The Luthier's Collection: Ken Miller

The Acousteel

Ken Miller has moved the acoustic slide/Hawaiian guitar further down the developmental path. Starting with the Weissenborn guitars of the early 20th Century many makers have built guitars specifically to be played with a steel slide and fingerpicks. One familiar branch of the path features the resonator guitars of the Dobro/National school. Ken has taken a different route, expanding on the famous acoustic research of Dr. Kasha and Richard Schneider he has created his own answer to the search for an improved acoustic slide sound that has taken more than eighty years.

The Acousteel has Red Spruce face and braces, Koa back, sides and head veneer. Headstock and linings are Spanish Cedar. The Acousteel is bound in Rosewood with colored wood purflings and has an Ebony fingerboard. The peghead, fingerboard and top is tastefully decorated with inlaid Pearl, Gold Pearl and Abalone (including a "nameplate" at the 12th fret than can be engraved with the owner's name, initials or etc.) The bridge (in the unusual Kasha shape) is made of Brazilian Rosewood with a bone saddle and nut. Tuners are gold Schallers with Pearl buttons. As good as it looks (and these photographs only hint at that) the Acousteel sounds even better.

Ken Miller's interest in building guitars started years ago when his guitar broke and he fixed it. Shortly other guitarists asked Ken to fix their guitars... and so it goes. Ken spent three years at the Guild factory in Rhode Island, including a stint as assistant foreman in the final assembly department. Following his time at Guild, Ken has been repairing and building a wide range of instruments. With the help of his wife and partner, Virginia, Ken is focusing on building instruments.

Ken has a wide-ranging interest in instruments and has built an amazing variety from Ukes to Banjos to Balalaikas. He has also built Classical and Flamenco guitars.

I play Ken's small bodied flamenco guitar made with mediterranean cypress back and sides,spuce top and spanish cedar neck .This guitar has an incredibly well balanced sound.The timbre range is extremely nice and the volume output is amazing for such a compact instrument. Having such a wide dynamic range allows me to compete in any ensemble setting and the resplendent tone of the instrument makes it a winner in my solo performances. Jon Copps

Ken's instruments are finely detailed with extensive, but subtle, decoration. His instruments feature fine woods and materials, and are built very solidly but are usually lighter in weight than instruments by other makers. Ken welcomes the challenge of creating custom, one-of-a-kind instruments with your choice of materials, design and decoration. (Since he performs the tricky act of side bending freehand, rather than in a pre-shaped mold, Ken can easily create a wide range of styles and dimensions.)

For more about Ken and his instruments, click logo

Experienced Instruments

E-mail Experienced Instruments