Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby slayer » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:53 pm

Very cool man. Thank you!!
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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby skully13a » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:30 pm

I feel that ALL of my Carvins are definitely "high-end", as far as the quality I see in them. The cheapest one I have is my bolt, which was a kit, and it is SO sweet. I don't really care about fancy-schmancy, I just want a guitar that plays well, and they've fulfilled this in spades.
I've had a couple Gibsons, and a couple Fenders, and they don't impress me nearly as much. No smoke Ma'am, just the facts as I see them. :|
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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby Koshchei » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:52 pm

They're definitely high end. The materials are top notch, the quality is top notch, the effort that goes into designing and crafting them is top notch, the extra details like carbon neck reinforcement is top notch.

What's strange about them is that they're also a great value for money, particularly on builds with fewer cosmetic options.

Also: Fender's sales are massively down, Gibson is closing factories, and Carvin Audio is gone. It's hard to make it in this economy, where things are booming for the oligarchs and nobody else. Say what you will about Jeff's style, but the fact that the company is doing VERY well is a testament to his smart market positioning and timely introduction of models that people want. Five years ago, I don't think that anybody would have guessed that one of Kiesel's top selling models would be headless, that almost everything they offer would be available in 6,7 or 8 string, and that fanned frets would ever be anything but extremely niche. Yet here we are.

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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby UnexplodedCow » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:31 pm

The definition is extremely intrinsic and individual; very open-ended, too.

High-end usually is based on price and (my experience) particularly cosmetics, sometimes to a point where function is impaired due to form (cars, in particular have this happen). I think the idea of high-end comes from coveting what others have, and wanting to have bragging rights, of sorts.

I have always thought that, regardless of model, that Carvin/Kiesel has been a high-end instrument, due to the craftsmanship and cosmetics; even the plain-color ones seem to have an excellent finish. I came into knowing about Carvin in the 90s, when their various translucent finishes were popular in their catalogues. I do not hold their older 80s models in the same esteem, as their aesthetic is simpler, though I will totally admit that a guitar made completely from flamed/quilted maple, or Koa is awesome, and that those guitars really look amazing in their natural simplicity. Also in their defense, Carvin was using more expensive hardware compared to other makers in those days. Look at the tuners, using a brass nut, vibrato models; none of it was considered low-end at all. Much of it was some of the best (and some may still argue the point).

In the past ten years, I've noticed a shift to grander-scale cosmetics, moving away from a more functional "working" musician type of instrument, and delving into the bespoke style of market. Prices reflect that, and from what little I know of marketing, yes, increasing the price of an item will cause people to think it is high-end. Gibson actually did this years ago, and had failed to sell their LP model at a more reasonable price. They drastically increased the price, and marketed the guitars as an heirloom piece. The result of this move: Gibson has stayed afloat and been seen as a sign of affluence.

If we want to compare the quality of a Kiesel to a Gibson (and I have) I will totally defend Kiesel. I had a chance to compare my V6 to an LP back in 2015. The LP was more than twice the price of the V6, and the V6 had better workmanship in every visible aspect. The Kiesel wasn't just a great value; it was built better than a much more expensive guitar. To me, that is everything high-end should be, as I'm rarely trying to act or be perceived as affluent; I'm not.

Some could also use bombastic in place of high-end. I don't like this approach to instruments (or life), and genuinely dislike the marketing machine in the US, so I further appreciate Kiesel's approach to lesser ads, not selling in stores, and generally giving a cracking great deal.
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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby Abdababda » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:34 am

skully13a wrote:I feel that ALL of my Carvins are definitely "high-end", as far as the quality I see in them. The cheapest one I have is my bolt, which was a kit, and it is SO sweet. I don't really care about fancy-schmancy, I just want a guitar that plays well, and they've fulfilled this in spades. :|


I agree with this. I have 3 Carvin/Kiesel guitars: a Bolt, a CS6, and a GH3. All are very high quality. The last one I puchased, the GH3, I would say is the highest quality guitar I own.

Guitars: 1965 Gretsch Corvette, 1982 Washburn T-Bird Deluxe, 1989 '52 Reissue Telecaster, 2002 Carvin Bolt, 2004 Les Paul R6, 2004 Les Paul R7, 2007 Carvin CS6, 2011 American Standard Stratocaster, 2017 Telecaster Pofessional, 2017 Kiesel GH3.

Amps: 1982 Peavey Special 130, 1992 Marshall JCM900, 2004 Carvin Vintage 16, 2016 Fender Princeton Reverb Custom '68.

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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby Doctor Turn » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:21 pm

Abdababda wrote:[

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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby Quivering Wrist » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:29 pm

Yes they are high end. But if you get a defective instrument let Kiesel know and they will either remake it or put some putty on it. Putty really? Just kidding.

Let me put it this way; if you cannot make a Kiesel sound good the problem is in your playing. Don't expect the amount of money spent to make you sound good.

And lastly no other guitar manufacturer offers stainless steel frets at the cost that Kiesel does, and I put my name on that opinion .

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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby hopkinwfg » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:20 am

slayer wrote:I love Carvin and Jackson USA guitars. Both are really high quality guitars. I look at Carvin as a semi-custom shop and Jackson being a full custom shop if you want it. Of course I won`t pay those new Masterbuilt fees at Jackson now for a custom guitar. That`s BS!! I know I didn`t say Kiesel, that`s because I prefer the Carvin name and on my headstocks. However, I respect both names, just a preference and the script of the large Carvin logo as I prefer the old large Carvin logo of the 80`s/early 90`s.


I just gotten my Kiesel Vader 6X well build ! Indeed it is ! The fret dress is very very well done but compares to my jackson sl2h jackson fret dress is not as smooth as kiesels... these are not custom shop but standard usa soloist.. Jackson has to buck up on their workmanship...

But on tone side i kinda steer towards my sl2h as it has more low end to it...and both are same specs all honduran mahogany with maple top. I have no idea who Kiesel sounded more "clear" but lack of lowend... i changed the lithiums pups to duncan Jazz and JB it improved abit but still lacking of the huge lowend...i sort of measured the strings radius using a 12" radius diy guide and the setup on the B,G,D and A was kinda slightly lower... bring up the height up abit.. adjusted the bridge height slightly higher brings up the tone alot better...

It still remains a very clear tone guitar subtle lowend after these tweaks... maybe i should experiment changing the electronics from alpha mini stock to CTS 500k Volume and 250K tone and perhaps find a pup which has more lowend to it ....

To add this factor in... in my opinion i think it could have been how kiesel treated their tone woods before gluing the pieces on builds... i found the ebony on my Vader has kinda different feel and looks to it... it looks less rich in color and feels abit less natural on what andebony should... taking the fact that my jackson and other guitars feels more "natural" no idea why is that so.. or could it been grade of the wood that contributes to the tone lacking on the lowend... ? Its just my preference thou in anyway....

I like both guitars that i own but lately Heritage H157 takes my toll and i am looking to hunt one down... you guys know the LP tone and it would be my first shorter scale 22 frets guitar .... :)

And on yeah.... will kiesel offer a vader with LP scale length ? Shorter scale for shorter fingers lol

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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby Koshchei » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:59 am

Probably doubtful. Even if you could get them to agree to a shorter-than-25.5 scale, I doubt they'd go shorter than the vintage-Carvin 25" scale.

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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby Doctor Turn » Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:09 am

They don't offer 24.75" scale length. They did running from the start up through the eighties, since most of their guitars as well as their pickups were competing directly with Gibson, taking on the company head to head. Even the DC200 was a Les Paul scale guitar. All the original models from that era, the sh225 (vs ES series), the CM130/140 and Dc150/60 (vs the Les Paul Recording/Custom/Special also the L6S), etc. V220 vs Explorer. Ultra V.

All to buck into Gibsons market, peaking during the Norlin era and then the eighties, Carvins golden era, during Gibsons recovery versus their weakest qualitative period.

But since the 90's it's bumped up to 25 "compromise" scale as their sights have been on PRS and haven't really, underneath it all, shifted. There hasn't been a Gibson scale Carvin-Kiesel in decades and doesn't seem likely. The voicing differences are small.
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1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby Bob77 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:25 am

The used guitar market always has the final say on this. Sadly, Kiesel/Carvin guitars have always scored quite low in the used market.

For example, put a Tom Anderson for sale next to a Kiesel; both used. The owner of the Tom Anderson sells quickly and ends up with most of his money back and a big smile. The owner of the Kiesel/Carvin has to wait a long time and ends up basically giving the guitar away.

These are really great instruments, and to me are high end. But they don't have the influence on the masses out there to be considered high end on a large scale.
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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby Omsong » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:28 am

Resale value - it's a matter of perception and desirability, plus the level of customization available with Kiesel's (Carvin's) makes each one a unique instrument that drastically limits their global appeal. Its kind of like buying a very expensive suit and then having it tailored to a perfect fit. It looks great on you, but lousy on me. I think we are unique, risk takers, whether it's buying a Kiesel new or used. The 10 day trial helps, but sometimes that's not long enough to know if you will bond with an instrument, how it will perform in a band situation, how well does it sit with various musical styles, etc, but we are willing to take that risk. The big brand names have a proven track record with hundreds of thousands of players. Kiesel's do not have that broad reputation. Even if one doesn't jibe with a Gib/der, they know they can easily and quickly sell it used without a huge financial loss.

It's a shame because we Kiesel owners know that they are in the upper 5 or 10 percent in terms of quality of any guitar ever made. Even though they usually get high marks in magazine reviews, Kiesel's just don't get have the desirability factor that they deserve in the marketplace.
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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby Bob77 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:49 am

Omsong wrote:Resale value - it's a matter of perception and desirability, plus the level of customization available with Kiesel's (Carvin's) makes each one a unique instrument that drastically limits their global appeal. Its kind of like buying a very expensive suit and then having it tailored to a perfect fit. It looks great on you, but lousy on me. I think we are unique, risk takers, whether it's buying a Kiesel new or used. The 10 day trial helps, but sometimes that's not long enough to know if you will bond with an instrument, how it will perform in a band situation, how well does it sit with various musical styles, etc, but we are willing to take that risk. The big brand names have a proven track record with hundreds of thousands of players. Kiesel's do not have that broad reputation. Even if one doesn't jibe with a Gib/der, they know they can easily and quickly sell it used without a huge financial loss.

It's a shame because we Kiesel owners know that they are in the upper 5 or 10 percent in terms of quality of any guitar ever made. Even though they usually get high marks in magazine reviews, Kiesel's just don't get have the desirability factor that they deserve in the marketplace.


And why is is it that other names such as Tom Anderson, Suhr, Artinger, Nash, and many others have such strong desirability factor? It's not like you walk into GC and see a bunch of these guitars hanging on the walls for people to try out. I don't think they have hundreds of thousands of musicians playing them either like the more commercially seen Gibson, PRS, Fender, etc.

But somehow people consider them high end and highly desirable. What is Kiesel not doing that these other companies do?
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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby spudmunkey » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:08 am

Bob77 wrote:And why is is it that other names such as Tom Anderson, Suhr, Artinger, Nash, and many others have such strong desirability factor? It's not like you walk into GC and see a bunch of these guitars hanging on the walls for people to try out.


I'm not familiar enough with Artinger or Nash but Suhr and Anderson both have production models/specs and are both available in stores, just not GC. For example, the only non GC store worth going to within about 40 minutes of my home (I have 3 Guitar Centers closer to me) is a tiny-ish store where almost half of all of their guitars are hanging from the ceiling because there's not enough wall space due to the store's small footprint. They carry some Suhr, and they are one of TWELVE Suhr dealers just in the state of California. That same store also is also Anderson dealer, as well. One of three California dealers (many more around the world and the US).

So while they seemingly have market crossover, their visibility in the market in walk-in stores like GC is exponentially smaller.

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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby tbonesullivan » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:22 pm

This reminds me of when Woodwind & Brasswind, a huge Wind instrument retailer, introduced a new Category: Artisan.

Originally it was "Beginner" "Intermediate", and "Professional". But then "Artisan" came along. There were some instruments classified as "professional" of the same type that were quite a bit more expensive than the "artisan" labeled guitars. So confusion ensued, and it was realized that the labels really don't mean much.

PRS uses a ton of automation when constructing their guitars, and most would consider them "High End", and their prices definitely reflect that. But, most of their "core" guitars are also done up with all types of bells and whistles, like fancy inlays, fancy woods, fancy everything.

Anyway, is Kiesel high end? Who knows. That's something for article writers and reviewers to decide.
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Re: Are Kiesel's High End Guitars?

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:39 pm

That sort of reminds me of the arbitrary, yet somehow worth it to some folks to argue about, sports car terminology: sports car, super car, hyper car mega/giga car, etc.

"It's a hyper car"

"No, it's a super car because it only has a 0-60 of 3.1 seconds."

"No, it's a hyper car because it has over 1000 horsepower"

...ad nauseum...


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