player opinions

Heritage H-535

Heritage H-535

  1. Name: Mike

  2. Band: Monkey Poop

  3. Model Year: -----

  4. Price Paid: $1500

  5. Performance

  6. Great guitar, the neck is a tapered single piece of mahogany so it has a great feel and is easy to play, because it is essentially an ES-335, the upper frets (21st and 22nd) are a bit tricky to get to. The great thing about this guitar is that it is closer to a vintage Gibson than the guitars Gibson makes today, because Heritage is founded by luthiers who built guitars for the Gibson custom shop back in the 50’s. They all have 40+ years experience under their belt and know how to build vintage Gibson’s better than Anyone (with the exception of Ted McCarty) These guys don’t know anything else.

  7. Performance Rating: 10

  8. Sound Quality

  9. The tone is good, but could be better, all the wood is beautiful and produces a great tone, but the pickups are nothing special, they’re just Schaller humbuckers made in Germany. They have a decent tone, chunky and fat (clean channels offer the best tone) but they’re not as warm and smooth as the vintage Gibson PAF’s of yesteryear. So the pickups do fall short of living up to the actually vintage-esque construction of the instrument. Heritage will put Seymour Duncans in as an option, but you can still do better. Most Duncans are built over seas now and still fall short of achieving that vintage Gibson tone.

    The best thing to do is to get a set of pickups from a man by the name of Lindy Fralin in Virginia. This guy knows his stuff. He makes the closest sounding pickups to a vintage Gibson PAF, even more so then the re-issue 57’ PAF’s Gibson makes now. Even the McCarty pickups found in the Paul Reed Smith guitars would suffice. If you can achieve this feat, than you will have the closest thing to a Vintage ES-335, at half the price of a modern ES-335, and who knows the fraction of the price for the real thing. Also, good luck finding someone who will give up a vintage Gibson. The H-535 has great potential.

  10. Sound Quality Rating: 10

  11. Construction

  12. I have talked to guitar experts who actually own vintage ES-335’s. They compared them to the H-535 and other than the tone, they said the two instruments were identical, so the construction is outstanding. Everything is handcrafted, there are only four guys in this operation so they build very high quality guitars, and apply much more attention to detail than can be achieved in a factory. Because these guitars are so close to the originals, they will be quite the collector’s item in a few years, so get one while they’re still reasonably priced. Don’t fall into the trap of buying because it says Gibson. The only thing that sets this guitar back is the pickups, even then they’re not to shabby. However if you’re as picky about tone as I am, you might want to spend the extra money to unlock this guitars true potential as a truly modern-day vintage instrument.

  13. Construction Rating: 10


  1. Average Ratings
  2. Performance: 10
  3. Sound Quality: 6
  4. Construction: 10
  5. Ratings Key
  6. 10: Excellent
  7. 0: Useless
  8. Company
  9. Heritage

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