Carvin & Kiesel Guitars: Here’s What’s Happening

A lot of people have been asking lately what’s going on with Carvin and the increased profile of the Kiesel name. Here’s a video with Mark and Jeff Kiesel explaining what’s what. Basically Carvin’s guitar and bass Custom Shop division is being separated into its own company, to be known as Kiesel Custom Guitars.

As they explain in the text of the YouTube video:

After almost 70 years designing and manufacturing high quality, USA-made instruments, Carvin Corporation’s guitar and bass Custom Shop division is being separated into its own company, to be known as Kiesel Custom Guitars. This will allow the Custom Shop’s talented designers, builders and other staff to focus exclusively on creating the world-class instruments the company is known for. The original Kiesel brand name was launched in 1946 by family patriarch Lowell Kiesel as the L.C. Kiesel Company, and was renamed “Carvin” in 1949 when the company launched its innovative direct-sales business model, so returning to the “Kiesel” name is an homage to the company founder, who passed away in 2009. Originally, the company began by selling pickups, steel guitars and tube amplifiers, many of which are still in existence today, and later expanded into electric guitars and basses, solid-state amps, audio gear and accessories. Mark Kiesel, son of Lowell, has been in charge of guitar production since leaving the aerospace industry in 1970 to join the family business, and pioneered countless innovations in the stringed instrument industry over the years. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Mark personally designed and built every instrument that passed through the Custom Shop, and as the popularity of the brand exploded in the late 1980s, a whole team of talented luthiers, painters, engineers, technicians and other staff joined the company. Mark’s son, Jeff Kiesel, has been with the company for over 20 years, and under Mark’s tutelage, has acquired a wealth of knowledge in the design and construction of stringed instruments. His innovative and exciting new instrument designs, new features and options as well as streamlined manufacturing processes have reinvigorated the Custom Shop, and created excitement among the Custom Shop’s countless players and fans. Many new artists and endorsers have been attracted, bringing with them new ideas and opportunities, as well as exposing the brand to the next generation of players and performers. The Carvin brand name for instruments is exclusively owned by Kiesel Guitars and will continue to be made along side some Kiesel branded instruments. Kiesel Guitars is retaining the current staff and Production will continue at current location.

Mark Kiesel, President says: “I have loved this business from the time I started working part time for my dad in the 60’s. Later in 1970 after working full time as a design draftsman for a large aero-space company, I was asked by my brother, Carson to quit my job and work full time at Carvin to run the guitar department. It’s been a fun process to grow our guitar sales from miniscule to what they are today. If my Dad was still with us he would be proud to see his original KIESEL logo in use again. The coolest thing for me is to see how passionate my son Jeff is about designing and building guitars. And now my grandson Zak is working part time. How cool is that! When you are as passionate as we are about designing and building instruments, having our own company to focus entirely on guitars and basses is a dream come true!”

Jeff Kiesel, V.P. says: “This is an amazing time for us and I am really excited about our future. With this change it will remove distractions for the both of us and allow us to focus on what we love and are best at. The Instruments we are building today are far superior to anything we built in years past, its fun to work on projects together and bounce ideas off each other and constantly push the envelope of development and quality. My kids both play guitar and currently my son Zak works here part time, since Zak was about three years old he has wanted to design and build guitars alongside myself and my dad. We all really enjoy what we do and this will allow us to be even better at it.”

Carvin Audio and Amplifier products will continue to be manufactured under the direction of other members of the Kiesel family.