|Prestige Guitars Heritage Elite
Summary: Is it possible to build a better Les Paul. Prestige Guitars thinks so, and I think they’re on to something with the Heritage Elite. With its stunning looks and gorgeous voice, this is a great, all-around versatile guitar that will fit any style of music.
Pros: Very full and rich sound, and all the accoutrements make this guitar a real looker. Very nice treble pickup with higher gain settings.
Cons: This is just a little one. I’m not fond of the abalone outlining on the the neck as to me it takes away from the gorgeous vine inlay. But that’s just me. Also the intonation was off on the 6th string – again, it wasn’t a big deal – I just fixed it and went off to the races.
Price: $1800 Canadian / ~$1450 US
Tone Bone Rating: 4.75 – 6th string was slightly off in intonation, and I had to adjust it. Weird, because all the other strings were perfectly intoned. If it hadn’t been for that, the guitar would get a 5.0 rating.
Didn’t I just write a First Impressions? Well, I haven’t put this guitar down all day because I was having so much fun with it, so I decided to just go ahead and write the review. I’ll do a gig report once I’ve played it in a gig setting – which will be tomorrow. 🙂
Fit and Finish
What can I say? This guitar is gorgeous, and except for my little nit, everything is perfect on this guitar. I love the stain burst finish that really accentuates the quilted maple top. There’s no glue marks or finish mistakes to be found on this beauty, and the abalone binding around the body and ebonized head stock is to die for! The neck joint is perfect as well, and is nicely set with no extra bulk, so reaching notes in the upper registers is an absolute breeze!
Prestige really thought out the design of this guitar really well. The gold hardware is a nice touch, and the Grover tuners are the bomb. Even though they’re not locking, the guitar stays in tune. I’ve only had to hit the tuner twice all day due to temperature changes in my garage/studio. The vine inlay on the neck is oh-so-stunning, and reminiscent of high-end guitars I’ve seen and played that cost a helluva lot more than this beauty queen. How Prestige was able to build a great-looking guitar with so much boutique bling at a fairly reasonable price is beyond me, but hey! Who’s complaining? Definitely not me.
Normally, I can’t stand pick guards, but somehow, the pick guard on the Heritage Elite is really unobtrusive. This guitar just “works.” I dig it.
I have to admit that after playing “Goldie,” a Saint Guitar Company Benchmark that has a wide profile neck, it was tough to get used to the comparatively narrower neck profile of this guitar. But once I got my hands dialed in, I gotta say that this guitar is very easy to play. The C-shape neck is a joy to play, and the rosewood fretboard is nice and smooth, yet with enough texture to give great tactile feedback.
The thin body makes positioning very easy – especially for a big guy like myself that has a middle-aged gut, so how it hangs from the strap is important. I didn’t have to make any positional adjustments with this guitar, which is something I have to do with a lot of guitars.
The shorter scale was something I also had to get used to, but that’s not even a nit. Again, once I got my hands dialed in to play this guitar, it was so very easy to play. The action was perfect out of the box – nice and low, which is how I like it. They strung it with D’Addario 10’s to boot, which is my preferred gauge and a brand I’ve used for years (though I’ve lately been using almost exclusively DR strings), so the strings were instantly familiar-feeling. As I mentioned, the only ding that the guitar got was the intonation on the 6th string. I understand that this could be due to shipping, but it was off enough where I had to get my micro allen wrench and adjust it. That always makes me nervous with these demo guitars because I don’t want scratch them out of respect for the manufacturer’s hard work. But all went smoothly, so no harm, no foul.
How It Sounds
In a word, “gorgeous.” It has that classic Les Paul fatness, but it’s also brightly voiced, like a Saint Guitar. It’s not as EQ balanced in its brightness like a Saint is, but for what it offers, this guitar really kicks ass tonally. The Heritage Elite packs tons of nice harmonics and overtones that add complexity to its tonal presentation. And another thing that I really dig about this guitar is that it has tons of sustain, which really comes out in the treble pickup, especially at high gain settings! I’ve played tons and tons of guitars, and most have ear shattering treble pickups. The Saint Guitars and this Heritage Elite have the most usable treble pickups I’ve played. I think this is due to the guitars’ inherent, natural sustain. In any case, check out some sound samples I made:
Clean – Both Pickups
Clean – Neck Pickup
Clean – Bridge Pickup
Dirty – Both Pickups
Dirty – Neck Pickup
Dirty – Bridge Pickup
Clean clips were played in the Clean channel of my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, while the dirty clips were played in the Drive channel. For the dirty treble pickup clip, I slammed the front-end of the amp with a wide-open Creation Audio Labs Mk.4.23 clean boost, the best clean boost on the planet. That brought on tons of overtones and rich harmonics! Sweet.
I really like this guitar. It looks great, it sounds great and it plays great! By the way, this is their top of the line model, and at $1800 Canadian, it’s an incredible value proposition. Believe me when I tell you that you’re getting a boutique-quality guitar for a great price with the Prestige Heritage Elite!
For more information, go to the Prestige Guitars Web Site.