New Custom Shop Crackle Finishes

Kiesel Custom Shop Crackle FinishesThe Kiesel Guitars USA Custom Shop is excited to announce our newest and most unusual finish option, the Crackle Finish (option code CF).

Crackle Finish is a top coat applied over a base coat color, which creates a crackled appearance. The “crackle” itself is black, so the finish looks best over bright finishes, like Kiesel Racing Green or Orange, McLaren Yellow, Grabber Blue, etc. However, the finish can be applied over any Custom Shop finish, and can be used in conjunction with our exotic top woods and finishes. It will even work with our exclusive Color-Shift Finishes, for a look that’s out of this world. In addition, it can be used on any custom one-off finish, like the blue/green/yellow fade on the Zeus Z6 shown on the left. The only limit is your imagination!

Instruments with Crackle Finish must have a tung-oiled neck, and must have a clear gloss top coat – the finish won’t work with clear matte satin, tung-oil or Raw Tone topcoats.

Matching headstocks can also be ordered; just used the matching painted headstock code (PH) when ordering.

Crackle Finish will add about 2 weeks to the build time of any guitar or bass. Crackle Finish instruments are non-returnable.

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New Zeus Series Standard & Multiscale Headless Guitars and Basses

Kiesel Zeus Series Guitars and BassesTo kick off 2018 the right way, Kiesel Guitars is proud to introduce our newest series of headless guitars and basses, the Zeus Series. Available in 6, 7 and 8 string standard and multiscale guitar models, as well as 4, 5 and 6 string bass models, the Zeus Series combine some of the most popular features of other Kiesel instruments, into one design.

The Zeus Series feature a beveled body, reminiscent of the SCB Series guitars. The top bevel not only looks great, but makes playing very comfortable. The body itself is similar in size to the Vader Series, but the new shape allows the tuners on the Kiesel/Hipshot bridge to be protected from accidental bumping, as they are recessed into the body.

Unlike the Holdsworth, Vader and Letchford headless models, the Zeus Series has a bolt-on Eastern hardrock maple neck. Many players prefer the tone and articulation of a bolt-on neck, especially on bass guitars; the trade-off for this has always been a “clunky” neck heel, but like all Kiesel Guitars bolt-neck instruments, the Zeus has a minimal, sculpted neck heel that allows easy access high on the fingerboard. As on all Kiesel Custom Shop instruments, a whole host of options can be selected for your new Zeus, including the Hipshot/Kiesel tremolo on the 6, 7 and 8 string standard scale guitar models.

Most Zeus models are online and ready to order today. The remaining ones will be added in the coming days. For those models, call our helpful and friendly sales staff a call today at 858-484-8277 (858-GUITARS), and get your order in for a new Zeus Series instrument!

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Statement on Closure of Carvin Audio/Amplifiers

With the announcement that Carvin Audio and Amplifiers is ceasing operations effective Monday, October 9 2017, Kiesel Guitars wants to let our customers know that this in no way affects the continued operations at the Kiesel Guitars USA Custom Shop. Because Kiesel Guitars and Carvin Audio became separate entities in 2015, we are in no way impacted by the shuttering of Carvin Audio and Amplifiers. Kiesel Guitars is building more guitars and basses than ever before, and we’re already looking ahead to our 75th Anniversary in 2021. Kiesel Guitars continues going strong by significantly expanding our guitar and bass offerings, hiring additional personnel, offering world-wide direct sales, participating in Summer NAMM in addition to our long-running presence at Winter NAMM, and adding many new endorsers to the Kiesel Guitars family of artists. Additionally, we’ve recently converted our state-of-the-art Escondido facility to all solar power, and we continue to make dramatic improvements to our design, engineering and manufacturing processes so we can, and will, continue to offer the best made-in-the-USA guitars and basses at factory-direct pricing that is unequaled in the industry.

We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to our customers for their continued support, and we’d like to wish the staff of Carvin Audio and Amplifiers success in their future endeavors.

Mark Kiesel, President, Kiesel Guitars
Jeff Kiesel, Vice President, Kiesel Guitars

NOTE: No one at Kiesel Guitars has any info has to how long their liquidation sale will continue, or how this impacts things like warranty/service, etc. If you need help with Carvin Audio gear, your best bet would be to reach out to them via their Facebook page.

Below, Jeff Kiesel talks about the closure and the history of the company on Facebook Live:

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New Kiesel Crescent Series Carved Top Standard and Multiscale Guitars

Kiesel Crescent Series Carved Top Standard & Multiscale GuitarsThe Kiesel Crescent Series guitars are the newest carved-top models to come out of the Custom Shop in a number of years, and represent an exciting new direction for our carved-top lineup. In addition to standard 6 and 7 string models, multiscale and 8-string versions are available; our first of both of these styles in a carved-top configuration. They take some of the best features of our other guitars, and combines them in one sleek and stylish instrument. All models have an alder body and maple set-thru neck design, which provides the tone of a set-neck instrument, with the high fret access of a neck-through. The standard carved maple top is 1/2″ thick, and adds brightness to the tonal spectrum of the instrument.

Standard models have a 25.5″ scale fingerboard; multiscale models have a 25.5″ treble side, 26.5″ bass side scale (CM6); 25.5″ treble side, 27″ bass side scale (CM7); and a 26″ treble side, 27.5″ bass side scale (CM8). The Custom Shop’s complete selection of fingerboard options are available: you can choose from royal ebony, rosewood, maple, birdseye maple, flamed maple or zebrawood fingerboard woods; dot, diamond, block or signature inlays in pearl or genuine abalone, colored acrylic dots, blocks or diamonds, as well as offset dot inlays or staggered offset dot inlays in mother-of-pearl or genuine abalone; and offset or staggered offset colored acrylic dots with or without our exclusive 12th fret “K” inlay. The Custom Shop also offers a number of fretwire options, including jumbo, low-wide, stainless steel and gold EVO in a variety of sizes. Glow-in-the-dark Luminlay Super Blue side dots are standard on all models.

Crescent Series guitars come equipped with direct-mount passive Kiesel Lithium humbuckers. Kiesel Lithium pickups are custom wound with vintage plain enamel wire that brings out the harmonically rich tone and sustain of the guitar. Electronics consist of a master volume and master tone control with a 5-way lever style pickup selector. Standard pickups have black coils, but any combination of black or cream coils are available.

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New Kiesel Semi-Hollow Carved Top Guitars

Kiesel Semi-Hollow Carved Top GuitarsFor years, Kiesel Guitars players and fans have been asking for a semi-hollow version of our popular California Carved Top guitars, and we’re happy to respond with the all-new SH6 and SH7 Semi-Hollow California Carved Top guitars. The SH6 takes all the features of our popular CT624 Carved Top guitar, in a semi-hollow version. The SH7 7-string is modeled on the CT7 carved top, and shares the same features with it.

Both models are physically the same length and width as their solid-body counterparts, but they have a thicker body, as on the SH550. There is a single “f” hole in the upper bout of the standard flamed maple top wood, which helps produce a sweet, open tone. A mahogany neck and body add further warmth, and the standard ebony fingerboard helps produce crisp, clean notes. Our “S” bridge, with tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece, is standard, and both are available with our new Kiesel-designed Hipshot tremolo. Both models are loaded with a pair of Kiesel Lithium humbuckers, with master volume and master tone controls and 5-way pickup selector.

Like all Kiesel Guitars USA Custom Shop models, you can choose from a complete selection of options for your new semi-hollow carved top guitar, including body, neck and fingerboard woods, exotic top woods, solid, translucent, metallic and coloring-shifting finishes, inlays in different shapes and colors, assorted fretwire sizes and materials and much more. You can design your SH6 or SH7 exactly the way you want it to suit your personal tastes as well as your gig.

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Kiesel Guitars Puts the “Custom” in “Custom Shop”

Kiesel Guitars Custom ShopYou already know that the Kiesel Guitars USA Custom Shop offers hundreds of options on our guitars and basses, allowing endless combinations to make your perfect instrument. But did you know there are all sorts of things we can do that aren’t featured in our online guitar builder? Do you want 3 gold tuners and 3 black tuners on your new guitar? How about different colored pickups, a single volume knob, or a pickup kill switch? Maybe a far-out finish that fades from one color to another, or a color scheme that matches your favorite sports team or your alma mater? A specific grain pattern in your top wood? No problem! Even if you want an exotic body, fingerboard or top wood that we don’t normally stock, we may be able to run it down for you, or in some cases, you can even supply your own.

Point is, just because you don’t see something you’re looking for on, that doesn’t mean we can’t do it. If you can dream it up, there’s a good chance we can make it so – within reason, of course! Some of the coolest guitars we’ve made have been because a customer said, “Hey, can you do…?” Just give us a call at (858) GUITARS, and talk to our guitar and bass specialists about what you need – they’ll let you know if what you want is doable, and get you a price quote for your dream guitar or bass.

Need some inspiration? Follow Kiesel Guitars on Facebook and Instagram to see many, many photos of our Custom Shop guitars and basses. If you see something you like, you can always send us the photo, and we'll build you an instrument just like it. No matter what your playing style or personal tastes are, the Custom Shop can make your dream instrument, perfectly suited for you and your gig. Kiesel Custom Shop guitars and basses are covered by a 5-year limited warranty, and come with a no-risk 10-day in home trial period. Visit Kiesel Guitars today, and stop dreaming and start playing

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How to Clean Maple Guitar Fingerboards with Jeff Kiesel

How to Clean Maple Guitar Fingerboards

Maple fingerboards have a great classic look, but they get dirty. Jeff Kiesel walks you through how to make your maple fingerboard look like new in this video on YouTube. A clean fingerboard can breathe fresh life into your guitar or bass, and has the added benefit of polishing the fretwire at the same time. Even if you have an ebony, rosewood or other fingerboard wood that doesn't show the dirt as much as maple, you should still clean it periodically – it's good for the wood, and getting rid of the fingerboard gunk will improve playability. Don't be afraid of cleaning your fingerboard – Jeff will walk you through it, step by step, in this detailed video!

The Kiesel Guitars USA Custom Shop offers numerous fingerboard wood options: standard ebony, as well as rosewood, zebrawood, royal ebony, plain maple, birdseye maple and flamed maple. Have something else in mind? We may be able to run down other exotic woods, if there's something you have your heart set on – just give us a call at (858) GUITARS and let us know what you're looking for. Additionally, you can order our exclusive Kiesel Treated Fingerboards, which are stained to match (or contrast) the color of your instrument. To finish off your
fingerboard, the Custom Shop offers a complete selection of inlay shapes and materials, including genuine abalone, glow-in-the-dark Luminlay and acrylic in assorted colors, and fretwire in various sizes and materials.

No matter what your playing style or personal tastes are, the Custom Shop can make your ideal electric guitar, acoustic/electric guitar or bass, perfectly suited for you and your gig. Kiesel Custom Shop guitars and basses are covered by a 5-year limited warranty, and come with a no-risk 10-day in home trial period, so you can give your new instrument a real-world tryout.

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Chris Letchford CL7 Play-Through Video

Just in time for Multiscale May, check out world-renown prog guitarist and Kiesel Guitars signature artist Chris Letchford playing his CL7 headless multiscale guitar on this play-through video for his new song “Royal Orphan”, from his band Scale the Summit’s upcoming May 19th release, In a World of Fear. This video not only shows Chris’ amazing playing technique, but also demonstrates the wide range of tones the CL Signature Series guitars are capable of.

The Chris Letchford Signature Series Guitars are just one of the series we’re offering special deals on during Multiscale May. We’re offering an additional $100 discount on all multiscale instruments: Vader Series, Aries Series, Solo Series, DCM Series, Vanquish Series guitars, even Kiesel 70th Anniversary K-Series and Vanquish Series basses! This is a limited-time offer, so don't delay in designing and ordering your new Kiesel Guitars multiscale instrument. All multiscale Guitars-in-Stock are also on special!

Kiesel Guitars multiscale instruments are available in six-string, seven-string and eight-string neck-through, bolt-on neck and headless configurations, as well as 4 and 5-string bolt-neck multiscale basses. Standard passive Kiesel Lithium pickups (guitars) and Kiesel Radium pickups (basses), Hipshot™ solo saddles, and a huge assortment of body & neck woods, fingerboard woods, inlays, fretwire and other USA Custom Shop options allow you to create the instrument you want, versus the one the retailer has on the shelf, and during Multiscale May, you can save more, on top of our factory-direct pricing. Check out all of Kiesel Guitars’ multiscale instruments, and let us build your next masterpiece.

In a World of FearCheck out during Multiscale May to design and order your new made in the USA Custom Shop multiscale guitar or bass, and be sure and follow Kiesel Guitars on Facebook and Instagram to see more examples of our Custom Shop instruments, as well as lots of other photos and Custom Shop news and information. Then check out more of Chris Letchford and Scale the Summit’s music at his personal website,, and pre-order In a World of Fear right here!

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Allan Holdsworth: 1946 – 2017

Allan Holdsworth

The entire Kiesel Guitars family is shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of our great friend and legendary guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Allan passed away unexpectedly on Saturday at his home in Vista, California.

Allan has been a part of the Kiesel Guitars family since 1994, when he worked with Mark Kiesel to design his innovative signature Holdsworth Series guitars, the single-pickup H1 and dual-pickup H2, which were officially launched in 1996.
Close to a dozen prototypes were designed and built over a two-year period, and the result were instruments that had a unique look, as well as the sound and playability that Allan needed for his influential playing. In 1999, the lineup was expanded with the HF2 Fatboy, which had the same basic design, with a hollow body featuring a unique twin-beam floating suspension system designed by Mark Kiesel. These guitars were instrumental in expanding Kiesel's appeal beyond mainstream rock-n-roll, into jazz and fusion circles.

Allan Holdsworth and Mark KieselIn 2012, Allan and Mark Kiesel teamed up once more to push the boundaries of guitar design with the Holdsworth Headless Series guitars, once more expanding Kiesel's area of expertise and appeal into new markets. For years, Kiesel players had been asking for a headless model, and it took Allan and Mark's combined playing and building skill to bring this to fruition, which paved the way for many popular Kiesel models, including the headless Vader Series.

Allan was more than just a musician; he was a true friend to everyone at Kiesel Guitars, often appearing at the Kiesel booth at NAMM, and at sponsored clinics and other Kiesel events. He always had time to chat with staff and customers, and contributed not only to the world of music, but to Kiesel Guitars. He will be sadly missed.

Kiesel Guitars would like to extend their most sincere condolences to Allan's family, and the millions of fans around the world that his music touched over his amazing 50-year career.

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New Solo Series Standard & Multiscale Guitars

Kiesel Guitars Solo Series Standard and Multiscale GuitarsThe Kiesel Guitars USA Custom Shop is excited to debut our newest guitar series, the Solo Series standard and multiscale bolt-neck guitars. These guitars are based on the popular TL60 and TL70 neck-through models, but with bolt-on neck construction, and in 6, 7 and 8 string models with both standard scale and multiscale fingerboards. All models feature our new sculpted neck heel, with 4 bolt ferrules versus a more cumbersome metal neck plate.

The standard scale S6, S7 & S8 Solo models are available with a standard Hipshot™ hardtail bridge, or our new Kiesel-designed Hipshot™ tremolo. The 6 and 7-string versions are also available with a Floyd Rose tremolo. The multiscale SM6, SM7 & SM8 versions have standard Hipshot™ Solo saddles.

All models have dual Kiesel Lithium humbuckers standard, with master volume, master tone, and 5-way lever-style pickup selector. Each model has optional pickup configurations, including dual Lithium single-coils (SS), triple Lithium single coils (SSS), and single Lithium humbucker/dual Lithium single coils (HSS). All models also have the option for a center-position Lithium single coil (CAP), for use in conjunction with dual humbuckers, for an H-S-H configuration.

Like all Kiesel Custom Shop instruments, you can order your new Solo guitar with a complete host of options, including exotic body, neck and fingerboard woods, inlay shapes and materials, finishes, fretwire, and much more. You can order your Kiesel Solo to perfectly suit your personal tastes and playing style, regardless of whether you prefer understated classic looks, or something completely over-the-top.

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