Kiesel Guitars

Kiesel, originally known as Carvin Guitars, was founded in 1946 by Lowell Kiesel as the L. C. Kiesel Company in Los Angeles. Kiesel relocated briefly to his home state of Nebraska but returned to California in 1949 and changed the name of the company to Carvin after his two eldest sons, Carson and Gavin.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Carvin expanded its product lines selling popular lap and pedal steel guitars, electric basses and guitars, mandolins and doubleneck instruments. 

In the late 1970s Carvin began to design and build their own guitars and basses and began allowing customers to choose from various options making each guitar or bass a unique, custom built instrument. The various models and options expanded throughout the 1980s and Carvin gained exposure on MTV and other outlets by being associated with such artists as Jefferson Starship, The Bangles, Missing Persons and Steve Vai.

In 1988 Carvin guitars and basses switched from being set-neck models to (mostly) neck-through design. Additionally, many new options, finishes and woods were added, as were signature instruments and amplifiers bearing the names of artists such as Craig Chaquico, Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, Bunny Brunel, Timothy B. Schmit and Frank Gambale.

Since 2015 the company has reverted to the Kiesel Guitar name and operates an 80,000 square foot facility in San Diego and employs over 100 people.

They have stores in San Diego, Santa Ana, Hollywood and Sacramento where customers can choose from a wide selection of pro audio equipment, amplifiers, acoustic and electric guitars & basses and other accessories.

Over one million catalogues are sent out every year to customers all over the globe, as well as email newsletters and advertisements in all the major music publications. Their engineers are constantly improving the product lines and Kiesel’s craftsmen build over 1000 custom guitars and basses each year including seven-string, semi-hollow, twelve-string, carved-top and active-pickup models.


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