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H-357 or Marvbirds POST AWAY!!


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Hello everyone! Wanted to create a post and reach out to everyone who has an H-357 or Marvbird and ask you to post away and for anyone with more info/facts to post about these great models you might have too! Here's mine. Made by Marv Lamb in 2014. I know we've all heard the stories about how the H-357 was in the line of Heritage guitars during the late '80s and early '90s, then the story I have always heard was that the Big "G" asked Heritage to stop making them. I've also heard they just quit because the model wasn't too popular. So, again, wondering which is true as I've heard conflicting stories. I know in the last few years before Marv retired he made the Marvbirds, but I have always heard fluctuating numbers and stories on these as well. I have heard he made anywhere from 20 to 45, so I would feel pretty confident saying that no more than 50 were ever made. These models are definitely precious and revered by anyone who loves Heritage. So just asking anyone and everyone to post away with all info and/or facts and pictures they have on the 357 or the Marvbirds. These are definitely great guitars! Thanks in advance to all!

marvbird 2.jpg

marvbird 3.jpg

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4 hours ago, V23505 said:

Would be great if the newly-established Custom Shop would build a run of them. Stunning guitars.

Definitely! I always heard "G" made them stop production, so if that's true, then that probably won't happen. But I've also heard that the model was never very popular and that's why the 357 was stopped. It would be great to see them reintroduced though, if they can make it happen. 

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I have an affection for this model.  My first guitar was a Firebird V at age 12 or 13 I got from a neighbor.  I played that a lot.  I then lucked into a ES-345.  It may have been an even trade.  Years later I began to appreciate the genius of the Firebird design, but many of them were not built to the highest quality back then.  Marv's without exception were works of art.

In my teen years I never liked the Les Paul design.  The Firebird felt more comfortable, as did the Strat.

I'd be happy with a Marvbird with humbuckers or P-90s.  The Firebird pickups are too bright for me.

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26 minutes ago, MartyGrass said:

I have an affection for this model.  My first guitar was a Firebird V at age 12 or 13 I got from a neighbor.  I played that a lot.  I then lucked into a ES-345.  It may have been an even trade.  Years later I began to appreciate the genius of the Firebird design, but many of them were not built to the highest quality back then.  Marv's without exception were works of art.

In my teen years I never liked the Les Paul design.  The Firebird felt more comfortable, as did the Strat.

I'd be happy with a Marvbird with humbuckers or P-90s.  The Firebird pickups are too bright for me.

Although I love the original Firebird pickups, since the 70's they have been too overwound, and brittle sounding. I don't think I'd like a full sized humbucker in my Firebird, but  I would surely go for a P90. I've recently been toying with the idea of throwing some mini-humbucker sized DeArmond pickups in mine. 

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Marv grew up at the north end of Huntsville, AL.  When I went to Kalamazoo for PSP1 I took a small jar of red Alabama dirt and gave it to Marv.  I had a friend.  He told me he grew up across the road from the Chase depot.  A few days after I got the guitar I took it up there and took the photo in front of the old depot.  You can bet I sent him a large print. 

I sold the guitar because I was afraid to play it.  When ever I took it out people would ask me to play it.  I didn't trust most of them but what can you do.  I managed to get rid of it before some fool could do something stupid.  It was too nice of a guitar for me.  The gig bag is what they shipped it to me in.  I almost stroked out opening the box when it got to me. 

2010 H-357 (w) Phat Cats.  Slim neck carve.  Dig it! 

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7 hours ago, High Flying Bird said:

Marv grew up at the north end of Huntsville, AL.  When I went to Kalamazoo for PSP1 I took a small jar of red Alabama dirt and gave it to Marv.  I had a friend.  He told me he grew up across the road from the Chase depot.  A few days after I got the guitar I took it up there and took the photo in front of the old depot.  You can bet I sent him a large print. 

I sold the guitar because I was afraid to play it.  When ever I took it out people would ask me to play it.  I didn't trust most of them but what can you do.  I managed to get rid of it before some fool could do something stupid.  It was too nice of a guitar for me.  The gig bag is what they shipped it to me in.  I almost stroked out opening the box when it got to me. 

2010 H-357 (w) Phat Cats.  Slim neck carve.  Dig it! 

chase.jpg

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Great story and beautiful guitar! Thanks for sharing. Love this one. Like you said I know the first Marvbirds were shipped with gig bags. Then Jay Wolfe had the G&G cases made to fit these. I can understand that- since these were such a limited run I guess the thought of cases for them wasn't even on the table when Marv first made them. 

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4 minutes ago, Gitfiddler said:

@High Flying BirdVery cool background story!

Here's what H-357's looked like in Heritage's old catalogue.          

 

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NICE! Thanks! Yeah not sure if they were "made" to quit making 357's or if they were just discontinued because of their lack of popularity at the time? I've heard both stories. Maybe a combination of both?

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Firebirds are not popular any more.  Gib-son sold new ones for about $1K recently, and the used market is bountiful.  Strats are about in the same lane and more comfortable and affordable.

Marv's builds are in a different league.  They are custom made instruments that are very playable and are works of art.  I would put them in the collectible category.

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44 minutes ago, MartyGrass said:

Firebirds are not popular any more.  Gib-son sold new ones for about $1K recently, and the used market is bountiful.  Strats are about in the same lane and more comfortable and affordable.

Marv's builds are in a different league.  They are custom made instruments that are very playable and are works of art.  I would put them in the collectible category.

I wish you could still buy them for $1000! At that price they were either the satin finished lower line studio models, or the version with Steinberger tuners that they were clearing out. I didn't like the lower priced "studio" models with humbuckers and set necks, or the satin finished ones, but the regular "2010" model with Steinberger tuners I loved, they were a steal, and the perfect platform for a person likes me who likes to mod guitars. I bought two of them, and kept the best one. They were both great guitars though! The one I still have is only 7lbs! But, I don't think people liked the Steinberger tuners that the Gib-son were using, they wanted the old fashion banjo tuners. Personally, I like the Steinberger tuners, as they keep the headstock weight down, are quite accurate, and help with neck dive. Gibbons USA Firebirds are now $2000, and the Custom Shop models are more than double that, with most are on back-order. They are quite popular. And the CEO of Gibbons knows they are a core model, and that's what he's focusing on, so they aren't going nowhere. When these guitars came out they sold out immediately...

https://guitar.com/review/electric-guitar/the-big-review-Gibbons-custom-63-firebird-v-65-non-reverse-firebird-v/

I love Firebirds, and know quite few others that do too. As I said in my earlier post I would like to mod one with DeArmond style pickups. 

 

 

 

Edited by rockabilly69
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On 3/30/2021 at 6:05 AM, V23505 said:

Would be great if the newly-established Custom Shop would build a run of them. Stunning guitars.

While I cannot confirm, I believe Marv was on the patent for the design, allowing him, and only him to make the 357.  

When he stopped building guitars, the 357 production stopped with him.

I've seen and played many 357, including one that was controversially the prototype as seen in the advert above.  

Most are wide-necked and chunky.  Rather heavy, but all are beautiful.  P90, Humbuckers, Bigsby's, block inlays, trap inlays, dot inlays, bound neck, unbound neck.... Korina bodies.... So many were made, all were unique, and every single one came from Marv's bench in one way or another....

I particular love this one:

 

Edited by DetroitBlues
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18 minutes ago, DetroitBlues said:

While I cannot confirm, I believe Marv was on the patent for the design, allowing him, and only him to make the 357.  

When he stopped building guitars, the 357 production stopped with him.

I've seen and played many 357, including one that was controversially the prototype as seen in the advert above.  

Most are wide-necked and chunky.  Rather heavy, but all are beautiful.  P90, Humbuckers, Bigsby's, block inlays, trap inlays, dot inlays, bound neck, unbound neck.... Korina bodies.... So many were made, all were unique, and every single one came from Marv's bench in one way or another....

I particular love this one:

 

Great story and one of the better looking H357s that I've seen! Other than the rosewood neck strips, it's all maple, so I wonder what that one weighs?

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50 minutes ago, DetroitBlues said:

While I cannot confirm, I believe Marv was on the patent for the design, allowing him, and only him to make the 357.  

When he stopped building guitars, the 357 production stopped with him.

I've seen and played many 357, including one that was controversially the prototype as seen in the advert above.  

Most are wide-necked and chunky.  Rather heavy, but all are beautiful.  P90, Humbuckers, Bigsby's, block inlays, trap inlays, dot inlays, bound neck, unbound neck.... Korina bodies.... So many were made, all were unique, and every single one came from Marv's bench in one way or another....

I particular love this one:

 

Awesome guitar!

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13 hours ago, High Flying Bird said:

Marv grew up at the north end of Huntsville, AL.  When I went to Kalamazoo for PSP1 I took a small jar of red Alabama dirt and gave it to Marv.  I had a friend.  He told me he grew up across the road from the Chase depot.  A few days after I got the guitar I took it up there and took the photo in front of the old depot.  You can bet I sent him a large print. 

I sold the guitar because I was afraid to play it.  When ever I took it out people would ask me to play it.  I didn't trust most of them but what can you do.  I managed to get rid of it before some fool could do something stupid.  It was too nice of a guitar for me.  The gig bag is what they shipped it to me in.  I almost stroked out opening the box when it got to me. 

2010 H-357 (w) Phat Cats.  Slim neck carve.  Dig it! 

 

That Chase Depot pic has always been a classic, Ron. 

The slim neck ( and Phat Cats) would make your old 357 especially appealing to me..  and it looks killer. 

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44 minutes ago, FredZepp said:

That Chase Depot pic has always been a classic, Ron. 

The slim neck ( and Phat Cats) would make your old 357 especially appealing to me..  and it looks killer. 

I'm with you Fred, the Phat Cats would be more in line with the classic Firebird bright snappy tone. I would love to hear High Flying Bird's 357! It was the clarity of Johnny Winter's playing of his famous white one that made me love Firebirds. And when I first saw one on the cover of his "Captured Live" album cover, I thought it was the coolest looking guitar ever! And funny, I think Gibbons ruined the tone of Firebirds with their newer overwound ceramic magnet pickups in the 70's. I put vintage correct Kleins in my 'bird, along with many other mods, proper wiring, ABR bridge, lightweight tailpiece, etc, which I would do any 357 I came across too.

 

The Bird.jpg

Captured Live.jpg

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14 hours ago, Heritage1970 said:

NICE! Thanks! Yeah not sure if they were "made" to quit making 357's or if they were just discontinued because of their lack of popularity at the time? I've heard both stories. Maybe a combination of both?

Marv told me they were hard to make.  He said if the neck broke the guitar was ruined.  He warned me about the fragility of the design but I chose to go ahead and get one.  I asked that the neck be as thin as structurally possible.  It was a collectors type guitar.  Mine had an ebony fret board.  It was a great guitar but for an older man, carrying it in the huge case was killer.  I am the guy with the nice socks.  The hippie is my man Eljay. 

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