First Custom Ever!

USA Custom Shop Acoustic and Electric Guitars

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Shhpink
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First Custom Ever!

Postby Shhpink » Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:28 pm

Order will be 18 weeks in come Monday. I meant to make this post when I ordered but I have a feeling I'll be waiting a bit yet.

This is my first neck-thru and Kiesel - I might've gone a little crazy, but I really only plan on getting one of these. At least that's what I keep telling myself... and the old lady 8)

I always found it funny how many people I read on here having more than 1 guitar being built at a time but I totally get it now. THE WAIT IS TORTURE.

Anyways:

I got the top from a pick your top on instagram - its a figured walnut beast of a hunk-a-wood.

NA6H NeckThru ARIES 6 Hipshot
LMB MAPLE NECK & LIMBA BODY
SWT SPECIAL WOOD TOP - SEE JEF
pick your top & headstock L2FW, 7A pale moon fb,
thin dark trans-black burst, trans-back back&sides
CSF CUSTOM SHOP FINISH 1
CS CLEAR SATIN MATTE FINISH 1
CMB CHAMBERED BODY 1
7WPM 7-PC WAL/HEART/MAPLE 1
TN TUNG OIL FINISH BACK OF NE 1
SWF SPECIAL WOOD FRETBOARD-SEE
IKSD STAGGERED OFFSET DOTS w/ K
IA ABALONE INLAYS 1
EVO EVO GOLD med-jumbo FRETS 1
407 P/U COLOR CRM/BLK W CREAM 1
PPG PICKUP POLES GOLD 1 DSLG DROP SHADOW LOGO GOLD
BPE EBONY REAR COVER PLATE
WK TAMARIND WOOD KNOBS 1

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spudmunkey
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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby spudmunkey » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:59 am

That sounds awesome! Do you have a pic of the walnut? Walnut's my #1 favorite.

Yeah, the waiting's the hardest part. I don't know how people do it with some makers like Daemoness who I've read on other forums where they paid their deposit like 3+ years ago, and they haven't even made it to the actual production queue yet. :shock:

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DannyB819
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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby DannyB819 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:34 pm

spudmunkey wrote:
Yeah, the waiting's the hardest part.


Image

helldorado
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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby helldorado » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:58 pm

Did I miss it somewhere in the specs? I see "pick your top" but no idea what the top is! :lol: Nevermind, I see you went walnut. It's bad juju to post specs of a special top like that and not post a photo.

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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby Shhpink » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:01 pm

Sorry everyone! What a tease! Here it is:

By the way, just emailed today that sucker is shipped!! 18 weeks to the day exactly
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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby spudmunkey » Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:42 pm

Holy hell, that's hot!

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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby Shhpink » Wed Oct 21, 2020 2:42 pm

Ok it's here.

To summarize: It's pretty much fantastic in every way. For the 99% of you looking only for pics, see below.

Some thoughts I have as a first-timer just for anyone who might want a similar build/cares to read and add, I'll put a review of my experience here:

Ordering - general 5/10: The website is just so limited. The photos of finish options are cut off, many options aren't listed and the ordering software itself is highly flawed in several ways - I won't digress on that. Call the guys, that's the way to go. I'll say though, you better come prepared with exactly what you want. You can ask questions, but you can't change your mind later. The flaw of a phone conversation is that you don't have a written form in front of you. I highly recommend making one yourself so you don't forget any options, requests - it all happens pretty quickly. For example, after completing almost the whole order I asked if they did palemoon ebony boards, he said yes, and then asked if I wanted the standard or 7A. This is an option you won't see on the form that you must ask about although its a fairly common option. I find it understandable that you can't modify the build in most cases, however, I do think exceptions should be possible for a price. (I thought about black hardware instead of gold but it was too late to change - I feel I should be able to pay 50 bucks to change it - just my 2 cents I do understand why it is that way)

Also, my finish was custom: the light-trans black burst on top with the trans-black back and sides. I love the top but am slightly disappointed with the back and sides - they are slightly darker than I wanted and so a little less translucent. The note, from the salesman, which I approved, on the build reads, "thin dark trans-black burst, trans-black back & sides" So the trans black on the top is "thin" but not on the back and sides. This is the kind of thing that can easily go overlooked in a custom order - SO BE CAREFUL

Ultimately, phone experience was pleasant, but flawed for reasons mentioned above.


Ordering-sales 8/10: I was a complete noob to custom guitars in general when I started a build. I put the project on hold for awhile - and continued later with different idea/guitar and a different salesman. I found the salesmen to have different personalities - the first guy had a lot of opinion (which I appreciate, to an extent) and the other one was a bit of a yes-man. I won't name any names, it doesn't matter - I only want to advise that I had some ideas that I felt a little silly about asking the first time, whereas the seconds salesman made me feel more comfortable.


Delivery time/expectations 10/10: Really impressed! I ordered on June 15th (Height of Pandemic) don't remember what date I was quoted for finish, if one at all, but the site said 12-18 weeks expected and as I said earlier, I was emailed exactly 18 weeks, to the day. Guitar arrived 2 days later. I am relatively close to Escondido - 5 hr drive.

I expected a longer wait time due to Covid and special options but they nailed the window. From what I have read about custom guitars, receiving one in the quoted arrival window is just a myth - I was really surprised here.

Fit and Finish 9/10: This one, for me, was tricky. I love this guitar man. I had many second thoughts about my order (particularly all of the gold) but I feel like the guys' expertise really shines here. For example, I was really worried about palemoon ebony looking too yellow. I was worried about several things I had selected in contrast. I felt abalone inlays and gold frets had the potential to look awful against a yellowish wood. Now. I have never held palemoon ebony up close before, but I have to say, this is one gorgeous piece of wood! It makes the guitar exceptional. I tried to capture the grain in the photos but I just have to tell you, if you ever had second thoughts about a palemoon board for the things I said above, just go for it! There is black grain, even in the yellow-looking parts that are just perfectly subtle, but really make this wood outstanding. Jeff and the guys will not steer you wrong! I really feel like they could've chosen a different piece of ebony that totally ruined the guitar and not thought twice - this is a very underrated quality!

The rest of the guitar is flawless. The reason I gave 9 instead of 10 is because of the trans black sides and back - I just think, even if I didn't specify "thin", that you should see through trans black a little better here. Ultimately, I wanted the guitar to look black, and it does, and is amazing.

Everything on it feels great, the satin finish is smooth, the neck is nice and slick. I heard Kiesel necks get pretty thin so I opted out of the thinner profile. I agree with that, this is still a thin neck to me and I love it.

Anyways, if you read that, let me know what you think. I was particularly motivated to write this because of the palemoon fretboard and how well I thought they did of making it fit the rest of my options. Again, it could have the same specs and look ridiculous.

cheers :)
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spudmunkey
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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby spudmunkey » Wed Oct 21, 2020 3:51 pm

Gorgeous!!!!

The satin finish also contributes to the black being a little more opaque, because the satin finish itself is a little "cloudy" due the the microscopic light-scattering texture on the surface.

Either way, nothing wrong with the gold hardware, and that is indeed an awesome piece of PME!!

By "thin" for the bursts, it doesn't mean that they put the finish on lighter. It means that the burst edge is less wide. Sounds like they didn't communicate that clearly, unless they offered something I hadn't heard of before.

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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby Captjag » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:03 am

spudmunkey wrote:Gorgeous!!!!

By "thin" for the bursts, it doesn't mean that they put the finish on lighter. It means that the burst edge is less wide. Sounds like they didn't communicate that clearly, unless they offered something I hadn't heard of before.



This is correct, it applies to how "deep" the burst comes in off the edge, not the translucency of the burst.

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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby Shhpink » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:17 am

spudmunkey wrote:Gorgeous!!!!

The satin finish also contributes to the black being a little more opaque, because the satin finish itself is a little "cloudy" due the the microscopic light-scattering texture on the surface.

Either way, nothing wrong with the gold hardware, and that is indeed an awesome piece of PME!!

By "thin" for the bursts, it doesn't mean that they put the finish on lighter. It means that the burst edge is less wide. Sounds like they didn't communicate that clearly, unless they offered something I hadn't heard of before.



Hmm I didn't even think about it in relation to the satin finish, that makes a lot of sense. The gold looks great, I think. Even the gold poles on the cream covers look great! I can't get over the fretboard though - truly remarkable craftmanship.

I see what you guys are saying with the burst - classic miscommunication . I guess in trying to describe that I wanted it more translucent, I think I said "light" and when he put "thin", I assumed he understood what I meant. Although that's kind of funny because now knowing what 'thin' actually is, I'm glad I asked for it, lol.

Ultimately, its a good point to illuminate what can happen in these situations. Not to mention the craftsmen on the other side who then read that note - there is no safety net there, you must be your own quality control, so to speak. Point is to make sure you know what you're ordering. They email you your order while you are on the phone with them before finalizing it. I think because I was still on the phone, I felt rushed to approve it (not pressured by the salesguy just by nature of a phone conversation) I don't think I had a snowball's chance in hell of nailing this first order exactly how I wanted it to be without this experience. Kiesel could alleviate that issue in a few ways, but I understand their reasoning not to... I guess

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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby HarlowTheFish » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:48 pm

Shhpink wrote:Ultimately, its a good point to illuminate what can happen in these situations. Not to mention the craftsmen on the other side who then read that note - there is no safety net there, you must be your own quality control, so to speak. Point is to make sure you know what you're ordering. They email you your order while you are on the phone with them before finalizing it. I think because I was still on the phone, I felt rushed to approve it (not pressured by the salesguy just by nature of a phone conversation) I don't think I had a snowball's chance in hell of nailing this first order exactly how I wanted it to be without this experience. Kiesel could alleviate that issue in a few ways, but I understand their reasoning not to... I guess

I don't know if you have any non-returnable options, but that's what the 10-day trial is for -- it's always a bit of a guessing game when you're ordering a custom, because you're always gonna have this image in your head of what it's gonna look like, but it's very dependent on the wood (which is unpredictable) and your communication to the builder/company (which is unpredictable) and how the builder/company envisions it based on what you tell them (which is, you guessed it, unpredictable).

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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby helldorado » Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:13 pm

Yeah, I think part of the problem in communication is that there isn't a version of trans black that has fewer pigments in it, so there's less of a darkening effect. They have just one trans black, and regular opaque black. If they had fully understood you wanted a more translucent version of trans black than standard, then you should've gotten a custom color charge because it's not a regular option. Just FYI - always consider what the standard charge relates to, and if you want something special and there's not a note / upcharge, then you aren't getting what you asked for.

The other consideration is how they do offer a regular width vs thinner width outer burst line. So since your trans black is bursted on the front and covers the side and black, it makes sense to misinterpret "light" trans in relation to burst, sides and back as a thinner burst edge. Not a more lighter shade that's more translucent.

Bottom line, the guitar looks fantastic. I can totally understand the disappointment of not having it match exactly what you envisioned, but it's impossible to get that IMO if you're not orderings straight off the menu.

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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby Shhpink » Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:25 am

helldorado wrote:Yeah, I think part of the problem in communication is that there isn't a version of trans black that has fewer pigments in it, so there's less of a darkening effect. They have just one trans black, and regular opaque black. If they had fully understood you wanted a more translucent version of trans black than standard, then you should've gotten a custom color charge because it's not a regular option. Just FYI - always consider what the standard charge relates to, and if you want something special and there's not a note / upcharge, then you aren't getting what you asked for.

The other consideration is how they do offer a regular width vs thinner width outer burst line. So since your trans black is bursted on the front and covers the side and black, it makes sense to misinterpret "light" trans in relation to burst, sides and back as a thinner burst edge. Not a more lighter shade that's more translucent.

Bottom line, the guitar looks fantastic. I can totally understand the disappointment of not having it match exactly what you envisioned, but it's impossible to get that IMO if you're not orderings straight off the menu.


In my head, they would spray fewer coats of trans black to achieve less darkening. Pretty sure they have done this before - not positive. This was all just to illuminate what can happen to a new buyer. You guys knew "thin" meant width, I did not - something I learned the hard way. Point was just to advise these things can happen.

However, now that you mention it, I was upcharged 100 dollars for this "custom shop finish." Are you saying its because I asked for "thin" or the back and sides? or what?

Also, ten-day trial really doesn't apply to this build because I wanted special options. I realize that is 100% my choice

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Re: First Custom Ever!

Postby helldorado » Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:31 am

Shhpink wrote:
helldorado wrote:Yeah, I think part of the problem in communication is that there isn't a version of trans black that has fewer pigments in it, so there's less of a darkening effect. They have just one trans black, and regular opaque black. If they had fully understood you wanted a more translucent version of trans black than standard, then you should've gotten a custom color charge because it's not a regular option. Just FYI - always consider what the standard charge relates to, and if you want something special and there's not a note / upcharge, then you aren't getting what you asked for.

The other consideration is how they do offer a regular width vs thinner width outer burst line. So since your trans black is bursted on the front and covers the side and black, it makes sense to misinterpret "light" trans in relation to burst, sides and back as a thinner burst edge. Not a more lighter shade that's more translucent.

Bottom line, the guitar looks fantastic. I can totally understand the disappointment of not having it match exactly what you envisioned, but it's impossible to get that IMO if you're not orderings straight off the menu.


In my head, they would spray fewer coats of trans black to achieve less darkening. Pretty sure they have done this before - not positive. This was all just to illuminate what can happen to a new buyer. You guys knew "thin" meant width, I did not - something I learned the hard way. Point was just to advise these things can happen.

However, now that you mention it, I was upcharged 100 dollars for this "custom shop finish." Are you saying its because I asked for "thin" or the back and sides? or what?

Also, ten-day trial really doesn't apply to this build because I wanted special options. I realize that is 100% my choice


Sorry, let me be more clear because it gets confusing. Kiesel's order system is 20+ years old, my first Carvin build sheet looks like the guitars I ordered last year. So there's limitations to the number of options they list, how they can enter items, and the online builder gets tied into it.

Your finish got entered as:

thin dark trans-black burst, trans-back back&sides
CSF CUSTOM SHOP FINISH 1

So variants like thin black burst edge, trans black burst edge, thin trans black burst edge, or trans black back and sides aren't "standard" options that can be directly entered from the ordering screen. The standard options are

BST - Blackburst Edges $40
BGB - Black Gloss Back & Sides $50

Together, those options are $90 and they use solid black. If your guitar had been painted in solid black and not trans black, you would've paid $90 for the finish. But any variation from those standard entries means it has to be entered as a custom shop finish with a surcharge. So a thin blackburst on its own would be Custom Shop Finish, thin dark trans-black burst. Doing the trans black back and sides on their own would be a custom shop finish, trans-back back&sides. And you can see they just combined those on one line for the painter because of the mixup on assuming you were asking for their standard trans black. Reading your specs, you got exactly what is on the build sheet because of how it was written down. If they had realized it was a thinned black trans you wanted, they would have most likely done two line items to make it very clear for the painter. It also should've been more expensive than what you paid for since it's an "extra custom" color. So if you don't have $90 for blackburst edges and black gloss back and sides, then that $100 charge means you only paid $10 extra for the spray to be done in trans black.

By extra custom, I mean they have colors that are standard on the builder with fixed prices. Then they have colors that are commonly requested or they've done for NAMM builds that are considered "special order" and get entered as a custom shop finish because they're not on the builder. Then there's the truly custom colors a customer requests as a one-off and they tend to be even more expensive custom shop finish entries. For example, I ordered my hot pink V220 this time last year. I paid $100 for hot pink, and it was entered as a custom shop finish even though they've done a *ton* of hot pink before mine so it wasn't even like, "can you send us a swatch or Pantone code to color match." It was a color they started using on builds, customers liked it, and it got more popular. Couple months later it became a standard, no charge color. Unfortunately, the builder and order system is a weak spot for Kiesel IMO, and it's wholly reliant on the sales guys to translate your requests into it, in way that every part of the the build process gets it right.

The sales guys do a great job, but sometimes the extra special stuff gets difficult to communicate. There's so many "off-menu" options that get marketed and amped up, and never make it onto the builder that the sales guys are the only way it gets communicated to the shop to be done right.


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