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New Owners at Heritage Guitars

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Heritage Guitar today announced new ownership of the business that took over Kalamazoo's Gibson Guitar factory 31 years ago.

 

"The new ownership group is led by private local investors who have a long track record of revitalizing buildings and businesses in the Kalamazoo area," said a news release by Kyle Sobko, marketing director for Heritage Guitar Inc. The ownership group is not named in the release.

 

http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2016/04/heritage_guitar_announces_new.html

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Heritage Guitar today announced new ownership of the business that took over Kalamazoo's Gibson Guitar factory 31 years ago.

 

"The new ownership group is led by private local investors who have a long track record of revitalizing buildings and businesses in the Kalamazoo area," said a news release by Kyle Sobko, marketing director for Heritage Guitar Inc. The ownership group is not named in the release.

 

http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2016/04/heritage_guitar_announces_new.html

This bears watching. I'd like to see them produce a few flat-tops. The few they did years back weren't bad, although I had issues with the necks....

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... "The new ownership group is led by private local investors...

 

NEVER a good sign when an artistic, creative, or craftsman type business in taken over by "Investors"!

 

As a Gibson owner/player since the early 70's, here was the take on Heritage Guitars at the time they opened; They were supposed to be "Gibson" style guitars, built by former Gibson employees, on the former Gibson machinery at the former Gibson factory. After 30+ years, I doubt there could be any former Gibson employees left, and just how long can you ride on someone else's coattails. I think I've only ever seen two Heritage guitars that were actually privately purchased and played.

 

As "raved" about as Heritage guitars were when they came out, serious Gibson efficienados [sp] (OK, call as SNOBS) did not buy them, so I'm not sure what, or where, their target market was. Before I bought my L-5CES, I did shop other brands for a more "economical" solution to my full-bodied archtop GAS, and Heritage was one I looked at. My entry into the archtop world was a affordable (read cheap) Asian instrument, and when that started to grow on me, my end-all was a "real" Gibson. Heritage got skipped over in between.

 

I think Heritage's time (if they ever really had one) has long passed.

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I think Heritage's time (if they ever really had one) has long passed.

 

I hope not. Maybe the fact that the investors are local means that they will take a greater interest in improving manufacturing and hiring good people.

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NEVER a good sign when an artistic, creative, or craftsman type business in taken over by "Investors"!

 

As a Gibson owner/player since the early 70's, here was the take on Heritage Guitars at the time they opened; They were supposed to be "Gibson" style guitars, built by former Gibson employees, on the former Gibson machinery at the former Gibson factory. After 30+ years, I doubt there could be any former Gibson employees left, and just how long can you ride on someone else's coattails. I think I've only ever seen two Heritage guitars that were actually privately purchased and played.

 

As "raved" about as Heritage guitars were when they came out, serious Gibson efficienados [sp] (OK, call as SNOBS) did not buy them, so I'm not sure what, or where, their target market was. Before I bought my L-5CES, I did shop other brands for a more "economical" solution to my full-bodied archtop GAS, and Heritage was one I looked at. My entry into the archtop world was a affordable (read cheap) Asian instrument, and when that started to grow on me, my end-all was a "real" Gibson. Heritage got skipped over in between.

 

I think Heritage's time (if they ever really had one) has long passed.

 

I just wanted to sincerely thank you for posting this. I would get yelled at for saying it so I'm glad you did.

 

rct

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NEVER a good sign when an artistic, creative, or craftsman type business in taken over by "Investors"!

 

I think Heritage's time (if they ever really had one) has long passed.

 

Precisely!

 

I had a heritage h575

 

(an ES175ish hollow body)

 

nice looking guitar but try as I might, could never quite get the intonation clean on it.

 

after several hundred dollars of failed attempts to correct it, I cut my loses and traded it off.

 

the idea that these are better than any gibson made from the Norlin years till now, just is urban legend.

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Interesting viewpoints all from some very knowledgeable people I'm sure. I've been playing guitar for 35 years. I own 7 Gibsons. I also own 6 Heritage guitars that I have managed to keep with very few modifications (why have a kept them though?). They are as good or better than my Gibsons, however, I never saw it as a competition. Gibson makes great guitars, Heritage makes great guitars. The sale to local K'zoo investors is probably the best thing to happen to Heritage. The website has been updated, I believe they may even have something related to a marketing function, and, yes, there are still some of the original investors still active (themselves, physically making the guitars). People who do not subscribe to Heritage guitars will bash the hell out of 'em, but they are very nice guitars with a very nice price point. Now you can all bash the hell out of me for expressing my opinion. Ready, set, go...

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As with Gibsons, you'll find detractors. I've never played a Heritage, but from what I read all over the internet from knowledgeable players and builders (even in a Gibson forum from 2011), they make a quality instrument. If all I had to go on was my own personal knowledge, Gibson would be down on my list of guitar makers for consistent quality.

 

With new ownership, there will likely be some changes, regardless.

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i played a heritage the day before i bought my LP. it was without a doubt the finest playing guitar i ever held in my hands. i would have bought it on the spot, but it was heavy enough to anchor the queen mary so i passed. i look for them when i am guitar shopping but almost never see them. there is a single store in the gta (actually outside of toronto) that sells them. really? that's it?

perhaps if it wasn't such a chore to find and play one they might sell more. they are nice, and slightly less expensive than gibson. if i have to jump through flaming hoops to check one out, i'm not interested. ymmv

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I've had two, a 1986 Golden Eagle (#39) and a 1992 Golden Eagle (#3??). The '86 was okay but it was lost in the Great Corvette Acquisition Liquidation of 2013. The 1992 had a collapsed top. Plain and simple. It had just flat caved in like my 1935 L-7 had done. It was sold at a loss. And very cheaply.

 

Beautiful guitars but I've not loved the only two I've owned. Not saying I wouldn't own another but our record isn't stellar so far.

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I'm going to try an be optimistic and hope that this is a good thing; that the investors won't be overbearing and change everything, and will inject new life into a good business.

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Well, neither Henry nor FMIC bought it so it has at least a fighting chance. Either of those buyers would destroy it much like a kid would pull the wings off a house fly. If it's going to die, then let them close the doors and send everyone home and NOT sell the trademark and intellectual property to anyone. Just close the coffin lid and go on to other things.

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Everyone who knows Gibson knows that some Gibson guitars have had well documented issues too. There are far more great Gibson guitars than those with issues. Same for Heritage Guitars of Kalamazoo.

 

Today, Golden Eagles commonly sell on the used market for less than $3500. Super Eagles commonly sell used for $4k. Compared to what $3-$4k buys one on the used market, and having owned some 25-30 of them, for my money a Heritage archtop has been and still is an excellent buy. I've owned Gibson archtops too. If you're a music lover, a guitar lover, and believe in supporting your fellow American worker, there's no need to throw daggers against another made in America product - Especially toward a guitar builder in business after having produced an untold number of guitars for 30 years. That's no small feat. And, so few products are made in America any longer. My .02

 

Good luck to the new owners!

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Everyone who knows Gibson knows that some Gibson guitars have had well documented issues too. There are far more great Gibson guitars than those with issues. Same for Heritage Guitars of Kalamazoo.

 

Today, Golden Eagles commonly sell on the used market for less than $3500. Super Eagles commonly sell used for $4k. Compared to what $3-$4k buys one on the used market, and having owned some 25-30 of them, for my money a Heritage archtop has been and still is an excellent buy. I've owned Gibson archtops too. If you're a music lover, a guitar lover, and believe in supporting your fellow American worker, there's no need to throw daggers against another made in America product - Especially toward a guitar builder in business after having produced an untold number of guitars for 30 years. That's no small feat. And, so few products are made in America any longer. My .02

 

Good luck to the new owners!

 

 

you had good experiences, fantastic..

 

me: I spent $1,300 dollars for a guitar that would not intonate, where as my 800 dollar epiphone broadway, and regent, no such problems

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you had good experiences, fantastic..

 

me: I spent $1,300 dollars for a guitar that would not intonate, where as my 800 dollar epiphone broadway, and regent, no such problems

 

Sorry to hear of your negative experience. Bad luck for you. That's the problem buying used without a guarantee. When buying blind, one has to have a return agreement prior to purchasing. No exceptions. We've all had to return guitars for one reason or another.

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Sorry to hear of your negative experience. Bad luck for you. That's the problem buying used without a guarantee. When buying blind, one has to have a return agreement prior to purchasing. No exceptions. We've all had to return guitars for one reason or another.

 

 

I'm not here to argue the point, and I know one bad apple don't spoil the hole bunch, I've a buddy who has a very nice les paul from them.

 

and just fyi I'm not a noob. I've been at this for 50 years now, and I've had hundreds of guitars pass thru my hands and am a bit capable at many setup and modification aspects.

 

yes I agree, used or sight unseen, that is often the case where there can be more risk involved.

 

However this H575 was purchased brand new from a local dealer, when I bought it, I really didn't think it was anything more than a setup issue, turned out, not the case.

 

The store wasn't much help other than sending it to Heritage once, and was returned with no real improvement. (they are no longer in business btw)

 

I then tried to have it addressed myself after, with no luck. the luthier who is rather well regarded told me the fretboard was just not cut right, which after the effort spent to fix it, started to make sense. he did a few things which helped a bit but it never really settled down. I was recording a lot at the time and this was nothing but frustration.

 

I probably could have had Heritage replace it, but by then I was done with it and just wanted to move on. I opted for a ES-135, which I added a bigsby too, still use quite a lot today.

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Interesting; when they were good they were very good, and when they were bad.....sounds like QC must have been an issue.

I have a friend who special-ordered a left-hand Heritage Sweet 16 not too long after they had started up, which was a great guitar...until the tailpiece literally fell to pieces.

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If I were in the market for a Les Paul and a Heritage came up (don't see many in the UK) I wouldn't hesitate to consider it very seriously.

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