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Anyone have experience with KLH guitars?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by sweethomela8, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. sweethomela8

    sweethomela8 Member

    Messages:
    27
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    Jul 21, 2011
    Has anyone worked or ordered a relic guitar from KLH guitars?
    www.klhcustomrelics.com

    I'm thinking about getting a telecaster done by him.

    Seems to do a really good job, just want to see if anyone on the forums have worked with him.

    Thanks.
     
  2. rocker1

    rocker1 Member

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    Apr 22, 2012
    Hi, I hope this helps someone. I was a customer of KLH relics of Noblesville, Indiana and sadly a very disappointed one. If I had the benefits of this review I could have saved alot of aggravation, time and money.
    1.Kevin Heffernan presents as a very 'in touch' person, intelegent and friendly. He is knowledgeable about guitars.
    2.I had several instruments serviced by Kevin, ranging from a vintage acoustic to arch top, to my strats.
    3. Kevin has the 'gift of gab', he tells us he is a speicalist at 'getting you exactly what you want. But in converstaion he shares he has alot of complaints from his customers and now I know why.
    4. I explained to Kevin, exactly what I wanted, and precisely how to set my guitars up. He was eager to say let me show how its done, I said, I know what I want please follow my instructions. NOT ONCE, regretfully, I figured this out too late. Every single piece of work he did, is a disaster, I offer my instruments for inspection.
    5. What was wrong. On my vintage 1950 Gibson acoustic, he cracked the sound board, (I know it wasn't cracked when I brought it in. Over glude the braces, and get this. he lost my truss rode cover screws, and replaced them with one's that didn't fit. I called him he seemed surprised that it mattered. The instrument came back with all sorts of scratches and dings. It keeps getting better, I had waited over 3 months for this instrument and finally called to tell him I found someone else and not to repair it, that I would be by to pick it up. I get to his shop, and he tells me he repaired it. Why? I didn't authorize this his crappy repairs. He charged me $400.00. He remarked "I wanted to redeem myself", to who, not me. Who is he kidding?
    6. I asked for some finish work on one of my strats. He had the guitar, for over 4 months, which didn't really bother me, because to do a custom finish, you need to let the laquier dry. And I didn't want a 'rush' job. Well, I call he after 4 months he hasn't even started working on my guitar, and when he dose he tells me there was a problem,and magically when I and ready to pick my guitar up it gets done in a week. I get the guitar back the finish, is that of a junior highschool student I encourage anyone who wants to see it for themselves you decide. Whats wrong, he uses a big buffer wheel, Not uncommon, but not really a boutique finish, the guitar body has dings, and the finish is the wrong color, I had asked it be the same color, what is so hard about that? He put the wrong screws in the pickgarde, well at least some, mine were gold plated, and they were striped. finally the picks didn't work, he broke a wire when he took it a part. He over buffed the body so much, that the gold finish on the parts was worn off. You half to see this to believe.
    7. If the finish was excellent, the color would be no big deal, but you can feel the parts of the guitar were the finish is actually like sand paper, and it's uneven. There are a lot more examples, Frets that aren't finished etc..
    8***When I explained all of these things, he started to argue. I asked why he over buffed he replied 'why would I do that?", perhaps because he's sloppy and just doesn't care and rushed the job. I am not his therapist,
    9. Many of you are saying at this point, why did you go back. Kevin was recommended by an extremely qualified tech, and I trusted this tech, (who isn't just good, his skills and product are world class.) This turned out to be a mistake, I tried to pull my guitars out, even my J45 it was no use, It's about the money and he wants yours, make no mistake.
    10. As for his 'relics', I saw some of these and they are charming, but they are just a novelty, and have no resale value as I can tell, he likes the idea of a pre aged guitar, in my opinion because he can't put a good finish on a guitar so he hides a sub-standard finish. He drills out the guitar bodys to get them light weight. For what he charges, you would think you get a decent peice of wood.
    11. In the end, Kevin has the gift of gab, the work at best is sloppy and ultimately, you are more likely than not be un-happy in the end if you buy one of his guitars. Most important, they don't tone up well. At least my guitars went in sounding great and came out sounding like a cheep, discount guitar. I shared my story with some of the old time locals they were surprised I didn't know how bad he was.
    12. Kevin has friends and followers, bless you all. if you are happy with his work, good for you. I, as I have learned am among many who are more than just a little un happy and feel ripped off. If your are going to spend this much money on a guitar, get the 'real' thing. And you can go on line and learn to age it yourself or not, but at least you will have something. With as sloppy and dinged up as his work is you needn't be worried about scratching your instrument up. Sadly I wished I could have been more encouraging.
     
  3. artguy47

    artguy47 Ol' CuRmUGeOn

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    1,568
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    Oct 23, 2011
    Location:
    Cruiz'n on the Socal Coast...
    Ouch! While YMMV, sounds like something to avoid...
     
  4. simplecomplexity

    simplecomplexity Senior Member

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    Nov 29, 2010
    well his customers sure do look happy on his site
     
  5. FiestaRed869

    FiestaRed869 Member

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    Feb 26, 2012
    I would go with MJT RELICS, I challenge you to find one upset/unhappy customer. The work is top notch. They range from 699 to 864$ depending what neck you choose and if you want it double bound/hollow. They either use necks from all parts or customizable necks from musikrsft. They come with all hardware except electronics/pickups. So they ship you the body/neck and then you go out and install the pickups you want. All together including shipping, pickups,electronics and assembly from a local tech it will come out to less then 1500$ and your getting it from one of the best in the business.
     
  6. AB07302

    AB07302 Member

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    Aug 31, 2011
    This is insane. I can't believe what I'm reading.

    Kevin is a gentleman, a fine businessman, and above ALL, an artist.

    He was recommended to me by some very very successful players/friends of mine, who spoke highly of his aesthetics, attention to detail, and ability to produce a fantastic instrument with a lot of soul.

    The telecaster I ordered is easily the best sounding, looking, and feeling tele I have ever played. EVERYONE who picks it up agrees. I play professionally and have a lot of experience with fine vintage instruments. I think i know what I'm talking about. I am SHOCKED to read anything but a rave for Kevin's work.

    Please take the original post with a grain of salt. As he acknowledges, KLH has tons of dedicated fan-customers. I dont usually post on things like this, but I am such a fan (have my 2nd and 3rd KLHs on order!!) that I felt the need to reply.
     
  7. jdsimo

    jdsimo Member

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Hey there... my name is JD Simo and I'm a guitarist in Nashville, TN... I'm very sorry to hear about anyones problems with Kevin..
    All I can say is he is about the best man and luthier I've met and had dealings with... I have my beloved blue Tele that he built me when I first joined the Don Kelley band and it was the first great guitar I really ever had and will never sell!!!! That guitar is full of tone and theres tons of videos of me playing it on the internet...
    More than his work, which again I have nothing but praise, he's become a great friend and has always been positive, kind and honest!!!
    Again I can only speak for my experiences over the last several years, but in playing my guitar for a living, I have many notable luthier friends with world class reputations and I put Kevin right in there!!! I love him as a person and think his work is wonderful. I'd highly recommend his custom guitars or repairs and do all the time!!!
    Stay Groovy JD
     
  8. Don Kelley

    Don Kelley Member

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    Sep 8, 2012
    I own two KLH Custom Relics.....'50's style Telecaster and '55 Custom P-Bass. They were built to my specifics and I am thrilled with both of them! The craftsmanship on both instruments shows that Kevin Heffernan takes pride in his work! I would highly recommend KLH Custom Relics for all your guitar needs.

    Don Kelley of "The Don Kelley Band"
    Nashville, TN
     
  9. jgarris

    jgarris Member

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    Location:
    Mount Juliet, TN
    I agree with AB0732! It's insane! I've known and been friends with Kevin for 7 years. He's built me 2 guitars, refinished another, and provided a neck for yet another I built myself. All I can say is that Kevin is nothing but TOP NOTCH!
    Last December, I picked up a Les Paul that he refinished for me (on which he did a FANTASTIC job) and, before I left we plugged it in and jammed a little. Well we discovered a buzz in the bridge pickup. Now, Kevin's a busy guy but he spent about 3 hours tracking down the source of the buzz, found it and fixed it. Now, I ask ya - why would a guy who builds and services guitars for people a lot more important than me waste 3 hours tracking down this problem if he wasn't concerned with his work being RIGHT?
    I've lived and worked as a professsional musician (and for some pretty well-known artists) in the Nashville, TN area for 23 years and play regularly 5 or 6 days a week. When I need my guitars serviced, I drive 5 hours to Noblesville IN to have MY guitar work done!
    Oh - I'm going to have Kevin build my NEXT guitar!
     
  10. Casey.Randall

    Casey.Randall Member

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    Sep 9, 2012
    I lived in Indiana for 21 years before I moved to Nashville, While living in Indiana I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin. I was actually told to call him from a local Guitar Center rep about repainting a guitar. Kevin repainted a PRS for me and it turned out incredibly. From that day forward I had him set up and work on all of my gear. He is a great guy, and super knowledgeable about guitars. I have never had any problem with him or his service in fact just like the other posts here, Kevin went out of his way to repair a guitar of mine. The pickup was broken, while I was out on the road. He fixed it on a Thursday for a session I had on a Friday!!! Great person and always willing to help.
     
  11. bikeracr

    bikeracr Supporting Member

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    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Never met Kevin. But one of the other guitarists that I play with had a tele built by him. In all honesty, it is one of the best tele's I have heard bar none. I have no skin in the game, but thought I would share.
     
  12. Robert Lunsford

    Robert Lunsford Member

    Messages:
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    Sep 11, 2012

    Nonsense, what you described is not the Kevin I know, and smacks of your attempt to hurt him professionally because he couldn't live up to your unreasonable demands. Your pretending to be objective is both dishonest and small. And I'm going a step further, what you claim is shoddy work, is simply a lie. It's not in Kevin to do anything shoddy.

    I've known Kevin for 12 years now, when he reworked my '73 Alvarez Yairi as a gift to my son. Since then, he's redone two Start's, two Tele's, two mandolins, and I've had him do countless work on friends guitars and banjos, and he is building the most incredible F5 electric mandolin project you will ever see as a tribute to a child hood friend who died. I dont' take that project lightly.

    I have never, once, felt Kevin had anything buy my best interest and needs at heart, and he has always delivered more than I expected, at a very fair price. His set up work is the best I've ever seen, and received accolades from my friend and long time Gibson dealer and banjo player extroidinaire, John Boltman, on setting up his Scruggs.

    As far as the relics, again, you are wrong, and trying to unjustly hurt Kevin. My son loves his Tele relic, it plays and sounds wonderful, way above a stock model. You might not like the idea or "relic", but that doesn't make them bad. The ones I've seen play beautifully, and are made to the players specs. So why dis him on something you obviously know nothing about?

    Your review is dishonest, unfair, and intended to hurt, not inform. I'd trust Kevin with a Loar, if I had one. I'd trust you with nothing.
     
  13. Redd

    Redd Member

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    16
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    Dec 18, 2009
    I have one of Kevin's tele's I call "Ol' Rusty" and I plays great, sounds great, and is exactly how he built it, I haven't changed a thing on it at all.
    Here it is almost live,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTmNk3U1ujY&feature=player_embedded

    its sounds good considering the handy-cap its fighting

    As for Kevin, he is a first class guy that would rather fish than . . . . well
    you know. And he is a horse tradin' fool just like the rest of us guitar nuts.

    Sorry to hear you're not happy "Rocker1"

    Redd Volkaert
     
  14. AB07302

    AB07302 Member

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    Aug 31, 2011
    Fun to see all the KLH love. Redd, I'm a big fan. Cool to see you on here. I play and teach, and I use your DVD with my students all the time. Thanks for that, it's the best I've found on the subject.

    Otherwise, revisiting this page, I was stricken by the offending poster's baffling misspelling of the word "intelligent" ("intelegent"), and felt the need to point it out. Unless he was trying to make a "tele" pun, in which case he may be a frickin' genius.
     
  15. JiMB

    JiMB Member

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    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    LA
    You^^^should also note who the people with 1 post count are, some very respected players standing up for someone they respect.

    Jim
     
  16. JiMB

    JiMB Member

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    Oct 1, 2005
    Location:
    LA
    True words.
    I 've never heard of the builder in the op until this thread so nothing more I can add.

    Jim
     
  17. mattchow

    mattchow Member

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    Sep 16, 2012
    Hey rocker1 whats the name of your band? sounds like your an expert on guitar making and or repair, why didnt you just do the work your self? I mean if your that particular about how you want your guitars to be then why wouldn't you just spend the time, go take some classes and then learn how to do it yourself, it would save you the embarrassment of getting on here and trying to make yourself look intelligent to no avail. Your first line in your post about hoping this helps someone is BS, it seems like you just came on here to let off some steam (because your life sucks) and bash someone else so you can feel better about yourself. Im not sure what you were expecting when it came to the quality of the work you would receive or business expectations you had when you went to KHL Custom Relics but you obviously either have such poor communication skills that it would take a wizard to know what you wanted, or you were going to be a dick about it no matter what happened in hopes you could get the work done for free. Well I assure you that Kevin is no push over, he is a man of his word, honest and forth right, and would go out of his way for anyone in need. Here is my story and encounter with Kevin Heffernan. It was the Fall of 2010, the band I am in (www.thetwincats.com) and I had just set out for our 2 week fall tour. Our first night was in Chicago IL at the Elbow Room. Set went well and my rig sounded better than ever. I was playing a Gibson Les Paul Supreme,( flame top, gold hardware, one sweeet guitar) with some boutique pedals and a Hot Rod DLX. We went over to Websters Corner Wine Bar to catch a late night band and drinks. We were there for maybe 45 min then the place closed, went to leave and when we got to the band van we had been robbed of everything. $16,000 worth of gear all our cloths 2 computers and our GPS. We were fvcked, on the first night!. At this point I had only known Kevin for about 2-3 years seeing him briefly at the local guitar shop and always seeing people bringing in repair jobs of his and saying (look at kevin's repair job man, can you tell where the crack was, and I never could). Well when word got around that the Twin Cats were robbed in Chicago people came out of the wood work to help, bringing us cloths and helping us with loaning gear to us for the rest of the tour. Kevin called me and asked if I needed a guitar to finish the tour, I said " well I have a back up but its no les paul supreme." he totally understood. The next day I was delivered a 1994 les paul standard,black, with all the mojo a guitar player can handle and said here, use this till you get back, if you really like it then you can play on it and Ill sell it to you when you get the money for it." I was blown away to say the least. Not only did he deliver to me out there on the road a guitar that was better on many levels than that supreme but he did it out of the kindness of his heart without expectation, with out reserve and that is the kind of guy Kevin is, that is what his business stands for. KLH Custom Relics are some of the best guitars I have ever played on and I think his work is unmatched by most in his field. Kevin is a great man, a gentleman, and an artist of all colors and it shows in his work.
    rocker1 instead of complaining about the guitars you have and how they are not perfect and thats why your playing sucks, spend the time you take hating on others and go practice.
     
  18. mattchow

    mattchow Member

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    if your wondering about the members with only one post it because these members with only one post have gigs, travel, practice, and have better things to do that sit on this website looking for fulfillment from being more knowledgeable about gear than another person. I would check out this page with other guitar friends from time to time to stay up on the times on guitar gear but I found that the best way to stay up on the times and be knowledgeable about the guitar gear out there(if your into that kind of thing) is to go out and check out bands, players, and go to the shops and talk about gear, try it, and form your own opinion on the gear you seek. I had only one post on here because I didnt ever feel the need to reply to a post until some jerkoff got on here and decided he would try to belittle a friend of mine and tried to somehow put a black mark on his name. this is my second post
     
  19. tongbei

    tongbei Member

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    Sep 11, 2012
    Location:
    Mobile, Al
    Mattchow it's all good man, don't get upset w/ Apalazzolo's posts. He has a point about the thread counts and is just pointing that out. I used to mod game forums years ago and used to point that out as well, where one user would register under alias and post as several other members, etc. I was hesitant on posting for that fact alone before that was even pointed out. It's all good :)

    I have two of Kevin's KLH Relics and love them. I have a Tele and a Strat. In Kevin's defense, he's gone above and beyond everything I bugged him to death over...lol (what a trooper). I've owned/played may diff guitars and these two are my road warrior mainstays. I play in high humid climates and that relic'd feel is a huge help!

    Kevin's guitars sound, play, and look great! There's quite a few players out there that twang on them. Go check out Don Kelly Band w/ JD Simo at Robert's Western World!!! JD's got a couple of them (Daphne Blue, Dakota Red, etc). There's a bunch more, check out KLH's customer page. Heck, I'd say go to the customer page, look up their sites, and email them about the guitars. I'd bet they would respond very positively about them :) Heck, PM me and I'll send pic's :JAM

    Anyways, :beer

    Dave Smithweck
     
  20. magnus02

    magnus02 Member

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    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    this is a weird thread... smells fishy...

    never seen a thread with so many 'new members'... think i'll avoid this builder unless i see the product first hand...
     

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