NGD: Kiesel Vader V6X - Worth every cent

guitrr

Reverb Junkie
Silver Supporting Member
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808







My Vader: Chambered Black Limba body, Maple neck with Black Limba stripes; Lithium pickups. I specified the strap button behind the upper horn. Fit and finish are outstanding.

I need to take more pictures of them, but I just bought my fourth Strandberg.
The white one in these photos is their Metal model, with the Fishman Fluence Modern pickups. I’m not a metal player at all, so I when I purchased the guitar I thought I’d be changing the pickups to Fishman Classics, but those Moderns work just fine for me, playing Blues and Rock.

I like both my Strandbergs and the Kiesel, but it should be obvious which I prefer. I find the ergonomics of the Strandberg more to my liking, specifically the body shape and the fact that there is a knob at the end of the neck to prevent my hand from sliding off. Not dissimilar to another favorite appendage. :D
 
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Gclef

Member
Messages
1,994
I am soooooo intrigued by all the headless kiesels. Especially the Vader and the hh2. I think I need one.

I have an '02 holdsworth h2. The only options were quilt top and tobacco burst finish.

I swapped the volume pot and switch (as was the norm for guitars of that vintage) as well as the pickups a few times. The h22s are back in it and will stay permanently.

I measured the neck at 22mm 1st fret, 25mm 12th. That was from the center of the fretboard to the thickest point of the back with a caliper

I had a Holdsworth and honestly miss it. Such a nice guitar. I still have “the other” Holdsworth - the one that has a headstock. Great guitar as well. The hollow really makes a difference. I like that new Zeus - on my radar. These Vader’s are as well. I think that Hipshot is a huge improvement on the trem but the old J custom wasn’t THAT bad.
The semihollow body does something, so does the alder neck. Together, they create a very articulate sound with great note separation. If I had a 3 single coil version I would be ecstatic.

Cost me 900 bucks new
 

neastguy

Member
Messages
14,921
I want a headless shredder for when I need a shredder and a whammy.. which is once in a blue moon.. I dig this.. just too pricey for me for the amount Id use it
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,303
I want a headless shredder for when I need a shredder and a whammy.. which is once in a blue moon.. I dig this.. just too pricey for me for the amount Id use it
For what I got, I'm pretty happy with it for the money. Its definitely a step up from anything else I've owned at this price. I still wouldn't consider it as fancy as my Gibson, but its still a great playing/sounding guitar. If you keep the build simple enough you can get one sub $1500, which for a custom shop build I think is really fair compared to a lot of other brands out there at least.
 

guitrr

Reverb Junkie
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
808
I've never played a headless, and at 6'3, I'm afraid I'd look like Tiny Tim with his uke. What are the advantages that draw folks to headless in the first place? I mean, besides the unique look - I get that unique players like Belew would be interested in non-traditionals. What are the benefits for someone who is, for example, a bar-band cover player? I'm genuinely intrigued.

This red Vader is the first headless I've seen that's make me go 'huh...'.

I play headless guitars for a couple of reasons:
1. I have a bad back, and a headless guitar weighs anywhere between 3.5-4.5 lbs. This is the reason I initially bought a headless.
2. The ergonomics just make sense
3. Ease of moving them around, especially on an airplane
4. Around here (central east coast of Florida) many of the places I gig have very small stages, so a headless doesn’t occupy as much space
 

neastguy

Member
Messages
14,921
For what I got, I'm pretty happy with it for the money. Its definitely a step up from anything else I've owned at this price. I still wouldn't consider it as fancy as my Gibson, but its still a great playing/sounding guitar. If you keep the build simple enough you can get one sub $1500, which for a custom shop build I think is really fair compared to a lot of other brands out there at least.
Its cool.. I'll have to play with the numbers :)
 

Drawde

Member
Messages
1,533
@Jabby92 did you get any updates, like when the build actually started or nothing till it was ready to ship?
 
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Benz2112

Supporting Member
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4,346
@Jabby92 did you get any updates, like when the build actually started or nothing till it was ready to ship?
Not OP, but I just put in an order in June. They start the build within a day of your order, which I believe starts with the neck. You don't get updates until the day it ships. They post a lot on Instagram and Facebook, so you might see your guitar a day or two before it ships in their "guitar of the day" feature, or sometimes they will do a video walk through as stuff is moving through the shop. I saw a picture of my last guitar about a week before it was done, they did a picture of the finished husk, before they installed hardware and electronics.
 

Drawde

Member
Messages
1,533
Not OP, but I just put in an order in June. They start the build within a day of your order, which I believe starts with the neck. You don't get updates until the day it ships. They post a lot on Instagram and Facebook, so you might see your guitar a day or two before it ships in their "guitar of the day" feature, or sometimes they will do a video walk through as stuff is moving through the shop. I saw a picture of my last guitar about a week before it was done, they did a picture of the finished husk, before they installed hardware and electronics.
Thanks for the info. I placed my order a few days ago. The wait is already killing me.
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,303
@Jabby92 did you get any updates, like when the build actually started or nothing till it was ready to ship?
Nah, honestly the communication was pretty terrible at times. I had best results messaging them on Reverb directly (yes, not the e-mail on the website.. Reverb). I'm not certain but I feel like its Jeff or someone who responds on Reverb rather fast. Also they reply faster on Facebook too. It will feel like you're in the dark at times with them but I think they're just busy too so its understandable. Thats the main complaint you'll see with Kiesel.. the guitars are fantastic but the service is a mixed bag at times (I don't have many complaints though.. just my thoughts).

Basically when they first told me it'd be around 4 months, I messaged them close to 4 months in and they let me know it'd be done in a couple more weeks. I think after a week they sent me the payment request and it only took 3 days to get to my door (I don't live in the US) so I was pretty happy with that. The import fees were huge, but it was still worth it.
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,303
I love these.. nice price for a custom build!
For sure, after owning it for a little bit now its become my main guitar and I'm really sold on the headless thing. The sound and stability of the guitar and how it plays is just unbelievable. The price too is great, even with the import duties I paid I really would like another one at some point. Very much considering the headless acoustic they build next.
 

PatriotBadger

Member
Messages
1,352
For sure, after owning it for a little bit now its become my main guitar and I'm really sold on the headless thing. The sound and stability of the guitar and how it plays is just unbelievable. The price too is great, even with the import duties I paid I really would like another one at some point. Very much considering the headless acoustic they build next.
If you are considering the 'azeustic' just keep in mind that even amongst the Kiesel faithful they point out that it is, in essence, a chambered solidbody and not an actual acoustic in any meaningful sense of the word, even as a couch guitar. Though that may work for what you need.

In loosely related news, I choked back my mild disdain and bad experiences with the company and ordered an Osiris bass. I need a bass anyway. If this works out the way I think it might, I'll order a guitar version eventually.
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,303
If you are considering the 'azeustic' just keep in mind that even amongst the Kiesel faithful they point out that it is, in essence, a chambered solidbody and not an actual acoustic in any meaningful sense of the word, even as a couch guitar. Though that may work for what you need.

In loosely related news, I choked back my mild disdain and bad experiences with the company and ordered an Osiris bass. I need a bass anyway. If this works out the way I think it might, I'll order a guitar version eventually.
Yeah, based off the reviews it accels mainly as as electric acoustic, unless we're thinking 2 different models. I really like the idea of it either way and would love to give a go through my amp. I had no problems dealing with Kiesel at all, communication was a hit or miss, but ultimately it was worth the time and money easily.

I love Carvin/Kiesel guitars. I had an SC90 for about a year or so (LOVED that guitar) until it got stolen :(
Too bad. Most guys find a headless to be on the ugly side (not me anymore) so I'm hoping no one tries to steal mine.. but I'll keep an eye out.
 
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3,753
Nah, honestly the communication was pretty terrible at times. I had best results messaging them on Reverb directly (yes, not the e-mail on the website.. Reverb). I'm not certain but I feel like its Jeff or someone who responds on Reverb rather fast. Also they reply faster on Facebook too. It will feel like you're in the dark at times with them but I think they're just busy too so its understandable. Thats the main complaint you'll see with Kiesel.. the guitars are fantastic but the service is a mixed bag at times (I don't have many complaints though.. just my thoughts).

Basically when they first told me it'd be around 4 months, I messaged them close to 4 months in and they let me know it'd be done in a couple more weeks. I think after a week they sent me the payment request and it only took 3 days to get to my door (I don't live in the US) so I was pretty happy with that. The import fees were huge, but it was still worth it.
Maybe it's an issue of you being overseas but when I dealt with Kiesel I was always able to get someone on the phone in 5 minutes or less during regular business hours. They don't provide updates beyond the initial quote but generally seem to stick closely to their quoted times unless it's a situation where they're dealing with NAMM or some other big event that causes some minor delays. I had my Vader in my hands almost a full MONTH before the quoted time, and they did an absolutely incredible job.

Psyched to order another very soon with a trem and a birdseye (or roasted birdseye) board. Here's mine, buckeye top with a black limba neck and body. Stunning woods, plays effortlessly, and sounds as good as it looks!



 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,303
Maybe it's an issue of you being overseas but when I dealt with Kiesel I was always able to get someone on the phone in 5 minutes or less during regular business hours. They don't provide updates beyond the initial quote but generally seem to stick closely to their quoted times unless it's a situation where they're dealing with NAMM or some other big event that causes some minor delays. I had my Vader in my hands almost a full MONTH before the quoted time, and they did an absolutely incredible job.

Psyched to order another very soon with a trem and a birdseye (or roasted birdseye) board. Here's mine, buckeye top with a black limba neck and body. Stunning woods, plays effortlessly, and sounds as good as it looks!



Yeah, I'd say you're probably correct. Seems like US customers are probably the majority of the business and all the financing and stuff is more favourable as well. Overall I'm still really happy with them and I definitely wouldn't say it was a 'bad' experience either and I feel like some people go in with way too high of expectations. In the end, my Vader is probably the best guitar I've owned yet and its also better and cheaper than some other guitars I've owned that don't even come close to it. Even if it took an extra month or so, it was still very fast for a custom build guitar.

Also, yours looks amazing for sure. I was considering going for more fancy wood but I didn't want to drop the extra coin at the time just cause it was my 1st one.. but if I go for another I might drop more for sure.
 
Messages
3,753
Yeah, I'd say you're probably correct. Seems like US customers are probably the majority of the business and all the financing and stuff is more favourable as well. Overall I'm still really happy with them and I definitely wouldn't say it was a 'bad' experience either and I feel like some people go in with way too high of expectations. In the end, my Vader is probably the best guitar I've owned yet and its also better and cheaper than some other guitars I've owned that don't even come close to it. Even if it took an extra month or so, it was still very fast for a custom build guitar.

Also, yours looks amazing for sure. I was considering going for more fancy wood but I didn't want to drop the extra coin at the time just cause it was my 1st one.. but if I go for another I might drop more for sure.
Yeah for sure, their wait time is significantly less than most other custom shops. I also debated maybe getting a "simpler" one to start but thought I might regret not spending a bit extra to really make it insane...I caught a "top of the week" segment on FB Live with this beautiful buckeye so it was actually half the normal price ($300 versus $600 upcharge) plus I could see the actual top for my guitar before spending the money which isn't usually the case...and while I was hoping for some really nicely figured black limba (which they certainly delivered!) I mainly made that choice in terms of sound...black limba is my favorite body wood for guitars. My total came to $1900, which is insane given the specs and the fact that there is nothing else remotely like this available anywhere else at anywhere near this price.

I'm almost ready to order my 2nd one but I keep flip-flopping on a few of the specs...hopefully I'll narrow things down soon in time for it to arrive for the holidays :).
 

Jabby92

Member
Messages
3,303
Yeah for sure, their wait time is significantly less than most other custom shops. I also debated maybe getting a "simpler" one to start but thought I might regret not spending a bit extra to really make it insane...I caught a "top of the week" segment on FB Live with this beautiful buckeye so it was actually half the normal price ($300 versus $600 upcharge) plus I could see the actual top for my guitar before spending the money which isn't usually the case...and while I was hoping for some really nicely figured black limba (which they certainly delivered!) I mainly made that choice in terms of sound...black limba is my favorite body wood for guitars. My total came to $1900, which is insane given the specs and the fact that there is nothing else remotely like this available anywhere else at anywhere near this price.

I'm almost ready to order my 2nd one but I keep flip-flopping on a few of the specs...hopefully I'll narrow things down soon in time for it to arrive for the holidays :).
Thats awesome man, sounds like you timed it right and got a really nice deal. Its definitely super hard to beat these guys on price since they don't have the same retail mark up as Fender, Gibson and others. The wood you chose looks really nice for sure and with so many options its definitely hard to choose so I don't blame you for flip-flopping.. but its all in the fun.

I was definitely tempted to go all out as well on my 1st one.. but just wanted to play it 'safe' and I'm really happy with it as it is. I'm also tempted to pick up a 2nd one, I'm really interested in the headless acoustic electric they make now.


The GAS just went through the roof when I watched this the 1st time :eek:
 


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