Is a Kiesel Guitar Right for You? Our Complete Review

Selecting the perfect guitar is challenging, but also incredibly fun.  Keisel makes it even more interesting, offering superior quality and performance and tons of customization options.  

The finest electric guitar varies depending on the player’s preference. For some, it may be something basic and functional. For others, it’s a guitar decked out in glitzy paint and loaded with every gizmo imaginable. Kiesel knows that everyone has a different definiton of what makes the perfect guitar, and they want to help you create yours.

Below you’ll find descriptions of the best Kiesel Guitars available in the market. To help you select the perfect guitar, this list includes a wide price ranges, as well as a variety of musical genres and skill levels. 

Aries Bolt-on tan upclose
Photo source:


What’s the History Behind Kiesel Guitars?

In 2015, long-time guitar maker the Carvin Corporation created Kiesel Guitars to take over the development and production of its guitars and basses. Founded by Lowell Kiesel, Carvin is a family-owned company based in San Diego that had been making electric guitars since the 1940s and had expanded its business lines to include not just producing excellent guitars, but also incredible amplifiers, top-tier studio gear, sound reinforcement equipment, and other fun gadgets. Since 1970, Lowell Kiesel’s son Mark has been in charge of the company’s guitar production. By spinning off guitars into a new company, Kiesel was able to devote itself entirely to developing and improving Carvin and Kiesel guitars and basses.

Though this change was startling for those used to the Carvin brand, the change was positive for the company and guitar-lovers alike.  In fact, Kiesel almost immediately released some of its most popular models, including the Aries and Vader.  

Best Keisel Guitars

Aries Bolt-on

The ARIES was a significant turning point for Kiesel.  While Carvin’s traditional designs were still accessible, the Aries was Kiesel’s first guitar under the new company’s name. The Aries continues to be the go-to guitar for amateurs and experts thanks to its noticeable bevel and simple fret access in a bolt-on design. In addition, the 5-ply maple/walnut neck feels dependable and cozy. A touch rounder than the normal Ibanez Wizard profile but still quite comfortable, the profile is a contemporary C. You wonder if this is it after looking at the smaller neck profile option in the Kiesel Guitar Builder. This neck rips in either case!

The neck keeps moving quickly and is clog-free because of the smooth and organic oil finish. The neck joint may appear slightly thin at first. However, when playing the higher frets, it doesn’t get in the way and has a natural feeling angle rather than a plain, large block. The Aries has a fantastic set up, just like every Kiesel/Carvin you have ever gotten. Its smooth, low motion makes you feel at ease. Just plug it in and play; nothing needs to be adjusted!  The Aries has a starting MSRP of $1,449.

Aries Bolt-on blue
Photo source:



The Vader, one of the 2015 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show’s most lauded instruments, quickly won over fans with its easy neck-through, headless construction, and modern, aggressive appearance. With an MSRP of $1,699, the Kiesel Vader series is made with the rock and combo shredder in mind. The Vader produces typical solid body tones that appeal to guitarists with rock and metal tastes more than the jazzier Holdsworth instrument. When you enter the stage wearing this Vader with a blue mist metallic finish, you can be sure that all eyes will be on you, so the force must be strong in this one. To put it mildly, it’s a magnificent piece of equipment, yet those who like older or more traditional acoustic guitars might not be inclined toward this contemporary marvel. 

The absence of a headstock makes the neck appear shorter than it is. However, appearances can be deceiving. The Vader features a clear, silky finish throughout, 24 stainless steel medium-jumbo frets, and a medium-jumbo neck profile. The neck is reasonably compact for a seven-string instrument, measuring 1.91″ broad at the nut and 2.61″ wide at the 24th fret. It has the standard 25.5″ scale length. The great guitar includes tamarind wood volume and tone control knobs, a fretboard with a 20″ radius with offset dot inlays, and other characteristics. You can create a modern tone machine by combining these features with the direct-mounted, bright white Kiesel Lithium KL14 humbucking pickups, the Hipshot hardtail bridge, and a set of Dunlop Strap lock tires, and other components. You can purchase Vader guitars with six or eight strings, add a tremolo bridge, or perhaps even add a multiscale (fanned fret) option for those who are more daring.

Vader red and black
Photo source:



DC is a six-stringed guitar designed with all the metalheads and shredders in mind. It was built on the seven-stringed DC and kept many of the design and construction ideas from its extended range of sibling characteristics. This basic rocker has a starting MSRP of $1,599. DC has a flat-topped body, an alder neck going through the center, and wings on the sides.

This Kiesel model, like many others, is adaptable with different wing, top, and neck options. The top of the neck is an ebony 24-fret fingerboard with dot inlays, medium jumbo frets, and a 1.69″ nut. Direct mount Kiesel Lithium humbuckers offer the ideal compromise between power and articulation.

The typical bridge for this kind is the string-through TOM or the M bridge. Kiesel tuners finish every model. The company created the neck-through DC in response to the shifting fashion trends of the 2010s. The extra-deep stomach cut, the adjustable angle, and the sharper horns are just a few improvements that modernized the series.

DC Marble desgined guitar
Photo source:



The Zeus was the first bolt-on headless Kiesel guitar to feature a top-level. The tiny size compliments one of the most comfortable shapes to produce a subtle body and superb playability. The Zeus is made to order and comes with various options, such as 6, 7, and 8-string standard scale and multiscale models, a neck radius of 14 or 20 inches, different neck and body woods, various finishes, frets, and pickup configurations. All Zeus models have a beveled body. In contrast to typical headless designs, the bridge-placed tuners are sunken in the body, giving the great guitar a contemporary yet recognizable look. The bolt-on neck has a thin, contoured neck heel that makes reaching the higher frets simple. Unfortunately, it cannot use double ball (Steinberger style) strings since only conventional single ball guitar strings are compatible with the headpiece.

With starting MSRP of $1,499, the seven-stringed Kiesel Zeus Multiscale guitar features high-quality hardware, Kiesel’s electronics (Lithium K14 humbuckers with master volume, master tone, and 5-position switch), and a robust and single-cut body compound with a 25-1/2″-27″ scale, and solid construction. It features a solid alder body, a hard rock maple neck with a C profile and bolt-on joint, an ebony 24-fret fingerboard with 20 radii, offset dot inlays, and medium jumbo frets, a Hipshot bridge, and headless bridge tuners. Kiesel also offers a wide variety of colors, wood tones, and hardware choices for this model. 

Zeus watercolors guitar
Photo source:



The Osiris has a modern double-cut and sharp bevel, closely following the Zeus. As one of the few bolt-on Kiesel headless guitars, its design is unique. One of Kiesel’s best selling series, the Osiris Headless series is a part of Kiesel’s headless electric guitar line, along with Vader and Zeus. Seven models total, with four standard-scaled and three multiscale options, make up its current lineup.

The solid-bodied, double-cut OM7 Kiesel Osiris Multiscale Headless guitar features Kiesel’s proprietary electronics (passive Lithium K14 humbuckers plus basic controls and a 5-position pickup switch) contemporary style, and a range of tones. A solid and beveled alder body, an Eastern hard rock maple neck with a C profile, a 24-fret ebony fingerboard with offset dot inlays, and a 20 radius, as well as a Hipshot hardtail bridge with mounted tuners, are all standard features. In addition, Kiesel offers an enormous selection of tonewood, hardware, and color options for this model, which starts at $1,499.

Osiris white wooden guitar
Photo source:



The LEIA takes its design cues from the Zeus but its construction from the Vader. It features the Vader’s neck-through construction, the SCB’s shape, and Zeus’s compact feel, which together create the Leia electric guitar’s single-cut design.

With a scale length of 24.75 inches in a six-string configuration and 25.5 inches in a seven-string version, the Leia starts at $1,699 MSRP and can be built with either a term or fixed bridge. In fact, everything from the body wood to the fingerboard material to the pickups is interchangeable.

Leia guitar
Photo source:


Retro Solo

The Retro Solo Classic models from Kiesel mix traditional styling with contemporary tone and craftsmanship. They are designed for players that enjoy mixing retro aesthetics with a contemporary metal roar. On the Solo Classic models, you can find one of the broadest selections of different tonewoods and hardware choices in the Kiesel catalog. They also come in a huge variety of colors. The Solo Classics have a solid body, a bolt-on neck, seven strings, Kiesel’s proprietary electronics (Lithium K14 passive humbuckers with standard controls), and contemporary hardware.

The Solo Classics start at $1649 MRSP and feature a solid and single-cut alder body with beveled edges, maple neck with a C profile, in-line inverted headstock, 24-fret ebony fingerboard with a 14-inch radius, and 25.5″ scale.  A Hipshot hardtail bridge with mounted tuners is among the standard tone wood and hardware appointments. Adding to the solo collection is a traditional t-style guitar that honors one of the most recognizable styles. You can customize the Solo Classic’s timeless design in infinite ways with Kiesel Guitars’ options thanks to its Ashtray bridge, pickguard, and traditional control configuration.

Retro Solo white guitar
Photo source:


K- series

The K-SERIES, which features typical Master Grade woods, a deep arm slope, and the finest access ever seen on a Kiesel, was introduced to commemorate Kiesel’s 70th anniversary. Every K-Series model features a display of our most unique options. This is one of the more expensive of Kiesel’s guitarts, starting at $3,799. Few brands can match Kiesel and Carvin’s decades of experience and tradition, and Kiesel made the noble K series to commemorate its history. Kiesel offers six, seven, and eight-string variations in standard and compound scales.

A carved-top Soloist body (3-piece construction), through-body neck (seven-piece neck), Kiesel Lithium pickups (one volume knob and a 5-position switch), a 24-fret fingerboard, and Kiesel tuners are among the fixed choices for the K-7 Kiesel 70th Anniversary. Swamp ash, mahogany, alder, maple (flamed maple, quilt maple, spalted maple, bird’s eye maple, etc.), purple heart, koa, walnut, ebony, and many other tone kinds of wood are among the options.

K- series guitar
Photo source:


How Do You Get a Metal Sound from Your Electric Guitar?

Now that we’re reviewed Kiesel’s top guitar models, let’s talk about why metal guitarists choose Kiesel guitarts. Keisel offers fantastic metal guitars with a fixed bridge and dual humbuckers. So many metal guitarists choose Keisel guitars specifically because they produce distinctive metal tones.

How can you do this at home?  To get a good metal tone, set the amplifier’s bass and gain to high, mid-low, and mid-high, respectively. Be aware that you will need to be able to gain and sustain a lot of gains and a lot of low-end (bass). The metal genre places a high demand on guitarists. To stand out, you must be at the top of your game and have the proper equipment for the sound quality you expect from your guitar. 

What are Kiesel’s Advantages?

Harkening back to Carvin’s early mail order days, you can order a Kiesel guitar and have it shipped to your doorstep.  This gives Kiesel an advantage over other brands since, instead of searching for a local music store that carries the instrument you’re lookng for or placing a special order, you can have it come to you.  Sweetening the deal, when you buy a Kiesel guitar you get a 10-day home trial period, after which you can return it for a full refund if you don’t like it.

Carvin – and now Kiesel – has offered this factory-direct experience since 1946, which Kiesel says allows them to add more features and quality while keeping expenses down. It also removes wholesalers and retailers who would otherwise charge additional markups, driving up your final prive.

Every Kiesel guitar has a five-year warranty covering creativity, materials, and quality control. Each one is also handcrafted in the company’s factory in Escondido, California.

The tonewoods are hand-selected for your unique instrument when choosing a custom shop model. Because the CNC router tolerances are smaller than 001 inches, the guitar is remarkably easy to play. Almost any model will provide action to 3/64.

If you want a limited-edition instrument, Kiesel has you covered. You can choose a bespoke finish, exotic woods, and other unique options not traditionally available from other companies. 

kiesel guitar
Photo source:


Are There Any Drawbacks?

You really can’t beat Kiesel’s guitars’ quality or convenience since they allow you to customize your instrument and have it arrive on your doorstep. But, depending on what you’re looking for, the brand does have some drawbacks.

For starters, even though Kiesel has an excellent return policy, you cannot visit their store to test their guitars and amplifiers before buying. That can be unsettling for guitarists who enjoy searching for that one unique instrument with the mojo. Some guitarists find it challenging to get past this drawback of how Kiesel does business.

Resale is yet another drawback. Your guitar will be custom-made for you. Therefore, it might not be worth as much as a comparable guitar from another manufacturer if you decide to sell or trade it. In contrast, other big companies might produce countless identical guitars so people know their value.

Since your Kielse guitar is custom-made for you, its worth is entirely subjective. Some enthusiasts have dozens of Kiesel guitars and amplifiers and do not care about things like resale or refunds. Instead, they are focused on Kiesel’s excellent craftsmanship and consistent performance. Kiesel (and Carvin before it) couldn’t have stayed in busines for almost 80 years if they hadn’t been producing such excellent stuff. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re a guitarist or passionate about music, finding a good guitar that covers all the basic requirements to produce the best sound might be daunting. The guitars featured in this article are Kiesel’s most popular and highly-rated guitars. This selection is a great foundations for building your shortlist for a new purchase if you are looking to improve your guitar’s sound and overall performance. If you decide to choose Kiesel Guitar, it will surely be a one-of-a-kind investment. The brand is known for producing high-quality equipment that offers the best possible music experience. 

Was this article helpful?