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Gibson 1967/68 Heritage solid brazilian rosewood?

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 While I have not spent a ton of time with 1960s Gibsons never having been able to make peace  with the neck carves,  a '67 or '68 should have solid rims and back..  Later models were built with laminate.

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That's East Indian Rosewood. Very different grain pattern to Braz, which is more wide grained with more purple-y dark patches and greater contrast between grain colours.

I couldn't tell you if it was definitely solid, I think the Blue Ridge and F25s of that era were lam but the Heritage was quite possibly solid. 

They're a good guitar...at least the ones I've played have been. Not an archetypal Gibson tone, but very nice. Reminded me of a Guild D40. 

 

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Something doesn't jive with this guitar.  It's appearance seems to conform to the first version specs for a '65 to '67 Heritage - except for the bridge, which should be belly-up and adjustable.  A stock belly-down bridge from the late '60s would date it to '68 or '69 - but it too would also have been adjustable, which it is not on this guitar.

Does the label say it's a Heritage?  If so, it could possibly be the early version (with solid Brazilian back & sides), but with a replacement belly-down bridge.  Only problem with that, is that you'd expect to see some obvious remnants of an outline of the original belly-up bridge, which are not clearly identifiable via the photos.

So essentially, there are issues here that warrant further investigation.

  

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If it were laminated I would not expect to see the back strip and bracing. 

BRW is not as  porous as EI. If you have a sample guitar known to be EI do a comparison.  Dramatic difference. 

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Trying to guess BRW vs IRW based on the color & grain pattern in photos is risky business.  The one sure-fire method is to assess the pores of the wood, as Dave mentioned.

Solid BRW cannot be ruled out if this is truly a first-version Heritage (with a modified bridge).  Interesting guitar, for sure.

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On 8/14/2019 at 12:17 PM, bobouz said:

Something doesn't jive with this guitar.  It's appearance seems to conform to the first version specs for a '65 to '67 Heritage - except for the bridge, which should be belly-up and adjustable.  A stock belly-down bridge from the late '60s would date it to '68 or '69 - but it too would also have been adjustable, which it is not on this guitar. 

  

This is EXACTLY what I was thinking too and why I put the question to this Forum.

I have the guitar not with me, but I will in about one month. I bought it from a friend for 900$ but he is not in town right now and he still has the guitar. I will post another pic of the lable then.

Thanks everyone for their opinion, I will keep you updated! 

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Finally I have the guitar in my hands! It has a really great sound. For me it sounds a bit like my Marting HD-28 but much stronger and louder. Sadly, as you can see the lable says nothing (anymore). Its really hard to say if this guitar is made out of solid BRW. I guess it will stay a mystery. 

IMG_20191215_024054.jpg

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3 hours ago, Leonard McCoy said:

You can compare the grain of the wood inside the guitar with that outside. Just pick a memorable spot. If it matches, it is solid wood.

 

That may be tough as  as if  Gibson was still making their ow laminate  they often used the same slab of wood for the layers.   But still worth checking. 

Edited by zombywoof

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Trying to figure Heritage's  from that period out is like a "Who's on First" routine.  1968 was a transitional year with  guitars being built early in the year conforming to 1967 specs and those later on to a different set of specs.  . As far as I can figure out in '67 Gibson was building Heritages with solid Braz rosewood.  In 1968 they transitioned to EIR and I believe laminate Braz rosewood.  Gibson never makes anything easy do they?

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1 hour ago, zombywoof said:

 

That may be tough as  as if  Gibson was still making their ow laminate  they often used the same slab of wood for the layers.   But still worth checking. 

 

If the guitar has an endpin that goes through the tailblock (rather than a screwed-in endpin), remove the endpin and look closely at the rims inside the hole, using a magnifying glass and good light. You may be able to tell at least if the sides are laminate from that type of inspection.

Inspecting the grain inside and out can be an indicator, particularly if there are some unique characteristics in the grain, such as dark or light patches. In the case if this guitar, the very dark grain striations in the back near the edges at the widest point of the bass bout should show up on the inside, close of the kerfing in that area. You couldn't ask for a harder area to check inside a guitar, but it may be worth the effort.

My initial reaction is that this looks more like EIR than BR, but I've also seen BR with pronounced light/dark grain streaks like that.

The serial number is ambiguous, and can't be pinned down to within a couple of years.

Interestingly,  the early 1968 Heritage in the photo on page 124 of Fabulous Flat-Tops has a similar bridge, which is says is a replacement. It's not the same bridge, as the pins and saddle are not in the same location on the bridge as the OP's guitar.

Fabulous Flat-Tops says the switch to EIR was made in '68, as was the switch to a bottom-belly (Martin style) bridge.

I would go inside the guitar with camera and mirror and photograph the bridgeplate. If this bridge is a conversion from an adjustable, or a replacement, there's a good chance this is still the original bridgeplate. If it originally had an ADJ bridge, that would be obvious from an inspection.

The pin position on this bridge is the same as on the 1968 ADJ bridge. 

I would love to have this guitar in my shop with strong light and a magnifier. There are some marks on the top of the bridge that suggest to me that this could be a converted ADJ bridge. Since it's ebony, it would be easier to do a clean conversion compared to doing the same thing in a rosedwood bridge.

In any case, it's a nice guitar, and was near the top of the Gibson range in that period.

 

 

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So is the first digit in that serial number an '8' or a '9' ?

If it's an '8', then it's a '67.

If it's a '9', then it's a '68.

Regardless, everything about this guitar conforms to a first-version Heritage (solid rosewood back & sides) produced from '65 to '67, except the bridge.  I believe the bridge on this was a replacement for the stock adjustable belly-up bridge, as it is certainly not Gibson's adjustable belly-down bridge, which was the next bridge utilized on the Heritage model.  So even if the first digit of the serial number is a '9', the guitar still conforms to Version One specs.  Perhaps it was completed towards the end of '67, but ended up with a '68 serial number.  As has been said many times before, model changes didn't necessarily occur on January 1st!

Version 2 of the Heritage (laminated back & sides) which came out in '68, had a diamond & curlicue headstock inlay (carried forward onto the '70s versions), white body binding, and a black pickguard.  This guitar has none of those features.

Whether Brazilian or Indian rosewood, I would say there is a high likelihood that this guitar features a solid back & sides.

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Ive taken apart beater j200s from the 68 to 77 era. All to find some were laminated.   And they had the center back strips. And a laminated flamed inside.    I was kind of surprized to see the 60s ones like that.    But not surprized to see the 70s one like that.   Now  these were guitars beyond repairs. 

Edited by slimt

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12 hours ago, bobouz said:

So is the first digit in that serial number an '8' or a '9' ?

If it's an '8', then it's a '67.

If it's a '9', then it's a '68.

Regardless, everything about this guitar conforms to a first-version Heritage (solid rosewood back & sides) produced from '65 to '67, except the bridge.  I believe the bridge on this was a replacement for the stock adjustable belly-up bridge, as it is certainly not Gibson's adjustable belly-down bridge, which was the next bridge utilized on the Heritage model.  So even if the first digit of the serial number is a '9', the guitar still conforms to Version One specs.  Perhaps it was completed towards the end of '67, but ended up with a '68 serial number.  As has been said many times before, model changes didn't necessarily occur on January 1st!

Version 2 of the Heritage (laminated back & sides) which came out in '68, had a diamond & curlicue headstock inlay (carried forward onto the '70s versions), white body binding, and a black pickguard.  This guitar has none of those features.

Whether Brazilian or Indian rosewood, I would say there is a high likelihood that this guitar features a solid back & sides.

It certainly looks like a 9 to me.Look at the place where the loops connect on the easily discernable second numeral (8)and then look at the corresponding area on the first one. Totally different angles.I don't see how it can be an 8. Some here have more info than I do but the "Fabulous Flat-Tops" indicates that the numbering in 1968 stopped at 972864. Now what,assuming the first number is 9?

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7 hours ago, olie said:

It certainly looks like a 9 to me.  "Fabulous Flat-Tops" indicates that the numbering in 1968 stopped at 972864. Now what,assuming the first number is 9?

 

Gruhn’s Guide extends 1968 serial numbers out to 999999.  Whatever the case may be re the guitar’s assigned serial number, the key point is that the features of this instrument are consist with a Version One Heritage.

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On 12/15/2019 at 7:09 PM, j45nick said:

 

If the guitar has an endpin that goes through the tailblock (rather than a screwed-in endpin), remove the endpin and look closely at the rims inside the hole, using a magnifying glass and good light. You may be able to tell at least if the sides are laminate from that type of inspection.

Inspecting the grain inside and out can be an indicator, particularly if there are some unique characteristics in the grain, such as dark or light patches. In the case if this guitar, the very dark grain striations in the back near the edges at the widest point of the bass bout should show up on the inside, close of the kerfing in that area. You couldn't ask for a harder area to check inside a guitar, but it may be worth the effort.

My initial reaction is that this looks more like EIR than BR, but I've also seen BR with pronounced light/dark grain streaks like that.

The serial number is ambiguous, and can't be pinned down to within a couple of years.

Interestingly,  the early 1968 Heritage in the photo on page 124 of Fabulous Flat-Tops has a similar bridge, which is says is a replacement. It's not the same bridge, as the pins and saddle are not in the same location on the bridge as the OP's guitar.

Fabulous Flat-Tops says the switch to EIR was made in '68, as was the switch to a bottom-belly (Martin style) bridge.

I would go inside the guitar with camera and mirror and photograph the bridgeplate. If this bridge is a conversion from an adjustable, or a replacement, there's a good chance this is still the original bridgeplate. If it originally had an ADJ bridge, that would be obvious from an inspection.

The pin position on this bridge is the same as on the 1968 ADJ bridge. 

I would love to have this guitar in my shop with strong light and a magnifier. There are some marks on the top of the bridge that suggest to me that this could be a converted ADJ bridge. Since it's ebony, it would be easier to do a clean conversion compared to doing the same thing in a rosedwood bridge.

In any case, it's a nice guitar, and was near the top of the Gibson range in that period.

 

 

Thank you all for the time you have invested , the detailed answers and the profound knowlege. Next time I change the strings, I will go inside with a camera and will try to solve the mystery. The idea with the bridgeplate is excellent. Also I will inspect the grain again. Thanks again to everybody who commented on my question, have a great 2020!

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On 8/14/2019 at 3:17 AM, bobouz said:

Something doesn't jive with this guitar.  It's appearance seems to conform to the first version specs for a '65 to '67 Heritage - except for the bridge, which should be belly-up and adjustable.  A stock belly-down bridge from the late '60s would date it to '68 or '69 - but it too would also have been adjustable, which it is not on this guitar.

Does the label say it's a Heritage?  If so, it could possibly be the early version (with solid Brazilian back & sides), but with a replacement belly-down bridge.  Only problem with that, is that you'd expect to see some obvious remnants of an outline of the original belly-up bridge, which are not clearly identifiable via the photos.

So essentially, there are issues here that warrant further investigation.

  

I have a heritage and the numbers are 307849 and the bridge is not the same as the one on yours, yours looks upside down compared to mine

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