1988 Heritage H535 ASB “Joe Barden” Pickups

The Blue Book Says….

Instruments currently built in Kalamazoo, MI since 1984. The company was incorporated on April 1, 1985. The Lasar Music Corporation, located in Brentwood, TN is the exclusive sales and marketing company for Heritage Guitars, Inc.

The Gibson guitar company was founded in Kalamazoo in 1902. The young company continued to expand, and built production facilities at 225 Parsons Street (the first of a total of five buildings at that location) in 1917. In 1974, Gibson was acquired by the Norlin corporation, which also opened facilities the same year in Nashville, TN. However, financial troubles led Norlin to consider shutting down either the Kalamazoo or Nashville facilities in the early 1980s. Even though the Kalamazoo plant was Gibson’s home since 1917, the decision was made in July of 1983 by Norlin to close the plant. The doors at 225 Parsons Street closed in the fall of 1984.


– double round cutaway semi-hollow body, cream-bound curly maple laminate top and back, solid curly maple sides, two f-holes, mahogany neck, 22-fret bound rosewood fingerboard with pearl dot inlay, three-per-side tuners, tune-o-matic bridge, stop tailpiece, raised curly maple pickguard, two humbucker pickups, four knobs (two v, two tone), three-position switch, chrome hardware, available in Antique Sunburst finish, 16 in. body width, 1.5 in. body thickness, 24.75 in. scale, mfg. 1987-2007.

I say….

Previously owned by a member of the Netherlands National Philharmonic Orchestra.  It’s been tweaked – but still has the Heritage “Variphase” circuit and the twin blade Joe Barden pickups (£170 each!!) single coil, humbucker and variphase – wicked!

The front of the body shows some history – where a toggle switch has been removed and the hole has been plugged afterwards.  Generally the body is in good but clearly used condition.  There’s a few dents and dings but nothing that you’d get too upset about.

All electrics are working, but it can be a challenge to determine exactly what they are doing in different positions.  A handwritten note (by the original owner) to explain the different switching options is included in the the case.  Basically I think that in one position they’re coil tapped, in another they’re hum bucking, and in another position they’re in series or parallel or something….  The tone knob seems to still work the original Variphase function  – but obviously only when the guitar is in the “middle position” on the main toggle, and its impact is affected by where the additional toggles are placed……

I bought a brand new Turner case with built in humidimeter for this.