Kemp Guitars UK Build Thread * Pic Heavy *

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KempGuitarsKempGuitars Frets: 69
edited November 2016 in Made in the UK

Hello theFretBoard,

New to this forum, I came across it accidentally whilst searching for remnants of my previous business online.

I've been building an assortment of guitar designs/shapes for some years now, and although the variety has been interesting, it comes at a price when you're forever making up new templates, etc... So, I've decided to take control, add an element of continuity whilst still producing "one-off" builds. Now trading/branding as "Kemp Guitars", I've been working on some new design ideas for guitars, nothing too extreme, and I wanted to share some of the work with you. I will post regularly if the interest is there - I have a number of stock/showcase builds on at the moment, so I hope that you enjoy looking at the guitars I'm making...

The new body designs I am using are made up of a combination of various designs I've used in the past - various curved sections, cutaway depths and shapes, bevelled edges, etc - but not been entirely happy with... I am happy with these, especially the KM-I (see below)...

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The recently finished KM-I #1 with Black Limba/Wenge body, Wenge/Black Walnut neck, Ebony fretboard and Gotoh/Hipshot hardware...

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More to follow

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  • Recently finished, the first KM-II with Black Limba body, Purpleheart/Maple five-piece neck, Purpleheart fretboard and Gotoh hardware...

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  • KempGuitarsKempGuitars Frets: 69
    edited November 2016

    The last build I'll be posting for now is this one; KM-I #2 Claro Walnut top on Ash body, Black Walnut/Ash/Wenge 5-piece neck, Indian Rosewood fretboard, Gotoh fixed bridge and 301 Series tuners, Tung Oil (body) and Tru-Oil (neck)...

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    I have a couple of custom builds to finish before I move on to the next batch of stock builds. More to come around Christmas/New Year, including 7-string KM-II and a couple more KM-I's

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  • RolandRoland Frets: 1261
    What's the reason for Tung oil on the body and Tru-oil on the neck?
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  • I must admit I'm not that taken with the style, but I do like the woods and like that more builders are using interesting woods and showing them off. It seems that was always mainly the preserve of bass guitars so it's nice to see that it's not the case any more. :)
    Some folks like water, some folks like wine.
    My feedback thread is here.
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  • Hi 
    nice to see a UK showcase and nice to see some different designs and wood choices.

    from my personal perspective the designs need a bit of finessing the KM1 topped with Wenge or Claro Look unfinished the way the the wood just sits on top without 
    anything in the design to make it sit organically looks odd.

    not sure if you are working with hand tools or cnc but often these styles favour Cnc where fancier arcs and curves can bring a design together.

    they are obviously pitched at the modern rock market and as such have to compete with some very popular brands like Black Machine Mayones etc etc

    I liked the KM-11 more but again the forearm cut looks a little lacking and as a design element seems to have little effect in form or function than to break up the body line.

    Ultimately I don't usually play these types of guitar but I understand the where they are pitched if I needed to get to market at this point then they are probably good enough and I would launch with these but I would have the rev2 in the works, that as I said finesses these designs and evolves the product quickly.

    all that said I am being picky but you threw them out for comments so am trying to be constructive and I am only really looking at them from a design perspective rather than how they hang together and play as an instrument which I am sure you have well covered.

    nice work

     
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  • Actually the KM-I Claro Walnut is my favourite, seems to put across less of a rawk image than the KM-II.
    Some folks like water, some folks like wine.
    My feedback thread is here.
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  • joeyowenjoeyowen Frets: 2575
    Very nice indeed! 
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  • AustrianJohnAustrianJohn Frets: 265
    edited November 2016
    I've bought three part built projects from Matt - the most recent of which combines a neck and body that are pictured above (but not attached to each other). I requested a specific body/neck combination, and suggested that I'd like an additional pickup rout (meaning that I would do it myself) - but Matt did that before he shipped it (maybe he's seen my routing). Actually, I'm rather chuffed to realise that I now own KM1 #1 - hopefully Kemp guitars can go from strength to strength and I'll find myself sitting on a gold mine ;-)



    The woods that Matt uses, and his workmanship, are awesome. I've learnt loads about guitar making working with his builds, and his guitars always play wonderfully.

    Interesting that @Jez6345789 says these are aimed at the modern rock market (which I'm sure they are), as I'm an old fart that plays blues and old rock, and I love them. But I'm a sucker for an interesting guitar built out of nice wood.

    http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/78544/new-build-not-a-kit-this-time

    http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/89191/first-wenge-build



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  •  =) Roland said:
    What's the reason for Tung oil on the body and Tru-oil on the neck?

    Thank you all for your comments and feedback.

    Roland, good question. I've only recently started using Tung oil and it's now my favourite finish in terms of aesthetics. However, I don't find it as durable as Tru-Oil so I use that as my primary neck finish, being that the neck will be handled more than the body. I do offer any combination of these as neck/body finishes on my custom builds.

    Hi 
    nice to see a UK showcase and nice to see some different designs and wood choices.

    from my personal perspective the designs need a bit of finessing the KM1 topped with Wenge or Claro Look unfinished the way the the wood just sits on top without 
    anything in the design to make it sit organically looks odd.

    not sure if you are working with hand tools or cnc but often these styles favour Cnc where fancier arcs and curves can bring a design together.

    they are obviously pitched at the modern rock market and as such have to compete with some very popular brands like Black Machine Mayones etc etc

    I liked the KM-11 more but again the forearm cut looks a little lacking and as a design element seems to have little effect in form or function than to break up the body line.

    Ultimately I don't usually play these types of guitar but I understand the where they are pitched if I needed to get to market at this point then they are probably good enough and I would launch with these but I would have the rev2 in the works, that as I said finesses these designs and evolves the product quickly.

    all that said I am being picky but you threw them out for comments so am trying to be constructive and I am only really looking at them from a design perspective rather than how they hang together and play as an instrument which I am sure you have well covered.

    nice work
    Jez; I'm always open to feedback and I won't take it to heart when someone isn't keen on my designs - "each to their own" and all that =)
    The basis of these designs is functionality, simplicity and natural aesthetics. They are workhorse guitars made to look pretty - taking advantage of the wood's natural appearance, etc.

    The points you mentioned are all part of these designs on purpose, even if some of them did come about by accident. For example, on an earlier design, I was using a veneer top with that same chamfer (see below), but I now prefer the thicker drop-top - partly because the veneer is seen as a cheaper and less superior option. The chamfer and the two woods revealed on that edge are part of the design, and perhaps if it weren't for the chamfer then there might be some binding, I don't know =)

    I'm sure there will be small changes over time, but I believe the KM-I and KM-II as they are now are here to stay.
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  • Hello AustrianJohn. You must've been typing up your post at the same time I was... Thank you for the kind words. I've just had a look at your threads... Some nice guitars there :3
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  • Very, very nice. I'm not too keen on the short lower horn on a couple of them, but I absolutely love the choice of woods and finishing. I'm firmly of the belief that wenge and black limba are the best-looking woods possible for workhorse guitars (one of my two main guitars has a black limba body, and the other has a one-off compressed wenge top), so you've got near to the top of my list for "most beatiful guitars ever" in your first post here :D
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • Very, very nice. I'm not too keen on the short lower horn on a couple of them, but I absolutely love the choice of woods and finishing. I'm firmly of the belief that wenge and black limba are the best-looking woods possible for workhorse guitars (one of my two main guitars has a black limba body, and the other has a one-off compressed wenge top), so you've got near to the top of my list for "most beatiful guitars ever" in your first post here :D


    Thank you very much, digitalscream =)

    I totally agree with you on the Black Limba and Wenge... Purpleheart for me is another, looks very nice against Limba as well. I've just depleted my Black Limba stock with this next KM-II - due to be finished over the next month, pup and neck routs will be re-routed for 7-strings...

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  • DeijavooDeijavoo Frets: 3078
    Loving that KM-II. 

    Nice work mate. Also, great work @AustrianJohn too!


    I really need to try again with a kit. 
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  • Deijavoo said:
    Loving that KM-II. 

    Nice work mate. Also, great work @AustrianJohn too!


    I really need to try again with a kit. 


    Thanks Deijavoo. I'll continue updating on this and other builds regularly =)

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  • AustrianJohnAustrianJohn Frets: 265
    edited December 2016
    I now have all of the components for my Kemp based build - Iron Gear pickups are installed...



    Cavity was routed anticipating a single volume for a single pickup. I need to install a stacked volume/tone pot, plus a 3 way switch. Space is rather constrained so I'm going to take my time.


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  • I now have all of the components for my Kemp based build - Iron Gear pickups are installed...



    Cavity was routed anticipating a single volume for a single pickup. I need to install a stacked volume/tone pot, plus a 3 way switch. Space is rather constrained so I'm going to take my time.


    Looking good, John =) 

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  • KempGuitarsKempGuitars Frets: 69
    edited December 2016

    Another of the latest stock builds is this all-Sapele, except for the Makore (aka African Cherry) fretboard, 6-string KM-I. This will be loaded with Gotoh fixed bridge (ignore the 7-string bridge in the photo)and 301 Series tuners once complete late December/early January.

    Sapele has been one of my favourite "tonewoods" since I used it on my first ever full build. It's easy to work with and smells nice, but (sadly) it's usually seen as a "cheaper" alternative to Mahogany. This couldn't be any further from the truth; Sapele is more readily available so, naturally, it won't cost as much as Mahogany. Sapele is "similar" to Mahogany in appearance and tone, however, Sapele also offers more punch and bright, airy highs... And it's prettier than most genuine Mahogany.

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  • Here's another build on the bench at the moment; it's a 7-string KM-II with Black Walnut off-set body, Maple neck and bound Ebony fretboard. This one will be loaded with Original Floyd Rose, BKP Juggarnaut set and Hipshot Grip-Lock, and is due to be shipped out to USA around mid-January...

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  • Lookin' good :)

    Also, I cleared up those duplicate posts for you...
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 808
    Hi @KempGuitars, Megii (aka Megi) from the "other forum" - like what you're doing, and as always, the new designs have that bit of artistic design flair in the lines that I've been struck by before. Any chance you could post a few pics of some of the carved top set neck guitars you've done though? - I thought some of those were really stunning looking instruments. :)

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  • KempGuitarsKempGuitars Frets: 69
    edited December 2016
    Lookin' good

    Also, I cleared up those duplicate posts for you...

    Thanks for that. I remember having difficulty trying to post that reply but it only appeared once at the time.

    Megii said:
    Hi @KempGuitars, Megii (aka Megi) from the "other forum" - like what you're doing, and as always, the new designs have that bit of artistic design flair in the lines that I've been struck by before. Any chance you could post a few pics of some of the carved top set neck guitars you've done though? - I thought some of those were really stunning looking instruments.

    Thanks Megii, I'm glad you like the designs. They're keeping me busy at the moment and there will be plenty more to come - including lots of more visually interesting exotic tops, etc =)

    Sadly, I won't be posting photos of the pre-Kemp Guitars builds that you like. However, I am about to start a (Wenge) carve-top KM-I for a customer. It won't really get started now until after Christmas but it'll be one to look out for. I don't offer carve-tops as a standard option with the KM-I and KM-II bodies, although that doesn't stop anyone requesting them, so who knows what will crop up in the future.

    In the meantime, just for you =) Here's one of my favourite carve-tops built as Serpentine Guitars...

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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 8321
    Lovely stuff!
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  • kemp-gallery-03jpg

    My god that is tasty :sexwee:

    If you are making these for sale I may need to convince the Mrs that I need one.
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  • kemp-gallery-03jpg

    My god that is tasty :sexwee:

    If you are making these for sale I may need to convince the Mrs that I need one.


    This one was sold within a week of completing it. However, it was a stock build and I'd happily build another identical =)

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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 808
    Megii said:
    Hi @KempGuitars, Megii (aka Megi) from the "other forum" - like what you're doing, and as always, the new designs have that bit of artistic design flair in the lines that I've been struck by before. Any chance you could post a few pics of some of the carved top set neck guitars you've done though? - I thought some of those were really stunning looking instruments.

    Thanks Megii, I'm glad you like the designs. They're keeping me busy at the moment and there will be plenty more to come - including lots of more visually interesting exotic tops, etc =)

    Sadly, I won't be posting photos of the pre-Kemp Guitars builds that you like. However, I am about to start a (Wenge) carve-top KM-I for a customer. It won't really get started now until after Christmas but it'll be one to look out for. I don't offer carve-tops as a standard option with the KM-I and KM-II bodies, although that doesn't stop anyone requesting them, so who knows what will crop up in the future.

    In the meantime, just for you =) Here's one of my favourite carve-tops built as Serpentine Guitars...

    Ah - that's a nice one, thank you! And glad to here you're busy with the new designs, it's gorgeous stuff. And very much looking forward to that wenge carve top KM-I :) 
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  • I've finished installing the electrics and other components in KM1 #1. With space in the cavity so tight I was worried that I'd end up with too much, or too little length of wire - but it was ok in the end. That's a combined volume/tone pot, so there's another set of unseen connections below.



    The guitar both looks and plays great. The pickup combination works well - shifting from cool and laid back to quite angry.


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  • I've finished installing the electrics and other components in KM1 #1. With space in the cavity so tight I was worried that I'd end up with too much, or too little length of wire - but it was ok in the end. That's a combined volume/tone pot, so there's another set of unseen connections below.



    The guitar both looks and plays great. The pickup combination works well - shifting from cool and laid back to quite angry.



    It is tight, isn't it =) I didn't want to take too much away from the body and made the cavity just big enough to get the one pot, switch and jack in.

    The guitar looks great though, you've done it real justice =)

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  • Happy New Year to you all!

    The last year passed so quick, especially the last couple months of it. Kemp Guitars is looking forward to 2017, and we start with the first two builds that will be leaving the workshop this month (January).

    The first is the custom 7-string KM-II build, previously mentioned, now taking on some oil coats as we speak alongside our stock KM-I (#3) with Sapele body/neck and Makore fretboard...



    In addition to two further stock builds (both 7-strings), we're also going to be working with this stunning Wenge top for a custom KM-I carve-top...

    One last thing to add is about the latest CITES regulations that came into force today with regards to shipping any kind of Rosewood and some kinds of Bubinga - https://reverb.com/news/new-cites-regulations-for-all-rosewood-species.

    In light of these new regulations, Kemp Guitars has decided to discontinue all Rosewood, Bubinga and Cocobolo as options on any guitars that are being shipped to any non-UK based customer. Sad, I know, but there is a lot of administration and costs for both myself and the recipient if a guitar is made using one or more of these woods.

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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 808
    Beautiful looking guitar ^ - what's the fingerboard wood, if I may ask?
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