My Crappy experience with Kiesel Guitars

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by Jeff K, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metalâ„¢

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    Jeff cannot acknowledge that they may have done anything wrong/anything is their fault.

    The first step is to accept the fact that you could have screwed up/the customer is not happy and then go from there based on the evidence.

    He literally thinks that every guitar that comes out of his shop is 100% perfect and that the customer is always wrong. Quite the worst business model I have ever seen.
     
  2. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Not defending anything, but their records sales year after year might suggest otherwise.
     
  3. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metalâ„¢

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    Who says they are a record...? Jeff!? :lol:
     
  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Yeah, aside from completely kicking customer service to the curb, Kiesel is making a lot of great decisions.

    They're more active on social media. They're updating models to trend much faster and offering models more in line with what's wanted.

    That's what's so heartbreaking. I stopped buying Carvins because they stopped making guitars I wanted. Now that they are, I can't bring myself to pull the trigger.
     
  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    According to Hoover's, Kiesel has an estimated credit rating around A or BBB, and the company's incoming revenue is over $30MUSD/year. There are plenty of sites that rave about how great the company is. According to Glassdoor, one former employee liked working at Carvin and one current employee hates it there. According to reviews of their guitars on ss.o, the company is garbage.

    That may seem like a stark contrast, but, I think, there are a few things going on here.

    1. The Kiesel rebranding got people excited about the brand, in general. While I have no probalem with either name: Carvin or Kiesel, I'm personally surprised that the rebranding had a positive effect. My dad played Carvin basses and both he and I used Carvin pro audio stuff for years. I saw it as a recognizable name.
    2. The guitar industry, as a whole, is withering away. Most kids are not excited about playing guitar. In the 80's, when I was growing up, playing guitar was a great hobby to have to impress other kids or just to relax. In 2018, no one gives a shit about your campfire songs, no one is going to go see your band, and playing guitar isn't half as cool as...well...pretty much anything else anymore. Gibson, Fender, and PRS are no longer staying in the black, Washburn, Parker, Ovation, and Hamer are gone. Somehow Kiesel has cut through the noise and managed to keep making money by treating their customers like shit and making very questionable aesthetic choices in their designs and finishes.
    3. I do see Kiesel guitars out in the wild, but, for as much money as they're making, it doesn't seem to be all that often. I see way more Ibanez and Agile guitars than Kiesels, not to mention ubiquitous legacy brands like Fender, Gibson and PRS. But I think Kiesel has found a way to sit in the middle price range whilst all of the other big brands fight for who gets to be the biggest high-ticket or budget name. Who else is really competing in Kiesel's price bracket for the service they provide? Small builders? We see how those usually turn out - either big hit or disastrous miss. If people feel more secure ordering a Kiesel, that's what they'll do. And, that's the funny thing about it, it seems like you are about just as likely to get burned with a Kiesel as you are with a no-name builder, but the perception is clear, even if it doesn't seem to match anecdotes around here.

    It's been 6 or 8 years since the boom in Djent gave us our most recent crop of guitar heroes. If the most successful and highly acclaimed guitarists of our most contemporary era have to hold down day jobs to make a living, then we guitarists are either in a lull or we are a dying breed. Kiesel is in the best position out of all non-boutique builders these days, but they are also poised to crash hard if they fail to maintain that position, IMO. Of course, I don't have a business degree and I can't tell the future.

    At any rate, this audio recording (from the OP) seems to strongly hint that the company's business model is more to separate people from their money than to provide a quality product. I don't see how that can be sustainable, but they've made it three-ish years with this new model, so far.
     
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  6. Jeff K

    Jeff K Active Member

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    I don't think thats a true statement. But even if it is, if they keep treating people the way they treated me (and I have seen a lot of bad press), that will hurt them!
    And by the way, their guitar builds are inconsistent. They may look nice, but they all don't feel great! I have had a lot of issues with them. Poor workmanship on the frets for sure! Just saying.
     
  7. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    That sucks. On the other hand, all 3 of mine (one fro '08, one from '16, and one used) are all fantastic.
     
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  8. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire only the dead have seen the end of GAS

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    I own 3 kiesels and would say the fretwork is quite good, definitely on par with my custom guitars. Overall for their price points they're excellent guitars, far better than the production guitars i've had at that price point (barring my E2 which had the best fretwork of any guitar i've ever played).
    If only they could bring their customer service up to par.
     
  9. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I can't say I've ever had a Carvin or seen a Kiesel with bad fretwork.

    They usually fuck up on fit and finish. With the occasional bonking of the neck/truss rod.

    So stuff I'm used to seeing is poorly installed hardware, tool marks on fretboard, rough cut of nut, wonky knobs, finish bleed, rough sanding of clear coat, etc. That was always easy to fix and I usually received a little bit of cash or cash off my next order. Considering how relatively cheap they were it was just fine and I kept ordering. I did get an LB bass with a screwed up truss rod, but within a week I received a full refund. They can't all be zingers.
     
  10. Jeff K

    Jeff K Active Member

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    My experience was different than yours. I do agree they are (or at least Carvin was) a good guitar for the price. Again Suhr, Tom Anderson, Knaggs, etc etc all better guitars hands down!
     
  11. MFB

    MFB Banned

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    ^ Straight from the horse's mouth!
     
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  12. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    "Again Suhr, Tom Anderson, Knaggs, etc etc all better guitars hands down!" -Jeff Kiesel

    Needs to be a signature somewhere. :lol:
     
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  13. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire only the dead have seen the end of GAS

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    I'm sure they are, since most of the guitars i've seen offered from those companies cost 3k or more
     
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  14. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Kiesel overlaps those prices (Anderson, Suhr, Knaggs, et al), but they certainly do offer lower priced guitars than those other brands. I think Kiesel has a more widely recognized name than those other brands, as well, and I would be surprised if any of those builders dealt with a higher volume of work than Kiesel.

    FWIW IMO YMMV etc - I think Kiesel can build a hell of a guitar. I think that the quality issues I've seen have more or less been totally excusable, had their customer service dealt properly with the issues. But that's where the whole thing unravels. If I buy a $2500 guitar, yeah, it's cheap for a made-to-order instrument, but if I pay for the thing and then I get it and there is a design flaw in the bridge, for example, then I expect to get it fixed by the builder. If they refuse to fix it, then... well, that's a big problem. If they not only refuse to fix it, but also resort to calling me names and taking it to youtube and/or social media to pick on me, then I would probably consider getting a lawyer at that point. :shrug: I just think that those sorts of antics by any business, no matter how small or how busy they are, is totally beyond the limits of acceptable, from any perspective, even.
     
  15. MFB

    MFB Banned

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    You were saying? :cool:
     
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  16. crankyrayhanky

    crankyrayhanky SS.org Regular

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    Isn't that like saying a BMW blows away a Camry? Assuming you're not getting the Kiesel Clown K Special with everything on it
     
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  17. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    These are the things that made damn sure I'd never order from them, especially when there are Andersons, Suhrs and ESPs out there.

    Buddy bought a used Anderson, and since he lives close to Tom's shop, just called and asked if he could run it over there so they could check it out for him. They told him to come ahead; Tom himself came out, remembered the guitar, asked what he liked as far as action went, set the thing up for him right there on the spot and didn't charge him a dime. Gave him a shop tour, some swag, and sent him on his way a happy camper. Buddy has bought 3 more Andersons since then, just based on his cost to value ratio, customer service satisfaction and the fact that it cost Tom nothing but a half hour of his time. THAT is customer service.

    On the lower end financially, if I'm shopping for a guitar at $1k or under, ESP gets all my money always and forever. Used or new, I don't care. Used I'll grab Standards, new I'll grab LTDs. They're fantastic guitars at that price point, I know they're gonna be on point and if I buy new and there's something wrong with it I have not one single worry in the world that they're going to take care of me; they're big enough to do so and they've always done right by me in the end, with zero hassle on my end other than alerting them to the issue.

    The fact that this guy and his company exists given his rep for CS is beyond me, especially on this site. We (SSO) are some of the pickiest motherfuckers on the interwebs regarding fit and finish vs price point and CS, and I seriously cannot believe that the dude gets any play here whatsoever, regardless of how forward thinking he is regarding design implementation.

    At this point, dude could invent the 2nd coming of the Jesus Christ guitar and I'll never know it because I'd never play the motherfucker, let alone pay him for it.

    tl;dr: doesn't seem like it always goes bad when someone orders a Kiesel, but when it does go bad it goes really REALLY wrong.
     
  18. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Apples to oranges.

    Kiesel sells direct, while all those other brands sell through dealers, which adds as much as 40% to the price.

    So while the actual MAP may be higher on those brands, which when similarly spec'd isn't that much more in most cases. The guitars, if on a level playing field would likely be the same price.
     
  19. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    I don't think Kiesel is all that well known, even if you include Carvin, for almost a decade in recent memory they were exclusive to North America.

    That and Suhr, Anderson, Knaggs have a huge dealer network globally, which means even those not on internet message boards can easily find them.
     
  20. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire only the dead have seen the end of GAS

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    alright, fair enough. Too bad none of those builders is doing ERG other than suhr (though their modern seven is pretty weak specswise for the $$) afaik.
     

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