The Heritage Guitars Standard H-535 is the sublimation of more than a century of American guitar craft. Born out of the Gibson lineage, Heritage is the home of premium guitar craft in the US, making instruments under the Heritage banner for more than 30 years.
With the Standard H-535, the company has created an instrument that has the versatility to excel in rock, jazz, blues and beyond, while possessing the strength to be a trusted companion on the road and in the studio. Read on as we explore this new era classic that has roots extending decades into the past.
Heritage Guitars Standard H-535 is a classy, versatile six-stringer that can take anything you can throw at it. Read on as we discover this modern classic, born of royal blood.
A Classic Heritage
The story of this relatively new guitar brand starts with one of the oldest. In the late 19th century, Orville Gibson (yes, that Gibson) set up shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan and began making mandolins. In 1917, Gibson established a new factory – still in Kalamazoo – on Parsons Street. There, they created a guitar empire second to none, home to iconic models like the Les Paul, L-5, ES-335, Flying V, Explorer, and more.
In 1984, Gibson decided to shift operations. Three senior Gibson employees, Jim Deurloo, Marv Lamb, and JP Moats pooled their resources (including a combined 84 years of guitar-building experience) and acquired space in the Kalamazoo factory. In 1985, Heritage Guitars was born.
Heritage guitars are obviously inspired by their illustrious forbears. There are models that take on the unmistakable silhouette of the Les Paul, others that harken back to the archtop greats of the jazz age. The H-535 is a fresh take on the ES-335, one of the indisputable icons of the early rock ‘n’ roll era and the first semi-hollow thinline guitar.
Jack of All Trades
The H-535 maintains the ES-335’s essential innovation – a semi-hollowbody that has a solid centre block. This eliminates any feedback and stretches its capability beyond the natural, woody tones of jazz. As can be seen in this demonstration, the H-535 is designed to be played hard, yet still has the ability to respond to a light touch.
As can be expected from a maker of this pedigree, the materials used to create this instrument are of an exemplary standard. The laminated curly maple looks stunning and functions as the perfect tonewood for the body of the H-535, enhancing the guitar’s brightness, bottom-end clarity, and projection.
If you’re accustomed to the feel of the ES-335, you won’t be disappointed. It’s fitted with a 12″ radius, a genuine mahogany neck, and a rosewood fretboard. The same pickup controls are carried over too, with volume and tone for each of the pickups and the familiar three-way toggle switch.
Speaking of pickups, the Seymour Duncan Seth Lover humbuckers also speak to Heritage Guitars’ respect for the Gibson legacy. Seth Lover was the Kalamazoo born and raised pioneer of the Gibson humbucker – the pair that are present in the H-535 are tailored to his exacting specifications.
Combined with the quality of the tonewoods and construction, the pickups put out effortlessly sustained single notes and strike the balance between low to mid-range warmth and top-end sparkle when strumming chords.
In Perfect Harmony
In fact, it’s this relationship between pickups and overall construction that sums up the entire playing and sonic experience of the H-535: balance. The guitar is light and ergonomically comfortable, yet it feels nowhere near flimsy – a solid centre block providing the tonal core while adding a reassuring heft.
Aesthetically, it’s in harmony with its past but resists the urge to be ostentatious. There are no unnecessary artisanal flourishes, just a damn handsome guitar that wouldn’t look out of place in a subdued jazz club or on the main stage at a festival.
As a company, Heritage brings to reality the ideal principles of guitar making; applying the hard-earned expertise garnered from generations of craft while simultaneously appealing to a new generation of players. This philosophy has found an exemplar in the H-535 – a guitar that is destined to create a legacy of its own.