The Carvin / Kiesel thread

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by soliloquy, May 22, 2011.

  1. belleswell

    belleswell SS.org Regular

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    I was shopping for a custom made model on their website for over a year, playing with the different options. All of the ones I put together were at least 2k, and most were closer to 3k. This SBC6 was not one I would have normally picked, but the price was right and it gave me a chance to see if the hype was deserved.

    This same guitar would have cost almost 2k if I were to have it built. It was listed on feebay for less than half that, and it had only been played for about a half hour. Mint. It was used at the 2014 NAMM show to highlight a new tone wood (new at least for them that year), Black Limba. The hype was well deserved. An excellent guitar.

    The day before at the NAMM show
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  2. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    An SCB is one of those that I dont lust after, but respect...and it seems like everyone who owns one says it's their favorite guitar. Congrats on the NGD.
     
  3. squids

    squids .

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    so what is the consensus on these? i havent been able to find one in person to try, and it seems like the reviews go back and forth; either they are great guitars or not.
    i have an ibanez prestige 7 string, and im looking to sell the rest of my mediocre guitars over the summer and buy one “nice” 6 string. the idea of headless (like an osiris) interests me, but id likely be buying used (no sense in ordering custom if the resale value is low). on the other hand, a 6 string prestige ibanez can be had for similar prices or less, so im kinda just wondering how people who have both feel about one versus the other. for reference, i play a lot of tech death/prog/black metal.
     
  4. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    They currently make 4000+ guitars a year, and they have been building semi-custom guitars for decades. While there are definitely those who are unhappy, no doubt about it (and those issues ranged from overall quality, to QC to customer service...the whole gamut) the vast majority seems happy. And maybe I'm a minority, but I never really bonded with my Ibanez Prestige, and sold it once I got my Carvin CS6 (granted, that was 11 years ago in '08). I bought an Aries in 2016, which is sort of a blend, body wise, of an RG and an S (The Ibanez I had was an S, and I prefer the Aries body's wider bottom edge so it's more confortable on my leg when playing while seated).

    Keep in mind that the headless feature automatically jumps the price up $50. Also, while there's still absolutely a benefit to buying used, Kiesels seem to be holding their value a little better that Carvins of years past...on the other hand, Kiesel-branded guitars have only been around for 5 years, so it's not like you can compare a 2017 DC127 to a 1990 DC127. But as they've gotten busier, the leadtimes are a little longer than they used to be, so there's more incentive to buy used than there was when their standard leadtime was 6-8 weeks. Before, if you could get what you wanted in 2 months or less, you're not really incentivized to "settle" unless the price was good. With average leadtimes pushing 12 weeks, the used market gets a little more appealing even without as much of a steep price hit. Headless bolt ons with tung oil necks, though, seem to be a little quicker.

    I would say unless you know you'd like them, try their pickups other than the Lithium. They are fairly polarizing. They have a couple models than can be switched out for no charge, and I think two that are $20 (Thorium bridge, and Illusionist bridge). Keep in mind that the pickup routes are designed to be tight to the pickups, so you might need to modify the plate of some pickups...but again, that's not too unusual for direct mount pickups.

    The metal players that are using their guitars, lots of them came from the in-stock section so it's not like all of their guitars are made just for the artists to some higher standard like many companies do.

    Bottom line, their fretwork is pretty-to-really good, their finish quality is top notch (aesthetics are subjective ;) ), and they use decent hardware. Hipshot bridges, and their locking headstock-mounted tuners are 19:1 and feel pretty good. The headless fixed bridge they use is a modified version of an off-the-shelf bridge, so there's a slight chance you might see one around...but Kiesel seems to be the biggest user of them anyway.

    If you know you like thin necks, get their thin neck option...but don't expect a Wizard-like experience. Their normal neck thickness is comfortable for me (I thought my Ibanez was too thin, and caused cramping) and is similar to some Schecters I've played, and I've heard some say quite similar to "USA jackson" but I've got no experience with that, and don't even know if that doesn't narrow it down enough.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
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  5. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    From purely a quality standpoint, you probably won't be disappointed. Kiesel tends to make good guitars.

    Just be sure to keep the options fairly basic. The ~$2k builds tend to be the sweet spot as far as quality to price.

    Not to mention, the fewer options the fewer opportunities for an error with your build.

    Read all the fine print and you should be good to go.
     
  6. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire thy fart is murder

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    They make very solid guitars. The ones that I've had were/are easily on par with ESP E-IIs and core PRS that I've played.
    Fit/Finish on all of my guitars were great, with no aesthetic issues that I could find. Setup is subjective, but all of mine came set up well out of the box with no fret buzz/dead notes, etc. Pickups are again subjective, but the lithiums are solid stock pickups, though they tend to be pretty bright sounding unless you slap them in a darker sounding guitar. The thing I liked most about kiesel is that you almost always get nicely figured woods. I ordered some necks/bodies through warmoth and their flame maple necks/quilted tops/black limba bodies were lackluster in comparison.
    Used carvins/kiesels are still the best bang for your buck around imo. You can get nicely specced guitars for the price of a new EII/ Ibby prestige or even cheaper all day.
     
  7. squids

    squids .

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    thanks for the replies, ill probably keep it real simple with swamp ash body, (roasted?) maple neck, rosewood board, etc. i also wonder if its possible to have just a single bridge pickup....although i feel like that may come with a massive upcharge.
     
  8. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Bridge pickup only isn't available on everything. I don't believe it's available on the bolt-on models except the pickguarded Delos.

    I imagine it's because of the way the neck heel and pickup route interact. That's why they can't do it on the CT/CS (the neck tenon extends all the way through the neck pickup route), so I imagine it's a similar sort of limitation on the guitar bolt-ons (not that the neck extends into the route, but just the interaction itself). The Aries has been around for a long time, and I've never seen a bridge-only pickup config on it.

    I know they can do it on the Crescent, the Holdsworth models, and the neck-through models and Delos...but I'm not sure about anything else.


    I know on some models, people have gotten single coil pickups in the neck to get as close to the look of a bridge-only layout as possible. They do offer a single coil-sized humbucker, but only in 6-string.
     
  9. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    MOD EDIT: We have a "bad Kiesel thread". Let's keep the banter over there. :yesway:
     
  10. ryanougrad

    ryanougrad SS.org Regular

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    Not sure if right place to post this, but does the Aries still have issues with the saddles on the hipshot bridge or has this been resolved? Thinking of ordering but not looking to roll the dice on this issue.
     
  11. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    I haven't seen anyone post about it anywhere for a long while, and it still seems to be one of their better-selling models. I'm not saying it's necessarily fixed, but at least there seems to be no more "smoke" to that "fire". I haven't personally seen a recent one (mine's from 2016).
     
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  12. Jeff

    Jeff Banned from Reality

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    And for crissakes, DON'T get a non-returnable option. That's when the build is jinxed. :lol:
     
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  13. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Metal flake filled.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Jeff

    Jeff Banned from Reality

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    That is beyond hideous.
     
  15. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    I don't mind that it exists, but the spiral should terminate somehow. Not just...stop.
     
  16. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire thy fart is murder

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    what a waste of a flamed maple top. It would actually be a cool idea if they'd done a blacked out body to keep the emphasis on the metal flake spiral
     
  17. ThePIGI King

    ThePIGI King Death Will Reign

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    Anybody know if they would do Opt 50 a guitar like the Vader for fretless?
     
  18. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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  19. ThePIGI King

    ThePIGI King Death Will Reign

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  20. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    I've played Carvins back in the day that were nice but one thing that was always sort of a red flag to me about getting one was the fact that for years I've kept seeing so many near new condition ones go up for sale at big losses. I would expect them to be way harder to get on the used market in this condition if they were "keeper" guitars. It seems like if you get one you want to keep forever then it's like finding a unicorn or something. It's harder to get a near new condition used Ibanez at a price comparably low. Everything about them looks so nice, so why do they seem to get sold off so often? Especially compared to the small numbers in relation to a company like Ibanez. Something just doesn't add up.
     
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