Instruments & Gear: Fine Lutherie

2007 Heiden Heritage F-5

Sponsored By

Peghead Nation instructor John Reischman demonstrates his Michael Heiden F-Style mandolin.

by Teja Gerken
August 10, 2018

Luthier Michael Heiden has been building guitars and mandolins for more than 40 years, but has focused on mandolins for the last 20 or so. His experience as a player and repairman gave him an in-depth understanding of the mandolin family’s construction and tonal qualities, and he offers a wide range of guitars and mandolin-family instruments built in his shop in Creston, British Columbia. Peghead Nation instructor John Reischman is one of the fortunate owners of Heiden instruments, and in this video, shot at the inaugural Peghead Nation Mandolin Camp at the Kowana Valley Folk School and Lodge near Yosemite, California, last October, he demonstrates his Heiden Heritage F-5.

Built in 2007, this Heritage F-5 is the second Heiden that John has owned. And while the instrument follows the general vintage F-5 template for materials and construction, it has a contemporary appearance, with an Adirondack spruce top sourced from an old barn in North Carolina and highly figured maple back and sides. Rather than assembling the back from two bookmatched halves, the back of this mandolin is made from a single piece of maple. The neck closely replicates the shape of John’s famed 1924 Gibson F-5, but is a little bit wider. The instrument also has a plain ebony fingerboard with no inlay, black tuner buttons, and white-black-white binding on the body rather than the standard black-white-black. A dark amber stain adds to the instrument’s striking appearance.

John appreciates the instrument for its great balance and response. “I don’t have to attack it quite as firmly as some other mandolins to get the same response,” he says, adding that “it plays beautifully!”

To study mandolin with John Reischman, enroll in his Melodic Mandolin Tunes course on Peghead Nation.


Category: Instruments & Gear

Comments and Discussion

Posted by Ralf Rodl on
1.125 with a fretboard radius of 12" and parallel bracing
Posted by Ralf Rodl on
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have to sell my #108 'Heritage' F5, crafted in 2009. Search the www for contact details (also listed on the Australian GumTree site), if you are interested.
Posted by James Jones on
How wide,exactly, is the neck?
Leave a Reply

Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.


Article Thumbnail
Nov 24, 2020
A great mandolin duet of Sarah Jarosz’s original tune, recorded live at the Marshall Mandolin Summit.

Start Learning Today

One Course: $20/month or $200/year
Two Courses: $30/month or $300/year
Access to All Courses: $100/month

Peghead Nation’s String School is your source for roots music instruction, bringing you full courses in guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, fiddle, and Dobro, featuring talented instructors, high-quality video instruction, accurate notation and tab, and fun songs to play right from the beginning. Enroll and become a Peghead today!