Kiesel --- Never Again!

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by MetalHead40, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. r3tr0sp3ct1v3

    r3tr0sp3ct1v3 SS.org Regular

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    Something I have always wondered, Who rates their tops? If they are doing it in house, then how are those ratings trustworthy?
     
  2. bigcupholder

    bigcupholder SS.org Regular

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    Every company rates their own tops.

    Kiesel's 4A tops seem a lot nicer than Gibson's 4A for example.
     
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  3. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    It's all arbitrary.

    There is no system to grade tops. The manufacturer just decides what they feel falls into whatever category based on opinion.

    Some lumber yards will get in on it, but again, there is no "official" process to grade the figuring in wood. No industry standard or governing body.
     
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  4. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    In the case of Kiesel, one person does all of the grading: Jeff. He also selects each higher-grade top for every build with 5A or 7A ("Master grade").

    But, yeah: there's no official industry standards or governing body for wood grading. That's also why many companies have their own "branding" like "wood library", "10 top", "Master grade", etc.
     
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  5. r3tr0sp3ct1v3

    r3tr0sp3ct1v3 SS.org Regular

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    So with that answer, how can we really trust that we get a master grade top when it is all just some made up top grading system with no official standard.

    that is like saying your kid is better because you made him.
     
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  6. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    You just have to understand that "master grade top" is not objective and won't ever be.
    There's nothing that defines such a thing, and it won't have an objective market value either.
    It's just arbitrary grading of how good something looks, and it's like you said- you can decide to trust it or not.

    The best you can do get some insight is look at what a particular builder calls what most of the time, and see if you're OK to pay the $$$ for something "similar" or in the same ballpark.

    Both the subjective quality of the tops and what "similar" means will vary from builder to builder too.
    I'd say Gibson is probably among the worst in that area, Jackson as well, and the best would probably be things like Suhr or Anderson, who consistently have great stuff (even on "stock" stuff like the pro Suhr). Kiesel is average+ to good in both categories I'd say. Their base figured woods are usually already very nice, and you hardly ever have tops that suck or lack figure altogether. I've seen way more bad PRS 10-tops than bad Kiesel base tops, and for what it's worth I don't think I've seen a bad Kiesel 5A or 7A. Or at least what they call 7A, which is a bit ridiculous in and of itself as a way to try and one-up the typical 5As :lol:

    The reasons why I would not go with that option with them though is that, counterintuitively, their base tops already being pretty good, there's not a ton of benefit to paying for those upgrades... and the cosmetic upgrades in general have become so expensive with Kiesel that you lose a good chunk of their value proposition in the "custom with great bang for the buck" category.
     
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  7. High Plains Drifter

    High Plains Drifter ... drifting...

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    "Jeff Kiesel" & "trustworthy" are not generally words spoken in the same sentence... not around here anyway.

    Fwiw- Not sure what Kiesel is willing to do for potential clients these days but I would request as many images of the top as they're willing to provide. Even unfinished, you can still get a decent idea of the grain/ pattern and how it'll possibly look after finishing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020 at 8:27 PM
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  8. Hoss632

    Hoss632 SS.org Regular

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    As mentioned Kiesel's standard 4A tops are already usually quite good. 5A and 7A tops are always exceptional. In fact I can honestly say I've never seen a bad 5a or above top from Kiesel regardless of what top wood is being used.
     
  9. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    To me, there are still some "meh" tops that slip through their standard 4A grade. So I could absolutely see the 5A being a worthwhile upgrade. Not because 5A are much better, but it filters out those few "meh" tops.

    I mean...you can "trust" or not, but I'm not sure I've ever heard someone complain about an up-graded top not being up-to-par, except for a quirky spot in the grain/figuring, or something. You can talk to a salesperson and they can send some photos, but I guarantee that the subtle characteristic difference between 5A and 7A may not be as apparent in photos as they would be in person, when you can move pieces around in the light.
     
  10. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    And this is the part I realize I'm dumb while re-reading myself, as I realize that the 3 Carvin/Kiesels I have left actually all have upgraded handpicked flamed top :lol:.

    mssDSC02376.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020 at 1:17 AM
  11. RevelGTR

    RevelGTR Fender, Suhr, ESP

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    Has anyone seen the thread in the FB group with all the headless necks cracking? I was one day away from ordering an Osiris but now I’m hesitant. At first it looked like just roasted maple, but the worst is a guy with a 5 piece non roasted neck.
     
  12. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    I had not, but I have now, thanks.
    That's big BIG YIKES :lol:

    bgy126522847_3845576068807710_2035379876751809952_o (2).jpg
     
  13. RevelGTR

    RevelGTR Fender, Suhr, ESP

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    For sure, I’m not a Kiesel hater at all but it does make me a bit nervous. I may use that money for the half down on an Aristides headless instead.
     
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  14. Supernaut

    Supernaut SS.org Regular

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    Great, now you got me checking my headless
     
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  15. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    Looks like a design flaw when you look at it. Thin neck profile shaving off a bunch off the back already, carbon rods, truss rod, screws for the nut - all that in the same area and leaving little wood...which means that on more "fragile" stuff (roasted maple or muliply with poor gluing)...it's welcome to snap city!

    Jeff being Jeff had not necessarily turned me off of Kiesels, but this is certainly going to put my plans for a Leia on hold.
    Just like the neck joint on recent bolt-ons had turned me off of their vanquish.
    Turns out bringing in all those new designs to a brand which had had a fairly stable catalog for a pretty long time has not been entirely harmless!
     
  16. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire thy fart is murder

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    you definitely wouldn't see this kind of issue with an Aristides due to their construction method.
     
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  17. mbardu

    mbardu SS.org Regular

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    Same boat. As far as I'm concerned it means that if I'm able to get another custom build in the medium term, the Vandermeij may come before the Kiesel headless.
     
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  18. Seabeast2000

    Seabeast2000 lifetime novice Contributor

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    48-piece transverse laminate necks don't do this.
     
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  19. technomancer

    technomancer Gearus Pimptasticus Super Moderator

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    I will see that yikes and raise you a ZOINKIES! I've been considering a Vader or Leia build but nope nope nope
     
  20. Matt08642

    Matt08642 SS.org Regular

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    Is this guy claiming it just exploded out of nowhere or what? Seems unlikely this would be a widespread issue considering how Kiesel's big thing for so long was offering headless stuff and they aren't new to the game at all
     

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