Thursday, December 23, 2010

New 630 PERFORMANCE Parlor Guitar

Here's something special for your holiday surfing...

A new PERFORMANCE model - parlor size 630mm.

It's designed for the player needing a smaller bodied instrument with closer frets for an easier left hand reach.

Here's a smaller guitar with a large sound: double top, sound ports and lattice bracing! Indian rosewood back and sides with handsome ebony button Gotoh tuners.

A phenomenal special guitar for the right player.

$5500 includes a new arched case.

See more images and details about this new PERFORMANCE parlor size 630mm guitar in our SHOWROOM.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Heightened Awareness - Winter Guitar Care

Every year we're reminded winter weather is cold and dry. Unfortunately, this reminder comes in the form of complaints, anxiety and unhappiness due to guitar damage - an avoidable situation, often due to a lack of understanding about the issue.

We're going to join the effort made by many others in trying to raise consciousness regarding proper guitar care for those who live in dry and cold winter climates. If you don't know if this applies to you, it does if chapstick is a part of your winter routine or if static electricity is something you experience for example. If your humidity drops below 50% at any time of the year, it applies to you.

Briefly, low humidity can damage your guitar. Since seasonal weather patterns are predictable, it's possible to be prepared for it and do some simple things to protect your instrument.

There are many other authoritative sources who have written everything you need to know on the subject. Here are 2 comprehensive web links which contain the technical, science and tips on what to do about it.

Santa Cruz Guitar Company Fret Not Guitar Repair

There are many other places you can find information such as and the Taylor Guitar Company, both excellent sources.

Be informed. Don't let your guitar dry out. Protect your investment.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We'll be at the NAMM Show

Anaheim NAMM Show 2011
January 13 - 16
Anaheim Convention Center

Hall E
Booth 1418

We'll be showing the latest SIGNATURE, PERFORMANCE and
New World Models.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2 New Torres FE-18 in the Showroom

We've got 2 new small bodied Torres FE-18 available. These small guitars are suited for players with smaller hands or limited reach. They demonstrate smaller size does not necessarily matter when you are seeking a full sophisticated sounding guitar - they have excellent projection and lovely sound. Just the right thing for what you have been seeking for so long.

Both of these feature upgraded Sloane Leaf tuning machines with ebony buttons.

There is a 630mm Indian rosewood model, and a 640mm flamed maple model.

Both have custom cases.

View more information and photos in the showroom.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Almer Imamovic Video

Almer Imamovic Concierto de Aranjuez Adagio by Rodrigo

Almer plays his Hill Signature here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Search Feature on Website Home Page

I've added a google search field on our home page. I'm not as happy with it as I will be when I can figure out how to make it list chronologically, but it is surely a quick way to find and collect information from the website. Try it and see!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Performance Model in Acoustic Guitar Magazine November 2010

"With its extroverted sound, easy playability, and clean craftsmanship, this modern guitar in traditional guise has a lot to offer someone looking for a concert-quality classical with exceptional balance and a warm, punchy tone with wide dynamic range. In short, the Performance series may be the best manifestation yet of Kenny Hill’s desire to provide concert-quality guitars, in accessible quantities, at affordable prices." - Michael Millham, ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAGAZINE , November 2010

Article, video and audio of this guitar is available online at the Acoustic Guitar Magazine website and in print.

Just Added - This guitar is now available for sale in our showroom.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Custom 10 String Just Completed

This custom one-of-a kind instrument 10 string Signature was completed this week, featuring the standard Signature Nomex double top: layers of European spruce, Nomex and Western red cedar.

• Double top
• Indian rosewood back and sides
• Ebony fingerboard
• Lightweight truss rod
• Gotoh ebony tuning machines
• All French polish
• Sound ports
• Body Length: 19 1/4"
• Upper Bout: 11"
• Lower Bout: 14 3/8"
• Overall Length: 42.5"
• Head: 9 1/4"
• Fingerboard @ nut: 85mm
• Fingerboard @ 12th fret: 101mm

Friday, September 3, 2010



a nylon stringed instrument with a powerful and beautiful acoustic sound with a narrower neck and a radiused fingerboard.

Our Hill Master Series CROSSOVER played rings around other crossover nylon stringed guitars whose diminished acoustic sound has been a disappointment to many. The PERFORMANCE, however, as a classical instrument has already demonstrated it will become a new standard against which mid-priced modern classical guitars will be measured: incredible quality sound projection.

Hallmarks of the PERFORMANCE are:
  • nomex double top w. spruce & cedar
  • lattice bracing
  • all solid woods
  • truss rod
  • bone nut & saddle
  • French polish finish
  • Indian rosewood back & sides
In addition, the standard PERFORMANCE CROSSOVER features:
  • 1 7/8" [48mm] radiused ebony fingerboard at the nut
  • lattice bracing
  • cutaway
  • optional Schatten pickup install
Base price with case $5495

Thursday, July 29, 2010

650, 628 and 615

We often get questions about our shorter scale guitars, so here's a photo of 3 New World PLAYER model Guitars: 650, 628 and 615. The 2 on the left are Western red cedar and the one on the right is European spruce. You can get a sense the shorter scale guitars have smaller and different shaped bodies. 650 and 628 have 52mm [2 inch] fingerboards at the nut, the 615 has a slightly narrower 48mm [ 1 7/8"] fingerboard at the nut.

While the shorter string length means easier multifret stretches, the shorter string length also means less string tension, so the strings are easier to press.

These ergonomic benefits do not mean you have to compromise on quality. While smaller guitars may suit students and young people, these are not guitars for children. These guitars have a full, robust, satisfying sound, and are a complete joy to play.

All the PLAYER models are solid woods, Indian rosewood back and sides, ebony fingerboard, Spanish cedar necks. They all feature an adjustable truss rod, and easy to care for high gloss finish.

The shorter string length guitars offer smaller players and those with restricted reach access to a truly high quality, excellent sounding and comfortable instrument.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hill Guitar at GFA Austin

2010 Guitar Foundation of America Convention & Competition
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
Austin, Texas
June 22-27, 2010
Hosted by the Austin Classical Guitar Society

Kenny will be there June 24 through 27. He'll have new PERFORMANCE and SIGNATURE models available to try as well as a lovely maple Torres FE-18 and New World models. Be sure to stop by our table.

Friday, June 4, 2010

How to Distinguish Something Special

2010 Hill PERFORMANCE model #3029
Lattice-Braced Double-top
$5500 with hardshell case

The PERFORMANCE models are a very comfortable modern guitars with a lot of power, flexibility and range for the serious player and professional at an accessible price.

As you may know, every handmade guitar is different. After our guitars are strung the first time, like a maternity ward, we meet our new charges, sense those differences and speculate on their future.

Depending on how long the new guitars hang around the showroom, we can appreciate how their sound changes as they start t0 mature. Sometimes an instrument may sound a bit muted on one string at first, and within a day or two, it locks into expectations. Sometimes a guitar is exceptional right out of the chute.

#3029 is one of those SPECIAL ones.

We have been informal about this kind of situation in the past, to the point of not bothering to mention it to anyone, even the buyer. After all, not everyone's tastes are the same, and we've established a level of expected excellence in our instruments we needn't tinker with.

On the other hand, for those who might be interested, this brand-new lively guitar is really special already. It's unlikely we'll create any formal method of acknowledging this phenomenon in the future other a blog item, but we think you'll agree if you get a chance to play or buy it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Kenny Hill Finishes New Composition THERE AND GONE

When I first started playing classical guitar I was around 23 years old, and I wanted to do just two things — play Bach, and write music. So that's what I did. It was a limited diet, personally satisfying, but eventually I needed to branch out to learn more about guitar playing and a broader musical vocabulary. I did indeed write quite a bit of music in those days (the 1970's) but it has fallen by the wayside and is now lost in filing cabinets in my attic. I've wanted to get back to writing, but my standards are higher now, and it can be a lot of work to write music, especially good music, and I've been kind of busy.

Jump to last January, I was in China and got an email from Randall Kohl. He was a student at UC Santa Cruz back when I was teaching there (1979-1982) and now he's a PhD and professor of music at the University in Jalapa Mexico. He recently got a grant to publish an anthology of American guitar music, and he asked me to contribute. I guess he was still thinking of me as the person I was then, which I'm mostly not, but I was flattered. I hadn't written anything in 30 years, but he suggested I could submit something from back then. That didn't seem quite right for me, so I immediately started on a new work. He gave me a deadline of May 1st, 3 months!

And it worked! I started the piece late January, and now it's done. And I like it. It's titled "There and Gone", whatever that means. I'm learning to play it now. I know that seems odd, that I can't automatically play something I've written, but it's just not so easy. I have to break it down and learn it bit by bit, just as I would any other piece. It's hard but it's fun.

I'm going to premier the piece on Sunday June 6th at the New Music Works Avant Garden Party, as well as playing some other pieces by my friends Andy York and James Kline. I'm a little nervous about it, but I've got to do it, that's what the music is for. Maybe you can come,there will be lots of other music and food and drink, it should be a great musical/garden event.

My friend Kevin MacDowell is doing the type setting of There and Gone in Finale, something I don't know how to do, and don't want to know how. It's brave of him to read my awful handwriting, and exciting to see this music come into print. It will be published in Kohl's anthology eventually, but in the meantime I'll be curious to see if anyone besides me learns it. Almer said he would, and I hope he does, he's such a great player.

The cool side effect is that there are other pieces bubbling to the surface. I don't have a deadline in front of me now to force action, but maybe I'll stay focused enough to harvest some more music. It's an interesting process. It seems like music is just hanging in the air all around, and it just needs some kind of special instrument to dial in and capture it. A little time spent each day, and somehow miraculously the music takes shape. It's refreshing, satisfying.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

3 NEW Guitars in the SHOWROOM

We've listed 3 new guitars in the Showroom this afternoon: A Brazilian rosewood Signature, and Master Series' Rodriguez and Hauser '37 models.

The Signature features a beautiful European spruce/western red cedar double top with lattice bracing. One of the last of our knock-out Brazilian rosewood sets. And it sounds fantastic.

These 2 Master Series guitars, the most popular Rodriguez and Hauser '37 will be the last for the next 3-5 months, since there are no more in production...and maybe longer than that. So if Hermann or Miguel float your boat, you'd better jump as the rumored rising tide won't find any boats for the foreseeable future.

Lastly, for those paying attention, the BZ Signature is listed for sale at a $700 discount, so it's likely to disappear into a lucky someone's music room before you know it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

New 640mm SIGNATURE in the SHOWROOM for sale

This is a new Hill Standard Signature with double top: western red cedar/nomex/European spruce, elevated fingerboard, sound ports, 640mm scale.

We don't make a lot of these, but when we do, they go fast. {edit 4/12} SOLD TODAY. Let us know if you'd like one of these, and we'll build one for you.

More and more people seem to be seeking the slightly shorter scale length.

This guitar is braced with traditional fan bracing, although we have made a number of lattice braced models.

This one has a wide tonal palette, a natural warm sound with a lot of projection.

The guitar comes with a new double arched TKL 9100 case.

There are no more 640mm Signatures presently in the pipeline for the foreseeable future, so if you've been looking for one, this is it.

More photos and specs available in the SHOWROOM.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


The Performance Series is our latest line of guitars designed and built in the Hill Guitar workshop here in California. The intent of these guitars is to offer a high quality modern concert instrument at a medium price. The Performance Series is constructed in the traditional Spanish style, with the integral body and neck joint, but incorporates a modern soundboard, with double top and either lattice bracing, or fan-bracing. Sound ports are also part of the design, unless requested otherwise.

I've been working on this series for over a year now, and we finally introduced it officially at the NAMM show in January 2010. The response was great, and I took many orders from dealers at the show. Until now they have all had lattice bracing, with both cedar and spruce double tops. As usual, the double top includes BOTH spruce and cedar, with the outer wood giving the dominant tonal influence. The guitars are powerful, and have a wide range of color, with the easy dynamic range and palette I have come to expect from the double top. The lattice gives a very quick response, and strong punch. We'll soon have some fan-braced versions completed, offering that choice of traditional, beautiful tone.

To contrast the Performance with the Signature, the most significant difference is that the Signature has the elevated fingerboard, while the Performance has a traditional fingerboard. Other differences include, the Signature has the sides laminated with cypress, while the Performance is normal solid wood sides, the Signature has V joint for the head, while the performance has a traditional scarf joint, and the tuners on the Performance are Gotoh, rather than the Sloane tuners used on the Signature. Also, the Performance has a simpler binding and purfling scheme, but with mahogany bindings that set off the outline of the instrument in a striking and beautiful way.

Over time we will develop a range of variations, such as string lengths, (640mm, 630mm etc,) other materials, (maple, Madagascar rosewood, cypress) and probably a cutaway and a narrow neck version. I hope to see it become a full line of high performance nylon string guitars to fill the needs of many kinds of players.

The Performance Series offers an excellent, world class guitar at a workable price. There are real differences between the Performance and Signature models, they are both very exciting to play, and they both are of a quality and superiority that belies their prices. This new Performance Series offers unique features and a level of quality that is not available anywhere else in the market.

If this strikes you interest please contact you local dealer and ask to try one out, or contact us with any questions at 1-800-262-8858, or email me at

Thursday, January 14, 2010

From the Floor at NAMM 2010

Kenny's at the 2010 NAMM show in Anaheim for the next few days. If you are at the show or in the greater LA area, please drop in to see the variety of SIGNATURE and new PERFORMANCE models we have on display. We've also got a Rodriguez, Reyes, Torres and Fleta, as well as a sampling New World Player and Estudio models.

Please feel free to email us as we'll be checking it throughout the day.