#1
Not too long ago, I really started looking into purchasing a Kiesel/Carvin guitar. American made custom guitar for less than an off the shelf gibby in a lot of cases. Anyways, so as not to short myself of options I was wondering if anyone knows of another company that is similar in nature?
That is to say they are made in the U.S. to order and in the same price range.
Thanks!
#2
There are a few, but I'm going to have to think about it...

US Masters was one such, but they went under a couple years ago. Agile is one that makes guitars to order, but I'm not sure if they're made in the USA or not.

There are a lot of North American luthiers- Driskill, Jon Kammerer, Rice, Rock Beach, Bowes, etc.- whose prices start off below what you'd see on a typical Gibson or similar guitar. Usually, though, they have a much more limited range of standard products than Carvin/Kiesel or Agile, usually with a more focused..."style" or visual aesthetic. But many still do pure custom work, so you can still get what you want.

What kind of price range are we talking? What image are you looking for?
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#3
What kind of budget and what style are you looking for? Jackson still has the USA Custom Shop. . . .
Guitars:
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#4
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Agile is one that makes guitars to order, but I'm not sure if they're made in the USA or not.


AbsoFrickinLutely not. Korean. My theory is that the "custom shop" Kurt offers is essentially the prototyping shop at one (maybe more than one) factory, and that the custom orders serve two purposes. They keep the prototyping shop busy, and they give Kurt an idea about what customers might want to see in terms of finishes, etc.

There are custom builders out there, but no one that really operates on Carvin's scale. Most are small, involving just a few people. Trussart is in SilverLake, Suhr is in Lake Elsinore (more than just a few people). Surprisingly, Taylor somehow sneaks a number of custom-built solid body guitars out the door. I think they're built at the whim of the workers, but all are offered for sale, and you sort of have to be on the factory tour or standing around there to snag one. Some pretty spectacular woods and inlays on those, when they happen. But they're not building for you, they're building for their own entertainment and for testing. Tom Anderson makes some nice stuff, Tyler does some decent things. I don't even count the people who bolt together teles and strats.

It's also worth noting that "USA-made" is really not much of a badge of honor; I'd rather have a non-USA Nik Huber or one of Alan Cringean's basses (Scotland) than a lot of the derivative dreck that spews from some of the small builders here.
#5
Quote by metalmingee
What kind of budget and what style are you looking for? Jackson still has the USA Custom Shop. . . .


dannyalcatraz asked the similar question

Budget wise probably less than 3K, but if I can get a quality, American made instrument for $1.5K that would be even sweeter.

Style I am pretty open on. Anything from an LP clone to a superstrat to a V.
Just has to have a good fast neck, dynamic pups, and would like some tonal options like coil splitting etc.

And yeah, in general the Jacksons seemed super overpriced
Last edited by TradHunterRN at Aug 18, 2016,
#6
$3K gives you a LOT of options. Probably 75% of the guitar makers out there offer something in that price range. Of the ones I listed above, only the Driskills can't be had new for that price. I'm personally a fan of JKGs*- and he's having a sale right now- but his stuff would be more like a Fender or PRS in overall feel. Like him, the other makers I listed are mostly producing variants on mainstream guitars. OTOH, Bowes primarily makes nice shredders.

JKG
http://jonkammerercustoms.com
http://jonkammerercustoms.com/8-8-16new-update_006.htm

Bowes
http://bowesguitars.com/wordpress/
http://bowesguitars.com/wordpress/?page_id=8

Beyond that? Well, even in that price range, you can find some makers using exotic materials, like aluminum.

Alumisonic
http://www.alumisonic.com/guitars.html

Liquid Metal Guitars
http://liquidmetalguitars.com

And some get a bit more exotic in the body styling

Campbell American
http://www.campbellamerican.com

Codella
http://www.codellaguitars.com

RockBeach**
http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/boggs.com/

TV Jones
http://www.tvjones.com


* I have a half dozen.
** and two of these
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 19, 2016,
#7
Quote by TradHunterRN


And yeah, in general the Jacksons seemed super overpriced


I agree I love Jackson guitars but their USA custom shop as well as most other big brand USA custom shops are crazy expensive.
"A well-wound coil is a well-wound coil regardless if it's wound with professional equipment, or if somebody's great-grandmother winds it to an old French recipe with Napoleon's modified coffee grinder and chops off the wire after a mile with an antique guillotine!"
- Bill Lawrence

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Time for primal concrete sledge

#10
G&L USA .... they have more neck sizes and radius available than Kiesel , plenty of options available
#11
Quote by Fumble fingers
G&L USA .... they have more neck sizes and radius available than Kiesel , plenty of options available


Don't think so. You can actually have Kiesel duplicate a neck profile (additional charge, natch, unless they've changed that), and their radii include 10, 12, 14 and 20" radii. Wide range of fret styles and materials available. Far more finishes and woods available from Kiesel as well.
Because most G&L guitars are bolt-necks, you have the choice of a lot of neck profiles, and you also have a clunky neck heel, but a lot of the Kiesels are neck-through construction. G&L has three radii, but I don't think I'd ever be interested in a 7.25" "vintage" radius, and they stop at 12. You get two choices of fret material on G&L and that's it.
Last edited by dspellman at Aug 21, 2016,
#12
Quote by dspellman
Don't think so. You can actually have Kiesel duplicate a neck profile (additional charge, natch, unless they've changed that), and their radii include 10, 12, 14 and 20" radii. Wide range of fret styles and materials available. Far more finishes and woods available from Kiesel as well.
Because most G&L guitars are bolt-necks, you have the choice of a lot of neck profiles, and you also have a clunky neck heel, but a lot of the Kiesels are neck-through construction. G&L has three radii, but I don't think I'd ever be interested in a 7.25" "vintage" radius, and they stop at 12. You get two choices of fret material on G&L and that's it.


depends on the model ... those neck choices are not available to every Kiesel ..... the A6 for example has NO neck width options and you can choose 10 or 12 radius , 14 is standard ..... 20 radius seems to be 7 or 8 string only .... not arguing with you , just all those lovely options are simple not available for every model , not even close
#13
Quote by Fumble fingers
depends on the model ... those neck choices are not available to every Kiesel ..... the A6 for example has NO neck width options and you can choose 10 or 12 radius , 14 is standard ..... 20 radius seems to be 7 or 8 string only .... not arguing with you , just all those lovely options are simple not available for every model , not even close


Call and ask. Never rely solely on what you see on the website. 20" radius started out as a Holdsworth-only radius, but there were enough requests for it that now you can order it on almost anything. I'm at 7 Carvins and counting, and I have a few that shouldn't exist judging by the website alone. It's a bit like buying a Ferrari online. Pick up the phone and get Real Life with them and your landscape changes.
90% of the time you can get options from other models that aren't mentioned in the "Builder."
#14
dspellman
Since you have dealt with them so much:
Can they do a compound radius like Jackson? I can obviously ask them myself but I don't want to waste their time with one question since I am still a couple months away from making a purchase
#15
Quote by TradHunterRN
dspellman
Since you have dealt with them so much:
Can they do a compound radius like Jackson? I can obviously ask them myself but I don't want to waste their time with one question since I am still a couple months away from making a purchase


they won't care about one question they live for that , Carvin is great to deal with , haven't ordered a guitar yet (will someday) but have several amps from them .... Dspellman I'm sure is right , but if you stray off the main menue you won't get the 30 day return policy , buy it and it's yours , I follow them on the Keisel/Carvin FB page too
#17
Quote by Fumble fingers
they have quite a few compound radius in stock , priced pretty darn good too

http://www.kieselguitars.com/

http://www.kieselguitars.com/customshop/
Quote by Fumble fingers
they won't care about one question they live for that , Carvin is great to deal with , haven't ordered a guitar yet (will someday) but have several amps from them .... Dspellman I'm sure is right , but if you stray off the main menue you won't get the 30 day return policy , buy it and it's yours , I follow them on the Keisel/Carvin FB page too


Carvin (before Jeff) has had various radii as standard. 12 has been the most common, 14 is current, but 15 was standard in the early '90's and for a couple of years in the early 2000's, everything came standard with a 12-16 compound radius.

The dreaded Option 50 meant that you couldn't return the guitar because you didn't like what you'd selected there (and it's a 10-day no questions asked return policy last I checked, unless they've changed that). But if there's a defect elsewhere, or a grevious mistake made, you can still return the guitar without issues. There's also a Carvin forum (on their website) and there used to be (haven't looked recently) a Carvin Museum site and forum.

FWIW, I've found that compound radius guitars (a typical 10-16, for example) are mostly just slightly more comfortable versions of the middle of the radius. That aforementioned 10-16 is mostly just a 12" radius in feel. You really don't get the benefits of the 16" radius, for example because it's only 16" in one spot -- the very end of the fretboard. I much prefer a 16" radius fretboard all the way through.