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I took a little trek to Grand Rapids tonight to check out this beautiful H525.  I got it from the original owner, who's son used to work at Heritage.  It was #2ed for some minor finish flaws....actually, its pretty much in NOS condition.




























Edited by brentrocks
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"It was #2ed for some minor finish flaws...."  In other words, an employee build. 

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I occasionally think I'd like an H-525. But, then I think I can't really do it justice, so why? That one Randy has (or had) was beautiful. The "2" wouldn't bother me in the least, especially as it's only "finish flaws." Nice looking guitar, Brent! Also, when it's time to trade it off, I still have that Amish dining room set...just sayin'. 

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The "2" marking almost always is a minor cosmetic issue.  I understand why they do stamp it that way.  OTOH, they relic the hell out of a guitar purposely also.

Rhoadsscholar, a deceased member, had a 1970s LP Custom in alpine white that was a 2.  I learned a lot about the culture of stamping a headstock 2 when that guitar was getting some minor work done by a couple of the old Gibbons guys.  One of the most important lessons though is that after a decade or so the 2 doesn't devalue the price.  That's what the collectors said then anyway.

Sometimes an employee on the line would really like a guitar.  He or she would put a small scratch on it.  The supervisor, whom they know well, would have to approve it being stamped a 2.  The employee would then be able to get it below wholesale.  The stamp machine was spring loaded and made a deep 2.  But if the employee didn't set the spring, the 2 was very shallow.  So the employee could then buff out the scratch and the 2.  In the 1960s, Gibbons put out up to 400 guitars a day.  It would have been hard to stop this sort of thing if the supervisors didn't care.  Further, some of the luthiers could eliminate a deep 2 with some sanding and touch up.

Heritage has not stamped many as 2s, not like Gibbons.  Somewhere around 2012 or so they got a bad batch of nitro that checked.  Employees got them cheaply without a 2 on them.  A friend of mine got a beautiful wineburst GE with a single mounted pickup from the plant for less than $2K.  He was going to get another and asked if I wanted to get the third one.  But he died before that could happen.  That was the notable Heritage rep Patrick.

There was another time that Heritage had a flood.  Some of the guitars had staining on the finish from water.  Those were sold to employees cheaply.  I ended up with one, a Super Eagle.  There was no 2 stamp on it.  The water mark was removed by Aaron Cowles.

Bargains were marked BGN.  These had more serious issues and came with no warranty.  However they were deemed to be decent and durable.  I have not seen a Heritage BGN.

The 2s, BGNs, and unmarked discounts seemed to always be a part of life in Kalamazoo.  It's not that there were a huge number, but they were around.  AFAIK, all of the discounts that Heritage had were legit.  I've never heard of employee sabotage.  I was too young to know anything when Gibbons was prolific in Kalamazoo, but later I heard the stories.

One last one is that a bandmate of mine got a LP Custom for essentially free.  There was a gouge on the guitar.  Gibbons would pull the hardware in such a case and saw the body in half.  The employees could have the wood for their fireplaces.  My friend's mom worked in finishing.  She brought the two halves home.  My friend put dowels in the body and glued it together.  His mother finished it in black.  Somehow they got the hardware.  The pickups had small scratches so probably the hardware was slightly damaged cosmetically.  He ended up with an excellent++ LP Custom at 15 years old for next to nothing.

Back to the H-525.  I'd have no hesitation.


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