L.D. Heater Music Company

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by alex on February 28, 2014

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The L.D. Heater Music Company was a family-owned importer of musical instruments based in Portland, Oregon from around 1918 until about 1984. They offered many music products and instruments, notably guitars, violins, and other string and brass instruments. By 1971, the company had moved from downtown Portland to Beaverton, a local suburb. The company was located at 10300 S.W. Allen Blvd. Beaverton, Oregon. The L.D. Heater Music Company was a registered business in Oregon. Public records show that the company did not renew its registration and was dissolved in 1986.

 

Known Locations

The L.D. Heater Co. was at one time a owned subsidiary of Norlin Musical Instruments, the same company which also owned Gibson Guitars in the 1970’s and 80’s.

L.D. and Lyle Heater

GraphophoneLacy Deloss Heater, founder, was born August 24, 1881 in Jasper, Iowa (verified). His wife was Lenore Heater, the mother of Lyle Deloss Heater.

In 1918, L.D. Heater was manager of the Portland office for the Columbia Graphophone Company, selling Alexander Graham Bell’s “talking machine.”

Lyle Deloss Heater, son of Lacy Deloss Heater, was born April 27, 1912 in Portland, Oregon and died February 8, 1998 in Portland (verified). His mother was Lenore Heater. His wife was Betty (Elizabeth) Heater.

Laird, son of Lyle and Betty Heater, also worked in the family business and still lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Innovations

Music Trades Volume 56, published in 1918, mentions L.D. Heater of Portland Oregon as an early seller of the new “talking machines.”

Paul Tutmarc was the inventor of the first “modern” electric bass in the 1930’s, which was designed to be played like a guitar. Tutmarc designed and produced the Serenader electric bass in 1947, which appeared in the 1948 music catalog of L.D. Heater Music Company. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_guitar#1930s.E2.80.931940s

Lyle Guitars

Lyle Guitars was a brand name of guitars sold  in the United States during the 1960’s, 70’s, and through the early 80’s by the L.D. Heater Music Company. The brand was named after Lyle Deloss Heater. The Lyle brand was known as lower cost option to higher priced Fenders and Gibsons.

Lyle C-600 Acoustic Guitar

1975 Lyle C-600

Links Related to Lyle Guitars:

Aria/Lyle 1803T 1802T and 1803T 1803T Epiphone EA-270

Nirvana with their Epi EA-270 (aka Lyle 1803T).

Arai and Matsumoku, Japanese builders of Lyle, Epiphone, Aria, Univox, Westone, and many other brands.

Nobuaki Hayashi (H. Noble), designer of many Matsumoku built guitars.

The Final Years

Ron Henson was President of L.D. Music Company in 1984. There is a 1982 newspaper article by the Eugene Register Guard about L.D. Heater Music Co. making violins from Oregon grown Spruce and Maple trees.

Kapok Violins.

Edgar Perry Dewitt (1913-2010) was a financial officer for L.D. Heater Company.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Johnson May 2, 2015 at 3:45 pm

One of the comments I received in my search mentioned that the L.D Heater Co. imported products. I’m not sure where to start on what country(s) may have been the importer(s). Can you give me any clues ?

Thank you for any info,
Tom

Reply

alex July 26, 2015 at 10:05 pm

Hi again Tom. Most of the instruments and products L.D. Heater imported in the 60s and 70s were from Japan. One of their favorite manufacturers in Japan was the Matsumoku factory. Matsumoku made very good guitars and amps under the names Lyle (the L.D. Heater brand), Epiphone, Univox, Tempo, and others. But L.D. Heater also imported other fine instruments from Germany and some from Italy.

Reply

Dave Funis October 24, 2015 at 7:31 am

Excellent information, thanks for posting. I’ve had two identical Lyle 12-string guitars (W-470-12) dating back to the late ’80s, though I didn’t know about their history until only a few years ago (nor the origins of the name “Lyle” until reading this piece!) Now I know why they seem to be so prevalent in the Pacific NW area…again, cool story, thanks.

Reply

alex October 25, 2015 at 1:55 pm

Thanks Dave for dropping by and reading the article. Glad you enjoyed it.

Cheers,
~alex

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Joe Corder December 28, 2016 at 9:08 pm

All cool info on L.D. Heater Music Co. My mother and Lyle’s wife, Mary Jane, were half sisters. We would visit the Heaters in Raleigh Hills on occasion when I was in grade school. My mother bought me a Lyle ‘Dove’ in 1972 at a music store in Eugene. I still have it. Precious memories visiting the Heaters.

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alex December 28, 2016 at 11:46 pm

Thanks Joe for sharing those memories of the Heater family. I too once had family living in Raleigh Hills. Glad to hear that you still have the Lyle ‘Dove’ guitar!
~alex

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Glenn Studebaker March 16, 2017 at 3:06 pm

I bump into this fantastic article every time I look for information on my Lyle Acoustic model F575 (open book headstock) guitar. There’s surprising little. The story of Lyle and the connection to Matsumoku, Norlin, and Gibson is compelling but I would have thought there would be better record keeping…especially from the Japanese company. Although it’s considered a “low cost alternative to Fenders and Gibsons”, the niche value makes it MORE desirable in my extremely biased opinion. I purchased mine around 1986 from a garage sale in Hillsboro, which is about a 5 minute drive from Beaverton.
Anyway…I’ll be back in a few months when I decide to google, “lyle F575” again. Thanks for providing a little more backstory on my guitar.

Reply

alex March 16, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Glenn,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving the comment Yes, I too wish we had more info. If I had more time, I’d do some more research. Unfortunately at that time, the Japanese guitar makers did not keep records, and Gibson was happy to keep the Lyle connection a secret.

Keep rockin’ that Lyle guitar.

Cheers, until next time.
~alex
http://www.tonegems.com

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