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What's in the numbers?


Heritage1970
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So... here's something I've never really stopped to think about or look into: was wondering WHAT the actual numbers on Heritage guitars mean? Wondering if anyone has more insight, as I've never really stopped to look into it. I know the difference between say an H-150 and an H-157, or an H-140. And some, like the 357 I get- but what does the actual say 150 number mean? Or 140? Or 155, 535, etc? Why were those numbers chosen?
I know the old days of Kalamazoo were, say a 125 or 335 - those were the original prices. (which makes my jaw drop now!) But wondering if anyone knows why it is called a 150, 535, etc? 
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Great question.  We all knew that the Heritage founders had to rename their Gibson-based guitar models.  But I always wondered how they came up with the numerical names as well. 

My guess (based on zero inside knowledge) was that the number '5' (as in H-535) was a tribute to the 5 original founders (J.P. Moats, Marv Lamb, Jim Deuloo, Bill Page and Mike Korpak).  That romantic thought is only a guess from a total outsider, but huge fan of the brand. 

The other obvious similarity (tribute?) to the Gibson model numbers (ES-335 vs H-535) appears to be a key differentiator by Heritage.

Maybe others with direct insight into this mystery can chime in.

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2 minutes ago, Gitfiddler said:

Great question.  We all knew that the Heritage founders had to rename their Gibson-based guitar models.  But I always wondered how they came up with the numerical names as well. 

My guess (based on zero inside knowledge) was that the number '5' (as in H-535) was a tribute to the 5 original founders (J.P. Moats, Marv Lamb, Jim Deuloo, Bill Page and Mike Korpak).  That romantic thought is only a guess from a total outsider, but huge fan of the brand. 

The other obvious similarity (tribute?) to the Gibson model numbers (ES-335 vs H-535) appears to be a key differentiator by Heritage.

Maybe others with direct insight into this mystery can chime in.

Great thoughts on this! I hope we can keep this going and get some more insights.

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Marv told me he named the H-357 as kind of a dig at the Firebird models that Gibby made the 3, 5 and 7.

I asked him where they came up with the Academy and Prospect names. He told me him and Jim named them

after streets in Kalamazoo. 

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25 minutes ago, skydog52 said:

Marv told me he named the H-357 as kind of a dig at the Firebird models that Gibby made the 3, 5 and 7.

I asked him where they came up with the Academy and Prospect names. He told me him and Jim named them

after streets in Kalamazoo. 

Cool stuff! Yeah I had the same conversation with Ren actually and he told me about the streets too. Very cool stuff! I just wondered about the numbers though. Besides the 357. I mean 150, 140. I just wondered if there was any significance to those?

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I guess I'd like to add that it's easy to see how say the 157 comes off of the 150. It's a little bit higher of a number because it's got more ornamentation and detail and it's a fancier model so the number goes up. Same thing could be said for say the 535 versus the 555. Or the 530 versus the 535 etc. But just wondering how the initial 150 number or whichever model you want to pick came to be?

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Some are obvious Gibson connection i.e. H535 from ES335,H555 from ES355,H530 from Es330 and H575 from ES175

but I've no idea how the H140,H147,H150,H157 derive from the Les Paul series.

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35 minutes ago, bolero said:

Wasn't the H140 the first model they made?

So if we figure that one out, the rest fall into place. H150 = a bit fancier?

I totally agree It almost seems like the 140 is the "base" in a way. So-yeah- it'd be great to find out how 140 was chosen. Then like you said- 150, 157- kind of obvious. 

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16 hours ago, skydog52 said:

Marv told me he named the H-357 as kind of a dig at the Firebird models that Gibby made the 3, 5 and 7.

I asked him where they came up with the Academy and Prospect names. He told me him and Jim named them after streets in Kalamazoo. 

I have heard the same thing from the founders while in Kzoo.  I suspect they usually picked a number at random for the 140 & 150.  I think most of the hollow bodies and semis hollows follow a shadow of the Gibson name. 

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4 hours ago, bolero said:

Wasn't the H140 the first model they made?

So if we figure that one out, the rest fall into place. H150 = a bit fancier?

So a little less (no maple cap) 137 - they made a 110 and a 120 too

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  • 3 weeks later...

I talked to Marv recently and the numbering system started with the H-140, their first model. 

That was originally traced from the old ES-140 that Gibby had back then.

He said they would get together as a group and just add a number as they upgraded models.

Gibson es 140.jpg

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47 minutes ago, skydog52 said:

I talked to Marv recently and the numbering system started with the H-140, their first model. 

That was originally traced from the old ES-140 that Gibby had back then.

He said they would get together as a group and just add a number as they upgraded models.

Gibson es 140.jpg

Now that shape is nearly identical to what the original H140 looks like.  Dimensions maybe off, but damn does that look cool!

 

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24 minutes ago, DetroitBlues said:

Now that shape is nearly identical to what the original H140 looks like.  Dimensions maybe off, but damn does that look cool!

 

As I said he traced it from the original ES 140. The ES 140 was actually a 3/4 size hollow body guitar.

I love to hear the back stories from these guys.

Marv is getting up in age and at first he states he can't recall some of the details but the more I talk to Him the details start to come into view.

I hope I have as good a memory as him when I get up there. 

Edited by skydog52
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SO I have an early H-170, meaning that they kept adding adding numbers? That makes sense. The H-170 is my go to guitar anymore. It is old and feels just right. I am missing something here about the H-357 and the allusion to Gibson 3-5-7. What does it mean?

I would love an Academy. THere was one on here years ago for sale and I missed it. I do have a Prospect 12 String which is a beautiful sounding, looking and playing guitar.

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On 12/27/2021 at 2:41 PM, rwinking said:

SO I have an early H-170, meaning that they kept adding adding numbers? That makes sense. The H-170 is my go to guitar anymore. It is old and feels just right. I am missing something here about the H-357 and the allusion to Gibson 3-5-7. What does it mean?

I would love an Academy. THere was one on here years ago for sale and I missed it. I do have a Prospect 12 String which is a beautiful sounding, looking and playing guitar.

So where does the H-120, 125 and 127 come into play?  The 127 was the Telecaster looking thing.   The H125 was swoopy, the 120 was like a single pickup H-140 but with bolt neck.

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On 12/27/2021 at 2:41 PM, rwinking said:

SO I have an early H-170, meaning that they kept adding adding numbers? That makes sense. The H-170 is my go to guitar anymore. It is old and feels just right. I am missing something here about the H-357 and the allusion to Gibson 3-5-7. What does it mean?

I would love an Academy. THere was one on here years ago for sale and I missed it. I do have a Prospect 12 String which is a beautiful sounding, looking and playing guitar.

The Gibson Firebird had a few different versions..

  • Firebird I – One pickup. Combination stud bridge/tailpiece. Nickel hardware. Dot inlays, no neck binding.
  • Firebird II Artist CMT – A limited-production instrument from the early 1980s; features a maple top, mahogany body, set mahogany neck, two standard-sized humbuckers, and toggle switches to control active Moog electronic tone controls.
  • Firebird III – Two pickups, stud bridge/tailpiece and Gibson Vibrola (player could choose to use the stud or Vibrola). Nickel hardware. Dot inlays and neck binding.
  • Firebird V – Two pickups, Tune-o-matic bridge with Maestro "Lyre" Vibrola; reissues feature a stop-bar tailpiece. Nickel hardware. Trapezoid inlays and neck binding.
  • Firebird VII – Three pickups, Tune-o-matic bridge and Maestro "Lyre" Vibrola tailpiece. Gold hardware. Block inlays and neck binding.

So you take the last three models.... III, V, VII or 3.5.7 to create the Heritage 357. 

Which later models were far superior in wood packages and features versus the original models they were based upon.

Brent had the prototype which wasn't anything like the later versions.  Very simple layout with an unbound, dot inlaid neck.

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LOL!!!

Yeah lets hear it one more time: what's up with the 357? And did they ever make a magnum version?

Maybe Skydog knows?

Here, let me copy/paste a whole bunch of stuff from wikipedia...

 

🤣

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H-140 1st Generation

Neck - 17 degree peghead pitch; one piece mahogany neck.

Fingerboard - 24 3/4” scale rosewood; with  22 frets; with mother of pearl position markers.

Body - Single cutaway carved curly maple top and solid mahogany back, cream bound top; with cream pickguard.

body size:
            rim thickness - 1 1/2”
            body width - 12 1/2”
            body length - 17”

Electronics - Two humbucking pickups with exposed coils, two volume and two tone controls with selector switch.

Hardware - Chrome plated hardware. With plastic pick guard.

H-140 Gold Top -(Color Shown) Same specs as H-140CM.
*Shown with pickup covers. 

H-140CMV - Same as H-140CM but with VAR-I-Phase features.

Color Shown - Gold Top

 

ES 140.jpg

H-140 Gold Top (1).jpg

Edited by skydog52
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