware parts, so it should be no problem.

    If black one has deeper and/or sharp edges in slots of saddles, the less vibrant/less ringing tone can be caused by these.

    Apart from wood being different (not just heavier but maybe also softer, or less dried before build on black one), a truss rod might be also more tight on red one. Also are the screws that hold tuners in place on the back of the headstock (and screw in bushings, if they are not push in ones, can't see on pic) equally tight on both guitars?
     
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  19. muzishun

    muzishun Member

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    There are some that would attribute the difference to paint color :D
     
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  20. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    ... and you need some excuse for giving in to GAS ! :p
    Right now I'm looking closely at a beautiful used one, but it would raise the count from 2.5 "almost same" to 3.5 ... :rolleyes:
    on the positive side, I have a set of wonderful PUs in the drawer, that would give her a really cool, distinct personality (and allow me to store the (superb) stock ones for future mods).
    nothing is harder to resist than temptation - at the moment I'm still strong. Not sure what might happen though, if the price goes down another 100 ... :nuts
    lol,
    Rhino
     
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