Quality Guitar making timbers are becoming more and more difficult to obtain.
Some are no longer commercially available.
KIF Guitars are constructed from various materials collected over many years, however the timbers involved are selected for their STRUCTURAL performance and beauty rather than traditional and/or scarcity value.
Sound boards are made from high quality Sitka Spruce from Canada and Southern Alaska, and West coast Englemann Spruce. An option is available for Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Cypress or Monteray Cypress. A very small quantity of Lutz and Katz Hybrid spruce is sometimes available for top-end instruments.
The Sides are made from a choice of any solid wood thicknessed at 1.4mm to 2.0mm, or a lightweight home-pressed laminate of 4 layers with a finished thickness of 1.3mm. The laminate permits the use of very exotic woods and coloured veneers.
The Backs are solid, or laminated. The solid wood is 'Book-matched'. The Laminated backs are three layers bonded parallel, NOT cross-bonded like 'plywood'. The center core is a layer of AAA Englemann Spruce thicknessed to 1.7mm with 0.6mm decor and balancer.
The main bridge component is part of the bracing inside the Guitar. The visible component on the guitar top is solely a string retainer and 'saddle'. On steel stringed guitars this is bolted in place with 2mm stainless-steel bolts, and is thus removable.
With nylon stringed guitars the bridge is wider, and is locked in place with three 4mm carbon fibre shear pins. The Saddle is pinned to the bridge only after perfect intonation is set.
Internal bracing (Strutting) is of a design unique to KIF Guitars. It is lightweight, and transfers string energy in a totally unconventional way allowing for a greater tonal band-width, whilst maintaining volume and tone colour.
It prevents the typical 'neck down, bridge up' distortion found in most 'X' braced instruments. This results in a highly sensitive soundboard which responds very accurately to whatever the musician does to the strings.
My constant quest is to design a sound board that is a slave to the strings, not their master.
The guitars should suit ALL playing styles.
All necks are made from a minimum of three pre-cut pieces. There is no heel. Each neck is cut and shaped by hand for the client, with bespoke shaping when possible. The necks are BOLTED on to the Guitar, and are fitted with a Tilt system to allow adjustment of the string action height without altering the Saddle/bridge.
Fret boards are made from any suitable, hard wood. These include two different Ebonies, and three different Rosewoods. Occasionally Bird's Eye Maple is requested and used. However the maple must be lacquered to avoid staining. Scale lengths available are 24 5/8", 25.5" and 26". (shorter, longer and Baritone options on request). Bass guitars are 32" and 34". Double acting 'Truss rods' are used in all steel/bronze strung guitars.
The Nylon strung low tension necks are partially hollow and use twin CF Blades, 12mm x 2mm, or 12mm x 6mm rectangular CF tube, for stiffness.
Machine heads are available to suit client requests. Most are fully enclosed, and can be fitted with a range of wood, metal, of plastic buttons. For the 'purist', Ebony or Bone pegs are an option on Flamenco and Classical guitars. However, the BEST option is the use of Chuck Herrin's PegHeds - traditional looking Black Pegs with a 4:1 Gearbox inside!
All acoustic Guitars are fitted with twin Piezo contact pickups bonded inside the guitar under the bridge plate. There is an option for magnetic pickups to be fitted PERMANENTLY between the end of the neck and the soundhole as part of the soundhole design. A magnetic pickup can be used on Classical/Flamenco/Jazz guitars if the Guitars are fitted with Hybrid Steel-rope-cored Nylon strings. Thomastik S16s. Jack plugs are located in the SIDE of the instrument, and no on-board pre-amps or controls are fitted unless requested.
Any suitable, available timber can be used.
Below are some of the existing stock
that I have collected over many years.
Mahogany 50-100 yrs old. Some figured.
Maple. Rippled, Bird's Eye, Quilt or plain.
Bocote and Zirecote
Indian Rose wood. 3 variants - some very old.
Pear and Cuban Walnut.
Tops - Acoustic
Prime Sitka Spruce. Englemann Spruce and rarely, Rare Lutz Hybrid Spruce.
Western Red Cedar. Alaskan Cypress. Monteray Cypress
Backs and sides - Solid
Rosewood Indian 60 yrs old.
Rosewood South American Available and to order. Only two sets left of Brazilian.
Mahogany 50-100 yrs old. Some figured. (Some recovered from old GWR Pullman Coaches!).
Figured Maple (limited stock.. Best I've seen).
Bird's Eye Maple (AAAA)
Rippled Pear and Cypress.
Most available timbers to order.