Kenny Hill Guitars

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments

Post by Lebayer » Thu Aug 24, 2006 4:30 am


Sorry for the slow response; I stumbled into the bike season and completely lost track of the forum. Walker makes a nice instrument; I purchased a cedar top but damaged the finish, with sloppy and inappropirate polishing. Johnny offered to redo the back for $50 but I decided to swap for a spruce top. For a few hundred dollars more (!), he built a very nice instrument, adding Ruck-style ports for me, at no cost. He is also very productive, probably as productive as Hippner. Darren offers more models and produces a somewhat cleaner French polish. My Walker is on a par with the standard spruce/Indian rosewood Hippner guitars I've played or owned. The special Hippner's - a Bernabe with elevated board, sound ports, and truly outstanding old-stump Brazilian and a lattice braced, spruce top, also with outstanding Brazilian - are in a different class, altogether. They also cost a lot more. Each is superior, in my view, to the Hauser '37, by Hill, which is still a fine instrument.


Post by WellRounded » Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:21 am

I am probably jumping in over my head here but you have to start somewhere, right? I can't say about the Hill Hauser but I am quite taken with my Hill (New World) Almeria. I'm sure the quality level is a significant step up from the New World series to the Masters series. I recently visited Johnny Walker to learn about his guitars. I just had to see if there really was a CG builder in Oklahoma. He spent about an hour with me talking guitars, giving me a tour of his shop and trying out a few guitars. At the time he had three classicals and a couple of flamencos produced and several others in various stages of production. I was very impressed with the quality of his craftsmanship. Unlike Hill and Hippner, JW produces one size guitar and varies materials bases on the customers' desires. I had ordered my Hipnner just a few weeks before the visit so I wasn't looking to buy at the time but there is always that next guitar. My impression is that Johnny is a straight forward honest person to work with. His guitars compared favorably in craftsmanship with my Almeria, which is a guitar I love. JW's also had greater projection but I think my Almeria has a sweeter sound. This could be that my guitar has opened up very nicely and the spruce top I was most interested in had only recently been completed. When my Hippner Bernabe comes (November-December) I will be in a better place to compare.

One other thing. I would be very surprised if JW's production is as high as Hippner's. While I think he would like to make a profit with his guitars I had the impression that it is an avocational passion that fuels his building rather than a vocation effort. I'm not saying anything negative about Hippner - just different.


signature series

Post by guitarvirtouso » Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:03 pm

Has anyone had experience with the kenny hill "signature series" double top?



Post by drp » Fri Sep 01, 2006 4:32 pm

I have limited experience with CG but have owned a Guild D50 for many many years.

I purchased a new Hill (New World) Madrid about 6 weeks ago and am still amazed at the tone, dynamic range, and spectral balance of this guitar. It's also very easy to play. I can't wait to see how it breaks in over the next few years.

Having just started CG, I know I have tons to learn and I'm sure will pick up a custom at some point, but for the moment, I'm a happy camper.



Post by drp » Sat Sep 30, 2006 2:17 am

Okay, I really was a happy camper; still think the Madrid is a great guitar, but I happened back into my local shop to check on my D50, which is on consignment. I spent time with the Hill Hauser '37 (new) that began this thread, along with several other models. After quite a lengthy courtship, in a word; actually, in four words . . . I bought the Hauser.

After ~three days of playing it at home, I remain extremely pleased and stoked. I'm now trying a few different strings to see what fits my ears. The Savarez Alliance trebles 540R were cool sounding (a bit like my Guild's sound actually) but not the neutral(ish) tone I was looking for to go with the spruce top. Just switched to the Corum basses and New Cristal trebles; waiting for them to settle in, but so far so good. Something tells me the D'add Pro Arte are still a good match. Comments/suggestions for strings that go well with this guitar are welcomed.

Edit 10/01 - Switched back to the KF alliance trebles; still using the Courm bases. I think I'll stick with this combo for a while. The tone an projection is just amazing; making me sound much better than I actually am.

Everything about this guitar speaks to every part of my ears and eyes and other senses. I (still) have not been able to put it down.


Harry Guitar

Post by Harry Guitar » Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:05 pm

I own a Kenny Hill Munich that I purchased in August of 2004.. It was built in Felton, CA, and is a 650cm scale. I got it for significantly less than retail (and less than I have stated elsewhere as I don't want to influence the market!) When I tried out the guitar, it was better than the other instruments in its price range -- that were on hand. It did (even before the mods I will list) have a nice quality tone. It also was exceedingly comfortable to play.

Okay, mods. When I got it home, D'Addario Pro Arte Composites went right on. I also raised the action about. oh, 4 biz card thicknesses on the treble side and 2 on the bass. I later fabbed an ebony shim of similar dimension. This didn't raise the action horribly, but enough to increase the volume overall -- and the G string really made strides!

Over the past two years, the tone has opened up and is very nice -- I'd stack it against any guitar in its price range and even a few more expensive ones. Tried Galli Titaniums on it -- not a good choice for me. The thing sounds awesome on Augustine Imperials. The tone was so drastically different between brands that I'd recommend anyone with a Munich that they don't like -- try every brand of string. I'll wager you'll find something that makes the thing sing!

I like mine enough that I'll be looking at the Hill Fleta copy when my ship comes in.

Best regards,


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