By Dave G
Heritage - when I visited their factory in Kalamazoo, half the guys working there were the same people that made all the original vintage Gibsons. The guy who did the finish on my Heritage 535 is the same guy that did the original Goldtops in the 50's. I'd look for a used one from the 80's or early to mid 90s. I know that a few of their best luthiers were getting really up there in years and had to retire recently. Heritage puts out a very small number of duds, and the "average" Heritages I've played have been better guitars than the "really good" Gibson Custom Shop guitars I've run into - for a fraction of the price to boot. About 3 years ago I bought a used CS '57 Historic Les Paul after searching for over 2 years and playing hundreds of Les Pauls because even though it's an ugly poop brown color, it was the absolute hands-down best sounding guitar of all the hundreds that I played on my search. Well, lo and behold about 2 months ago I find a Heritage 535 from 1988 that's every bit as good sounding as my LP, and the guy is selling it for only $1000. Needless to say I didn't hesitate to buy it. The bottom line is that you've got to put aside the hype, the flamed maple tops, and especially the silkscreened logo on the headstock and just use your ears.