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kayaman

H-357

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HI All - I just got a lead on a Heritage H-357 but trying to price it. I have one but its been several years and this guy seems intent on getting rid of it and they are too cool. 

 

Any thoughts?

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Hard to say...... If it's one of the original run of H357's, in good condition, they usually go for $1500-$2000.

If it's one of the Marvbirds that were built between 2009-2015, they can go for $2500- $3000.

Where'd you find it?

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Posted (edited)

I had an '89 Transparent Brown H-357 in VG condition, and had a hard time selling it for $1700. That was a little over 4 years ago. It does seem that the later models fetch a higher premium.

Edited by davesultra

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What's the difference between an original run of 357s and a Marvbird?

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According to Polo, $1000.

  • Haha 2

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16 minutes ago, pressure said:

What's the difference between an original run of 357s and a Marvbird?

The "H-357's" are some of the most highly coveted of the Heritage builds. Here's a wonderfully informative post about them written by Jack Baruth.

Let The Record Show: I Briefly Owned Three Marvbirds
Posted on July 14, 2014 by Jack Baruth


[IMG]

Okay, class, everyone who is not interested in the history of musical instruments, more particularly ones made by veterans of the Gibbons factory in Kalamazoo, MI, is free to go out for recess. The rest of you can stick around to find out why a “Marvbird” is arguably the most historically important new guitar of this decade, why I bought three of them, and why I’ll be down to two very shortly.

[IMG]

Marvin Lamb started working at Gibbons in 1958. As in: nineteen fifty-eight. As in: he was there for all the greats. The “Burst” Les Paul as played by everyone from Clapton to (in replica form) Slash. The Flying V and Explorer. And the Firebird. All of them. He was in the factory when they were built. What part did he play in their construction? He barely remembers, although there is a photo of him that is ostensibly from 1956. (He says he started in 1958, but others disagree.)

[IMG]

Regardless, he is one of the last living people to remember and understand how Gibbons built those incomparable Fifties and early Sixties guitars. When Gibbons left Kalamazoo to focus on the Nashville plant, Marv founded the Heritage Guitar Company with three other former Gibbons employees, including Jim Deurloo who was the shop foreman at the time Gibbons left. They stayed in the basement of the old Kalamazoo plant and continued to make guitars the old-fashioned way using the tools that Gibbons didn’t think were worth taking along, along with fifteen or twenty employees. Most of their output goes overseas; the Japanese are particularly fond of Heritages and consider them the “real Gibbonss”.

My fondness for Heritage guitars is well-documented and at times I’ve owned as many as twenty-three of them, including three full hollowbodies. With that said, every Heritage guitar is a collaborative effort among the entire staff.

Except for the Marvbirds.

The Heritage H-357 was a regular-production model in the Nineties and used the same body shape as the neck-through Gibbons Firebird. My friend Chris has a well-used Nineties H-357 and it plays brilliantly. The primary differences between the H-357 and the Firebird are the headstock (Gibbons uses a beveled “birds-head”) and the pickups (the Firebird originally used the mini-humbuckers that were left over from Gibbons’s acquisition of Epiphone, while the H-357 uses a conventional humbucker). It wasn’t popular enough to remain in the lineup. This makes sense, as the Firebirds can be an acquired taste and you have to be physically large to play them comfortably.

Four or five years ago, Marv Lamb announced that he would be building H-357s again as a sort of hobby, doing just a few every year and taking payment directly for them. Several people claim to be responsible for Marv’s decision to do this. Having met Marv twice and spoken to him several times via phone, my opinion is that he did what he wanted to do and heeded no one’s counsel. Regardless, when I heard such a thing was available, I promptly signed up for it. In May of 2011, my son and his mother went to the Heritage factory in Kalamazoo and picked up my guitar for me:

[IMG]

It required some inspection.

[IMG]

John became very fond of the “Marvbird”:

[IMG]

I ended up playing it that year during a rather odd Christmas party gig in the middle of rural Ohio:

[IMG]

It’s a brilliant-sounding guitar that plays very easily once you get used to the idea that it hangs differently on your body than pretty much any other guitar would. Later that year, Jay Wolfe of Wolfe Guitars told me that Marv was going to build a few out of my favorite wood, Korina. I signed up for one and probably got the second or possibly third Korina Marvbird.

This time I plumped for Throbak pickups, so including the upcharge for the special wood this was an expensive guitar. That didn’t stop me from playing it out and dinging it up a bit:

[IMG]

Earlier this year, Marv decided that his hands hurt too badly for him to continue building guitars individually, even at the pace of four a year. Two of my friends have Marvbirds as well, and I’ve seen maybe a total of six of them in real life. And that’s where the story would end, except for the fact that two weeks ago I heard about another Korina H-357 for sale. This one was the “brother” of mine, being completed at the same time. While various people dithered and bickered and lowballed, I emptied out my bank account and drove the nine hour round-trip that night to take possession of it. You can see it here, together with the one I had before. The new one has the cream pickguard:

[IMG]

I like the wood a bit better on my new acquisition but prefer the finish on my old one.

And that is where the story would end, except for the fact that my ability to immediately buy the aforementioned third Marvbird without negotiation or delay ruffled some feathers among the owners’ club. There’s been a variety of complaining and personality conflict involved. Normally, I care not a whit about things like this, but after playing this new Marvbird back-to-back with my others I decided I liked it least of the three. So I listed it for sale and took three calls that same morning from serious buyers. It was an easy sale, although the owner isn’t picking it up for two weeks.

Have to say, I’m still a little troubled by my decision to sell it. Yes, I already had two of them. However, these guitars are the most direct link to the magical Gibbons era of 1959 short of buying a 1959 Les Paul at the low, low price of $250,000 for a beater with worn frets. I wonder if they’ll be obscenely valuable to future generations. Hell, even a 1968 Les Paul Deluxe with the right specs can fetch $30,000 now. Have I just given up that kind of appreciation?

And just to confuse matters, I’ve just been told that Marv might consider building one or two more. Would he do one to my desired specs, which means some sort of translucent green finish and an ornate fretboard? Or would this be another take-it-as-it-comes deal? Should I put up a deposit?

The decision might be made for me by external factors. Starting early next month, there will be a lot less room in my house for guitars. But that’s a story for another time.

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OK - well the one I have now might just be a Marvbird - I recall Jay Wolfe telling me it was when I bought it.

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1 hour ago, kayaman said:

OK - well the one I have now might just be a Marvbird - I recall Jay Wolfe telling me it was when I bought it.

:worthless:

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Sorry - at work - let me see what I can find...

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sorry about the crappy shots - better ones at home - and a freebie for all you freaks....

H-530.jpg

  • Upvote 1

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Posted (edited)

Going back to the 357's.... Value wise, the difference is the earlier 357's were more basic woods, mahogany and maple.   Many of the newer ones were custom one-off orders with special pickups and woods (many of the later years were Korina).

While Jack owned several over the years, there are a few more out there and a rumored collector that has a dozen or so.

Myself, I have played a handful of the 357's.  Marv had a unique carve that was unbelievably wide with a flat D-shape that was rather thick.

The earlier models I played (namely the 1st one build that was debated as the prototype) had a normal thin Heritage neck from the era.

Edited by DetroitBlues

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28 minutes ago, kayaman said:

my neck is a bat

I think you need Gorilla hands to play one for long periods of time.  

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That rumored 357 collector lives a little west of me (Sycamore ?), he's real. I've met him and bought a H160v from him.

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1 hour ago, kayaman said:

I heard $3500 is a good ballpark figure

 

I'd agree that $3500 is a good ballpark figure.

In 2017, I sold the 2 Marvbirds shown below for just over 7k.  It's worth mentioning that each was damn near mint and that one of them was also made of Korina and sported Throbak SLE-101's pups.

I deeply regret making that sale.....but thankfully life has carried on.

Good luck in your journey.

 

 

unnamed.jpg.9a4cdc96dcabef31bcec6c9c6e617179.jpg

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26 minutes ago, Polo said:

 

I'd agree that $3500 is a good ballpark figure.

In 2017, I sold the 2 Marvbirds shown below for just over 7k.  It's worth mentioning that each was damn near mint and that one of them was also made of Korina and sported Throbak SLE-101's pups.

I deeply regret making that sale.....but thankfully life has carried on.

Good luck in your journey.

 

 

unnamed.jpg.9a4cdc96dcabef31bcec6c9c6e617179.jpg

Wow.  Those are just stunning.  Its a shame Heritage cannot make them anymore.  Rare birds indeed.

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2 hours ago, pressure said:

That rumored 357 collector lives a little west of me (Sycamore ?), he's real. I've met him and bought a H160v from him.

I believe he is the one who purchased my Brown '89. I believe he said he was a Heritage endorsee at one point.

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Change of plan - going to list my H-357...the one I was looking to buy has an owner who isnt serious. My H-530 just is a perfect guitar - I have moved most of my semi-hollow body guitars - and I am particularly attached to these as well. 

Twins.jpg

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1 hour ago, kayaman said:

Change of plan - going to list my H-357...the one I was looking to buy has an owner who isnt serious. My H-530 just is a perfect guitar - I have moved most of my semi-hollow body guitars - and I am particularly attached to these as well. 

Twins.jpg

Please provide details of how the owner wasn't serious. It sounds entertaining.

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Owner didn't know what he wanted to do - wanted to trade guitars but couldn't find any recent trades in these - he knows I have a bunch of Heritage guitars - but I hadn't a clue either. He backed away  and I realized I had to change the pickups on mine (not a big deal) but the neck is still an issue for me given its girth. Move the chains....

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14 minutes ago, kayaman said:

Owner didn't know what he wanted to do - wanted to trade guitars but couldn't find any recent trades in these - he knows I have a bunch of Heritage guitars - but I hadn't a clue either. He backed away  and I realized I had to change the pickups on mine (not a big deal) but the neck is still an issue for me given its girth. Move the chains....

You'd should be really happy with a 555, 535, or 530.  All lighter guitars and comfortable to play.

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My favorite guitar hands down is the 530 - its perfect.  The neck was made for me.

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