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Heartfield RR9


fuzztone

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Thanks for the posts! I first heard about these guitars 2 years ago when I saw one on Craigslist. Here is an interesting article about this guitar:

THE HEARTFIELD RR
Vintage Guitar magazine - April 1998


By Riley Wilson

A lot of players have used Les Paul Juniors over the years, for gigs as well as recording. Its a simple design which, in the right hands, can make people shout, wiggle, smile and dance, among other activities. If you ever wanted an updated version of the famous economy Les Paul, examine this months entree, the Heartfield RR.

Imported from Japan by Fender during the late 1980s, this guitar does a number of things very well, and at a bargain price. You should be able to find them used for less than $400, making them Gigmeister worthy.

Fender has made instruments overseas for many years now. The Heartfield line came about when the company wanted to try different ideas for instruments and market them under a different name. The Heartfield line included several guitars and basses, all incorporating decidedly un-Fender-like approaches to create several guitars. The RR, which certainly means rock and roll, looks like a cross between Paul Chandlers 555 and the G&L SC-3, with a bit of Les Paul Jr. thrown in. These "Made In Japan" instruments used top-quality components, including the Strat American Standard tremolo bridge, Gotoh tuners and a very unusual electronics package more about that later. The 22-fret neck joins the fingerboard in an unusual four-bolt pattern nearly identical to Ibanezs All Access Joint. The tapered headstock employs three-on-a-side tuners, while the headstock angle is so sharp it requires a volute, a la 70s-era Gibsons. The rosewood fingerboard has a flatter radius, like an 80s Charvel/Jackson, with more rounded fretwire. The neck shape is large and round, and feels quite nice, especially for players with larger hands.

Cosmetically, the RR is an eye-catching instrument, to say the least. This months feature is a bright yellow color with small glitter sparkles. It looks bright under any conditions, but especially under intense stage lights. The white mother of toilet seat pickguard looks neat and is cut in an unusual shape. The alder(?) body has a slight dressed away area for the right forearm, owing to its Fender heritage. The rest of the body is more like a Telecaster. Its not bad, but its not going to win any ergonomics awards.

One of the reasons players like the Telecaster or Les Paul Jr. is the lack of knobs. The Heartfield design team understood this and supplied the RR with a volume, tone and three lighted switches. Yes, the RR has active electronics, but they aren't difficult to figure out. The three raised rubber buttons each have an LED above them indicating which position is on. They give 1. single coil, 2. dual coil and 3. dual coil with distortion boost. Incidentally, the 9 volt battery has its own compartment, just ahead of the back plate for input jack, potentiometers, etc. The tone knob works on all three positions and the control knobs are identical to those used on the HM Strat series. Nice and comfy.

The final arbiter is sound, and lets get one thing clear this ain't a jazz box! This guitar is happiest when cranked into a loud, noisy amp. Even with a clean setting on my amp, I could hear distinct differences between the single and dual-coil modes. Its nice having the ability to change tones by pressing a button. If you have any experience at all with a TV remote, you'll enjoy this feature. The distortion isn't bad, either. With my Peavey Bandit set up for a clean, flat tone, the dirty setting reminded me of Cream-era Clapton, especially the live Crossroads tone. Roll the tone knob back to 1, and you get instant Swlabr or Spirit in the Sky! Its quick and handier than cranking a 100-watt Marshall to 10. Just like a stack on 10, setting three is noisy. It also sounds a bit compressed, not a problem for many players. The locking Gotoh tuners and tremolo system should stay in tune for most players. If you're gonna use the RR for slide, I would suggest heavier strings and higher action. The cutaway allows easy access to all 22 frets on the treble side and 18 on the bass side with a slide in hand. The volume and tone knobs are close and easy to manipulate, due to their larger physical size. With moderate amp distortion, the RR becomes louder and meaner. Setting one cuts through like a good Strat or Tele back pickup, while setting two sounds like a DiMarzio Super Distortion pickup. Setting three compresses the sound a bit, creating a super-saturated sound like Eruption or perhaps a Soldano wound too tight. I would prefer to use this setting while recording, as its a bit too hard to control live.

What's not to like about the RR? It's a one-trick pony back pickup or nothing. I'm not fond of active electronics on guitars, and this instruments settings are a little harsh, especially settings 1 and 2. While the humbucking pickup is a standard size, replacing it and getting it to interface with the onboard IC is another matter. This is a specialized guitar, and as such, won't appeal to vast numbers of people. It won't play mellow and really isn't happy unless it's given wide open spaces to romp in. However, if you're a dedicated rock or slide player, you might find the Heartfield RR just what you've been looking for.

04.jpg

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^^^^ That was from the "Gigmeister" column In VG magazine. That was a really good column.
I dont know why they quit running it. It would seem it would be more popular than ever if they
left it alone, being as there is a plethora of good, cheap instruments today.

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Nice one.

You'll want to sign up at http://www.heartfield-central.com/ and post that one as they're trying to get a database of all the existing Heartfield guitars and their serial numbers as there may have been around a thousand of them, possibly less. Yours is not in the database so that's a cool one for sure.

Here's my EX-2 that I've had since 1989:
11.jpg

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Quote Originally Posted by aliensporebomb View Post
Nice one.

You'll want to sign up at http://www.heartfield-central.com/ and post that one as they're trying to get a database of all the existing Heartfield guitars and their serial numbers as there may have been around a thousand of them, possibly less. Yours is not in the database so that's a cool one for sure.

Here's my EX-2 that I've had since 1989:
11.jpg
Wow! Thats a beauty love.gif

I checked out the "Heartsfield Central" link, thanks! They have a wealth of information about these guitars. I remember going there a few of years ago when I first heard of Heartfield guitars but they have added a ton of updates since then,like this photo from the Heartfield RR manual:

rrsw.jpg
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Quote Originally Posted by fuzztone View Post
Thanks for the info.Here's a youtube vid of an RR9

Looking at it, I thought it was another of your lo-fi , garage rock wonders ( which I dig, don't get me wrong.) that you regularly show us. Turns out this sounds pretty useful for a lot of musical scenarios.. Even the onboard distortion is cool. I'd love to hear it without the onboard distortion thru an overdriven amp.
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Looking at it, I thought it was another of your lo-fi , garage rock wonders ( which I dig, don't get me wrong.) that you regularly show us. Turns out this sounds pretty useful for a lot of musical scenarios.. Even the onboard distortion is cool. I'd love to hear it without the onboard distortion thru an overdriven amp.

 

 

[video=youtube;NTl4Ewf4oWM]

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