Kenny Hill Guitars

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
CurbowPete

Kenny Hill Guitars

Post by CurbowPete » Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:36 pm

Does anyone have experience with the Hill Master Series Guitars, specifically the Hauser '37? I am very interested in this guitar but haven't had a chance to play one yet. Any input is much appreciated!

-Pete

a_l_existence

Post by a_l_existence » Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:24 am

my teacher said they are not worth the money!!! So, look for something else. (a little blunt I know, but you asked for opinions so I might as well get straight to the point.)

Johnbow

Hill.

Post by Johnbow » Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:23 am

I played a Kenny Hill before I bought my Paulino Bernabe E2.. I wasnt impressed.. My teacher who was getting a kickback said it was great. But then he said my Bernabe was great too. So who knows. I didnt like it .. Your ear is the most important thing. Buy the guitar that your ear and mind tells you to buy.. But even then,, Spend some time with the guitar.. And try to be able to get your money back if after a week your ear is telling you something else.

John

Gecko

Post by Gecko » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:00 am

I have a Hill labeled, California built, Munich ( I think it might be the predecessor of the Hauser). This guitar probably pre-dates the Master Series a little, but would belong in that category. It is an outstanding instrument! Its construction and finish are impeccable with beautiful woods. Playability, intonation and volume, even though its a 640 scale (I have very small hands) are excellent. Folks who have played it, including my teacher marvel at its sound and playability.

The above comments are the first negative comments I have heard or read about Hill Master or Signature series, and believe me I follow this rather closely. Of course one of them is pure hearsay. The New Worlds are another matter.

Kenny and Larry are also very easy to work with and stand behind their instruments 100% and are very responsive to questions and requests. If I were in the market, I would not hesitate. Call and talk to them or e-mail them.

a_l_existence

Post by a_l_existence » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:17 am

I think you were referring to me when you said just heresay, so let me go more into detail.
My teachers credentials who told me they were not worth the money are...
Has about 20 something concert guitars that I know of.
Studied since his teens with Segovia,
Plays shows all around the world, including carnegie hall,
Been teaching at Universities and colleges since before most of us were born.
Knows most of the makers of CG on a first name basis.
Knows most of prominent performers on a first name basis.
has established composers writing pieces for him,
etc.etc.etc....

I never said that they were bad guitars, just if you were going to spend the amount of money they cost, you could get a different brand for the same price but alot better quality. The reason why I asked my teacher is because I barely got my concert guitar this Jan. so I was in the market, and I too came across hill's guitars, and that's why I asked him.

sgoebel

Post by sgoebel » Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:23 pm

As another person who actually owns a Hill guitar I will say that I have been very impressed with my Miguel Rodriguez model which I bought almost exactly one year ago (while my Milburn Grand Concert was having some work done by Bob Milburn).

When I bought this guitar I spent the day at Guitar Salon in Santa Monica (CA) and compared quite a number of instruments. I went there wanting to look at the Hill Fleta model (have always loved the Fleta that John Williams used to play) but I also played the '37 (Hauser) two actual Fleta & sons guitars (later models obviously) a Sean Hancock and I was captivated by the Hill/Rodriguez. As another post mentioned, the materials and finish are all master-grade and the sound literally leaps out of the guitar. It is well balanced tonally and has excellent seperation. It does not have quite the musical subtlety that my Milburn has but the Milburn costs more than twice as much. The fact that it is comparable in any way is impressive to me. I'm sorry that I can't comment more on the Hill/Hauser model but I did not play the Hauser style guitars nearly as much others because my Milburn is of that style though certainly not a clone.

It can't be overlooked that any individuals opinion of a guitar will be colored by many more facts than its' intrinsic quality and even some of the most sought after luthiers of the day, whose guitars cost upwards of $15,000 have their numerous detractors so I would be surprised if Ken Hill was universally endorsed.............it is a matter of taste and what one wants.

To pt a real strange note to that because of my personal lust to try and play as many things as possible I have had the Hill on the resale market for the last couple of months (lots of looks no actual buyers yet) because there is another luthier who I would like to have build a guitar for me and sadly I can't afford to own more than two guitars. This in no way indicates that I do not think the Hill is an excellent guitar, but one has to go and I am sure I will have my Milburn for life (and my sone after me).

Stephen

Lebayer

Hill '37

Post by Lebayer » Mon Mar 27, 2006 1:08 am

I've owned a couple of Hill instruments, both built in the early Paracho years, when quality was pretty high. The Barcelona (Fleta) model was lovely, with a very special dark and beautiful tone. The Munich (Hauser) was purchased from RE Brune, who thinks well of that model and has lots of building experience of his own! It was also a fine instrument, for which I paid about $2000, in 2000. The Munich models, either from CA or from Paracho are frequently available for around $1500, on e - b a y. The newer Hauser '37 is reputedly a fine instrument but since it falls in a different price bracket, the competition is very stiff, which makes the early comment re value for the money, more reasonable. New, the Hill '37's are running $3500-$4500 (Indian and Brazilian). There is a Brazilian model on e - b a y now, which looks beautiful and is being sold by a very experienced player/composer (Millenium Guitars). However, there are a great many other fine instruments available in that price range. Personally, I probably would not spend that much on a Hill Master. I paid less than $3000 for a stunning Bernabe model from Darren Hippner, with raised fingerboard, sound ports, and the finest stump Brazilian I've seen. While many believe that Hippner's guitars are great values, even when purchased directly from him, on the used market they are even better values. I also bought a twelve year old Traphagen for less than $4000; a very powerful and beuatiful instrument.

Take your time and look around. GSI carries lots of guitars. You'll pay full retail, I imagine, but you'll know what your'e getting. Best of luck.

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Erik Zurcher
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Hill Barcelona

Post by Erik Zurcher » Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:33 pm

I own a Hill, type Barcelona 2001 (imitation Fleta) and I love it. Great sustain and volume with Hannabach Goldin strings. You have to play it very carefully, because it amplifies also unwanted sounds, like scrathing the strings. All the more reason to pay attention to your technique. It is a 'macho' guitar: loud and heavy. It's the closest thing to a real Fleta, but this one I can afford.
On the internet I have seen Fleta's for sale in Japan for $30000. It makes me wonder: did the Fleta brothers ever get rich?

a_l_existence

Post by a_l_existence » Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:44 am

an actual fleta costs around 18k USD, (I know this because my teacher picked up his over spring break.) The reason why they resell for so much is simple.....

my teacher has been on the waiting list since 1980!!! In addition, two of the other students that I know also got on the waiting list 2 weeks ago, they will be ready in 2019.

Lebayer

Post by Lebayer » Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:52 pm

While agreeing that full price is probably too much to pay for one of these instruments, I did manage to find a Brazilian model for $2600, which struck me as a very good price. Won't arrive for a week or so but I'll be happy to report my impressions when it does.

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Steve Kutzer
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Post by Steve Kutzer » Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:55 pm

One thing's for sure - it's great times for CGs. So many fine instruments at all different price points.

I only played the New World series when I was searching for my first guitar. I liked them fine, but ended up with an Esteve.

What I would love to do when I upgrade to a finer instrument is bring my teacher along to play them for me blindfolded (if not literally, at least no peeking!). That way I know I'm choosing on sound and not brand bias. Of course I would need to play too. Maybe the best approach is to work on your own to narrow the selection down, then ask another good player to give you the blindfold recital.

I hope you get the chance to play many instruments and pick the one that proves irresistible.

Allan

Post by Allan » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:39 am

I played three Hill guitars, all of them the Munich model, some years ago at two different shops in La and at GSP in San Francisco. I felt they were decent for the price, although the trebles on all three guitars struck me as being somewhat weak. I also had another problem with all three that I've never had on any other guitar: I couldn't play through an entire song without pulling the E treble down over the side of the fretboard. Since it happened on all three instruments, I figured whatever was causing it was built into the design of this model. Back then I passed on them, and spent a few hundred more getting a '43 Hauser model by Fritz Mueller.

Like someone said earlier in this thread, the variety of quality and prices is quite extensive these days, and it's best to shop around and try everything. At any rate, having spent upwards of ten grand on worldclass concert guitars, these days I am convinced the best guitars out there are being made by lesser names and are being sold in the $2,500 to $3,500 price range.

I'm also curious, and address this question to anyone who has or had a Hippner guitar. They look like a great value, and the soundclips I've heard by people playing his instruments sound very good, yet I've noted many times that when I surf across the CG world on the internet, the Hippner guitars of various models seem to be the guitars most often offered for re-sale. Is it just me, or does anyone else out there notice this? I've never played one of his instruments, but I would be curious to know what someone else thinks.

Allan

Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:19 am

Robert Allan Parry wrote: ... these days I am convinced the best guitars out there are being made by lesser names and are being sold in the $2,500 to $3,500 price range.


Allan
Agree :D

Jose-Guitarra8a

Post by Jose-Guitarra8a » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:54 am

Robert Allan Parry wrote:
I'm also curious, and address this question to anyone who has or had a Hippner guitar. They look like a great value, and the soundclips I've heard by people playing his instruments sound very good, yet I've noted many times that when I surf across the CG world on the internet, the Hippner guitars of various models seem to be the guitars most often offered for re-sale. Is it just me, or does anyone else out there notice this? I've never played one of his instruments, but I would be curious to know what someone else thinks.

Allan
Hi Robert,

I suspect there is something psychological about having an expensive guitar - "The bigger is better" mentality. As for Hippner guitars, I've never had the pleasure of playing one. They look and sound nice. It's true about finding them on resale. I don't understand it.

I also believe that one can find a great guitar within the 2500 to 3500. It's a matter of connecting with the luthier that understands what you are looking for. Sure, I would love to connect with well known luthiers but I will never be able to afford thier guitars. Also, I have to be practical and realistic. I'm a 40+ with a busted left pinky that gets stiff when I play for more than an hour. I will never play in Carnagie (sp?) Hall.

I'm quite confident that there are some excellent luthiers out there that can build great guitars for the average Joe like me. Heck, these luthiers are even a few hours away.

Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:38 am

Like Thumper (speaking to Bambi), I can only tell you about Hippner what he has published on his website, and the few communications I have had with him. I have purchased some wood from him. He seems to buy bulk and keeps a good stock. Couple of times I have run out of wood, especially for necks, (and I purchased from him). He has been very nice and attentive. I notice he makes lots of guitars, a look at this shop (check his site) will show you several guitars in process. He is a self taugh luthier. That already has a merit. However, I have never played his guitars. With the years, I have tried making several models of guitars. Finally, I settled in just two or three models.
Last edited by Pepe Vergara on Thu Jun 01, 2006 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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