Jeff Kiesel of Kiesel Guitars/Carvin Guitars loves guitars. This might be an obvious conclusion you could draw from his chosen line of work, but with Carvin Guitars being a family company, it would probably have been easy for him to check out and just keep churning out the same ol’ same ol’. By this point, even a strong guitar enthusiast might have grown tired of the business and lost their spark and drive.
But not Jeff. He exudes not just a passion for building guitars, but an expertise born of growing into the family trade, and an inventor’s curious spirit. Over the past couple of years, he and his team have been churning out new build designs and innovations that are keeping the guitar world on its toes and the edge of its seat. He speaks of his creations with the pride of a parent gushing about their offspring, and you think that their kid is gonna turn out to be a little shit but then you meet them and it’s like the kid from Jerry Maguire and you’re like I LOVE THIS KID only the kid is a guitar.
All that run-on to say, in 2015 Kiesel/Carvin Guitars are building some seriously awesome guitars. Their direct-to-consumer model (now available internationally!) continues to allow them to build top-notch instruments at absurdly reasonable prices. It’s a great compromise between a full custom luthier (which sometimes gives you a flawless one-of-a-kind instrument, and sometimes takes your deposit and gives you nothing) and a production instrument from a retailer (for which you pay their brick-and-mortar expenses and other crap that has nothing to do with your guitar).
So naturally, I was curious to see how they did it. They don’t give factory tours as a general rule, so if you go to the factory, you’re out of luck. But they do have a sweet showroom where you can play pretty much every model they make, so if you’re in the San Diego area, they love for you to stop by and give their guitars a noodle.
But Jeff was kind enough to give the Gear Gods the golden ticket, and now you don’t need it, because we got the whole thing on tape: