Journey’s Neal Schon praises Kalamazoo Guitar Craftsman @Heritage

The founding guitarist of the band Journey shared a song on social media and praised the skills of the luthier who works at Heritage Guitar in Kalamazoo.

Kalamazoo knows rock and roll. Long before Glenn Miller’s “(I’ve Got A Gal) in Kalamazoo”, Orville Gibson started making instruments and founded the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co.Ltd. in 1902. From 1917 to 1984, some of the best guitars in the world were built at 225 Parsons St., and gunslingers like Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Metallica’s James Hetfield, Dave Grohl and Slash have been shredding ever since.

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Today, even though Gibson has moved its operations to Nashville, a team of dedicated craftsmen continue the tradition of building Heritage guitars in the same store. The axles might not be quite as flashy and there’s no suite of A-list stars who endorse the brand, but those who know guitars know Heritage quality.

Neal Schon started playing guitar when he was just 10 years old on a Stella Acoustic, a low to mid level guitar designed for beginners. Two years later, he bought his first Gibson and at seventeen he played alongside one of the best lumberjacks on the planet: Carlos Santana. If you’re a music fan, you know the rest of the story of how Neal and keyboardist Greg Rollie ventured on their own to form what would become one of the biggest bands in the world: Journey.

The Gibson Guitar Factory in Kalamazoo will become Hard Rock

Neal recently shared a guitar track on social media that wasn’t written with his band, but with his dad. “Livin’ to Do” is from 2001’s Arrival album, the first of a pair of albums featuring singer Steve Augeri, the first to replace Steve Perry after his second departure. In the Facebook post below, see Neal perform the song solo and he congratulates Edwin Wilson of Heritage Guitars for making the “killer axe” and pays tribute to Heritage, Gibson and Kalamazoo.

Superb Gibson Kalamazoo guitar from 1939

It’s well worn, but they really don’t make them like that anymore. Maximillian Terranova still plays his grandfather’s 1939 Kalamazoo guitar made at the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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