Kalamazoo’s history with the guitar dates back to the late 1800’s when a man by the name of Orville Gibson arrived in town and began designing his own innovative mandolins. By the early 1900’s, his company was also producing guitars and other stringed instruments and, throughout most of the next century, the Gibson Guitar Corporation grew to become the world’s premier guitar manufacturer. From 1917, that growth occurred at the historic 225 Parsons Street location, until 1984 when the company left Kalamazoo for good, closing the doors on the iconic factory.
Not long after, a few former senior employees had decided they wanted to continue the tradition of handcrafting beautiful, high quality electric guitars in Kalamazoo. By the spring of 1985, those individuals had acquired space at the former factory, purchased a lot of the old guitar-making equipment, and were ready to roll.
The original owners of Heritage, Jim Deurloo, Marv Lamb, and JP Moats, had a combined 84 years of guitar-building experience among them when the company began. In time, they added Bill Paige and Mike Korpak as co-owners. Mike left shortly after joining, but Jim, Marv, and Bill are still active in the daily business. Between the three, they hold over 160 years of knowledge that every day is passed along to the next generation of American luthiers.
Sadly, JP Moats passed away in September 2015. He was a wonderful man and skilled craftsman, and his legacy lives on at 225 Parsons Street.
The first guitar Heritage introduced was the H-140 solid body single cutaway electric guitar, which premiered at the 1985 NAMM show in New Orleans.
Over the years, Heritage has built a small array of various instruments, including banjos, mandolins, flat tops, and basses. However, with the demand for the guitars increasing, the company decided to focus exclusively on making the world’s greatest hollow, semi-hollow, and solid body electric guitars.
Our new line of guitars is on its way, and will be available soon on the website.
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Use the first letter of your Heritage guitar serial number to determine the year your Heritage was built.See the Index
Use the first letter of your Heritage guitar serial number to determine the year your Heritage was built, based on the following index:
Example: D12345, this instrument was built in 1987
For over a century, the factory at 225 Parsons Street in Kalamazoo has been a destination for guitarists, music enthusiasts, historians, and anyone proud of a great American story. As Heritage embarks on a new chapter of this ongoing history, we hope you’ll join us to watch it unfold.
We offer free public tours most Wednesdays and Fridays at 1:30PM. Tours are limited to 15 people and registration is required.
Our handcrafted guitars are available through local, independent music shops that understand your needs, your style, and the value of service.
Contact us and we’ll be happy to refer you.
MAILING & BILLING ADDRESS
225 Parsons Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
PUBLIC FACTORY ENTRANCE ADDRESS
1100 North Edwards Suite 400
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Entrance is located on the West side of our building.
Free street parking is available on Edwards
PHONE:+1 (269) 385-5721
Interested in becoming a dealer/distributor? Email us.