Friday, December 14, 2012

Guitar Festival and Competition

Hill Guitar Company with The Carmel Classic Guitar Society and Friedman Eye Center, proudly present a 2 Day Guitar Festival and Competition!

Friday March 22 and Saturday March 23, 2013

Friday's event will feature an evening concert with Eva Beneke at the Museum of Monterey 
Saturday's 9:00am to 6:00pm schedule at the
Monterey Conference Center
One Portola Plaza, Monterey, CA will include:
  • Seminars
  • Masterclasses 
  • Competitions 
  • Vendor Displays  
 Saturday's evening concert features Marc Teicholz at the Museum of Monterey

The first place winner of the festival competition will be awarded $500. Stay tuned for registration information and competition guidelines.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jonathan Braun's Custom Hill Guitar

615mm Performance Standup

We just completed a custom Performance Model instrument for Jonathan Braun, a good guitarist and old friend from Marin County. He asked me to make very special instrument designed for comfort and ease, a Performance Model guitar, but with a Stand Up style tapered body, an ergonomic arm rest, and a 615 mm string length.
The very short 615 string length was the biggest departure for me. I have built guitars a small as 630 mm, and I've also had guitars even shorter, but generally those instruments are smaller body, designed for children or other small people. In this case we were pushing the limit if how- short-can-you-go. The best way I know to discover what a "limit" is, is to pass it. I thought maybe this would be past the limit, but no. This 615 scale concert guitar is really magical.
Honestly, the bass, the volume, the trebles and the overall presence are completely acceptable, wonderful actually, with no obvious sacrifice of sound. What is unusual about this guitar is the incredible playability because of the shorter fret spacings, and the a remarkable sustain, kind of supernatural, due I suppose tot the low tension on the top. 
Whatever it is, the overall affect is very appealing, and it extends the horizon of what's-possible once again. There's nothing like a good old 650 mmm concert classical guitar, but more and more we are finding variations that suit a lot of special desires, needs or curiosities, and sacrifice nothing in the process. Pretty cool. I'm going to make a couple more similar guitars right away, both to test some further variations, and to discern whether the magic of this guitar was a lucky anomaly, or whether it is a reliable formula. Keep in touch.
Kenny Hill
November 2012 

Jonathan tries his new custom 615mm Performance at the
Hill Guitar Showroom Ben Lomond, CA
Custom Performance     Specifications:
  • Double top: spruce/Nomex/cedar
  • Fan bracing
  • Standard Performance size body
  • Stand up wedge body profile
  • Ebony fingerboard, 51mm @ nut, 615mm string length
  • Sound ports
  • Truss rod
  • French polish finish

For more special features, check out our Features and Options page.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Check out the Amazon Rosewood on this 640 Hill Performance Model

640 Hill Performance Model


640mm: Short string length

Double top: Spruce/nomex/cedar

Lattice Bracing

Sound Ports

Get the details here.

Back and sides feature a new alternative to endangered Brazilian rosewood: Amazon Rosewood.  Lower priced than Brazilian, but offers similar sound qualities of Brazilian rosewood.   Find out More info here

Call 800.262.8858 to place your special order.

Friday, October 19, 2012

New World Player Series Fingerstyle-C Revied by Acoustic Guitar Magazine

Five Hybrid Nylon-Strings Reviewed

Acoustic Guitar reviews five acoustic-electric classical guitars with narrow necks from Alhambra, Córdoba, Hill, Martin, and Taylor.

Featured here, the New World Player Series Fingerstyle-C

Headquartered in Ben Lomond, California, the Hill Guitar Co. operates under the guidance of luthier Kenny Hill, who has been building classical guitars since 1972. The company’s high-end classical guitars are highly regarded by serious classical players, but Hill also consults with Córdoba Guitars and has developed his own line of more affordable instruments that are built in China and sold under the New World Guitars name.

Our review guitar is a Fingerstyle-C model from the New World Players series. It has a 17⁄8-inch nut width and cutaway but has the overall look and rich, warm tone of a traditional classical guitar and is built with conventional classical construction techniques like fan bracing and a Spanish-foot neck joint. The high gloss finish, along with the dark cedar top, rich Indian rosewood back and sides, and understated look of the purfling and three-ringed rosette pattern creates an air of elegance.

Our Fingerstyle-C came equipped with an optional L.R. Baggs Anthem SL Classical electronics package, which includes an undersaddle pickup, microphone, and onboard preamp with a crossover circuit (click here for our review of the Anthem system). In contrast to other guitars in this article, the Anthem does not have controls in the side of the guitar (its volume control installs inside the soundhole).

Both acoustically and amplified, the Hill Fingerstyle-C delivers the full-bodied tone one expects from a classical guitar, with a warm resonant midrange. The guitar is quite responsive and produces plenty of volume when played hard. I appreciated the combination of the very playable neck and warm traditional tone. I was happy with the sound of traditional classical pieces as well as jazz and Latin tunes, and the guitar’s plugged-in sound was warm, full, and surprisingly feedback resistant. Fiore commented on the Fingerstyle- C’s dark tone and spent a lot of time exploring single-note melodies in the bass, as well as the wide range of tones created by varying his pickinghand position.

Anthem SL Classical pickup.
Traditional classical tone.

SPECS: Solid cedar top. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. 12-fret mahogany neck with Spanish-foot neck joint. Venetian cutaway. Ebony fingerboard. Rosewood bridge. Bone nut and saddle. 650-mm (25.59-inch) scale. 17⁄8-inch nut width. 21⁄4-inch string spacing at the saddle. L.R. Baggs Anthem SL Classical electronics. D’Addario Pro Arte strings. Made in China. Left-handed version available without a cutaway.

PRICE: $1,995 ($1,795 without electronics).

MAKER: Hill Guitar Co.: (800) 262-8858

View Video Review


Tuesday, October 9, 2012


In response to many Frequently Asked Questions, we've started to add specific information regarding the features and options on our guitars with hopes we'll provide a knowledge base for those interested.

The first 3 sections we've added are regarding Double tops, French Polish and Kenny's Stand up Signature model. You can find these pages here:

In the coming weeks we will be adding information regarding the following subjects:

Why we install truss rods
Lattice and Fan Bracing
Sound Ports
Elevated Fingerboard
Smaller Body Sizes
Short Scale Lengths
Why an Arm Rest
What's different about a Crossover

What else do you want to know about?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Johannes Moller in concert in Monterey, CA

Hill Guitar Company and The Carmel Guitar Society with Freidman Eye Center, is proud to bring you the 2010 1st place GFA winner Johannes Moller in Concert in Monterey

Johannes will be performing at the Maritime Museum of Monterey on Columbus day Monday October 8th at 7pm. Tickets are $20 and membership renewal to the Guitar Society gets one free ticket. Click here for Tickets

Kenny Hill states, "Johannes plays guitar in another realm. He uses the guitar with a delicate, sensitive, powerful touch. His own compositions carry a sincerity and emotional impact that is irresistible, and his approach to traditional classical repertoire is refreshing and inspiring, shaped by his own enhanced skills as a composer. His understanding of the fingerboard, the harmonic possibilities and the resonance of the instrument are truly unique and profound. He is a charismatic performer, and shares his love for the music in a way that is personal, compelling and elevating."
Johannes plays a lovely cedar top Hill Signature Model guitar, made in 2011.

Johannes Moller is an artist you don't want to miss. If you are anywhere in the Monterey Bay or greater bay area it is definitely worth your while to travel to downtown Monterey. If you are farther away, he will also be playing in Sacramento on October 5th and in Los Angeles on October 11th. Johannes' Concert Schedule  

Here playing "Ananda"  Live in Sarasota, Johannes displays a wonderful, personal example of the expression of the guitar.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hill Guitar Company...another new era.

Hill Guitar Company is in yet another new era, maybe the best yet. My sons are both working in the company. I'm happy to say they are working hard to absorb our past and experience, and push forward to do more good work.
What else could a dad ask for?

 At this time, Simon is assembling the guitars up to the bindings, and I am doing neck, fingerboard, frets, etc.
Quillan is sanding and French polishing.

But we are only part of the team. Francisco Hernandez has been with me for around 20 years, first in Mexico and now here in California. He is a great, great, guitar maker, and I can't imagine where we would be without him. He has been making guitars for over 60 years with great skill and patience. He is really from an old world, and a true treasure.

Haiying Jiang has been with us for many years doing French polish, and she is passing along the process. She is very, very good at this, generous in teaching. Haiying and Quillan are both doing French polish, a slow but happy finish process.

Ben Lamdin has been with us for about 5 years, doing bridges, finish buffing and set up and repairs. He's dedicated and he's good. He is the person that brings all the guitars to completion and perfection.

Together we are making some of the best guitars ever, and with any luck, you'll get one!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Radio Interveiw with Kenny Hill on KPIG 107.5

Tune in this Sunday 10/7 from 10 to Noon PST to hear

Check out more video samples of artists playing our guitars, recordings and interviews with Kenny here:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


There are certain developments that are favoring some smaller guitars in the world; one is the remarkable number of child players who are becoming very accomplished at an early age, and another is the population of wise, experienced guitarists who long for instruments more comfortable and easier to play. Until now, in the guitar market, smaller has almost always been cheaper, and lower quality because it's perceived to be for young students who aren't so serious.

I've been working with shorter string lengths and smaller body guitars for a long time. Recently Scott Gossage a Teacher at Silicon Valley Classical Guitar School was in our showroom shopping with a talented young student, and while trying guitars he said "if only you had this size guitar but with this string length." What he said made sense to me, so I did it.

I have taken our standard Performance Series and reduced the perimeter by 5mm all the way around, and built it with 630mm string length, and I love it. We are referring to the body size as 7/8, which is about right. To me the lines of the body are just beautiful, the guitar feels wonderful and luxuriant, and it produces a full concert sound, and plays very easily.

So far I have made two, one spruce, one cedar, but I have also made the molds for it, so this can be part of our regular production schedule, as time permits.

This s a slightly smaller classical guitar, with full concert sound, featuring our unique Performance Series design including double top, lattice bracing, sound ports and French polish finish. It's priced the same as the standard Performance, and as such is a first class concert guitar at a modest professional price.

I don't know of anything else like it anywhere. If you have ever wondered about something like this, well, this is it. You really deserve to try it.

Kenny Hill
June 2012.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Want to hear how a particular Hill Guitar sounds???

For years, people have been asking, hoping, wondering...
"What does a Hill Guitar sound like?"
Now, after years of only being able to experience this amazing sound by walking into a Hill Dealer, or visiting our Showroom in the Santa Cruz Mountains, you can click here to check out video of Guitar Samples and updated Artist Samples!

are our finest and most prestigious guitars, each one custom made to the highest standards of excellence.

guitars are a lower priced line of instruments with features and qualities of the SIGNATURE series.

Monday, July 9, 2012

We Start Adding Video of Artists Playing Our Guitars

Kenny was on hand in Dalian, China where this video of Huaicaong Mu playing Villa Lobos' Etude #7 was shot in June of 2012.

Huaicaong Mu plays a Hill Signature model.

This is one of several videos we'll be adding to our video cache on YouTube featuring musicians playing our instruments. The videos will also be available to browse on our website by guitar, and by artist as well.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Hill Guitar Artists Page!!!

Many a fine Classical Guitar Artist plays a Hill Guitar...or two!

We've compiled those players in one location on our web site, sharing their biographies, videos and sound clips for your enjoyment.

Here is just a taste of what you'll find on our page...Click here to check them out!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Omni Foundation Raffle

Bill Econome was the happy winner of a Kenny Hill Performance Series Guitar at the Omni Foundation Raffle on April 29, 2012 at Guitar Solo.


Photo by: Teresa Tam

We at Hill Guitar Company are delighted to be a part of the Omni's one of best guitar series' in the world!

Friday, April 13, 2012


In Philadelphia this weekend? Don't miss a recital featuring the 2010 PCGS and 2010 GFA compeititon winner, Johannes Moller at the PHILADELPHIA CLASSICAL GUITAR FESTIVAL 2012. This weekend, Saturday April 14 & Sunday April 15.

Kenny Hill will be there featuring 2 Signatures 2 Performances and a Signature Stand up model.

Stop by and check us out!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

An 11 String Story

This week we finished up an 11 string Performance Series guitar, custom ordered by Matt Gabrio from Washington State. This is an instrument designed to play music from the renaissance and baroque periods, written for lute. Most of that music is written in tablature, not really playable on a 6 string guitar, at least not without serious transcription. Using this 11 string guitar and appropriate tunings, the music of Bach, Weiss, Kasperberger, Dowland and so many more can be played with all their original voicings, but without the expense and difficulties of owning a lute or two or three. This music is really sophisticated, and when played in historic tunings has a pastoral and transcendent character that just doesn't quite translate to a 6 string guitar.

The original idea for this came from Terry Schumacher. He wanted a guitar that could be acquired by college music departments to give students access to several hundred years of beautiful music written entirely in tablature. We collaborated on this general design about 10 years ago, and made maybe 10 pieces. I've heard some great recordings from those prototypes.

This current one has the same overall design elements, but is updated with a double top, lattice bracing and sound ports. It seems very alive and sparkling, with the sound and dynamic qualities that I expect from the Performance Series. It's a hybrid, a modern instrument made for playing very old and traditional music. For me it's a little un-nerving to string it up, because it's quite confusing for me to try and play so many strings! I expect the new owner will put the time in to really learn how to use it, and I look forward to hearing the music that comes out of it.

From the New Owner:
Matthew Gabrio wrote:
Kenny, Larry and all who worked on the 11-string for me; wow. What a work of art. This instrument is the first concert style guitar I've had since I parted with my 1964 Miguel Rodriguez(which now sits behind the glass at Rosewood Guitar, for the most part unplayed -sigh-) and I must tell you I've never been happier with a guitar. The sound is even, full, clear, and extremely well balanced.
I love you all. Fantastic work! When I'm ready for a new 6-string, I'll be having you build it.
Thank you so much,
Matt Gabrio
p.s. When I record a youtube at quaver studios, I'll be sure to send you the link.

We'll look forward to hearing that Matt!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview with Kenny Hill By Dedrick Koh

The name “Kenny Hill” has become of the most prestigious and exciting names to emerge from North America. Kenny Hill first started making guitars in the 1970s, and since then, a venerable who’s who of classical guitarists have played or owned his instruments.

Interview with Kenny Hill

Saturday, January 21, 2012

JP Durand visits @NAMM

JP Durand from the band Incendio tried out the Indian rosewood topped Stage model and Kenny's Signature with pick up.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

@ NAMM Show

Scott Nygaard, Teja Gerken, Kenny Hill with the standup Signature @ NAMM show 2012