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This pristine Heritage H-530 features:
To many players, the real guitars still come from Kalamazoo, where Heritage Guitars still operates out the historic former Gibson facility. But history is more than a building, and Heritage under the ownership of BandLab have made the needed investments to improve consistency and reduce delivery times. With more marketing savvy and social media presence, the New Heritage is working hard to be more accessible and spread the good news.
Overshadowed by the better known and more ubiquitous H-535 (or 335) design, the Heritage H-530 swaps out the semi-hollow construction and humbucking pickups for a true hollow body and Lollar P-90's. The H-530 also sports a trapeze tailpiece instead of a TonePros tailpiece. Other construction features are similar to the H-535 including one-piece mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, exacting workmanship, and elegant nitrocellulose lacquer finish.
While we are already lovers of a good P-90 guitar, the H-530 really stole our hearts. The true hollow construction really shimmers acoustically, with plenty of natural volume, and an unplugged tone all its own. If you are used to this type of guitar in its usual semi-hollow format the H-530 is very different indeed.
The moderate output Lollar P-90 pickups provide a punchy clarity, and the hollow body construction adds depth, spaciousness, and shimmer. There is not a hint of midrange heaviness or treble snarl that players often associate with P-90 pickups (usually ones that are too hot to begin with). The P-90 attack is there, but it's balanced and round in the neck position, and sparkly and crisp at the bridge. Blended tones between the two pickups have a sweet bell-like tone that is shift-able to suit your desire for enhanced bass or treble response. It's our opinion that P-90's are at their best when not full up, and the CTS pots and individual volume and tone controls have plenty of usable sweep and a smooth feel.
The H-530 strikes us as a superlative rhythm guitar. The snappy attack, great note separation, and luxurious ring and shimmer work perfectly for sweeping chords or picking. No slathering of effects is needed, as the body of the guitar adds its own depth and sense of reverberation. Adding some distortion or gain tends to bring out a little of that P-90 edge and bark, and the tone is very old school; much like what you'd hear on old records when there were no amps over 20 watts and no such thing as stomp boxes. But we prefer the H-530 mostly clean with a touch of reverb or vibrato....or both.
As of 2018 the beautifully finished and bound mahogany set neck has slimmed down to approx. .822 at the first fret and .912 at the 12th. Fret finish is excellent, and the fairly low fret height of .040", moderate string tension and low break angle over the bridge made the guitar feel effortless to play.
Great rhythm guitar is greatly underappreciated, and while the H-530 is not the guitar for shredders or soaring blues sidemen, it fills a critical role of providing superior tone for laying down seriously good rhythm tracks and single note lines. Plus punch in a little distortion and it has a slightly Low-Fi tone that's equal parts Jack White, Bill Haley, and George Harrison. The Heritage H-530 is a true gem, and deserves a place in any serious collection.