Kiesel Vader Trem V6x

Discussion in 'Guitar Reviews' started by Kodee_Kaos, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Kodee_Kaos

    Kodee_Kaos NegRep For Free Porn

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    So I decided to order my first 'custom' guitar last year. At the time there was no factory stock option that fit all my criteria. I decided on the Vader since it had a very innovative trem design, and my previous Carvin was an excellent sounding and playing guitar.

    I put the order in for this around July 2017, at a time when Kiesel was getting some very bad press for their customer service. I decided to take the risk anyway. It arrived October 2017, a couple days before a gig. I've had it a little over a year, so I figure I have enough miles on it to make a well-informed assessment.

    vader_overall.jpg vader_top.jpg vader_back.jpg vader_fb.jpg

    The good:
    • Fretwork is dead-nuts on point, playability is top notch.
    • Very compact and svelte design, easy to travel with.
    • The pickups deliver a wide range of tones.
    • Tuning stability is on-par with an OFR
    • Tuners don't "bottom out" like fine tuners on an OFR
    • You can use normal strings, you don't need double-ball ends.
    • The trem has good range both up and down, and 'flutters' very nicely.
    • You can adjust individual saddle heights.

    The meh:
    • Some of the masking work on the finish was so-so. Not awful but not $1900 good either.
    • It shipped with regular strap buttons instead of Straplok buttons. Kiesel handled it promptly.
    • It arrived set up in EADGBE when I requested DGCFAD. Wasn't a biggie but still.
    • The input jack is a Les Paul style. I feel they could have done something more innovative here.
    • No option for a hardshell case. The gigbag is nice - for a gigbag.

    The bad:
    • The whammy bar has no retention system. It's just a friction fit. I've had it fall out. Really really needs a set screw or a spring detent or something. Not a dealbreaker but it definitely makes you look like a jackass when your bar falls out.
    • The stain applied is too dark. In anything less than perfect lighting it might as well just have a solid blue paintjob. I sprung for an ash top with the 'antique ash treatment' option under trans aquaburst stain, but I feel like it's all for naught given how obfuscated it is. If I could do it over I'd get a different finish scheme.
    • You can't hold it in a seated classical guitar position without pushing the trem around with your leg.


    In closing:
    It's a well made and elegantly designed instrument. I had a solid idea going in of what I wanted, and it's met my expectations. The trem is really a game-changer, and I think once they work out the bugs it's going to kick serious ass. Having used this guitar exclusively, I think I'd have a hard time returning to a conventional guitar.
     
    Mathemagician and makecamera like this.
  2. BTrip

    BTrip SS.org Regular

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    If you're still having problems with the trem arm falling out, I found that you can tighten it by putting the arm in, pushing down a little bit so the bridge comes out from the guitar, and where the arm slot is there should be a little way to tighten it. Sorry if this is hard to explain, I can send a picture if needed when I get home.
     
  3. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    This is something I’ve wondered about a lot of these models with the behind the bridge cuts as most of my playing is in that seated position. Thanks for the detailed and seemingly objective review.
     
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  4. amogtr

    amogtr SS.org Regular

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    I feel your pain with the paint job. Was really disappointed in how my aquaburst DC600 quilt really just looks blue unless you have it in direct sunlight.
     
  5. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    I know that is the case on the non headless version, but is that the case on the headless version of the tremolo as well?
    Screenshot_20190108-235444_Facebook.jpg
     
  6. BTrip

    BTrip SS.org Regular

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    Yep I have an Osiris and it has the same as the non headless.
     

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  7. Kodee_Kaos

    Kodee_Kaos NegRep For Free Porn

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    You're correct! I decided to do a full dissection of the trem, and discovered that set screw. I also made a 3d model of the bridge(slightly modified), the model is here:
    https://grabcad.com/library/kiesel-hipshot-style-tremolo-bridge-for-headless-guitars-scalable-1

    I think the set screw is kind of stupid, actually. It really should be a thumbscrew or something. A spring-loaded ball detent that 'clicks' the bar into place upon insertion would be even better. To suggest another improvement, I think the saddles should have rollers on them, like a Kahler. Anyways just an update.
     
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  8. Se7enHeaven

    Se7enHeaven SS.org Regular

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    I find the nut on the input jack constantly becomes loose... always tightening it. My blue finish is OK, but does it ever look awesome in their photos and mediocre when you get it, lol. I don't care for the string bending capabilities of my Kiesel/Carvin guitars (I also have a LPM7 and DC800)... you really have to dig in to get a good bend, and often get transient noise from hitting against other strings (unlike a Strat or my Strandsberg Singularity). My only other complaint, which isn't a complaint in the right musical setting, is that the Lithium pickups that come with the guitar are good for some soloing and moderate rock riffing, but when you want something higher-gain they tend to be slightly muddy (they don't cut through the mix like I would want them to... the Keyztone EXchanger helps in that regard).
     
  9. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    I had the nut issue on an LP. jut a tiny dot of that temp-hold thread lock stuff did the trick. It didn't need to be even the medium bond stuff...just the tiniest bit helped.

    As for the bending, that makes sense with a headless. I see people all the time say that it should be the same because 'string tension is absolute' in terms of the note you're trying to hit, but with a guitar with a headstock that available string length is longer, so there's more string to pull from. It's easier to bend a string on a guitar with a headless, but you'l have to bend slightly further to reach the same pitches as a headless. At least, in theory...I haven't A/B that, but it makes sense in my head.
     
  10. Se7enHeaven

    Se7enHeaven SS.org Regular

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    I find my Stradberg Singularity (headless) easy to bend... very slinky feel. Conversely, I had a Strandberg Prog 7 (same scale, etc.) and found it stiffer. Go figure.
     

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