A Bit of a Disappointing Kiesel NGD

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by vignmachine, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. vignmachine

    vignmachine SS.org Regular

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    So I had the opportunity to check out my recently delivered Kiesel custom and I was... a bit disappointed.
    Let me start out by saying that I am a long-time Kiesel customer; this was my fourth build from them.
    The guitar itself is honestly very nice looking, it's built well, and it plays well...but it fell a bit flat aesthetically, particularly from what I feel I ordered.

    Specs:

    Kiesel Zeus 6
    Black Limba Neck w/ maple stripes
    Black Limba body
    ebony fretboard
    Kiesel Beryllium pickups
    Satin finish
    24.75' scale length

    So backstory re: paint job:

    I contacted Kiesel sales asking if they could do a paint job on a Zeus like the picture I've attached (See pics below). I was then contacted by Noble saying they could absolutely do that finish.
    I then spoke to Noble on the phone, wherein we discussed the logistics of the paint job. I specifically mentioned wanting the "lightness" of the colours in the reference pic, to which Noble agreed. He consulted with the paint department and ultimately said it could be done, and I was initially quoted $2400 for the build. A little while later, Noble e-mailed me stating that the paint department came up with a descriptor for the spec sheet, describing the paint job as being "aquaburst center", "transluscent purple", "california burst", and "think black line". I assumed (I think fairly) that the paint department felt they could get close to the aformentioned reference paint job with the above descriptors. I strongly believe Noble and I were on the same page as it relates to the paint job, and he was helpful in getting the order through with the reference image in mind. He also shaved off a few hundred from the initial quote after consulting with the paint department.

    Fast forward a couple months, and my Zeus build was posted as a pic of the day on the Kiesel page. I honestly didn't even recognize it as my build when I saw it, and only realized it was mine when I got the shipping e-mail a day later. I was immediately pretty disappointed. To me, the guitar looked nothing like the reference picture.

    I e-mailed Joe at customer service to explain the situation. He responded by stating that:

    "There is not a specific type of “uniformity” with burst style finishes, as the final outcome of the finish will depend on the type of wood that is used underneath the paint. Darker and denser woods have a tendency to make the paint finishes come out darker whereas lighter woods can make certain colors pop and appear more vibrant. The burst style finishes are applied exactly the same way on every order that requests a burst finish, but the final look will vary depending on the wood top or the wood on the body. Submitting a picture for reference only gives us a general idea of what you’re looking for, but it does not mean that we will match the photo exactly, as we charge a $200.00 fee for photo matching a paint finish. As it stands now, this build is a no 10-day trial, no exchange, no refund so all sales are final in these cases."

    I responded by reiterating what I've said in this post - that I specifically requested a paint job like the reference image; that it was discussed at length with Noble - particularly the "lightness" of the reference paint job; and that I was told that the paint department was consulted with the reference image. Joe responded by saying that "upper management" (aka Jeff) is holding firm that it was built according to the spec sheet.
    I guess the most egregious thing to me is that - even going by the spec sheet verbatim - the "Black line" at the edge of the guitar that was specifically marked on the sheet as to be "thin"...is quite thick, to where the purple of the guitar is virtually non-existent. The purple, to me, is a big part of what was good looking about the reference guitar. Realistically, it would have been better to just omit the black line entirely.

    I recognize that I may be over-reacting a bit to the paint job. The guitar itself is really nice, plays beautifully, and looks good. It is also, arguably, a purple/blue/black guitar like the reference image. I just can't help but feel a little bummed about the experience given everything that went on.

    While I personally will not be ordering from Kiesel anymore, moreso just given my experience with customer service, I still think their guitars are built well and, if you order a paint job that has already been done by Kiesel and get a good idea of how the paint job will look ahead of time, you'll get a nice guitar. Generally it seems it's just wise to stay away from asking Kiesel to do reference images or photo matches. I will also add that in my previous 3 experiences, everything went smoothly and I was a happy customer.

    I will happily send anyone the e-mail exchanges (from the time of the inquiry of the paint job onward) as well as the spec sheet if you're curious - just PM me.


    Thanks for reading!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. goobaba

    goobaba SS.org Regular

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    I would say that you received a black burst edge, not a "thin black line." So in that case, the guitar was not "built to spec." For what it's worth, it's still a pretty good looking guitar.
     
  3. devastone

    devastone SS.org Regular

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    It is a nice looking guitar, but you really wanted the purple to be the outside burst color, and I agree, looking at the reference picture, that is a very different look.
     
  4. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire hardtail crusader

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    i know it's not what you wanted OP, but that guitar is gorgeous. shame that kiesel still can't photomatch worth a damn.
     
  5. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    I've been in your shoes (not with Kiesel) and recognize that it's really how you feel that's important, but that's gotta be one of my favorite Kiesels ever. Think I'm more used to Kiesel making things too vibrant / bursted, not subdued as this one is.
     
  6. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Going the photo-match route has always been a heck of a gamble. They only ever matched them like 1/5th of the time from what I saw over many years, but most of the time the outcome was bearable.

    Not to mention they used to still do returns, at least for some of the more loyal customers or those who made a stink on something they really botched.

    Those days are long gone though.

    Sorry this didn't work out dude.
     
  7. FitRocker33

    FitRocker33 My tone is tighter than my hamstrings

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    Dude honestly I think I like your guitar better than the reference pic. I agree it’s not a thin black line but it’s pretty damn nice. Not my guitar tho, and just my opinion.
     
  8. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I'm no Kiesel fan, and their customer service alone is reason enough for me never to order one, but I will say your top looks a heck of a lot better than the Les Paul's burst you attached, for whatever it's worth.
     
  9. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    A beautiful guitar for sure. A bummer for sure that it didn't meat expectations.

    A couple notes. And I know this is going to come across that i'm somehow defending Kiesel specifically, but with these specific notes, I feel like any other guitar company would run into the same issues with trying to match how the finish looks in that photo onto a IRL Zeus-type model...and this doesn't have anything to do with their customer service, your initial interactions or their response...this is specifcally technicall aspects of the construction and finishing. I'm hoping this comes across as merely my own internal monologue when looking at the original photo and the Zeus, and not some sort of lecture. With anything custom (or, hell...even "off the rack" stuff), your opinion has merit if it didn't come out like you envisioned, even though you feel you were clear in your wishes. If in the end they don't agree to loosen their response, I genuinely hope that it is less of a "every time I look at it i feel disappointed" and is more like one of those, "It wasn't exactly how I pictured it, but I have been playing it for the last week, and even if they offered to re-build it, I've fallen in love with how it plays/sounds/feels/looks, and couldn't send it back."

    That CS6 in real life doesn't even look like it does in that photo. That other guitar is being blasted by a close-up camera flash, which brightens up the lighter colors in the center, including where the black is overlapping the purple. The camera flash is letting the purple shine through the burst's softer edge, so that the only part that looks black is where the paint finally gets totally opaque at the very very edge. As far as how bright and vibrant the colors are in the middle, There's no finish they could apply to another guitar that would make it that vibrant, and still have visible wood grain under it. The only way to get a color as bright as in that camera-flash photo would be with a brightly colored paint added to the transparent paint, making the finish less clear, and the grain underneath less visible. A transparent finish automatically darkens the color of the wood...so the only way it can be as bright or brighter in a photo, is to introduce light, or to add a white paint to the trans color to get it to reflect more light, which would obscure the wood figuring underneath.

    I'd be curious to see what your guitar looks like photographed at the same distance from the camera, at the same angle, in a similarly dimly lit evening in the living room, with a camera flash pointed right at it, to see if it's any closer.

    The zeus body itself is also partially to "blame".

    The body is much smaller than the CS6. So if their "thin burst" is 1" wide, it'll naturally look proportionally narrower on the CS than on the much smaller Zeus. For example, a size 8 shoe on a 7ft tall man would look very small, but put that same size 8 shoe on a baby, and it you could put 1/2 the baby inside it.

    Next is the beveled top, which means that the available area for the burst is shrunk even more even compared to the already smaller body since the top no longer covers the whole body, making the standard "thin burst" an even larger percentage of the overall finished area. So how you've cut the legs off that baby, making the shoes seem even larger in comparison. OK, I think I'll stop with the baby/shoe metaphor...

    The final aspect that's zeus-specific is the visible beveled edge of the top, which is adding width to the burst. The way they do the finishes on the bevels is that the bevel itself isn't really considered part of the "top". However the finish does end on the edge of the flat top, they extend that over the bevel. you can see this most clearly on beveled models that have the body also painted to match the top. On an aries, it seems like 1/2 of the body is covered by the wide burst edge on the bass side. So let's say the 1" "thin burst" is measured from the edge of the flat top area, and then there's an additional 5/8'-3/4" added width due to the beveled thickness on the bass side. If you look at the treble side, or cover up the beveled edge of the top on the bass side, to my eye that's a fairly thin burst, IMO. Then when you add in the extra thickness of the bevel to the bass side, it makes it seem wider. Very very early on in the Aries's life, they showed a body they did where the perimeter burst actually followed the perimeter of the body, and not the top. If i remember right, it was a tobacco burst (trans yellow, to opaque black). I can't seem to find the photo, but remember it looked odd. I'm not saying how they actually do it is necessarily a perfect solution for bursts on an asymmetrically-beveled body, but it's better than how i remember that looking.



    For what it's worth, here's the photoshop mock-up that customer sent in for his CS6:
    [​IMG]

    From the forum:
    (and note that it's still a bright camera flash)
    [​IMG]

    Here's his NGD thread:
    http://www.kieselguitarsbbs.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=15073


    I could be wrong, but here's what I think MAY have happened. They listenned to your request about the lightness in the middle. They took that to mean that you wanted to make sure that there was plenty of the light aqua in the middle, with the purple and black being pushed out from the center. on many of their smaller-bodied guitars with multiple-colored bursts, the middle can get pretty small, so I bet they think they really did listen to you by giving you lots of the aqua. Then, the thin burst is still thick compared to the very small top area since it's wider in proportion making the black seem wide, leaving very little room for purple.

    Was i in the factory? Absolutely not. Am i being rational to a fault (meaning trying to find a rational explanation even when there's no real proof)? Perhaps.

    Do i still think your guitar looks killer? Abso-fucking-lutely, and one of my favorite Zeus builds. The quilt has great figuring, and that's a awesome piece of black limba, what with those defined stripes in it (sometimes it can look a little muddy/uniformly brown). Nice with the silver pickups, too. Too cool.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  10. Millul

    Millul SS.org Regular

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    Gotta agree with the comments above - your guitar looks amazing, and, to me, way better than what the sample you sent them.
    Even the natural bevel fits the build, and for my tastes, it's pretty much a first.

    Sorry it's not what you wanted, being disappointed about a new build sucks big time (been there).
     
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  11. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    Feel like the Kiesel defense is misguided:

    a.) If you can't recreate the finish, don't accept the order.

    b.) I have seen Kiesels that are approximately that bright, and where the brightness isn't a consequence of camera flash, etc.
     
  12. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    Your’s is the one with the speed scoop correct? I personally think that looks “better” but my opinion doesn’t mean much. They did not match the purple as the burst the way you asked and showed them. Sucks that they keep over-estimating their abilities.
     
  13. Cynicanal

    Cynicanal SS.org Regular

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    That looks like a standard Nightburst + blackburst edge to my eye. If so, it's kind of ridiculous that they'd apply a standard finish but charge you for the photomatch and give you an OP 50 No Return on top of it.
     
  14. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    first of all, beautiful finish and guitar bro

    second sorry for your almost perfect guitar

    To be fair, they did match the colors. The hue of the purple if different to your reference pic, but honestly I like better the one they used in yours. Plus it seems to be the correct hue once you see the other pics from the other build..?.. maybe they pulll up the old files and findout the colors they used on that old build

    but they did missed the amrk on the black burst. It should ahve been a thin small black burst, similar to waht PRS does all the time, instead they did the full blast burst.... also by having the edges (binding) part of the top in full black it makes the burst seems even bigger. So that might also be the main reason why this looks "wrong".... Try to visualize the guitar without the bevel edges, jsut the flat top and see the burst is not that big.... it could still be smaller tho, but its not that big...... also a small body guitar makes it seem the burst is bigger too

    still awesome colors.
     
  15. Lord Voldemort

    Lord Voldemort SS.org Regular

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    Whew, that Zeus is stunning. Good Lord.

    Bummer that they couldn't match exactly what you wanted though, those two guitars sincerely look almost nothing alike, and that's coming from someone that wrote a small novel defending Kiesel a week or so ago.
     
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  16. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    I would still be definitely interested to see vignmachine guitar with a brighter flash. I mean...these two photos of are of the exact same guitar, and the one in the sunshine has its purple lit up so much it's completely overpowering the blackburst, which is clearly visible in the lower light photo:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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  17. Randy

    Randy ROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOUROOMFORYOU Super Moderator

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    2018's photomatch is 2016's option 50.
     
  18. Cynicanal

    Cynicanal SS.org Regular

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    Why am I in your quote when I didn't say that?
     
  19. makecamera

    makecamera SS.org Regular

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    That sucks that you didn't get what you asked for. I think they could have at least acknowledged that they didn't get it close enough and refund you the photo match cost. That said, it's the best looking Zeus I've seen to date.

    You mentioned that you were quoted $2400 for the build and they later shaved off "a few hundred". Do you mind me asking what the final price was?
     
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  20. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Sorry, I mistakenly double-quoted, and edited out the wrong name. Corrected.
     

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