The Guitar Reissue: Playing on Nostalgia for Fun and Profit
“If they weren’t great guitars to begin with, they wouldn’t be popular,” Martin Guitar’s Dick Boak states bluntly. That sums up nicely the why guitar makers reach back into music instrument history and recreate treasures from the past. The “what” and “how,” however, varies wildly. The popularity of reissue models, though, is not in dispute.
“A reissue guitar can be compelling for several reasons,” says Justin Norvell of Fender. “Over the years our instruments change and evolve, so reissues go back to certain spec combinations that people find desirable. Things like neck shapes, pickup design, finish/lacquer, and more. Also, at its most basic, it is nostalgic to people, referencing touchstones of either what key artist played it, or an important musical era.”
“I think reissues are popular due to a number of factors,” says Tom Appleton of Ibanez. “Sometimes when a great guitar comes out, a newer player might want it, but can’t afford it at the time. Then, many years later, maybe they are pros, or maybe they are just in a position to get the guitar they’ve always wanted. That’s when the reissues become especially appealing.”
‘Better’ vs. Authentic
Often manufacturers choose to take the opportunity to improve upon the original.
“Combining what makes a model unique and giving it a little bit of modern characteristics — that’s what makes a great reissue,” says Dayv Chavez of G&L. “It becomes an issue of how do we bring this out, but not make it be the same. It’s funny when you go, ‘Oh my God! It looks just like the old one, but has the modern features.’”
Take Eastwood, for example: They are recreating guitars from the past that in most cases weren’t actaully that good from a playing standpoint, or in terms of the quality of sound produced, but were great on the eyes. Each year prices on those originals skyrocket, so they get harder to find. Eastwood is building an entire company on quality, moderately priced vintage guitars for the everyday player, introducing just three or so new models a year.
Steve Ridinger of Danelectro says that the allure of reissues is that they are more affordable than the originals. “And sometimes the old guitars are so beat up, or in such short supply, the chances of finding a good one are rather slim. There’s also something about owning a piece of rock and roll history. Owning the same guitar that was used to record some great song from the past” is appealing.
Schecter’s Jason Fedele agrees. “Market research has shown that the primary consumer of a reissue guitar is going to buy it based on historic significance. Collectors tend to gravitate toward originals whereas younger buyers go for emulation of their favorite artists. A reissue fits the bill for this buyer.”
These are rarely someone’s first – or even second – guitar, says Tony Blair of Kay Vintage Reissue. “Like a great vintage Burgundy wine, these instruments are especially appreciated by a connoisseur who has good wines as opposed to someone trying their very first glass,” he says. “Our reissues start at around $1,000 list for a ‘street series’ version, and go up to $3,500 for the U.S.-made Recording Series.”
“Our instruments are woven into the history of music over the last 60 years, so these are cultural touchstones as much as spec combinations,” Norvel adds. “Guitars are extremely subjective, and while one person insists on the big headstock 1970s look and feel, another loves the 1950s style. So we try to have most of the bases covered to give people the Fender they want.”
Like so much of the guitar market, attachment to a star does a great deal to make it popular. That’s true for all, including Eastwood. Quirky rock stars like Jack White playing one of these does a great deal to drive the popularity of the instrument, as White’s playing of an original Airline attests to: “He’s made every kid who likes his band want his guitar. So something that went for $300 on eBay 10 years ago now goes for $2,000.” While even they understand that it’s not a quality instrument, they still want it because they believe it has, “some kind of mojo that will make them sound like Jack White.” Eastwood makes an Airline [like White's guitar] that costs $699, sounds better, plays better, and fills a market niche.
Yet, as great as guitars were in, say, the 1930s, there’s been an advancement or two in guitar making since there. So… are there debates about just how far to go?
“We certainly have conversations about better versus authentic,” admits Boak. “To so many, the 37 D is held in such high esteem that it’s simply the finest guitar ever made. Customers on that level can tell the difference between a vintage series instrument and an original one.” The use of something as animal hide glue makes a difference. “Other glues can be almost rubbery for a very long time. The hide glue makes a difference in the tone and the discerning player can certainly tell the difference.”
But how much of a difference? Boak references the work of Dr. Michael Kasha, a molecular biologist who determined after research that the human ear couldn’t discern anything less than a 17 percent improvement in tone. “The only way to make that much of a difference is changing many things.” So adjustment of a little bracing or even swapping out Adirondack for Spruce wouldn’t be enough to notice according to Kasha’s theory. “But while some of the things we do on reissues probably end up being less than the 17 percent, a really good ear, a really good guitarist, can feel those things.”
Many choose anniversaries to release reissues – something several manufacturers, including Gibson, is particularly good at. There’s no shortage of variations on the iconic Les Paul, and most recently they released three versions for the 50th anniversary of their 1960 model. The slight variations of the versions share the same hefty MSRP: $8,504.
Keeping an eye out for approaching anniversaries is an excellent source of reissue inspiration for Ibanez – and they get by with help from their friends. “We’re especially aware of approaching anniversaries of certain models,” Appleton says. “For example, we were anticipating the 20th anniversary of the Steve Vai Universe Reissue … but so were the fans! They were counting down the days because they knew we were going to do it. [Laughs] Sometimes no matter how hard you try to not tip your hand on something like this, the fans always know better.”
The Reissue Appeal
What fuels this market? Many things, including professionals who can feel the difference (if not necessarily hear it), those looking for an investment and of course, and Martin’s Boak points out, good old G.A.S., or “Guitar Acquisition Syndrome.”
Initiating potential martial discord aside, each manufacturer’s take on reissue is as unique as the individual companies themselves.
With 175 years of history behind them, the people at Martin certainly understand the allure of classic models, and the profitability of bringing them back.
“It’s widely felt that the guitars made between roughly 1925 and the 1940s have achieved the highest level of quality,” Boak, director of artist relations, says. “Like the great Stradivarius violins of the 17th century, they have come into their own.” He then lists some of the well-known reasons that guitars of this area are lusted after: Brazilian rosewood, Adirondack spruce (before president Roosevelt made the forest a giant state park), and the natural aging process. And of course, there’s the numbers: Only 91 of the D-45s were made prior to World War II. “It’s hard to find one under $300,000 if you can find one at all.”
Some of the changes made were merely evolutionary: For example, the pre war Martins featured a refined scalloped bracing. “Musicians in the 1950s and 1960s started using Martins for bluegrass and country music,” Boak explains. “And they would use heavy strings that caused buckling.” Changes were made – and not everybody loved them because it resulted in guitars that were less balanced and had more bass. “So there was a period in the 1960s when Martin guitars were not at their highest level.” By 1969 they switched to East Indian rosewood.
This was the start of Martin’s vintage market becoming alive.
But when proceeding down the reissue path, two questions emerge: how much can be recreated and how much should be recreated.
There’s reverse engineering at Martin, where they can pull out a guitar from their musician and take measurements, and even go into the sound hole with a camera. “We have exacting specifications in some cases,” Boak says. “In our custom shop, we have a custom 1937 top that came off a repair, and that is used as an exact guide.”
Boak says their vintage series, “basically recreates the simple construction with the visual details, combined with the pre-war neck shape.” These guitars are not 100 percent faithful, and we don’t do every last detail of the bracing. Also a truss rod is included. “Not perfectly faithful, but pretty damn good – and they sound great, play great, and will probably be the vintage guitars 30 or 40 years from now.”
Martin has the Golden era, or Marquis series, and they vary in gradations as to how exactly they the adhere to the original instrument in accordance to the price point they hit and “depending on how obsessive and how serious a certain type of customer is.”
Martin does recreate “authentics” which are made in their custom shop primarily by one person. There hot hide glue is used and everything is tucked, all in the manner of the “old days.” But it’s not cheap. And you won’t find them – or any of these guitars – just sitting out in a retail shop.
“These guitars are not hanging out for everybody to bang on,” says Boak, who adds that actually some of their higher end reissues end up in “boutique” dealers as opposed to chains or more general MI stores. “Griffith String, George Gruhn Guitars, Bizarre Guitars, Matt Umanov Guitars … these are dealers who understand how good a guitar can be, and can support that level of instrument. And do well with them. In the same breath, the retailers teaching seven year olds guitar in a strip mall probably are not going to be attracting the customers that support the upper end.”
As to why they keep doing reissues, it’s because people keep buying them. “Another thing to realize is that people buy guitars not just because they are musical tools, but works of art.”
His personal favorite reissue is the Martin OM28-V. “Not as loud and booming as a dreadnaught, but it’s more versatile. You can strum it hard, finger pick it lightly and is a great all-around guitar – it’s what I play.”
Eastwood’s Michael Robinson is all about the reissue. It’s all they do. But there’s no painstaking historical preservation work going on here.
“They never were good quality instruments,” Robinson says bluntly of the instruments he recreates. “They were crappy [guitars] from Japan, Italy … but that was 30, 40, even 50 years ago.” A passage of time combined with eye-popping body styles and features (seven knobs anyone?) have made their value skyrocket, “not quite to the level of a vintage Fender or Gibson, but what used to cost $200 people are paying $3,000 for.
“That’s why we make the replica.”
Robinson’s own history involves capturing history himself. In 1996, he started myrareguitars.com and started buying/selling/trading “just about every crazy Japanese and European guitar ever made.” He cataloged them, learned their history, and eventually a community of like-minded fellow travelers formed. “That’s when I started Eastwood.” So for his reissues, he looks first at his very own collection.
He says he’ll get an email pointing out that a certain guitar is now selling for $3,000. “The bullet point there is I don’t bother making a replica until I can make it for at least half the price of the current value of the original.”
Next he has to investigate trademarks and copyrights. “You have to understand that situation before you can even start down the road.” Often it’s from a company long out of business, but other times it’s a company very much alive. “In the 1970s Ovation made a guitar called the Bread Winner. It wasn’t popular, but it was unique, and there were people who loved it.” Glen Campbell was one of the ones seen playing it a lot, as was David Cassidy.
The actual name had never been registered, so that wasn’t a problem. Ovation agreed that Eastwood could make it as long as the well-known Ovation headstock wasn’t copied. And this was another case where they made it better than the original.
“Some of the guitars Eastwood recreates have a neck like a baseball bat,” Robinson says. “Now there are times when it’s critically important to create an aspect of a guitar, because that’s what made it unique.” Other times, it’s doing the people who are going to play these a disservice.
As for retailers doing well with their guitars, Robinsons cites his “I get it” ad campaign. “The reason we use that phrase is it takes a certain type of retailer to see the appeal of our guitars with their many knobs and weird colors. They know that there is a certain segment out there that wants a different kind of guitar, and appreciates the playability of an Eastwood.” Among those who get it are David Bowie and John Fogerty. “They love our stuff.”
He adds that the individual owners, those who like to offer unusual instruments next to the more common ones, do well with their guitars. “We don’t do well at the big Fender/Gibson dealer, because those stores attract a crowd that just doesn’t get it,” he says. “But owners dictates mood, and thus product, no matter how big or small they are. There is a new wave of dealers that tend to be younger, like True Tone in Santa Monica, California, and Fat Tone in Chicago, and others who have cropped up in the last four or five years. They focus on what they do and tend to attract those types of customers who find these guitars appealing.”
“The nice thing is its impossible to get a bad rep for what we’re doing because our quality is head and shoulders what the originals were – you’ll never get someone to say their original plays better than an Eastwood. But the appeal is the look and funkiness, which they love.”
Dayv Chavez, product manager for BBE Sound, which distributes G&L, speaks with great reference to the work of founder Leo Fender – and some of the challenges of his legacy keeping the company “honest” when it comes to reissues.
“One thing that was unique about Leo was that he was always looking for ways for improving his instruments, and giving players flexibility,” he says. So aspects of the guitars can be challenging – like the pickups on the F100 for example, which was the first guitar produced by G&L. “Those things aren’t like normal P-90s that was can source out, but are proprietary pieces.”
Some of their reissues capitalize on the reoccurring trends that inevitably happen. “Some of the neck profiles we had back in the 1980s are back in vogue,” he says. “They are smaller, shallower, and have a flatter radiance.” Other minute aspects of the original models get lost in the reissue shuffle, or perhaps the original was built with something a particularly great player wanted, but has since fell out of fashion.
As far as the process goes in determining what gets reissued, and what changes if any are made, he says it’s organic, with members of the company who are players sitting around wondering allowed what it happen if X model had Y feature. “That has prompted some resurgence of a particular model.”
But the gentle ghost of Leo Fender is always there, and on occasion at odds with the business realities of running a company – just as he was in life. “For Leo, when the company was his, nothing was ever a problem. Money and time weren’t an issue, because he was first and foremost an inventor. But when it comes to reproducing some of those things today, there are issues.” An example is their popular Rampage reissues. “As simple as it appears, there are so many unique things to the original that if we went down that road of manufacturing the original exactly, it would make it nearly impossible to build.” Unlike the original, the reissues are created with C&C machines, but were able to do it in a manner that made sense financially but kept the integrity of the original in tack. “It was quite a feat.”
In addition to Leo, they wanted to make the Rampage’s most famous player, Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, happy.
Reverse engineering is involved in G&L reissues. Also improving on the original is sometimes called for. “In its day, the F100 was kind of a plain Jane,” Chavez says. “The F100 Return edition has more interesting features than the original.” These include a maple top, cleaner knobs, and a Floyd Rose tremolo. “Ideally we incorporate the aspects that made the model special to begin with it, what made it unique, along with some modern characteristics.”
Sometimes the company is in the unwitting position of saying “no” to a request. If someone wants such and such a neck on a Legacy and have it reissued, they can’t simply because it wouldn’t be a Legacy at that point.
For G&L, “a lot of limited runs find themselves in the hands of collectors and enthusiast,” says Chavez. These come in all age groups.
“When you’re talking a specific model, you’re talking people first my age, 40 and up. But what’s happening is 20-year-olds are seeing it and getting charged up about the reissue. Fans of the music see the guitar being played and say, ‘I want that guitar.’”
For basses, it’s a slower market, but still important. “The G&L JB Bass, which is kind of patterned on a classic jazz bass with special appointments, is doing well. Also we ventured into a rustic looks, things that make [an instrument] look like a relic. We did that two years ago and that seems to be working well.” But overall, “basses are more traditional, and I think guitarist look at guitars like women look at shoes … no, it’s true! We’re looking for the next thing. We do come out with limited edition/special editions, and always do a guitar and bass version, but definitely have to say the guitar market is better.”
“We have not been able to keep up with the initial demand for instruments,” Tony Blair says of Kay’s reissues. He adds that they’ve especially received raves for the Thin Twin and the Pro Bass. “We are working on the release of the Jazz Special Bass and the Jazz II guitar for June.”
The company takes its reissues so seriously they have a separate entity to do it. Kay Guitar Company sells acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, mandolins, ukes, and harmonicas. “All sales for these products are through distributors with no direct sales to retailer stores,” Blair explains. “Kay Vintage Reissue, LLC sells to retail stores and international distributors worldwide. The instruments are limited in number and are exact reissues of the originals from the 1950s and 1960s, which are played by the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow, T-Bone Burnett, Bob Dylan, and many others.”
Kay Vintage Reissues are for the seasoned player in general, and specific models aim to appeal to players looking for specific sounds. The Thin Twin for example is likely a pro “looking for an illusive sound that comes from the gutsy blues tones.” The K162 Pro Bass would be someone’s “other bass” he adds. “Not for every set, but for when the player needs that plucky deep sound associated with an upright bass.”
A good reissue is much more than just making it look like the original, which is perhaps the simplest part of the process. They break down every component: the neck, the chambered body, the alnico magnets for the pickups, the radius of the fingerboard … everything. “All the original parts are remanufactured from scratch,” Blair explains. “The Kay ‘Kel-von-a-tor’ chevron that is on the headstock, the knobs, the tailpiece, the tiger-striped tortoise pickup guards, bridges, etc.
“The most difficult part has been the pickup. It is very powerful and the challenge has been to keep the hum and feedback under control but maintain the bite that made the original so popular with blues and early rock players. We finally nailed it after two years of design work!”
Not to say that some liberties weren’t taken. “The original neck was bolted on to the body and was a bit clubby, so we designed a fixed neck with a much more comfortable feel. The Kay ‘Kel-von-a-tor’ [emblem] did not appear until the late 1950s, but we have used it on the reissues of early models like the Pro Bass and Thin Twin. These instruments play well and sound even better.”
They have a two-tier approach to their series: Street and Recording, the later of which is made stateside.
And their bass reissues are going “better than expected.” He points out that manufacturers tend to concentrate on the guitar player, but leave the bass players out. But their reissues of the K162 Pro Bass and the K5970 Jazz Special electric have been extremely popular. “The K162 has a cutoff switch that removes the treble completely and gives that warm tone of an upright bass; when flipped back, is has a mellow bite.” That instrument has received the Bass Player Magazine’s Editor Award.
John Mayer’s bass player, Sean Hurley, has been playing the K162 in concert.
“The next bass will be the K5979 reissue which is based on the same bass that Paul McCartney uses sometimes.”
Upcoming reissues include the Upbeat, and the Barney Kessel Jazz model that will come out next year. “Hopefully one day we will reissue the old plywood standup upright 3/4 basses that have become so rare,” he says. “But right now we’re working on making the best quality reissues of the electric guitar and bases.”
At Danelectro, a model from their past gets chosen for the reissue treatment if it has stood “the test of time” in the second hand market, says Steve Ridinger, president. “If there’s no demand for the old ones, nobody will probably want to buy the reissue either.”
Ridinger stresses that achieving a good reissue means finding the perfect balance between authenticity and usability. “We want to faithfully replicate the look, the tone of the old instrument. But there are things that modern players demand which the old guitars did not offer. The ‘magic’ is what do you replicate versus what do you improve. That being said, for the most part, people want these instruments to be ‘just like the old one.’ If you change anything, it better be for a reason that players resonate with.”
Danelectro works hard to price their reissues at an especially affordable price so they sell to customers who can buy one “just because.” Typically, they appeal to the fan of vintage gear in general, but appreciate an instrument that has a great tone and is fun to play.
For retailers, he stresses the key to success is “telling the story.” “Whether on a website or in person in the store, it is important to explain the significance of this guitar in the music of the past. Some will be drawn to the look or the tone, but what seals the deal is the history of the guitar.”
Their bass reissue, the Longhorn, with its distinct look and sound is also doing well. “Nothing sounds like a Danelectro Longhorn!” he declares.
Ridinger has a personal favorite, and it’s the reissue of the Double Cutaway they are doing right now. “That’s because it is probably the flagship model for Danelectro and so many great players have played this particular guitar. Also, it really is a great instrument!”
Tom Appleton, national accounts sales manager for Ibanez, says that there are many factors that are considered when choosing to reissue an Ibanez. First is consumer demand. “Many Ibanez fans out there like to talk about their favorite models, and talk about what features they would like to see in what combination. We listen to that. We also take into account anniversaries of a specific model, or a scene or genre.”
An Ibanez reissue is sometimes an exact replica of the original model, but other times it’s unique. Like the Musician Bass: it wasn’t a model that was ever released before in the Musician Series, but this reissue was redesigned with attributes associated with the original series.
Otherwise, quality and authenticity are two of the most important aspects to a good reissue. A personal favorite of Appleton’s is the recent Bob Weir reissue. Ibanez had a relationship with the Grateful Dead and Weir played a custom model of theirs, especially during the 1970s. “Now this wasn’t something we sold previously – it never evolved into a working model,” he says. “So when we reestablished our relationship with Bob, we built that one down to the very last spec. His was sent to a special workshop in Japan where they recreated it down to the finest detail. It turned out to be an amazing instrument.”
Some reissues take advantage of the technological improvements that have come to be since the original was released. On occasion, tough choices have to be made: for example, some feel that the Edge Tremolo system is the best ever, and to put anything else on certain reissues would be heresy. “Now mechanically, new ones might be more accurate, return to pitch better, etc. – but many players feel that without the Edge system it wouldn’t be authentic. So we take that into account.”
The most recent reissue is Steve Vai’s multi-color universe, the UV77REMC. “This is the 20th anniversary of the original Universe. The specs are almost identical to the original with one added benefit is it has a five-piece Maple/Bubinga neck for extra stability.” It features the original Lo Pro Edge 7 bridge and the same DiMarzio Blaze pickups.
Those who are buying these include fans of specific musicians or styles of music the reissue is closely associated with, and usually a pro or someone at a certain age with the benefits of disposable income. “It’s not usually your average teenager just beginning to play, but otherwise it’s a broad mix.”
For retailers to do well with Ibanez reissues being able to display it in a way that reveals the romance of the instrument leads to good sales. “The more retailers who get the word out about the instrument, the better. Many of our dealers are becoming more savvy in using social media along with a broad range of traditional advertising channels.” To help, Ibanez recently instituted a “limited edition” page on their website that allows dealers who stock those instruments to be listed as a place where those guitars can be found.
Jason Fedele, marketing director, says that reissues offer an opportunity for people to reconnect with the childhood iconic guitars. “Whether it’s a band, video, or print ad they saw, a reissue can transport, through time and mind, an individual to a fantasy they have regarding a particular guitar.” Financially speaking, a reissue can get that dream guitar at a more affordable price.
Schecter draws heavily on its history and the history of guitar making in general to find inspiration for reissues. Specifically, he points to their “PT” guitar, which is a tele-inspired guitar played by the Who’s Pete Townshend in the Eminence Front video from the early 1980s. “This guitar has received a lot of attention from our consumer base and we feel it is an example of the perfect reissue.”
A good reissue has the same quality as a good guitar in terms of construction, he says. There are cases where a manufacturer can use historical parts from the past, such as copper wiring or components parts like potentiometers. Schecter’s philosophy for making the best guitar or bass is the same one it applies to reissues.
Fedele shies away from specific thoughts on how dealers can make the most of reissues, deferring to the 180 unique products Schecter offers. “Niche advertising to a particular demographic can hinder your overall marketing approach, especially if the product is even more niche in and of itself.”
In addition to the PT guitar, Fedele is excited about the Paul Gilbert artist model, which has recently been reissued. “Being a huge fan of his, owning that guitar makes me feel a closer connection – even if only in my dreams!”
No one would doubt Fender’s considerable expertise in the reissue category – and while they have plenty of reissues, that doesn’t mean they aren’t selective in the decision making process.
General demand and desirability are the first barometers, and keeping an eye on the vintage market is one way Fender gauges this. “Consumers also give us feedback of what they’d like to see from us,” says Justin Norvell, director of marketing electric guitars. They also look at which guitars stand as great representations of important design eras. “For example, a 1957 Strat with its maple V shaped neck, a 1966 Jazzmaster with its block inlays and neck binding, or a 1972 Tele Deluxe with its two wide range humbucking pickups” are instantly known for the eras of pop music they represent.
But Fender isn’t afraid to mix the old with the new. Norvell says they have the Vintage Hot Rod and Classic Player Series dedicated to combing the best features of both worlds. “We take classic reissue designs and give them a ‘modern makeover,’ so you can get a faithful reissue, or a souped-up modernized version that still maintains that vintage vibe.”
Fender has several tiers of reissues. “Some just capture the essence of vibe and cosmetic feel like the Classic Series. Our U.S. Vintage reissue series are made entirely out of authentic materials and construction including cloth wire, parts stamped on the old tolling, and lacquer finishes.” Out of the Custom Shop comes the Time Machine series that even incorporates wear techniques to age the instruments. “This can even involved the pickups made by the very staff members that made them back in the day … it can’t get much more authentic then that!”
David Coram, guitar product manager, says that the idea of reissuing the iconic Dan Armstrong guitar was so nice they’ve done it twice – the second time because so many artists were requesting it. He stresses that while the acrylic body may look like it’s primarily a novelty, it isn’t: the body provides more sustain than wood. Also what has sustained the instrument’s popularity is the ease at which pickups can be swapped out.
“The dimensions and electronics specifications are the same as the original, but we did make two improvements,” Coram says. “The first improvement is to the neck joint. The original necks were attached by bolts that went through the back of the body and were held by nuts that were set into holes cut into the front side of the neck. The bolts were domed on the ends and had no surface for gripping when tightening the nuts and because the nuts weren’t set into the neck it was difficult to get them tight enough to hold the neck in place.”
For this latest reissue, they used receiver nuts that are embedded into the neck, which is attached by four screws that are tightened from the back. “This allows for the neck to be attached with the proper tension. The second improvement is the addition of a Wilkinson bridge with roller saddles. The new bridge replaced the original rosewood version and allowed for better intonation.”
Dan Armstrong is a division of LOUD, as is Ampeg amps, which has its own reissues going on. Pyotr Belov, director of amplification, says they are reissuing the Classic SVT-CL bass head, SVT-810E and SVT-410HLF bass cabs.
The “Heritage Series is our answer to all the customers who wanted to have a U.S. Ampeg option,” Belov says. “The Heritage SVT-CL and Heritage Cabinets are built on the Classic SVT-CL, SVT-810E and SVT-410HLF foundation with upgraded components, U.S. design and assembly and extra QC.” Like the Armstrong, though, improvements were made. They took the popular Classic SVT-CL, Classic SVT-810E and Classic SVT-410HLF and looked at what can they could do to make it better. Out of that study they came up with some improvements.
“We’ve upgraded the tubes on the CL, and all tubes are tested and matched Premium High Grade by Ruby Tubes in Petaluma, Calif. Also we’ve increased the PCB thickness and its construction.” The 810E and 410HLF got a similar treatment, though they came with Eminence Drivers that are made in the U.S.
“Heritage Series is the premium offering from Ampeg,” he adds. “The allure of this product is the fact that it’s a US Ampeg and an updated version of our classic models – something that some of our loyal Ampeg customers asked for.”