Friday, December 20, 2013

How a local Monterey cypress tree becomes a Hill Guitar!

Guitar making is very much a lifelong love affair with wood. The 4-6 different woods that go into an individual guitar each has a different purpose and characteristics, and they come from all over the world. There is no one country or continent that supplies all of the materials that go into a traditional classical guitar. Traveling to the source and seeing the trees being harvested and turned into guitar materials can be very exciting, and offers a lot of insight into the character of wood and how valuable and hard won it is as a resource. I've been to some of those sources, but by no means all. I've never seen a rosewood tree or an ebony tree, maybe I still can someday.

Here along the central coast of California there is one tree that is fairly common and useful for some types of guitar making, and that is the Monterey cypress. Though there are small native groves at Point Lobos and Pebble Beach near Monterey, most of the tree stands around the state have been planted for landscaping purposes. We see a lot of old trees on military land, in parks and cemeteries, and around farm lands, lining roads or fields, I guess to serve as wind breaks.

At Hill guitar we use cypress for flamenco guitars, and also as the inner material of the laminated sides on the Signature Model. I laminate the sides on the Signature for the added stability and for the added aroma. It's extra work and materials, but I think it does something good for the instrument. Some other guitar makers such as Daniel Friedrich, Robert Ruck, and Jose Ramirez laminate sides on some models. I don't know why they do it, I've never asked them. 

So when we started running low ocypress I had to go looking for it. Years ago I had quite a bit of experience finding logs and milling guitar wood, but I haven't had to do it in a long time. I always have my eye out for trees falling down or being cut, so I started looking more carefully. I found that Steve Jackel had cut up some big trees in Watsonville, so Simon and I went out and went through his whole stack of cypress to get the good stuff. We picked out maybe 300 board feet, hauled it back to the shop and started milling it into sides and backs right away. This will be enough to last a long time. It's kind of messy work, but it's fun and makes the shop smell nice and spicy. We don't have to get it all done at once, we can put in a few hours now and then when there's free time.

Monterey cypress is the one material we can get locally, but we still have to order everything else from other parts of the world. That's just the way it is. In the future we ma
y make a line of guitars using more domestic or local woods, and this sort of pursuit becomes more important as the worldwide supplies of traditional materials become more scarce or controlled. Classical guitar has deep tradition running through it and consumers may not be quite ready to accept major changes in the look or the sound of the guitar from new materials. But searching for and cutting wood is interesting and satisfying, and cultivates such a more intimate connection with the materials, carrying on that lifelong love affair with wood. 

Kenny Hill
December 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Guitar Special

Holiday Guitar Special
Get $1000 off this Hill guitar! 

A year ago Kenny Hill completed a custom performance model guitar designed for comfort and ease. This performance guitar had a stand up style tapered body, ergonomic arm rest, and 615mm string length. Kenny had built guitars as small as 630mm, and owned guitars even shorter, but generally those instruments have smaller bodies designed for children or smaller people. He pushed the “how-short-can-you-go” limit last year and found the 615mm scale concert guitar to be magical. This motivated him to build another guitar just like it.

This performance model guitar, pictured on the left and below, proved that the magic of Kenny's previously made guitar was not a lucky anomaly and instead a reliable formula. Kenny says, “Honestly, the bass, the volume, the trebles and the overall presence of this guitar 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 a remarkable sustain, kind of supernatural, due to I suppose the low tension on the top.”

This custom guitar, usually priced at $6295, is on sale for $5295 this holiday season! 
615mm Performance

Learn more about this guitar here: Holiday Guitar Special

Custom Performance Specifications: 
  • Soundboard: Double top: cedar/nomex/spruce
  • Back/Sides: Indian rosewood
  • Neck: Spanish cedar
  • Fingerboard: ebony
  • String Length: 615mm
  • Finish: French polish
  • Sound ports
  • Tuners: Gotoh tuners w ebony buttons
  • Lightweight truss rod
  • Fingerboard at the nut: 51mm
  • Compensated nut and saddle
  • 12 hole bridge
  • Side marker dots @ 7th fret
  • Price includes an arched hardshell case

If you are interested, or know a friend that may be interested, in purchasing this guitar, please call us at (800) 262-8858 or (831) 336-9317 or e-mail us at

Monday, October 28, 2013

Win a Hill Performance Series Concert Guitar in the Omni Concerts 2013-14 Raffle!

The Omni Foundation

Kenny Hill, Johannes Möller, & Richard Patterson
at the 2011-2012 OmniConcerts
The Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts is entering its 33rd year of bringing the world’s finest acoustic guitarists to the San Francisco Bay Area. Although the series presents acoustic guitarists of all genres, such as flamenco, jazz and fingerstyle, the primary focus is on the classical guitar. The series is the longest running and most extensive guitar series in the United States and is considered to be one of the foremost guitar series in the world.

Omni presents not only the most celebrated virtuoso of our time but also the emerging artists and stars of tomorrow. The concerts take place in San Francisco’s most prestigious concert venues, both intimate and grand and great efforts are made to insure accessibility to the entire Bay Area community, particularly students.

The Omni Foundation, under the artistic direction of its founder, Richard Patterson, continues to provide a significant position for the classical guitar in the vibrant cultural scene of San Francisco. With the support of serious guitar enthusiasts and the City of San Francisco, Omni presents over 20 exceptional guitarists each season. We hope you will join us and experience the brilliance, beauty and potential of this exquisite instrument, the guitar.

Omni concerts program here: 2013-2014 Program

Purchase tickets here: Tickets

Win a Hill Performance Series Concert Guitar with Arched Case in the 2013-14 raffle!

Donation: $20

Drawing held at the Goryachev/Mouffe concert, April 25, 2014. 
Winners need not be present to be eligible.

The Performance Series is the newest line of fine guitars designed and built in the Hill California workshop. These guitars offer a great sounding high-quality modern concert instrument at a medium price - List $5500 w case.

Win this guitar in the raffle!
The Performance Series is handmade in the traditional Spanish style, with the integral body and neck joint, and incorporates a modern double top soundboard, with lattice or fan-bracing. Sound ports are standard, unless requested otherwise.

 • Sound board: Damann style double top comprised
 of Western red cedar, Nomex and Englemann
 spruce, Lattice bracing 
• Sound ports
 • Back & sides: Indian rosewood 
• Fingerboard: ebony
 • String length: 650mm 
• 20th fret extention
 • Tuners: Gotoh 
• Finish: French polish
 • Lightweight double-acting truss rod 
• Fingerboard at the nut: 51mm
 • Overall length: 39 1/2” 
• Body length: 19 1/2”
 • Upper bout: 11” 
• Lower bout: 14 1/4”
 • Body depth: 3 3/4 - 4” 
• Arched case included

This guitar will be showcased at each concert where you can enter your name into the raffle for only $20! 

You can also buy raffle tickets online here: Buy Raffle Tickets

Read about all of the Omni concert raffle prizes here: 2013-14 Omni Raffle

All proceeds go to The Omni Foundation. 


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Night Flame

"The video is of my composition "The Night Flame" that is based on raga Kirwani. The film is from a performance at BlueFrog, Bombay on the 15th of September this year."

         -Johannes Möller

Kenny comments, "I don't know what I could add that wouldn't take away from it! Great song, great performance, great player."

   Watch The Night Flame by Johannes Möller.
    Performed by Johannes Möller, guitar and Arif Khan, tabla
    Guitar: Kenneth Hill Strings: D'addario


Thursday, October 17, 2013

And so I named her Angel

Hill Guitar recently received a wonderful letter from Martha Stuart and her new Hill Torres that she named Angel. Read her letter to find out why!

Martha and Angel
"Dear Mr. Hill,

Just wanted to thank you so very much for creating such a beautiful guitar. I am just getting back to playing classical guitar after many years. While searching online for a guitar, I came upon Savage classical guitar. I Found the Hill Torres F5 3412 and fell in love with it. I have owned some fantastic guitars in the past, but, when I saw the Torres, I knew it had to be mine. It arrived the next day. I opened the case and there was the most gorgeous guitar I have ever seen. A work of art! The quilted maple back and sides, for some reason, reminded me of angel wings and the voice of the instrument is incredible. And so I named her ANGEL. 

Thanks so much, and I will tell Angel you said Hello.

I will take good care of her. 

Martha Stuart"

Kenny and the gang at Hill Guitar Company are delighted to know that their guitars are in happy hands!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Cincinnati Guitar Award Winner is...

Guitar Award Winner Diane Konyk!

Diane on stage
As you may have previously read on our blog, Clare Callahan, Professor of Classical Guitar at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, recently put on the 30th annual Classical Guitar Workshop. 

Hill Guitar Company donated a New World Estudio guitar to be awarded to a guitarist at the Saturday night workshops. Clare thanked us and said "Your guitar will be the cherry on top!"

The lucky winner of the guitar was Diane Konyk who shared a few words with us about her new guitar.
Diane Konyk photographed by Theresa Franke
"Thank you for the New World 650c! I was looking for a classical guitar that sounds great, looks beautiful, and also has a thinner neck, better action than my current guitar, and this model fits my needs. The 650c has a full bass sound that carries, and I find the upper notes ring nicely. My wrist also thanks you because with my smaller hands, I needed a different guitar and this fits me very well. I am having fun playing it and will add it to my performances!"   
                                                                                        -Diane Konyk
We are so happy to hear that Diane's new guitar seems to be a perfect fit! 

Congratulations Diane!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another great year at La Guitarra

Another great year for Hill Guitar 
at La Guitarra!

Simon and Quillan Hill ready for questions!
We recently got home from the guitar festival La Guitarra California in San Louis Obispo. I've been to this festival every time since the beginning, and it really does seem to get better and better. The coolest thing about this year was the luxury that my two sons Simon and Quillan basically ran our show, handled the logistics and interacted with customers and friends, old and new. After doing so many of these kinds of shows by myself, I'm really thankful to have their help. And at this point they are much better at it than I am.

I got to attend two concerts. The first was a great performance by my good friend the LA Guitar Quartet. They must be the premier classical guitar performers in the world, and their repertoire, skill and energy never fails. They did arrangements of iconic classical pieces, world music, original compositions for the quartet, and some very good arrangements of music by John Coltrane and Miles Davis. I love hearing them play, it's always good.

Andrew York and Kenny Hill
The second evening concert was by Andrew York, also a good friend whom I haven't seen in a few years. He did an almost completely original program. He's a fine guitarist, and this music is written for the guitar. Watching the pieces unfold I had a vicarious thrill at the discovery of the endless variety of themes and idioms and hooks, then all together in compositions of many moods and expressions. Most of the pieces in the program are on York's most recent CD Yamour. I picked up the CD at the concert and listened to it on the drive back home to Santa Cruz. Hearing the music again on recording, it is a very personal and satisfying collection of the works I had just heard in concert, and listening to these works is like getting caught up on the experiences and musings of an old friend. Glimmerings is a set of 6 pieces, each clever and expressive. Albaycin is a haunting piece I first heard Andy play on my sofa, and I was able to learn and perform the earlier version myself. Mechanism was originally written for and premiered at La Guitarra California 6 years ago, and while then it was a deadline hurried to meet, now it's a settled piece, clever and strong. Andy also played the Bach 3rd cello suite with the guitar tuned in fifths, like a cello, so he could just play the exact original notation. A good idea, and effective. I was glad to see Andrew perform here again, and glad to hear the ongoing compositions and his strength as a player.

There were many other artists in concert, with wonderful performances and classes, and many colleagues showing their guitars. We sold some guitars, heard good music and talked with many interesting people. Russ DeAngelo has worked hard to make La Guitarra California a professional, high class and fun festival, and he's working on it already for 2015. I'm planning to be there.

Kenny Hill
September 2013

Scott Tenant checking out on of
Kenny's signature guitars
 The master classes this year were a real treat. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to see each master class artist both perform in concert and teach four different level students in front of 100+ viewers. Some master class sessions focused on posture and relaxation while others focused on pushing through with passion and the importance of telling a story with your music. The audience not only had the opportunity to learn some new technique, but also got to look into the minds of these artists and see what their processes are to produce such amazing music. Many people in the audience were spotted taking notes!

Acoustic Angel by Dale Evers
Mrs. Fantasy by Nicky Shane
    In between concerts and master classes, people at the festival had an opportunity to check out the vendor fair and the guitar art display. After a concert or class the vendor fair was packed with people asking questions and trying out our guitars. The art gallery featured many different medias of art each with their own unique style. This three day festival was jam packed with talent; we can't wait to see what 2015 has to offer.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

La Guitarra, here we come!

Hill Guitar is off to the 2013 
La Guitarra California Festival!

When: September 6th-8th
Where: Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo, CA

This 3-day Festival is a “Celebration of Guitar” featuring 15 artists in 9 concerts, 5 Masterclasses, and a free lecture. The Vendor Fair will have 40 Luthiers exhibiting their hand made instruments, and attendees can place their bid on a new guitar in the silent auction.

Don't miss Friday's opening night concerts: Martha Masters, followed by The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet!

The Masterclasses will have added interest for guitar students of all ages and levels. They are conducted by a group of distinguished teachers: Scott Tennant, Andrew York, Berta Rojas, Adam del Monte, and Bill Kanengiser.
World renowned artists from England, Russia, Spain, Paraguay, France, Brazil, Israel, Belgium, and the United States will be at this year's festival.

We hope to see you there!

For more La Guitarra information click here: La Guitarra Website

Monday, August 19, 2013

Healdsburg Guitar Festival Afterthoughts

Hill Guitar Company wants to thank        Luthiers Mercantile International Inc                for putting on the 2013                          Healdsburg Guitar Festival!

The Healdsburg Guitar Festival has become the world's premier exposition and sale of custom acoustic guitars, and this year was a great turn out! In addition to the many local U.S. luthiers, luthiers from Canada, New Zealand, China, Malaysia, Finland, Scotland, Germany, Austria, South Africa, Japan, Spain, and Sweden were represented this year. It was the perfect opportunity for Kenny Hill to reunite with old friends and meet many new ones. 

Sons Quillan and Simon Hill help Kenny display some Hill guitars!

"This year's festival was composed of almost all steel string builders; it is interesting to notice fewer and fewer nylon string builders every year."
            -Kenny Hill 

Chris Herrod, the director of the Healdsburg Guitar Festival, said "the level of craftsmanship and innovation seen on this year’s instruments was simply beyond compare. In what other industry do you see ‘competitors’ sharing such a profound sense of community and camaraderie?"  

At the festival Kenny showed off one of his signature guitars and explained in detail what makes it sound so great! 
Follow this link to see the interview: Kenny Hill at Healdsburg 2013

Overall it was a great success and we look forward to 2015's festival!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hill Guitar Company amongst Luthiers from Around the World!

Healdsburg Guitar Festival is this weekend!

Join us this weekend, August 9th through 11th at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel in Santa Rosa, California.
Meet the Hill Guitar luthiers and admire, order or purchase a custom made guitar.

Take a Players Workshop to improve your playing and composing skills.

Enjoy great guitarists playing Demonstration Concerts for the builders who make their music possible. Don't miss our own Kenny Hill in this line-up! He will be performing on Friday from 1:50 to 2:10

In 1995, the Healdsburg Guitar Festival provided a venue for guitar enthusiasts to tryout guitars in the presence of the builder, and also hosted workshops taught by professional performers, who, in turn, demonstrated the musical qualities of the show's custom guitars in a concert setting. The sense of festive community that was established by this interconnected circle continues to this day, and the party we call The Healdsburg Guitar Festival has served a major role in validating the art of modern lutherie ever since.
The festival has helped promote high standards for quality guitars as well as create a stable market for them. “If there is a heaven, it looks just like the Healdsburg Guitar Festival,” wrote guitar buyer Henry Lowenstein in the 2005 edition of Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars. And he continued, “The nation's best luthiers get together to talk, play, and show the best of what they have to offer to the public. Every year they have the grand masters as well as fresh faces at the show. This is not only a great chance to meet the luthiers themselves and learn some really serious academic guitar-building theory, but also to make use of the numerous "quiet rooms," which allow you to actually play and compare these extraordinary instruments.”
Click here for festival information.
We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kenny Hill to Travel to Germany to the 22nd International Guitar Symposium in Iserlohn

The 22nd International Guitar Symposium Iserlohn, one of the largest Guitar Festivals in Europe takes place from Sunday, July 28th to Sunday, August 4th 2013. 

Festival: Impression Internationales Gitarren-Symposion Iserlohn


The Symposium will once again be in the newly renovated Haus Villigst, an old manor from the 12th Century.

Participation includes various chamber music tutoring and group technique classes. 
Active participants will also have the opportunity to perform in a public concert.
Following features are included in the courses:

  • More than 600 individual lessons
  • Solo, duo, ensemble
  • 13 concerts
  • Lectures
  • Finger Aerobics
  • Leisure time activities
  • Exhibitions: 40 Guitar builders from 20 countries
  • Music exhibitions with Chanterelle, Heidelberg and Musik Trekel, Hamburg
  • Ensemble (2 guitar orchestras)
  • Yoga with Danielle Cumming
The festival will feature master classes and also concerts by some of the greatest guitarists in the world, including Hill Guitarists Dale Kavanaugh and Johannes Möller.

 Oberste Stadtkirche Iserlohn

You can sign up here for the 22nd International Guitar-Symposium.

Monday, July 1, 2013

New World Guitar to be Awarded at 30th Anniversary!

 We recieved a very nice letter from Clare Callahan, Professor Classical Guitar, from the College Conservatory of Music at University of Cincinnati thanking us profusely for our gift of a New World Estudio Guitar to their 30th Anniversary of the Classical Guitar Workshop.
Clare says the guitar arrived safely earlier in the week, and they're all so enamored with the instrument.
Initially Jon Marshall got in touch with us about getting ideas for awarding a guitar at the workshops Saturday concert – "and you just solved the whole problem by sending us one!" says Clare.
        She stated "We don't have a competition, so that wouldn't be the mechanism, we have guitarists age 10 through retirement…who convene for a week in July and attend classes in Technique, Ensemble, Masterclasses, and Special Topics. Every night we show another facet of the guitar in recitals – with other guitars, with other instruments, as a solo instrument, playing in the Saturday Guitar Orchestra and then a concert devoted to only participants doing solos, duos, trios, quartets, etc. on Sunday afternoon.   
        It's a slow process, getting classical guitar into the American musical bloodstream, because this is a Pop country.  But we deserve a place at the table… the instrument is beautiful and the repertoire terrific!  Most guitarists don't even know the extent and breadth of their own repertoire!   We celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the Classical Guitar Department here in April and ten days  from now we'll celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Classical Guitar Workshop.  Your guitar will be the cherry on top!   
        Over the years, we've had several Kenny Hill guitars in the department.  Jordan
Dodson, one of the first two students to be admitted to the new Curtis Institute of Music
Guitar program two years ago plays one.  Andy Wygant, who is leaving in September
For Brussels to study with Antigoni plays one.  Patrick Smith who is headed out to study
with David Tanenbaum at San Francisco Conservatory plays one.  Others have come
through the department…. And Rod Stucky in the Prep Dept has students on your
instruments.  We are always pleased with Kenny Hill guitars and are delighted to 
have this one to award on Saturday, July 13th!  We'll put the names of all the participants
in a hat and draw a name….many, many thanks for your continued high standard of
Instrument making and for this generous gift!"
Thank you Clare, it's our pleasure to support such programs. We look forward to hearing who the fortunate recipient is.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

2013 GFA Convention & Competition

For The 2013 GFA Convention & Competition
Celebrating GFA's 40th Year! 
June 25-30, 2013
Louisville, Kentucky
Hosted by the University of Louisville School of Music
and Dr. Stephen Mattingly

The 2013 GFA Convention & Competition, to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, is certain to be memorable for all guitarists and music-lovers.  With a stellar lineup of guitarists, lecturers and special guests, we will celebrate the GFA's 40th Anniversary.  See concerts, masterclasses, lectures, the Vendor Expo and world-class competitors over six incredible days.  Register Now, and come see what we're bringing to Louisville!

Monday, May 20, 2013


T H E  I N T E R V I E W: 

by Terrence Tan


Thanks for taking the time to speak to us,
Kenny. I was wondering how you got started in

In around 1971 a friend of mine had a small guitar shop in Portland Oregon, and one day the guitar repairman went to lunch and didn’t come back. He went to study meditation or something. I wasn’t working at the time and my friend just
said “Oh you can do it”, and gave me the job. So I just began doing repairs, doing my best to figure out ways of accomplishing results. There were very few books or suppliers at the time, so I just had to use my own imagination.
I started learning to play classical guitar at about the same time, learning Bach on an old Manuel de la Chica flamenco guitar.
A few months later I moved to Santa Barbara and started my own little guitar shop, doing repairs and some buying and selling. One day someone offered me a small collection of guitar making tools, books and materials for a good price, and I bought them. This triggered me to make my first classical guitar, it was a logical next step. And that first guitar sounded pretty good. I was continuing to practice guitar playing every day, and the two things, building and playing, became fully entwined in my mind, so I simply continued building and playing in about equal parts as a lifestyle. I was single, in my 20s, living on the coast in California, it was a very good time.

Click for the rest of the Guitar Bench Interview

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

And the winner is....

Perry Weissburg and his new Hill Guitar

Robert "Perry" Weissburg


Congratulations to the Omni Foundation raffle winner of the Hill Guitar Company Performance Series Classical Guitar Perry Weissburg.

Perry Weissburg & Richard Patterson  
Perry is from Belmont, CA and is studying the classical guitar. He was absolutely thrilled to win.
What a great match!
Robert "Perry" Weissburg & Richard Patterson
Director of the Omni Foundation.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Win a Handmade Hill Performance Series Guitar


Support the Omni Foundation Guitar Series and win a Handmade Hill Guitar Company Performance Series Classical Guitar

Donation: $20
Drawing held at Pepe Romero concert, April 28, 2013
Winners need not be present to be eligible.

Over $7500 in Prizes!

Grand Prize: A Hill Performance Series Concert Guitar with arched case
The Performance Series is the newest line of fine guitars designed and built in the Hill California workshop. These guitars offer a great sounding high-quality modern concert instrument at a medium price - List $5500 with case. The Performance Series is handmade in the traditional Spanish style, with the integral body and neck joint, and incorporates a modern double top soundboard, with lattice or fan-bracing. Sound ports are standard, unless requested otherwise.

Hill Guitar Sound board: Damann style double top comprised of Englemann spruce, Nomex and Western red cedar
Lattice bracing
Sound ports
Back & sides: Indian rosewood
Fingerboard: ebony
String length: 650mm
20th fret extention
Tuners: Gotoh
Finish: French polish
Lightweight double-acting truss rod
Fingerboard at the nut: 51mm
Overall length: 39 1/2"
Body length: 19 1/2"
Upper bout: 11"
Lower bout: 14 1/4"
Body depth: 3 3/4 - 4"
Arched case included
View Details and Photos
Other prizes include:
A Pair of Full Series Subscription tickets for the 2013-2014 Omni Foundation Guitar Series, including Priority Seating.

$100 Gift Certificates at GSP Guitars, Music and Accessories
Celebrate with a night in a King Suite at the Hotel Majestic in San Francisco
10 Set boxes of D'Addario Classical Guitar Strings
More prizes to be announced.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Eva Beneke with LeChic Guitar Duo in Concert

Hill Guitar Company along with Carmel Guitar Society and Friedman Eye Center presents:

Eva Beneke with LeChic Duo Guitar Concert on Friday, March 22 at 7:00 PM

Eva Beneke Master Class on Saturday, March 23

Eva is an internationally acclaimed soloist, chamber musician and published arranger, with a free-spirited virtuosity and enormous talent for improvisation. She is a true musical find.


Eva Benenke Musical Links

For Masterclass registration, Sat. March 23rd. email

Renowned classical guitarists Iren Arutyunyan and Sofia Gleeson have combined their talents to form the LeChic Guitar Duo. Iren and Sofia met studying guitar at the Flora L. Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California in 2009, and went on to form this cutting-edge duo in 2010. 
LeChic Duo 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SBGS Open Mic hosted by Kenny Hill

February 26, 2013 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Vineland Branch Public Library
1450 Blossom Hill Road
San Jose,CA 95118
Kenny will be hosting this enjoyable evening, as well as entertaining with a couple original Hill pieces and sharing works of Johannes Moller which are sure to delight.

About the Open Mic:
  • Everyone is welcome! Audience and performers of all levels: beginner to professional: all are warmly received and encouraged.
  • Finger picking nylon string styles (leave the Les Paul at home). Soloists and ensembles of any combination.
  • 10 minutes maximum per performer, coordinated by a different guest host each month.
  • Tropical juice and coffee provided by the SBGS. Fruit, cake and cookies are welcome: please bring enough to display and share.

Friday, February 15, 2013

NAMM 2013...Kenny's perspective

Rich Sayage Savage Classical Guitar

We've returned from NAMM 2013 safe and more or less sane, a week of packing and carrying guitars, travel, selling, socializing with customers, vendors, friends, partners and family. Overall the mood of the show was intense, upbeat, with most people well involved in their businesses and lives, with not a whole lot of the lament and woe that we've heard in the previous couple of years. Our own guitars get great reviews and are moving well, and our company is enjoying a good reputation and fine friendships around the world. It's a real privilege in this business to know and connect with many different characters from around the entire globe, a vivid example of how beautifully woven modern international relations and commerce truly are. The world could learn a lot about international relations from hanging around at NAMM, and in fact, we do. 

Simon & Quillan Hill
Colt Valenti
For me the most important development within this years NAMM was the efforts of my sons Simon and Quillan. This year I threw much of the responsibility for the mounting the show into their laps. They had to pack the instruments and display booth, drive it down, unload and set it up, and at the end undo the process. What they also did beautifully was occupy the booth assist with sales and hosting for all four days of the show. They met people, old customers and new, vendors old and new, and attracted some very fine young musicians, spontaneously playing beautiful music in our booth. These kids are youth magnets, reaching new people I would never meet no matter how many shows I attend. Simon and Quillan are smart, energetic, funny, personable, good looking and young! They seemed to slip into the role of the face and the work of the company quite naturally, and I am very, very proud of them. I hope they enjoyed being there as much as everyone else enjoyed them. I am also very grateful for the presence and efforts of Jessica Stark, who keeps everything going smoothly, makes friends easily, and reminds us to mind our manners. She's great. 
We're all back at work now, making guitars, making music, and getting them all out to the world. Thank you to everyone for your support and interest. I am grateful to be in such a rewarding field, surrounded by so many good people and projects. It feels like we are just getting started. 

Kenny Hill Feb 1, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Six-String Strategy

BEN LOMOND -- Kenny Hill oversees a sophisticated global operation that manufactures classical guitars on two continents, with materials from around the world, to sell to customers in several countries -- and he does it all from a converted house among the fog-shrouded redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
"World headquarters in Ben Lomond!" Hill says, marveling that his complex enterprise is centered in a place better known for logging than logistics.

Hill is the founder of Hill Guitar, an outfit that makes about 150 top-of-the-line instruments a year in a small plant with six workers just down the hill from world headquarters and an additional 50,000 a year that he has designed for more modest budgets
in a factory halfway around the world in Guangzhou, China."Our business is as complicated as Honda or Mercedes," Hill says.

When I set out to explore manufacturing and its future in the Made in the Bay Area series, I didn't expect to be making a trip up the winding road from Silicon Valley to Ben Lomond. The series has looked at how rising costs in China, increasing automation in the United States and growing globalization have made the decision about where to produce goods more complicated. And it turns out Hill's operation is an ideal illustration of another byproduct of those trends: More than ever, companies need to look at individual products when deciding where in the world they can be most efficiently made.
Hill makes his most expensive guitars close to home, where he can literally take a hands-on approach with the meticulously crafted instruments. In China, he relies on an assembly-line operation in a factory of 200 workers to provide economies of scale for guitars that sell for much less than his Ben Lomond models. And he's helping launch a plant in Oxnard that will produce guitars priced between the Ben Lomond and Chinese models and that require a level of hand-crafting greater than the Chinese products and less than the high-end guitars.

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Kenny Hill, founder of Hill Guitar Company plays one of his high-end custom-built acoustic guitars at his showroom in Ben Lomond, Calif. (Gary Reyes/Staff)    
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