An Introduction to Heritage Guitars

Heritage Guitars is a name that’s been around for a while, but it’s fair to say that not many players are aware of the brand's history. We wrote this blog to provide you with some context. And you may be surprised by their story…

Elliot Stent

Elliot Stent

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Heritage’s guitars strongly resemble those from a premier, world-renowned American musical instrument corporation. It starts with a ‘G’ if you’re still unsure. However, you’d be silly to simply write off Heritage’s electric guitars as “knock-offs” or copies.

That’s because the um… “heritage” behind Heritage Guitars paints the picture of a company that’s proud to stick close to its roots and continue a beautiful legacy — with curiously close ties to that larger, hinted-at brand. Boldly claiming that they build the “finest American-made electric guitars” on the market, in this blog we’re going to give you a brief but informative introduction to Heritage Guitars!

Heritage Guitars H-150 Beauty

History of Heritage Guitars

Heritage’s origins can be traced back to as far as the late 1800s. When legendary luthier Orville Gibson arrived in Kalamazoo and started designing mandolins, his eponymous company later grew into an acoustic/electric guitar powerhouse that remains one of the industry’s leading giants today. Some of their most exemplary, trend-setting instruments were built at the fabled 225 Parsons Street factory between 1917 and 1984.

In the Spring of ‘85, a group of employees from that organisation decided to purchase space at the iconic Kalamazoo facility along with the original guitar-making equipment — in an effort to “keep the craft alive” after Gibson relocated. This officially marked the beginning of Heritage Guitars, who debuted their first model at the 1985 NAMM Show.

Where Are Heritage Guitars Made?

Today, Heritage continues to build its exceptional electric guitars at the famous 225 Parsons Street factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan — where it all started and where, indeed, some of the world’s most coveted vintage instruments were made. This applies to not only their Standard Collection models, but also their high-end Custom Shop creations. More on that later…

Are Heritage Guitars Any Good?

In short — yes! Heritage’s founders share a wealth of experience and pride themselves on the belief that “every guitar should be as unique as the musician who plays it”. They’ve passed down their knowledge to the younger luthiers, who still use traditional methods and tools to capture the spirit of the original “Golden Era” electric guitars built at the very same factory in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

The Heritage Guitars Range

Standard Collection

The current Heritage lineup is split into two. Instruments from the Heritage Standard Collection are incredibly well-made and filled to the brim with classic character and charm. Made from high-quality tonewoods and featuring aftermarket pickups from the likes of Seymour Duncan and Lollar, these models are primarily designed for working players — those who seek premium guitars that can amplify their passion for music.

Custom Shop

Heritage’s Custom Shop division produces high-end, bespoke electric guitars which they describe as some of the “most remarkable” out there. Made for discerning musicians, these hand-crafted works-of-art boast top-class timbers and come fitted with in-house, hand-wired pickups tuned specifically to the dedicated model.

H-150

Heritage Guitars H-150

Speaking of models, Heritage’s range encompasses solid-body, semi-hollow and full hollowbody guitars. Their flagship H-150 is one of the former — an LP-inspired singlecut that provides a nostalgic feel and sound akin to the cherished late ‘50s “Holy Grail” electric guitar. You know which one we’re talking about!

H-535

Heritage Guitars H-535

A sonic workhorse in every sense. The Heritage H-535’s powerful dual-humbucking pickup configuration and semi-hollow construction makes it a versatile tone machine adaptable for practically any genre of music — with a timeless look to boot!

H-530

Heritage Guitars H-530

The H-530 is the lightest instrument in Heritage’s Standard Collection, thanks to its full hollowbody construction. The lack of a full centreblock allows the guitar to breathe more naturally, giving it an airier voice, while a pair of Lollar P-90 pickups produce focused mid-heavy tones to satisfy even old-school rockers.

H-575

Heritage Guitars H-575

An authentic archtop guitar that demands attention — especially from jazz players! A fully-hollow, figured Maple body equipped with two Seymour Duncan Seth Lover humbuckers culminates in a broad sound rich in sustain and depth. While the body is definitely on the larger side, it is complemented by a deep “florentine” cutaway that provides great access to the higher register.

Eagle Classic

Heritage Guitars Eagle Classic

A seriously high-end jazz box which will take you back to the ‘50s with just a glance. It is a true semi-acoustic guitar, particularly with its full hollowbody design, Sitka Spruce top and solid Ebony fretboard. A thick dual-humbucker set courtesy of Seymour Duncan provides the diversity and tonal capabilities that any professional demands.

In our Andertons TV videos below, Captain Lee and Danish Pete demonstrate all of Heritage’s Standard Collection guitars:

What are Heritage ‘Artisan Aged’ Guitars?

“Relic” guitars are becoming increasingly popular. More musicians are gravitating towards instruments that have been artificially aged to simulate years of playing wear — capturing the look of genuine vintage instruments from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Understandably, relic guitars are quite divisive. However, more companies are offering them to take advantage of this trend and meet the growing demand.

Heritage Guitars has joined the party with its own ‘Artisan Aged’ models. Featuring cracked nitro lacquer finishes, subtle chips/scuffs and oxidised hardware — these relic guitars are tastefully aged to provide a “time capsule” feel and aesthetic. Available exclusively to their Custom Shop models, Heritage will occasionally do a limited run of Standard Collection guitars that have undergone the Artisan Aged process.

Heritage Guitars Factory

Are Heritage Guitars Better Than Gibson?

We’re not going to open that can of worms! It’s all a matter of preference, just like with any guitar. They’re in the same ballpark price-wise too, so a direct “in-your-hands” comparison would be the best way to gauge which brand’s models suit you better.

A Heritage guitar would appeal strongly to a player who appreciates the company’s rich history, especially with how their instruments have, perhaps, a deeper connection and a somewhat direct lineage to the vintage “Golden Era” Kalamazoo electric guitars that are so revered. After all, they’re made in the same factory!

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Elliot Stent
Elliot Stent
Elliot is a Senior Product Copywriter at Andertons, a guitarist and a YouTube gear demonstrator. Having studied Music and Music Technology, his interests lie equally in both performance and production. Favouring Fender instruments and Marshall amps, Elliot is also a pedal fanatic with a large collection of effects.

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