Observations After Showroom Visit

USA Custom Shop Acoustic and Electric Guitars

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Omsong
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Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby Omsong » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:39 pm

OK, first, let me say that most of you are probably more experienced and better guitarists than myself, but I've been playing and loving guitar for decades and think I can recognize good tone and quality when I see and hear it.

Kiesel continues to seriously impress me with their build quality and tone. One of the first things that struck me when seeing so many different varieties of finishes, colors and woods 'in the flesh' was how much better they look in person than on my computer screen. Even guitars that I might have judged as visually unappealing, based upon their computer pics, looked awesome in person. I dare say that a truly ugly Kiesel is a very rare bird.

When it first came out, I thumbed down the Zeus for it's radical body shape. Seeing it in person, however, I loved it, and it feels great to hold, too. Personally, I liked it better than the more 'traditional' double cut-away Osiris body, but that it just me. They have a Zeus in the showroom with a 24 3/4 scale length. Interesting feel, but that guitar seemed like it had less note crispness/brilliance than their 25 1/2" scale instruments (but that could be due to other factors, too).

All the guitars that I picked up were set up with really low action, and felt really comfortable to play. When I get home, I'm going to do some more tweaking on my Fatboy and try a bit lower action. It's a trade-off between a small amount of fret buzz (that is unnoticable when amplified) vs. significant fretting ease.

For as long as Carvin and Kiesel have offered the SCB body, it was not a style that appealed to me. However, there were a couple on hooks that were really great looking instruments and have given me a new appreciation for that shape.

Spent 30 seconds messing with fanned frets - they would definitely take me some time to adjust to. I can see them for longer scale lengths and 7 or 8 strings, but I'd probably pass on that option for 6.

I thought I wouldn't care for the raw finishes, but they look really nice in person. Played a Johnny Hiland (trans white raw finish) that is a crazy good guitar, and a real bargain, especially if you are into single coil, Tele tones. Clean tones in each of its 5 position switch positions are to die for, with none of the shrill, ice pick trebles that some Tele's exhibit. The Neck coil gives that classic Fendery/Tele warmth as well. It was really hard to walk away from that one.

Sampled the Beryllium pickups: loved the Neck (might get one to replace my 22 pole Holdworth); didn't care for the Bridge. The neck has a great 'clean' tonal balance low to high - almost as clear as a single coil with just a bit more fatness. A nice balance would be a Beryllium Neck and Lithium Bridge.

The 'standard' ebony boards with some streaking are really nice and remind me of darker grained rosewood. Previously, I would have selected the darker ebony option, but now I'd be happy with the standard ebony.

Sea Foam Green is really light colored, more of a green tinged off white. If you want a stronger color, then go for Surf Green.

Sales guys were great.
Last edited by Omsong on Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ichi on Jobutsu (Enlightenment in one tone.)

Kiesel
- '17 Fatboy, Deep Lava Flame
Past tense
- '02 Fatboy; '04 CT6M; '07 Fatboy; '11 Bolt+

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spudmunkey
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby spudmunkey » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:01 pm

Thanks for the TR!

Interesting to hear your thoughts on some of those more polarizing models/features/options!

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dbone
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby dbone » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:53 pm

Thanks for the showroom impressions Omsong.
dbones Lefties
DC150 M22T/M22V, DC150 M22SD/M22N
DC400A, K12B/K12N, DC600 M22SD/M22V, DC800 A80B/A80N
AE185 C22T/C22N/Piezo, AE185-12 H22T/H22N/Piezo
CT7M KL14B/KL14N, Bolt C22T/AP11/AP11, AC375, CL450, AC275K, SB5000 J99A pups

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Omsong
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby Omsong » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:40 pm

Browsing the GIS, I'm pretty sure that this https://www.kieselguitars.com/guitars-in-stock/129158 Carved top is the one I played with the Beryllium Neck PU. According to it's specs, the Bridge PU is a Lithium*. If that is the case, then nix the Lithium for clean tones, IMO. It's output was noticeably less than the Beryllium Neck and much thinner sounding (anemic lows and mids, even for a Bridge PU). Maybe it sounds great with heavy distortion, but I didn't go there.

I also enjoyed playing the Craig Chaquico semi acoustic unplugged. Also briefly picked a Zeus Acoustic. Unplugged, it doesn't have any acoustically amplified tone. Didn't plug it in, where it probably shines. It's chamber really isn't much bigger than the sound hole. I don't know it there is more chambering that is hidden.

I was surprised at how dark Kiesel Racing green is; not my cup of tea.

Overheard a salesman tell someone that Zeus' don't last long on the GIS list. Apparently, they sell almost as soon as they're listed.

*Wrong! I read the description wrong, both PUs are Beryllium! (See my comment, below)
Last edited by Omsong on Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ichi on Jobutsu (Enlightenment in one tone.)

Kiesel
- '17 Fatboy, Deep Lava Flame
Past tense
- '02 Fatboy; '04 CT6M; '07 Fatboy; '11 Bolt+

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spudmunkey
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby spudmunkey » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:04 pm

Hmm... the screws on the pickup would indicate beryllium pickups in both potions.

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Omsong
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby Omsong » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:23 pm

spudmunkey wrote:Hmm... the screws on the pickup would indicate beryllium pickups in both potions.


I probably read that wrong! Re-reading the options I now think the description refers to the PU covers, not the PU types. If it truly was a Beryllium Bridge, then my description above applies to it and not Lithiums. :mrgreen:

Also, it's worth noting that the Johnny Hiland uses custom PUs, not the Kiesel singles.
Ichi on Jobutsu (Enlightenment in one tone.)

Kiesel
- '17 Fatboy, Deep Lava Flame
Past tense
- '02 Fatboy; '04 CT6M; '07 Fatboy; '11 Bolt+

Bob C
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby Bob C » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:16 am

Thanks for the report. I've been to the Carvin showroom once - a long time ago. Very enlightening and enjoyable.

Can you tell me more about the Craig Chaquico guitar? I know it has been around for a long time, but I'm more into acoustics now than I used to be. I never paid much attention to that model before. Is it as loud unplugged as a standard acoustic? Does the neck have a fast, low action electric feel?

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relias7505
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby relias7505 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:55 am

I have the AC375 and the neck is low action and feels like an electric guitar neck. The AC375 is not as loud as a standard acoustic it definitely needs to be plugged in but if your just on your couch watching TV it sounds great for doodling. When it is plugged in it sounds great! I love it because its feels comfortable against your body. I know this is a AC375 description but I hope it helps. My last build is going to be a CC275 12 string.
My Kiesel/Carvin collection: ST300 (M22SD bridge, S60A middle, Twin Blade neck), SCB6 (S22B bridge, S22J neck), Bolt Classic (AP11's in all positions), SH550 (S22T in the neck and bridge), AC375 and CL450. Also a Carvin V3M 50watt head with a Carvin 1x12 cabinet and Fender Jazz Bass.

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spudmunkey
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby spudmunkey » Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:58 am

If it's anything like the AC275 so I've played before, the neck has a very electric feel to it, 25 inch scale, the standard electric guitar nut width, low action, same neck feel, same 24 frets.

It's not until you get up to the ac375 where you get the 25 and a half inch scale, the wider nut, the 22 Frets, and the neck that feels more like an acoustic. It's also not until you get to the 375 that you get an actual hollow-body. The AC275 and CC275, the body depth is the exact same as the ac175, the body is just wider. It's still just a chambered solid body guitar.

Image

Bob C
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby Bob C » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:02 am

Thanks for the answers, everyone. I read up a bit more on it to refresh my memory. So, the CC is pretty much a chambered solid body electric with a round sound hole?

What is the 375? Is that still in production?

Bob C
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby Bob C » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:06 am

Okay, I did a bit more reading. Saw the 375, but at first thought that was classical only. Does it use acoustic guitar strings? Does the CC use electric guitar strings?

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Omsong
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby Omsong » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:39 am

Agreed; the CC unpluged was quiet, audible, but no where as loud as any typical 'acoustic'. It's neck felt like a cross between an electric and acoustic - somewhere in between. Very comfortable. Not sure about the strings.
Ichi on Jobutsu (Enlightenment in one tone.)

Kiesel
- '17 Fatboy, Deep Lava Flame
Past tense
- '02 Fatboy; '04 CT6M; '07 Fatboy; '11 Bolt+

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relias7505
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby relias7505 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:14 am

The CC275 uses acoustic strings
My Kiesel/Carvin collection: ST300 (M22SD bridge, S60A middle, Twin Blade neck), SCB6 (S22B bridge, S22J neck), Bolt Classic (AP11's in all positions), SH550 (S22T in the neck and bridge), AC375 and CL450. Also a Carvin V3M 50watt head with a Carvin 1x12 cabinet and Fender Jazz Bass.

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dbone
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby dbone » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:30 am

Here’s some size comparisons

Image

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Image

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I enjoy these strings for fingerpicking on the AC275/CC275
it’s a 25” scale.The AC375 is 25.5 scale not sure what I currently have on that one possibly some elixers.

Image
dbones Lefties
DC150 M22T/M22V, DC150 M22SD/M22N
DC400A, K12B/K12N, DC600 M22SD/M22V, DC800 A80B/A80N
AE185 C22T/C22N/Piezo, AE185-12 H22T/H22N/Piezo
CT7M KL14B/KL14N, Bolt C22T/AP11/AP11, AC375, CL450, AC275K, SB5000 J99A pups

Bob C
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Re: Observations After Showroom Visit

Postby Bob C » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:57 am

Thanks again. Nice photos.


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