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

GraphophoneL.D. Heater (the elder) was born about 1884 (or 1880?) in Iowa (needs verification). 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 L.D. Heater) was born about 1913 in Portland, Oregon and died February 28, 1998 in Portland (verify). His mother was Lenore Heater. His wife was Betty (Elizabeth) Heater.


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,  called the Audiovox, which was designed to be played like a guitar. According to KFLD News Talk Radio in Tri-Cities area of Washington, “The Audiovox hit the market in 1936 and was sold by the L.D. Heater Music Company in Portland, Oregon. That was sixteen years before Leo Fender got his hands on the bass. Tutmarc also designed an amplifier to with his Audiovox bass to boot.”

Tutmarc also designed and produced the Serenader electric bass in 1947, which appeared in the 1948 music catalog of L.D. Heater Music Company. Wikipedia:

Lyle Guitars

Lyle C-600 Acoustic GuitarLyle 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.

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.

The sign on a downtown building in Portland, Oregon is all that remains of a local company that pioneered music technology and musical instruments from the early 1900’s through the 1980’s. Located at 625 SW 10th Avenue in downtown Portland.

Facebook Comments

Due to a web server failure last year, we lost some very nice comments previously left here by Heater family members. Please feel free to re-comment.

Previous Comments

{ 4 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,


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.


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.


alex October 25, 2015 at 1:55 pm

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



alex · October 1, 2023 at 4:04 pm

Thank you!

6 Amazing Things That Were Invented in Washington State – Breaking Tri-Cities WA News · May 15, 2023 at 8:47 am

[…] It was a solid wood body made of walnut.  The Audiovox hit the market in 1936 and was sold by the L.D. Heater Music Company in Portland, Oregon.  That was sixteen years before Leo Fender got his hands on the bass.  […]

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