My new Kiesel Aries 6-string, Solid Ash Wine Red body, Royal Ebony

Discussion in 'Standard Guitars' started by spudmunkey, May 19, 2016.

  1. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Last Thursday, I received my new Kiesel. It's my 2nd new Carvin/Kiesel, and my 3rd overall (bought one used) over the past 8 years.

    Here is an "unboxing" video I did, just for fun. I promise it's not just me fumbling with the packaging in a dark room for 10 minutes followed-by 10-seconds of too-close-up shaky potato video to actually see the guitar. :)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWGxB1MS5yo


    It took 11 weeks from the evening I pulled the trigger on the order, to when it was delivered to my door.

    My CS6 is 8lbs, while this Aries weighs 6.8lbs. Since it is a one-piece body, there is no chambering.

    They nailed every spec I requested, even the two "option 50" requests: the 12th fret only signature inlays, and their Wine Red. Typically they only use the Wine Red on flamed and quilted maple, but I really really really wanted to make sure this didn't come out at all orange. Their Crimson Red does look like it could have possibly worked, but I just wanted to pick something on the slightly more pink/purple side of red, and it worked out great.

    YES, it's as dark as I expected. I actually modeled it after someone over on their forum who had the Crimson finish on top of Walnut, and I think this hits that look out of the park.

    Build quality is really great. Everything is super crisp, and tight, including the neck joint, which is my least favorite aspect of most bolt-ons.

    It did not arrive in tune, and it had an odd buzz on the 5th fret harmonic on the D string. However, once I tuned it up and let it rest for a couple hours in my home, it self-corrected without me ever having to touch a hex wrench.

    Yes, the 12th fret side dots are straight. :lol:

    So: The bevel. I've been playing guitar now for 26 years. I've owned Fender Stratocasters from several countries (including US), Japanese Ibanez Prestige, Gibson Les Pauls, Hamer USA, and many others. Right arm-wise, this is the 2nd most comfortable guitar I've owned. Overall, it's the most comfortable. The only other guitar I had that was more comfortable was my Ibanez S. The only reason it was more comfortable to my right arm was because it had a smooth slope, rather than a bevel with a break angle. However, it wasn't any lighter than the Aries (it had a mahogany body), and the body was super thin along the bottom too, making it act like a knife-edge on your thigh when you played it while sitting...which is how I mostly play.

    Style and heft-wise, and where it hangs on a strap, I think I still prefer my CS6...however it may not be because it's any better or worse, just what I've played virtually exclusively for the last 8 years (besides my acoustics, and my el-cheap-o Fender-branded strat knock-off, which only gets occasional use). I need to find "my" correct position so my arm sits where it's comfortable for picking. Again, I'm not saying it's a bad design...only that while I've owned a fair number of guitars, that virtually stopped when I got my Carvin CS6 because it was everything I thought I wanted.

    I have a digital caliper, so if anyone wants any specific measurements of the neck or pickup bobbins or something, please let me know and I'll do what I can. I won't disassemble anything though for you. ;)

    Here's the specs:
    • Aries 6-string with Hipshot bridge
    • One-piece swamp ash body, with AAT, and Wind Red with gloss
    • Maple neck, finished in satin clear, standard thickness
    • H33 Pointy 3+3 headstock
    • Royal ebony fretboard with 12th fret signature MOP inlays
    • Luminlay side dots
    • Standard 14" fretboard radius with Stainless Steel Medium Jumbo frets
    • White HSS Kiesel Lithium pickups and matching white TRC
    • White Pearloid tuner knobs and topped control knobs
    • Chrome hardware
    • Black-on-white drop-shadow logo
    • Straplocks
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    And lastly, my favorite of my own photos:
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  2. shadowlife

    shadowlife Contributor

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    The white pickups look great with that finish! Was the H-S-S config an option 50?
     
  3. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Thanks!

    As for the HSS: Nope, they just don't have it on the online builder (kinda like their California Burst or raw tone finishes which aren't on the builder for some reason).

    HH is standard and HSH is on the builder, my HSS wasn't but wasn't an Option 50, and I *BELIEVE* they can do HS and SSS without giving up the 10-day, but I'm not 100% certain on that. Bridge only would likely be non-returnable, though.
    :scratch:
     
  4. ferret

    ferret Not worthy

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    Dat ash.
     
  5. jc986

    jc986 Tone Enthusiast

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    Love the royal ebony, and overall great specs. Congrats and enjoy!
     
  6. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Dude, that's hot. Love that almost enough to forgive you for leaving off a string or two. Almost...
     
  7. Haun

    Haun SS.org Regular

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    However much I dislike Jeff Kiesel and how he runs business, that thing is TASTY! Damn! Happy NGD!
     
  8. High Plains Drifter

    High Plains Drifter ... drifting...

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    Whole package fits together so well... the white plus that fret-board looks killer. Bevel looks stunning with that deep gorgeous color.
     
  9. M3CHK1LLA

    M3CHK1LLA angel sword guardian

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    very nice...congrats!
     
  10. Passtheapathy

    Passtheapathy SS.org Regular

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    Looks awesome! HNGD!
     
  11. VFB1210

    VFB1210 SS.org Regular

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    Genuinely curious since I'm not super familiar with Kiesel; what do you dislike about him and his company?
     
  12. Dawn of the Shred

    Dawn of the Shred Chugs and Sweeps

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    Congrats man!
     
  13. M3CHK1LLA

    M3CHK1LLA angel sword guardian

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    this is someones ngd thread...let him and others enjoy it. do some research.

    take this kind of discussion some where else. peace!
     
  14. Haun

    Haun SS.org Regular

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    You're totally right. It was tactless to mention.
     
  15. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Sweet jebus, that red finish. :agreed:
     
  16. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the kind words all! :)


    I also got their "Ultimate soft case" with it. I really like it for the most part. I already have one of their tweed cases, and one of their black tolex hardshell cases, so I decided I wanted each guitar to have it's own easily-identifiable case. Ha! I bought the same "Roadstar" gig bag got my classical and my strat-copy, and I keep grabbing the wrong ones for those two guitars (they look identical, except for 3/4" difference in depth). Ha!

    + I love that it's lighter than a hard case, but make no mistake: this is no "gig bag"

    - while it has a lot of padding, it doesn't have quite the "stiffness" of a hardshell. The thick side walls do make the case much much more than any "gig bag", and I can't stress that enough...but it's not wood. I feel like they could improve this stiffness with something like carbon fiber rods running the length of the case or something.

    + Backpack shoulder straps are really useful. I was able to carry my Aries on my back, my CS6 and AC375 hardshells in my right hand (awkwardly and uncomfortably), and stands in my left hand. It was a short walk, but 3 guitars (in their cases) and 3 stands in one trip was pretty nice. :)

    - I wish it had the flap/pocket that covers the straps, so they don't dangle when they aren't needed.

    + It feels pretty well-made. Sturdy materials, everything is sewn together very tightly. Feels quite solid.

    - The Mono M-series and Reunion Blues guitar cases seem like nicer cases...but they are over $200, while this Kiesel case was only $60 with the purchase of an instrument, and still only $110 if you buy it on its own. I'd call that a hell of a deal, but I'll admit I haven't shopped around much for cases.

    - I wish it there was a way to secure the body a bit better. Even the Mono and Reunion Blues cases don't do this well, though, either. No, I'm not talking about those flaps that secure the neck so that it doesn't more side-to-side, or hop out of the neck cradle. I mean from end-to-end movement. In this case, the very pointy tip of the head stock is RIGHT up against the interior padding. And in the case of the H33 3+3 headstock, there is an extra piece to fill in the gap that would otherwise be taken up by a longer scale, or an inline headstock. The tip of the headstock is already pushing against this "block" of padding, which is covered in a rougher material than the rest of the inside of the case, no doubt to make it tougher than the softer fuzzy material...which I can imagine would be rougher on the sharp point of the headstock. I wish the *body* could be cradled tighter so that the guitar didn't move in the direction of the headstock.

    - It doesn't stand up quite as confidently as a hardshell

    + The exterior pockets seem decent/useful. There is one larger pocket, and then a smaller pocket that has lots of little slots and pockets for smaller items, pens, etc.

    - The handle is comfortable and squishy, but the material feels more likely to wear quickly than the other materials of the case.

    +/- Zipper feel reasonably tough, but I've gotten burned on that before where they feel tough, but must be artificially weighted (like the knobs and buttons in an economy car to feel like the knobs in a luxury car), or just made from poor-quality materials. Initial impressions are good, though.


    In summary: at $60, it seems like insane value (but again, I haven't cross-shopped much except for a cursory glance at some of the higher-end models from Mono and RB). At $110, it still seems OK, especially if you are in the US and don't have to pay any import/additional taxes and shipping returns is relatively easy.
     
  17. BrailleDecibel

    BrailleDecibel Dinkleberg

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    The combo of that red with the chrome hardware and white pickups is pure sex. Happy NGD!
     
  18. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    This was the build that inspired mine from a user over on the forum. This is Kiesel's Crimson Red on Walnut on the now-discontinued Bolt+. I loved the dark red, and because I'm pretty familiar with wood, I knew just how dark it likely really looked in real life when not in direct sun, and it's exactly the look I wanted. But I also wanted to see some more pronounced woodgrain. That's why I went with the ash with AAT.
    [​IMG]


    I also asked them to hand-pick some wood that had great grain, for their "hand picked" upcharge. I asked them to use the "worst-looking" wood they had, almost something they might not be able to sell to someone else who just wanted regular Ash. I asked for the "Steve Buscemi" or "Willem Dafoe" of Swamp Ash.

    Turns out they don't really even buy wood like that, but Jeff promised to pick out something "nasty". It doesn't quite have as much of that cross-hatch-looking marking that almost make it look damaged (which is likely the same little figuring marks you see in quartersawn oak and is likely impossible to tell until you've carved out the body's top) as I would have liked in an ideal world, but I think it still ended up super cool, and I love the grain that I got.
     
  19. pahulkster

    pahulkster SS.org Regular

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    Looks great. I wouldn't have guessed that finish. Definite lol at upcharge for the worst looking wood.
     
  20. Lasik124

    Lasik124 SS.org Regular

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    Dig it! Congrats
     

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