BUILDER PROFILE > HERITAGE GUITAR
Ted Beville scrapes the bindings to remove shading and sealer before clear coat is applied.
Patrick Whalen shows a freshly painted, almond
sunburst Heritage H-555.
both former Gibson employees, are credited
with designing and developing humbucker
pickups and creating the Patent Applied
For (PAF) pickup that Gibson Musical
Instruments introduced in 1955.
“We’ll also install any pickup that fits
our routing,” Lamb adds. Most Heritage
guitars sport Grover tuners and TonePros
bridges and tailpieces.
Millennium Pro, customized for Wendy Kells Brown with abalone knobs
and ebony tuner buttons.
Ebony tuner buttons for
Wendy Kells Brown’s customized Millennium Pro.
The Finishing Touch
As is every preceding step in the creation
of a Heritage guitar, the finishes are done
one at a time and with painstaking care.
“We don’t do anything that’s not in nitrocellulose lacquer,” Lamb says. “That’s
the old-fashioned way, again. When the
guitars age, they get lacquer checks.” Of
course, he adds, that’s just what happens
to high-quality vintage guitars from the
’40s, ’50s, and ’60s.
Patrick Whalen, a local artist who has
been with the company for four years, and
Floyd Newton, who painted the original
Gibson Les Paul goldtops in the early ’50s,
shade and finish Heritage guitars.
“They are such incredible pieces before
they even get up here,” Whalen says. First
he applies the shader and then rubs it into
the wood with alcohol to make the wood
The guitars are then shaded with lac-
quer and sealed. The bindings are then
scraped by Ted Beville, who has been
scraping bindings—first for Gibson and
now for Heritage—for more than 40 years.
Lamb notes that the job requires incredibly
strong hands and wrists, as well as excellent
hand-eye coordination. “Most guys will slip
and be into the wood, and there it is—a
repair,” he adds. Next, the guitars receive
four applications of clear coat and are then
allowed to dry for 10 days before they go
in for buffing.
134 PREMIER GUITAR JUNE 2012