Thursday, December 1, 2016

Carmel Guitar Society Christmas Party!

Tis' the Season
For Classical Guitar!

Join Carmel Guitar Society in celebrating the Christmas season at their Christmas Party at McIntyre Vinyards Tasting Room!
When: December 7th
Time: 6-8pm
Where: McIntyre Vinyards Tasting Room
169 Crossroads Blvd. in Carmel, CA
Wine and Pizza will be provided!
Bring your guitar and play some Christmas favorites!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Smaro Gregoriadou House Concert!

This Thursday, 11/17!
Come see Greek classical guitarist, Smaro Gregoriadou in Santa Cruz, CA!

Concerts begins at 7:30pm
Please call or email John Bower at or (831) 423- 2365 to reserve a spot! 
Drinks and appetizers will be provided.

Don't miss out on this spectacular night!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Winter Means Dry!

When the leaves start falling, it means you need to consider the changing environment for your guitars, most especially how dry your local climate may become.

Here's an article that will help you understand what's going on.

There are others online, if you seek more information. We ship our Hill Guitars with an Oasis humidifier in the winter to dry areas of the country or by request.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Saying Goodbye

I’m so sorry Roland Dyens is gone. We’ve bumped into each other for many years, but really it’s over the last three years we got closer, in Germany, in China, in California. His unique talent, complete immersion in the guitar and  perpetual imagination were truly inspiring. He was always intensely present, always thinking, always funny. 

This picture was the last time I saw him, in Iserlohn last July. It’s true, he was looking pretty frail, but he was just as “on” as ever. He has left a tremendous legacy of composition, but we have lost to memory a truly vibrant and immense person. Life is emptier without him.

Kenny Hill
November 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Carmel Guitar Society Presents Marc Teicholz!

This Saturday Carmel Guitar Society is hosting a fundraiser for CGS with a performance by Marc Teicholz!

Limited seats are available
Valet parking and wine will be provided
Please contact Ron Friedman for reservations and more info:

When: Oct. 22
Time: 7:00PM
Tickets: $50 donation (tax deductible) 

Sponsored by Dr. Ron Friedman and Hill Guitar Company

Monday, October 3, 2016

Announcing Nichols Guitar Restoration!

We'd like to announce most of our French polish repair work will now be performed by Glenn Nichols in Massachusetts. For many years Glenn was our lead finisher in French polish and he brought a world class level of excellence to our instruments' finish. We were sorry to have him leave, but are happy to refer your work to him in the knowledge your finish repairs will be performed to the high standard you would receive here.

Further, we are equally confident to have Glenn manage warranty repairs, and any other unique repairs or maintenance on our Hill and New World instruments including factory set up and action adjustments to your satisfaction.


Glenn Nichols
54 North Street
Norfolk MA 02056

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hill Guitar will be at SBAIC!

The Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration is this Weekend!

The modern “guitar festival” in which the public could meet directly with a number of celebrated luthiers was created two decades ago by Charles Fox, Tom Ribbecke, and Todd Taggart in Healdsburg and brought to fruition by Chris Herrod and LMII. The Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration is indebted to their vision and continues the tradition of presenting the state of the craft and the art of the music in an informal setting.

The Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration is a unique opportunity to meet many contemporary masters of lutherie, and to see, play and purchase some of the finest handmade instruments directly from the builder. Many of these lutherie legends will be in attendance along with numerous contemporary icons who continue to set the standard and break new ground. Please join us for an unparalleled festival including fingerstyle, jazz, blues, classical, and slack key acoustic music all weekend at a relaxed California gallery and garden setting, in one of America’s premier destination towns.

Our table will be in the Luthier Hall at table J10!
Kenny will also be playing at the indoor music stage at 2:20pm on Friday

For tickets and info please visit the SBAIC website

Come visit us and see what guitars we brought for you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2016 Custom Crossover in Showroom!

2016 Hill Custom CROSSOVER Doubletop 640mm
Narrow Neck
Not For Sale

This is a new 640mm Custom CROSSOVER European spruce doubletop Signature with Macassar Ebony back and sides. This guitar sounds and looks terrific. With its shorter string length it plays easily!
  • Soundboard: Doubletop European spruce/Nomex/Western red cedar lattice braced
  • Back/Sides: Macassar ebony
  • cutaway
  • Barbera pick up
  • Neck: Spanish cedar, Narrow 1 7/8" 48mm
  • Fingerboard: ebony, elevated, radiused
  • String Length: 640mm
  • Finish: French polish
  • Tuners: Sloane ebony Stippled
  • Lightweight truss rod
  • sound port
  • Overall length: 39"
  • Body length: 19"
  • Upper bout: 11"
  • Lower bout: 14.375"
  • Body depth: 3.5 - 4"
  • Fingerboard @ nut: 48mm
  • lattice braced
  • compensated nut and saddle
  • 12 hole bridge
  • strap buttons

This Guitar is Not For Sale.  However, if you are interested in a guitar like this, please contact us for more info or to place an order.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Signature Ergonomic Model in Showroom!

2016 Hill ERGONOMIC Model
640mm Indian Rosewood

$8,000 with Metro case

This is the first production ERGONOMIC model Signature Standup Model we've made. A number of ERGONOMIC features have been included in custom guitars, but now they are being offered for discerning players desiring a more comfortable instrument.

The Ergonomic model is based on the Standup Wedge body design; the body depth being thicker on the treble side and thinner on the bass side makes the guitar easier to reach the strings with the right arm. The addition of the armrest makes the reach even easier and more comfortable. The subtraction of a small slice from the bass side of the upper bout in back makes the guitar sit against the chest more comfortably.

This guitar's string length is 640mm with a Western red cedar doubletop with select Indian rosewood back and sides. Looks and sounds fantastic. ...and, no, the armrest and chest cut, the wedge do not reduce or alter the sound negatively.

  • Standup Wedge body
  • Soundboard: Doubletop European Spruce/Nomex/Western Red Cedar lattice braced
  • Back/Sides: Indian rosewood
  • Neck: Spanish cedar
  • Fingerboard: ebony, elevated
  • String Length: 640mm
  • Finish: French polish
  • Tuners: Sloane ebony
  • Lightweight truss rod
  • sound ports
  • compensated bone nut & saddle
  • 12 hole bridge
  • Armrest
  • Chest cut
  • Overall length: 39"
  • Body length: 19"
  • Upper bout: 11"
  • Lower bout: 14.375"
  • Body depth: 3.5 - 4"
  • Fingerboard @ nut: 51mm
Take a closer look!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Carmel Guitar Society Presents: Andrew York in Concert & Masterclass!

Come see Andrew York Live in Concert in Carmel, CA!

As you may know we are presenting Andrew York in concert this coming Saturday night at Hidden Valley Music in Carmel Valley, and additionally we are offering a master class on Saturday morning 10:00 AM, at the Hill Guitar showroom in Ben Lomond. There is room for an additional player in the class, or if you just want to attend please give us a call at 831-336-9317. Andy is a great composer, a fine guitarist, an excellent teacher and an interesting guy. This is an opportunity not to be missed! I hope you can come to both events.

Kenny Hill

In any generation there are many musicians, but very few artists that communicate on a profound cultural level.  Andrew York is one of these rare artistic voices.  Think Picasso painting with sound as a canvas, or a Miles Davis behind the guitar.  Andrew achieves a synthesis of ancient and modern forms that offers a deep cultural expression that will only be truly understood by future generations.  To call Andrew's music classical is to put it into far too small a box; this is the living future of classical music.

When: Saturday, August 20th
Time: 7:30pm
Tickets: $30
Call (831) 375-2486 or (831) 659-3115 for tickets
Where: Hidden Valley Music, Carmel
e-mail: for questions

Monday, July 18, 2016

Congratulations to the Cincinnati Winner!

We recently donated an Estudio Model Guitar for raffle to the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati for their summer classical guitar workshop.  Thanks to Jonathan Marshall, one of our fantastic dealers at Jonathan Marshall Guitars, there is a winner! Congratulations!

Friday, July 15, 2016

25th Guitar Festival in Iserlohn, Germany!

Signature Standup Model with Armrest
The 25th International Guitar Festival in Iserlohn, Germany is taking off on July 17th- 24th!  Kenny is able to attend most every year, and each year is different and more exciting than the last. Thomas Kirchhoff and Dale Kavanagh do such an amazing job putting this event together, and this year they have some truly wonderful artists coming to perform and teach.  If you are going as well, please stop by and try some Hill Guitars, like the one featured here!

See you in Germany!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hill Guitar Gets a Visit From GeekSpeak!

Lyle Troxell is the host of the radio program and podcast Geekspeak, he’s been doing it for decades. It’s a show that is mostly about technology and social media subjects, but out of the blue last month he called me and asked to do a shop tour and interview. I guess this is official acknowledgment that I am a guitar geek. We just did it the next day. It was very nice getting together with Lyle, who I have known for many years, since he was a kid, the son of my old friends the late Peter Troxell and wife and mother Dianna .  Peter and I worked together in the mid 90’s when he was station manager and I was program director at KUSP FM in Santa Cruz. Peter was a very valuable influence on me until he passed away in 2004, and he still is.

Lyle has a very sharp and curious mind, and it was a pleasure to speak with him. Here’s a link to that interview:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Look Back at GFA 2016!

A look at Denver, CO.

In June we attended and exhibited at the annual Guitar Foundation of America convention in Denver. It was a great show! The location was one of the best I’ve experienced, the energy was very high, and the music was impressive and inspiring.  I could go on and on, and maybe I will later, but for now I want to mention our newest Hill Guitar playing artist, Mary Jedynak.

At this show I brought my own personal guitar, the one that I’ve been using for gigs and practicing etc. for the last year. It’s a bit scratched up and all, but it sounds and plays very well, and it has all of the tailor made features that I’ve been working on to make guitar playing more comfortable and exhilarating —  a 640 scale Signature Model guitar with wedge tapered body, wide arm rest,  as well as all of the other design features of the Signature Model, and oh yes, the Barbera pickup. 

Mary was spending a lot of time and attention trying guitars from the many many luthiers exhibiting, and she came around a few times to try out this guitar. It fit her very well, she’s a delightful player, and in the end we made a deal and she took it home. She seemed very happy, and me too.

It is most satisfying for me to place a guitar in the hands of a young and developing player. It’s a good feeling to realize that the instrument can be a part of a young musicians growth and inspiration. I try to make instruments that help the guitarist play better and to really enjoy the time spent with the guitar, performing, practicing or just fooling around. Mary is pursuing her studies with Sungmin Shin in Rochester NY, and she’s going to be working hard. Additionally she is playing in senior living homes a few times a month, playing in their guitar ensemble and writing for guitar and other instruments. 

We were also fortunate to place several other instruments with players from all over. It all happened so fast I didn’t get photos and details, but I’m excited to have fine and dedicated players working our guitars across the country and around the world.

In the end it feels like this guitar was made for Mary. I hope she continues to enjoy it as much as I did, to grow with her music, and and continue to share it with the world.
Kenny with Mary Jedynak
Kenny with Robert Ruck at GFA 2016

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Meet Our New Custom Crossover Performance Model!

Last week we finished this pictured custom Crossover Performance Model instrument for Rick Ellis from San Francisco. As I was playing it and handing it off to it’s new owner, my comment was that this is the new paradigm for a crossover instrument. For Hill Guitar Crossover this is the new standard.

In the decade 2000s we made quite a few Crossover guitars. I think of it as a nylon string guitar aimed at players accustomed to steel string acoustic or electric guitars. Most of those players (then and now) had never played a fine classical guitar, only commercial grade instruments carried as token nylon in general guitar and music stores. There was a trend of electric going acoustic as the “unplugged” movement, and I saw a further opportunity of acoustic going nylon as a further move toward sensitivity. Our Crossover guitar fit the bill. It was basically a normal size classical body with a cutaway, a narrower 48 mm neck. and an arched fingerboard. The decorations were a little more Americana than European, but otherwise the construction was quite traditionally classical.These guitars went over very well, and occasionally one will still pop up here or there, and are still very well loved.

But back then, as the popularity was growing, some big name steel string companies tried developing their own crossover style instruments, and they nearly killed the market. I won’t name names, but I have long contended that nobody can make excellent steel string guitars and excellent nylon string guitars. They’re just different beasts. And in this case I was 100% correct. Those guitars were lumps of wood, no sparkle, no vitality, the only output a nasal buzzing coming from the pickup. Sorry, but it’s true.  As they rolled out their nylon string guitars, loyal fans of their brands tried them out, got no love whatsoever from the guitars and said — never mind, I guess nylon sucks. The nylon generation never had a chance, because that market was tainted with mediocre or bad instrument that never really inspired the musicians. I haven’t paid attention to what has happened to those instruments since then, but interest in Crossover guitars within our company really waned. It didn’t really matter to me because we’ve been quite busy enough making concert classical guitars, but as a participant and observer of the market I found that interesting and ironic.

Now, starting at the beginning of this year, a whole new set of custom orders have come through, and many of them variations of the Crossover. Orders and interests do seem to come in waves, but this is a crazy strong trend, from nothing to many in just a few short weeks. My theory is that the quelling effect of all of those disappointing instruments from the 2000's has finally passed through, and that serious musicians and guitar aficionados are again wanting to having a beautiful nylon sound available to them, whether on stage, in the studio or at home.

Nylon strings will never play exactly the same as steel strings. There is only half the tension on the strings, much greater flexibility, and the design of the neck and the top have to take that into account. And for me that is the beauty of it. It’s very sensitive, has so much color and dynamic possibility, and is so user friendly to play.

This particular guitar has rosewood body with spruce/cedar double top, 640mm string length, 12 fret neck with a 48mm (1 7/8") nut width and a 16” radius fingerboard. The body has a sweet little cutaway, one sound port, a wedge tapered body and a wide beveled armrest. Add to this a beautifully natural sounding Barbera pickup and you have a new standard for a Hill Crossover Guitar.

Well, almost. At this point we are only making these guitars as custom orders. Our production is limited and we have a lot of other things to do. But it’s interesting to me, the new appreciation for nylon strings beyond the realm of just classical guitar, and I really like the unique characteristics that are coming out of these instruments. I look forward to hearing all kinds of players making good, new music on them.

Kenny Hill
July 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016

Hill Guitar on Display at Santa Cruz MAH!

As part of Santa Cruz Museum of Art History Art Works Artist-In-Residence Program, Lanier Sammons will be putting one of our Hill Guitars on display from July 1st to July 25th.  This guitar will be an incomplete guitar where you are able to see the beginnings of the building of our Performance Model Guitar, as well as an open back to view the interior details.  

Lanier will be working on five participatory composition and recording projects during the course of his residency.   These projects will bring visitors to the museum into the midst of the creative process and produce new musical works that reflect our collaborative experiences.  Lanier will be in the Museum at these times if you are interested in participating:

7/1  12:00pm - 9:00pm
7/2  12:00pm - 5:00pm
7/3  11:00am - 2:00pm
7/6  11:00am - 5:00pm
7/8  1:00pm - 9:00pm

Please visit Lanier's Website to learn more.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hill Guitar Company Presents Michael Chapdelaine!

Michael Chapdelaine
Saturday May 28, 2016 @ 7:30
Santa Cruz, CA

House Concert in Santa Cruz, CA
Please contact for reservations
More info provided upon reservation
Sponsored by B40 Cafe and Hill Guitar Company

We hope to see you there!

Michael Chapdelaine Biography
Michael Chapdelaine is the only guitarist ever to win First Prize in the world's top competitions in both the Classical and Fingerstyle genres; the Guitar Foundation of America International Classical Guitar Competition and the National Fingerstyle Championships at the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield , Kansas.
From New York's Lincoln Center to the Cactus Cafe in Austin, from Milano to Bangkok, Chapdelaine continues to enchant, dazzle and surprise audiences and critics alike as he redefines the modern acoustic guitar with his amazing technique, "soulful" expressiveness, and versatility as a performer, composer and arranger/producer. His performances, played on both steel string and classical guitars, include musical styles ranging from blues to Bach to country to rhythm n' blues as he wins his audiences hearts with breath taking technique and the poetic magic of his original musical portraits and landscapes.
In the 80's and 90's Michael proved himself to be one of the worlds finest classical guitarists; twice winning the coveted National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Grant, and taking First Prize in both the Guitar Foundation of America's and the Music Teachers National Association's Guitar Competitions. He also won the Silver Medal in Venezuela's VIII Concurso International de Guitarra "Alirio Diaz". He has toured four continents while giving hundreds of performances for Affiliate Artists Inc., and various arts promotion organizations. In 1992 he recorded the Sonata Romantica CD, which many critics and connoisseurs of classical guitar consider to be one of the definitive recordings for the instrument. Acoustic Guitar magazine wrote "... if I were marooned on a desert island with a limited selection of recordings, this one would be among my choices...I have seldom heard a more beautiful album. Other young guitarists have excellent technique, but few have such style and musicality, and Chapdelaine's beautiful tone is the nearest to Segovia's that I can recall."
In 1994 Michael turned his attention to pop music, in arranging, producing and recording Time-Life Music's beautiful Guitar by Moonlight collection, which sold 250,000 copies in it's first two years in the stores. In 1998, he once again, expanded his musical range and gained instant notoriety and credibility in the "acoustic music" world as a "fingerstyle" guitarist and composer, by winning the National Fingerpicking Championships at Winfield.
Michael is Professor of Music and head of guitar studies at the University of New Mexico, and has previously been on the faculties of the University of Colorado at Denver and Metropolitan State University. He has given master classes throughout the world including, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Peru, Venezuela, Taiwan, Indonesia and at institutions such as, University of Miami, Mannes School of Music, University of Texas, and California State University.
His teachers included the great Spanish maestro Andres Segovia.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Omni Raffle Winner: Congratulations Ventsislav!

We have a winner!
Congratulations to Ventsislav for winning the Hill Performance model guitar in the Omni Foundation Raffle!  Ventsislav is a local Bay Area man, and even though he was not present for the win, he was able to meet Richard and Kenny in person to collect his wonderful prize!  

Photos of the April 23rd concert and raffle drawing:

We already look forward to the next season of Omni Foundation's: Dynamite Guitars!