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Get the latest news on all things Hill Guitar!

Updated: 2018-02-08T04:14:52.949-08:00


Get To Know Our True Temperament Model


Some people have a problem with guitar intonation. I don’t mean just the struggle to get the 6 strings in tune with each other, I mean the accuracy of the the notes and intervals from fret to fret, string to string. Guitars have been around for quite a while now and guitar players have learned to live with it, but an accurate measurement of the pitches and harmonies would definitely show up compromises and discrepancies. For most of my life I’ve been perfectly content with the idiosyncrasies of the guitar fingerboard, and anyway I wasn’t aware of any other choices. That is, until now.The True Temperament fretting system is a special development by Anders Thidell from Sweden. Several years ago my good friend Johannes Moller gave me a TT fretboard and frets that had been passed to him by the manufacturer. Johannes is also Swedish and a very prominent guitarist and composer and a clever and forward thinking fellow. I guess he figured I have tried a lot of progressive and innovative and weird things over the years, so why not give it a shot?That first TT fingerboard and frets sat around in my shop for at least two years until I finally built a guitar with it on a whim. To be honest, I probably put it off because I thought it was a dead-end idea. I’m certainly very aware of the conundrum of guitar intonation and the compromises we learn to live with, but as a guitar player for over 50 years I’ve accustomed my ears to the reality of guitar intonation and I’m fine with it. In some ways I feel that the quirks and “imperfections” of the guitar are part of what makes it so lovable.Nevertheless, that first TT guitar was really sweet. It was completed just before the Namm show, we took it with us to the show and it sold immediately. I barely had a chance to get acquainted. So with that tease I worked around trying to acquire more TT fretboards. It took quite a while to make a good connection with True Temperament but eventually I did get some more of these fingerboards and last year I made another similar guitar, which turned out just as sweet. Both of those guitars were Performance Model 650 scale, both spruce double top and both really delicious. Quite a few professional players tried out the second one and used it in performances, and everyone agreed there is something magical about it. So after these glimpses of this magic I decided to build one for myself. This way I could live with it in my daily routine of guitar stuff, practicing, performing, studying new pieces etc. I’ve gotten hooked on my Ergonomic designed Signature guitar, so that’s what I wanted, a Signature, Ergonomic, True Temperament cedar top with a Barbera pickup, all the bells and whistles. We made one, and I love it.I’ve been playing this guitar for about 6 months now. I suppose I now have more experience with True Temperament on classical guitar than anyone. Over the years I’ve been willing to try many modern and sometimes controversial things in guitar innovation, and this one I was skeptical about. Because it’s so unusual and provocative looking, I kind of didn’t want it to be so good. But it is.I don’t fully understand what’s going on with it, or the math and engineering that went into it’s invention. I do understand that although the fret position formula may be mathematically correct, the differences in the behavior of the individual strings because of their materials and design introduce a whole set of variables. And I understand that each individual note on the fingerboard is defined by it’s own beat-per-second frequency that can be measured, and if each note on each string were to have it’s own little fret, it might tune up more like a keyboard, but it would be pretty darn complicated. These curvy frets accomplish something like that in a dramatic but fairly practical way. I’ve read the FAQs TT has published, and I’ve thought about it a lot as I listen to it. I have a pretty good ear and can tune a guitar reliably and quickly. That’s not an issue. What I experience with the TT guitar is not so much a dramatic [...]

Johannes Möller Live in Santa Cruz, CA!


NewMusicWorks’ 2017-18 season begins with supreme guitar artistry.A performance of breathtaking range, from dazzling bravura to autumnal intimacy.Sponsored by Hill Guitar CompanyGuitar PoetryA solo recital by Guitarist Johannes Möller7:30 pm, Friday, October 6, 2017Peace United Church of Christ, 900 High St. Santa Cruz, CASwedish-born guitarist and composer, Johannes Möller brings electrifying virtuosity and extraordinary worldliness to Santa Cruz! Chinese, North Indian, and Western music traditions are encompassed in a program of mercurial plucks, strums and drumming. A concert that encompasses musical styles and techniques of planetary scope. It will be a truly an Intimate evening, while also ranging in temperament from unheard of gentility to fearsome fortissimos.Möller will perform new works of his own, including Night Flame, a North Indian-inspired work for guitar and tabla drums, featuring percussionist, Neel Agrawal. Adaptations of traditional Chinese music (Chinese Songs) and original works inspired by the genre (Moonlit Night on Spring River) will also be featured. The program will further include a piece for solo guitar that Kenny Hill composed in memory of his father, There and Gone.Möller is an international phenomenon, a winner of innumerable prizes (including First Place in the GFA International Competition in 2010) but more importantly, a creator of glistening new guises for the guitar.His recitals span tremendous range and remind us of how diverse the guitar can be.Special Guests: Guitarists Philip Collins and Jay Arms perform Madagascan tube harp musicBuy Tickets Here[...]

My Time at SBAIC


I just got back from the Santa Barbara Guitar Acoustic Instrument Celebration. This was the second year. It was fun last year, and way more classy and well done this year. I hope it continues on and we can do it again and again. Thanks to Kevin and his crew for making it happen.Actually I have a special point of view here. I made my first guitar in Santa Barbara in the 1970’s, so being in Santa Barbara was very nostalgic: In 1972 I was learning to play guitar, make guitars, write music, body surf, hike those mysterious mountains above the town. These were golden years. I was a skinny barefoot kid living the life, trying to avoid getting a job. I had started this sweet little guitar repair shop called Wooden Music,  and I was equally focused on classical guitar, the beach, the mountain trails, the music, getting stoned, and the girls.This festival was housed right on the main beach in the Fess Parker Doubletree Hotel. There is an irony here because the last year that I was living in Santa Barbara there was a strong political battle about what to do with the undeveloped beachfront land — make it into a park — or make it into a lucrative tourist hotel. In 1976 something — to the extent that I was paying attention — I was all about the park. And now in 2017 I was exhibiting and staying at the hotel, quite happily. How the world does turn!At the Santa Barbara festival on Saturday night I had some time to kill. The David Lindley concert at the Lobero Theater was at 8:00, so I had two hours free time, I went looking for one of the local festival venues in downtown Santa Barbara to get a bite to eat.  SoHo. This venue is in a warren of shops downstairs and upstairs on State Street and I decided to just hang out in the bar, the back of the room, a little separate from the music stage.There was a fine acoustic guitar concert performance going on, but I sat in the back, I was the only customer at the bar. I was watching Spanish TV above the bar and my eyes caught the  architectural trusses above the TV. It was obviously an old building with brick walls and ancient skylights that had been remodeled many times, and now a a hipster joint, with a young guy tending bar, waiting for the the younger So-Cal crowd to come in later, maybe around midnight. I was sitting there by myself, the only person there besides the bartender.  The roof trusses struck some chord, I thought I had seen them somewhere, in the fog of memory I realized holy shit, I’ve been here before! In this upstairs building it hit me, this was my first guitar shop! 1972, my first business. Even this very spot, I kissed a girl. More than 40 years ago I was living my life in this exact GPS location, this was my first guitar shop!I couldn’t help myself, had to share it with somebody, so I blurted it out to the young bartender, “This place was my first guitar shop." He could have said “yeah man, far out” and blown me off, but instead this nice guy listened to my nostalgia, I described the corner of the building, the old windows above the parking lot, and he said  “Oh that’s the green room now, wanna see it?"I was stunned, instinctively thought I should demure, but I said heck yeah!. If not now, when? He led me through the pantry and kitchen to the corner room, to the old window looking over the parking lot. It felt smaller than I remembered but not much changed, only the cars were newer. Looking down through the wash of memory, the not forgotten beauties tossing pebbles up to the window so I would open the downstairs door. I couldn’t believe it, my heart exploded, my eyes burst. This was my first guitar shop! Almost 50 years! How did this happen? The privilege of memory was young again. Just for a moment, but wow, what a moment! It felt like the cards of my life were spread out in a brilliant fan from then to now, prescient, nostalgic and current and vital.  Adreniline, sentiment and satisfaction all rolled together.I took a picture. And sorry, I cried. Then I re[...]

A Look Back On My Trip To China


A few days ago I got back from a whirlwind trip to China. I was gone just a little over a week there, just enough time to suffer back-to-back jet lag — first from going, then from coming back. As always, this was an adventure!China is a hotbed of growth in the classical guitar world. I’ve been involved there for seventeen years, hard to believe, and I’ve seen so much change. My focus on this trip was multi layered; I’m in the process of introducing my Performance Model guitars into distribution in the Chinese guitar market. That’s just good business. Also I am very interested in seeing the culture of the guitar growing around the world, with China being very fertile ground for this focus. This means getting young people (and their parents) excited about the value of music in their lives. Of course we are also cultivating guitar culture here in USA, and anywhere possible. Also on this trip I was able to connect with Los Angeles Guitar Quartet along their first multi-region tour of China. I recently built a cool 7 string guitar for John Dearman and it was going through it’s shake down, its first on-the-road tour, both a great opportunity to listen to this guitar in concert, and a little nervous test of a new guitar on the road. LAGQ is so iconic and influential everywhere in the world that the enthusiasm around them can’t help but step up the excitement.And, since I have been involved in international business for some time now, I was especially aware of being an active and conscious American in business, cultural and political worlds outside of our American borders.This was a short trip, but for me poignant. I am proud of cultivating young people being involved with the guitar, especially because guitar has has nurtured my own life in so many ways since I was a little kid. I am proud of how wonderfully influential all styles of guitar have affected people’s listening and playing habits and musical lives. I am proud of the music, art, business and the relationships that have been forged worldwide during my career. I am proud to know the LAGQ and their enduring influence on music and audiences, their enthusiasm for not just the sounds of the guitar, but the range of beauty, history, style and virtuosity that have improved the way we hear music. I’m also very proud of my partners in guitar making, and international endeavors, working our passions and through music, working to make the world a better place.China is a different culture, not always easy, but very human. I’m deeply grateful to have shared such a range of culture and personal relationships. I’ve worked there for a long time and I guess I will for more time to come.There is one long moment that I feel compelled to share — my airport exit from China through Guangzhou airport. Guangzhou is a worldwide hub of international business, manufacturing and a crossroads for things global. I’m lucky, my factory base is just about 30 minutes from the airport. I have been through the GZ airport scores of times, maybe hundreds of times. In each of those long switchback check-in lines you see the recurring faces of people, strangers, as the rope lines move you toward customs or security check points. It’s always interesting to see the families, the individuals, hear the languages, everyone in their own space, moving toward the airplanes and their next connections, next efforts, appointments, challenges, loves. Leaving Guangzhou heading for San Francisco and home I’m guessing there were around 1500 people in line, in groups or alone like me, enduring the process, but everyone in their own head, looking toward the next destination, comfort or ambition. There were Asian, African, Italian, Spanish, Latin American, Middle Eastern, South Asian, the whole world was there. Wives, husbands, kids, grandkids, road warriors, entrepreneurs. And me, a white hair post-middle age American man, shuffling through the line, the only one, anonymous and a bit tired. I definitely didn’t a[...]

Hill Guitar Proudly Sponsors: John Schneider at Lou Harrison Centennial Celebration


Lou HarrisonHill Guitar Company  is pleased to sponsor guitarist John Schneider as part of the Lou Harrison Centennial concert celebration put together by New Music Works this coming Sunday. Schneider will be playing part of his program using a Hill Performance Model with a special True Temperament fretboard. This is a unique fretting system developed in Sweden. The frets are not straight, they are individually wiggly according to some calculations that make the guitar more ideally in tune. I don’t pretend to understand what is actually going on with the math behind this, but I do know the guitar sounds really wonderful, kind of magical. We’ve done this twice now, with sweet results both times. This is the first time I’ll be hearing it in concert. We have more of these special instruments planned.John Schneider is a long established musician based in Los Angeles with a strong specialty in modern music, and a lot of experience with varied tuning systems. This True Temperament system is our first venture into this kind of experiment. It’s interesting.I find the results very appealing.Kenny HillSunday, May 14, 2017Peace United Church of ChristSanta Cruz, CA 95060Lou’s Day3 pm Organ Concerto (matinee): Buy Tickets HereNight Muse7 pm Solstice (evening): Buy Tickets Here[...]

Win a Hill Performance Model Guitar!



Introducing The Hill 7-String


This is the first 7 String guitar we’ve made in a long time. We made quite a few 7 strings in the early 2000’s, but many years have passed since the last one. Then, last year at the GFA festival in Denver, Matanya Ophee asked me to make one for him. Matanya and I have known each other for a long time. He was looking at the guitars we had on display and he said “These look pretty good but there’s something missing.” Yep, missing one string. Ok. So we dug into our old notes and molds and jigs and made one for him. We had to reinvent some of it, R&D, and I think it came out quite nice. Matanya specifies a particular tuning, a “Russian” tuning which is dgbdgbd. It has a great resonance in that tuning. Of course, even in some more familiar tuning I’m personally thrown off when it comes to playing a 7 string. Even the addition of just one string requires some serious relearning for me. Still, it sounds wonderful in any tuning.And this is cool. We are planning to make another one soon, hoping to get accustomed to it, and making it a regular offering. I know there is a whole group of Brazilian and other jazz players —as well as classical players — that are good with 7 strings. I’m not, but then I still have my 6 string beauties!Coincidentally we are also making a very different style of 7 string for John Dearman of LAGQ. This one is even more of a challenge because the seventh string is extended by 2 frets, something developed by Tom Humphrey, Greg Beyers and some other builders. This new guitar is already built and just beginning to be French polished. We’ll see how that turns out in a couple of months. Should be good.If any 7 string players have any comments please send me an email. I’d be grateful for some input. I don’t know how much demand there is out there, but it’s something we are developing, the designs and skills for production. Who knows? It might be the next thing!Thanks!Kenny HillJanuary 2017More Info in Showroom[...]

South Bay Guitar Society and Noon Arts & Lectures Fundraiser!


The South Bay Guitar Society and Noon Arts & Lectures are hosting a fundraiser on January 27th, and you're invited!Hors d'oeuvres and wine are included in the ticket price. Several Bay Area artists will perform. Interesting items will be available for bidding at a silent auction.January 27th, 2017, 6:30pmScottish Rite Center2455 Masonic Dr, San Jose, CA 95125Tickets at: 13th annual ARTS PANORAMA gala (Fri Jan 27) will deliver a full evening of fascinating conversations among art lover friends, wine, hors d'oeuvre, desserts, diverse "best of" staged entertainment and a silent auction.This year it's not produced under the Silicon Valley Arts Coalition banner  but instead by and for two small budget SVAC member organizations:Noon Arts & Lectures Series andSouth Bay Guitar Society.Staged "best of" entertainment guided by emcee Susannah Greenwood a.k.a. "Princess of Artsalot" includes:• Lyric TheatreScenes from "Princess Ida"• Jifan Li, dizi (ancient Chinese bamboo flute) representing AiMusic and Firebird Youth Chinese Orchestra OASIS• Exhibition ballroom dances (Dina Bistry & Federico Moreno) Bolero Latin jazz Country medley• Chamber Music Silicon Valley Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No.1 for piano, flute & cello• Christopher Mann, classical guitar representing South Bay Guitar Society aAdaptations of Spanish Piano Music for Guitar• Sandra Wright Shen Piano SpectacularIn addition to this staged entertainment, you will also enjoy these lobby artists:• Danielle Nam Concert harp representing Silicon Valley Chapter, American Harp Society• Mighty Mike McGee, poet representing Poetry Center San Jose & Willow Glen. Readers• Liyuza Eisbach and friends exhibit. Visual artist.• Youth Shakespeare San JoseSample scene from March 2017 production; Macbeth  Please mark your calendar, invite your family, friends, colleagues and display news of this ARTS PANORAMA on your networks.Tickets (Wow! only $30) online at ...[...]

NAMM 2017 is Here!


Hill Guitar is off to Anaheim!

We have been going to NAMM for many years, but each year brings a different experience, and we are excited to see what 2017 has in store!  
We will have a variety of Hill Signature's, Performance's and our New World Guitars for you to play.
Kenny, Owen and Maggie will be at the booth so please come by and try out some guitars, there's no better time than NAMM time!
We are located at our usual booth: Hall E Booth #1516

Xuefei Yang Concert in Carmel!


Come see Xuefei Yang Live in breathtaking Carmel Valley, CA!About XuefeiAs a professional musician, Fei has performed concerts in 40 countries throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and North America. The demand for her music sees Fei keeping a busy international schedule including London's major venues (with several sell-out recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall), and concerts at the world’s most prestigious venues including Philharmonie Berlin, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Vienna, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, National Auditorium Madrid, Dvorak Hall Prague, Carnegie Hall & Lincoln Center New York, plus the main venues across Asia.  Fei gave both the first solo guitar, and first guitar concerto, recitals ever in Beijing's National Centre of Performing Arts.In 2003 she performed 54 concerts for the “Night of the Proms” Tour, appearing in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany, to a total audience of over 800,000 people. Fei is regularly invited to perform concertos with leading orchestras. This season sees Fei performing with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Barcelona Symphony, the Hallé Orchestra, China National Philharmonic and Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra.In addition to her solo career, Fei regularly appears in collaborations with other musicians. This season sees her performing chamber music with the Elias String Quartet, giving duo recitals with cellist Jian Wang, collaborating with tenor Ian Bostridge in a recital at London's Wigmore Hall, and with flautist Sir James Galway at the Beijing Music Festival.Concert InfoWhen: April 7th, 2017Time: 7:30, Doors open at 7:00pmWhere: Hidden Valley Music Center, Carmel, CATickets are $30 General Admission$25 for CGS Members and Student with IDPlease call Ron Friedman at (831) 375-2486 for ticketsRemaining tickets will be sold at door allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="" frameborder="0" height="266" src="" width="320">[...]

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!

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!


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.


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


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


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.Contact:Glenn Nichols54 North StreetNorfolk MA 02056(831)-345-8910nicholsguitars@gmail.com[...]

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 FridayFor tickets and info please visit the SBAIC websiteCome visit us and see what guitars we brought for you![...]

2016 Custom Crossover in Showroom!


2016 Hill Custom CROSSOVER Doubletop 640mmNarrow Neck#4051Not For SaleThis 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!SpecificationsSoundboard: Doubletop European spruce/Nomex/Western red cedar lattice bracedBack/Sides: Macassar ebonycutawayBarbera pick upNeck: Spanish cedar, Narrow 1 7/8" 48mmFingerboard: ebony, elevated, radiusedString Length: 640mmFinish: French polishTuners: Sloane ebony StippledLightweight truss rodsound portOverall length: 39"Body length: 19"Upper bout: 11"Lower bout: 14.375"Body depth: 3.5 - 4"Fingerboard @ nut: 48mmlattice bracedcompensated nut and saddle12 hole bridgestrap buttonsThis 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.[...]

Signature Ergonomic Model in Showroom!


2016 Hill ERGONOMIC Model640mm Indian Rosewood#4044$8,000 with Metro caseThis 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.SpecificationsStandup Wedge bodySoundboard: Doubletop European Spruce/Nomex/Western Red Cedar lattice bracedBack/Sides: Indian rosewoodNeck: Spanish cedarFingerboard: ebony, elevatedString Length: 640mmFinish: French polishTuners: Sloane ebonyLightweight truss rodsound portscompensated bone nut & saddle12 hole bridgeArmrestChest cutOverall length: 39"Body length: 19"Upper bout: 11"Lower bout: 14.375"Body depth: 3.5 - 4"Fingerboard @ nut: 51mmTake a closer look![...]

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


Come see Andrew York Live in Concert in Carmel, CA!**UPDATE**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 HillIn 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 20thTime: 7:30pmTickets: $30Call (831) 375-2486 or (831) 659-3115 for ticketsWhere: Hidden Valley Music, Carmel for questions[...]

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!


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!

Hill Guitar Gets a Visit From GeekSpeak!


(image) 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:

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 JedynakKenny with Robert Ruck at GFA 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 1[...]