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Heritage H-535 Original Sunburst


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Made in the original Gibson factory in Kalamazoo Michigan, Heritage guitars combine old-world expertise and new-world consistency to craft guitars you'll be proud to pass on to the next generation. This Original Sunburst Heritage H-535 is a semi-hollow rock classic loved by blues players, jazzers and session players alike.

This new USA Heritage H-535 features:

  • Traditional Sunburst Nitrocellulose finish
  • Curly maple laminate top and back, 8.0 pounds
  • Solid maple sides
  • Cream binding
  • One piece Mahogany set neck, 1-11/16" nut width, 24.75" scale
  • Bound Rosewood fingerboard, 22 Plek'd frets
  • TonePros locking bridge and stop bar
  • Corian nut
  • Grover Rotomatic tuners
  • Seymour Duncan SH-55 Seth Lover pickups
  • Separate volume and tone controls (CTS pots and Orange drop caps)
  • Plek laser guided fret finishing
  • 3-way pickup switch
  • Heritage Hardshell case

Since Gibson left town in the 80's, Heritage Guitar has been the keepers of the Kalamazoo torch, crafting guitars the old way in low volumes. That was both their charm and their Achilles heel. New owners -- Bandlab -- and new tooling and investment have brought better quality, and consistency. With more marketing savvy and social media presence, the New Heritage is working to spread the good news.

This model speaks to the best of what Heritage has to offer: Stellar workmanship and finish, quality woods, rock-solid hardware and electronics. The Mahogany set neck is slightly slimmer than other Heritage necks we have sampled, and strikes us as somewhere between a late 50's profile and a Slim 60's neck. Personally we really like it. Fret finish was excellent, and the fairly low fret height of .035", moderate string tension and low break angle over the bridge made the guitar feel effortless to play.

The Duncan Seth Lover pickups are vintage output Alnico 2 pickups patterned after the original PAF design. At the neck, the SH-55N combines a bright but sweet top end with a warmer, woody low end response. The softer pull of Alnico 2 magnets don't create a lot of wound string bite, and the clean tone is best described as more jazzy than punchy. The tone is warm with a slightly loose feel, and a "breathy" nature that is the sweet spot of this semi-hollow design. At the neck position the H-535 takes moderate amounts of distortion quite well, and retains good note definition. Using our Keeley Tone Station, even the low notes took on the right amount of snap and growl.

The bridge pickup is just about perfect, and the unpotted SH-55B is bright, sweet and clean without the sharp, brittle tone of a higher output Alnico 5 pickup. Whether for chords or solos, its got an enticing blend of attack and suppleness, and like the neck pickup stays articulate and defined with moderate amounts of distortion.

We'd say the bridge position is our favorite spot on the H-535...except that some of the best tones are with both pickups combined. There are four knobs; use them and you'll find a treasure trove of tones that truly unlock the versatility of this design. The CTS pots have a nice taper and usable range, and if you just play this guitar wide open, you are missing a lot.

The thinline semi-hollow design has a great history, and players like Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour literally put this guitar on the map as the ultimate jazz/rock crossover guitar. The Heritage H-535 does not break any new ground, but for the player looking for a "destination" guitar, the H-535 provides the quality, tone and playability equal to the best of the breed, at a very attainable price.