The idea to start Heritage Guitar began when the Gibson Guitar Corporation closed its Kalamazoo, Michigan factory in September of 1984 and moved all production to its other plant in Nashville, Tennessee (in operation since 1975). When this took place, some of the employees were asked to move to Nashville. However, since their families had spent many years in Kalamazoo, it made it difficult to uproot and move. Therefore 3 men, Jim Deurloo, Marvin Lamb, and JP Moats, decided to start a guitar manufacturing business. In 1985 when the company was incorporated, 2 other former Gibson Guitar Corporation employees, Bill Paige and Mike Korpak, joined as owners. Mike left the company in 1985.
The founders biggest resource is and was the group of craftsmen they could draw from to begin operations. The owners themselves each had in excess of 25 years of hands on experience in making guitars. To this day each of the owners is directly involved in the manufacturing of each instrument.
Heritage started operations in the oldest of five buildings formerly owned and operated by Gibson Guitar Corporation. That building was completed in 1917 and has been a center for guitar manufacturing ever since. Much of the machinery that Heritage uses today, was purchased from Gibson Guitar Corporation.
The first guitar Heritage introduced was the H-140 solid body single cutaway electric guitar. This model was shown at the NAMM show in June of 1985.
Since that time Heritage has added many instruments. Currently Heritage manufacturers Custom Carved Hollow Body Guitars, Semi Hollow Body Guitars, and Solid Body Guitars. This is to say nothing of the countless number of custom instruments made in each of the groups previously mentioned. Banjos, Mandolins, Flat Tops, and Basses, are no longer being produced because of the demand for the guitars mentioned in the above 3 categories.
Heritage is proud of its older employees’ with 25 years of average experience and what it has accomplished in 24 years. Heritage is also training younger luthiers to learn this fine art of craftsmanship.