This is the latest latest, project, encouraged by a few of my professional clients, most forcefully, Almer Imamovic. This is a attempt to make a truly electric classical, for those gigs where you need to play really loud and strong, but not give up the feel, dynamics and tone values of a fine classical guitar. A few companies have tried (no names) and most have failed, miserably. I've built three variations on this over the last few weeks, and I'm hoping to have them wrapped up by Namm. I know it will take several more attempts to get it right, but I'm planning to get it right eventually. We'll see.....
Think Les Paul size
thin parlor size body
narrow neck 1 7/8" w. radiused fingerboard
marker dots on the neck 5, 7, 9
double top: spruce, nomex, cedar
ebony Gotoh machines
640mm string length
solid select Indian rosewood
Spanish cedar neck
Hand applied French polish finish
Made in California [Kenny Hill]
projected list price $5750/ case included
UPDATED review from Michael Millham after playing both of these at the NAMM show and posted on the Acoustic Guitar Magazine's forum. Images of Michael playing the guitar in our NAMM posting:
Super easy to play; totally comfortable. Same feel and workmanship as all the upper level models. Feels like a typical CG to the hands, and a "thinline" electro acoustic to the body. Loud enough to be heard-about as loud as all but the full bodied lattice braced double tops, but with (I think; it's NAMM, after all) less bass response unplugged (no surprise there). I'm sure that the lattice double top and ports has a lot to do with the fact that there is still some acoustic punch-more so than with other thinlines I've played. I *think* that one was a flat board, and that Almer's was subtly radiused; both had low actions and narrower nuts, and both were as fast as any of the Hills I've played before.
I was not as enthused about the pickup, but anyone who has been around this forum for a decade or so-particularly "gear"-knows that I am a pickup snob/junkie; plus, I've never been a piezo UST guy... others who don't mind piezo coloration in, say, steel strings might really like the amplified tone; it's certainly more subtle than most USTs, and more agreeable than the typical "Chet" stylists live thinline tone.
If I suddenly found myself playing at louder stage volumes, this guitar would be at the top of a short list. It's basically just a high rent, high tech, high quality version of a stage thinline acoustic-which I think is the whole point.
It would be great for folks with shoulder or other body issues too, since there is still some authority unplugged.
Oddly, I can see these little guitars riding on a lot of contemporary pop/country/praise music tour buses: just the thing for adding natural nylon flavor to a band backing up the hot singer du jour.
Speaking of little guitars, the maple Torres (and we are talking tiny, romantic-era sized body-even smaller than normal "Torres" reproductions) was a surprise, very sweet and full at the same time. Likely a killer couch guitar.
My favorite at the show, however, was a cedar "performance" model. Kel's favorite was probably the "lowerboutectomy" beveled signature that Perf mentions.
They're all good. That's why all these players keep stopping by that booth.