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With today’s market flooded with guitars, it is getting harder and harder to walk into a store and find ‘The One’. Once you find it, you realize the price tag on that particular instrument, is well over $1000, and sometimes even pushing three grand or more for a ‘custom shop’ or a ‘signature series’ instrument. That’s if you’re lucky enough to actually find ‘The One’.
So, after years of searching for ‘The One’ that I could never find, I decided to treat myself and have ‘The One’ created for me. I got in touch with Mike Kinal, my former wood working teacher. Mike has been building guitars of exquisite caliber for well over 40 years. He has his own variations of classic designs as well as a number of his very own designs.
Being a former student of Mike’s, I was lucky enough to watch the meticulous work he put into many instruments… Carving a neck, doing inlay work, and hours upon hours of wet sanding to get his finishes absolutely flawless. Suffice it to say, I had a pretty good idea of what the quality of the finished product would be.
The part I didn’t see, in my youth, was how much work he puts in before he even constructs the instrument. The service I got was second to none. We had a one on one consultation to discuss exactly what I wanted out of my instrument. I knew I wanted a Tele style guitar with a figured top, no pickguard. He then asked me about the profile of the neck that I would like. I was kind of up in the air about the neck, and I was pretty sure I was going to go for a medium ‘C’. When he noticed I wasn’t sure, he started pulling out an arsenal of guitars, all with different neck contours.
After trying an array of necks, my hand gripped one in particular, and I new that was the neck. It was a soft ‘V’ that flows into more of a ‘C’ shape up the neck. It’s a nice handful, doesn’t feel awkward, and plays like a dream. I have never played a neck quite like this. It is absolutely flawless!
We then moved on to choosing the components. Tuners, Bridge, Frets, Pickups, everything was covered in the consultation. Every contour of the wood and every component of this guitar was going to be tailored to me, for me. Where else can you say that?
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So, after the consultation, this is what we came up with.
– Body: Alder with Quilted Maple Top, No pickguard or control plate, Blue Burst
– Bridge: Babicz Full Contact Hardware.
– Electronics: Well, since I make pickups, I opted to have my own pickups installed, Reilander Texas Styles, with 4 way switching. All the cavities are completely shielded with copper, this is standard on all Kinals.
– Neck: Quarter Sawn 1 piece Maple, Soft ‘V’, jumbo stainless frets (I can’t remember the actual size), Bone nut. Head stock to have same burst as body.
– Tuners: Kluson Style, Split shaft, staggered.
The hardest part of this whole thing was the wait. When Mike called me to let me know it was ready to pickup, I was like a 5 year old running to the tree on Christmas morning. Let me tell you. The wait was well worth it!!
Here is the custom Kinal Tele!
This guitar is nothing short of amazing!! It feels great! Plays like a dream! and sustains for days!!! It looks like you can reach into the finish up to your elbow. If you look closely, you can actually see the reflection of the control knobs as though they were reflected by water.
This piece of art plays better than any other T-style guitar that I have tried. I don’t want to get to much into the sound of the pickups, as I don’t want to seem like I’m pumping my own tires, but I will say the pickups are a great match for this guitar.
So, who would want a custom Kinal Tele? The Kinal Tele is for a player who wants something special and unique and wants something tailored to his/her needs and wants. It’s a good fits for much anyone who takes there relationship with their instrument seriously.
Price? Not that bad. Actually, if you think about it, the price is really good. This guitar, as is, costs about $2200. Now, you can shave $200 off that if you opt for a more traditional look, ie. ash or alder body, no figuring. That brings it down to $2000. That’s only $300 more than an American standard!! That $300 gets you a fully hand crafted instrument that has been custom tailored to your needs and specifications.
Service? Top notch! Mike stands by his product, is accessible and is full of great advice and knowledge. You can tell just by talking to him that this is a person who truly loves his craft.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!! In fact, that new JK series of his is looking awfully attractive.
What are you waiting for? Check him out! www.kinal.com