Kiesel Guitars has announced its new A2 series, debuting an all-new body shape that takes the ergonomics of 21st-century stringed instrument design pretty darn seriously. The A2, aka the Aries 2, takes the Kiesel Aries design for electric guitar and bass guitar and vigorously modernizes it.
The A2 does not replace the Aries. You’ll still be able to buy one from Kiesel; after all, it is the most popular model in the line-up, inspiring signature guitars for the likes of Sophie Lloyd. But you’ve got to push things forward every now and again, and the A2 does that.
Taking cues from its headless guitar design, the A2 sports an offset body shape, a shorter lower horn, with a shrunken top bevel on the guitar’s top and revised rear bevel giving it a very different feel to the original Aries. Kiesel promises a more comfortable ride, and safe passage to the top end of the fretboard via an extra-sculpted neck heel. Heck, they’ve all but done away with it altogether.
Guitarists of a certain vintage might class the A2 as ultra-modern but with that more classic six-in-line headstock – a deliberate choice not to make it too modern – we are some way off the powdered foodstuffs and brain implants vibe that you get with some über-futuristic designs (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Other new features that catch the eye include the Access output jack, which is located on the rear of the body and pointed upwards lest you get your guitar cable caught in something and accidentally yank it out.
As ever with Kiesel, the world is your oyster. There is always the option of building your own unique shred machine. The core specs, however, offer plenty of choice. All of the A2 models, guitar and bass, are offered in regular or multiscale configurations, with Hipshot bridges as standard.
The multi-scale guitars have Hipshot’s Solo Saddle bridge design, and measure 25.5” to 26.5” for the six-string model, 25.5” to 27” for the seven-string guitar, and 26” to 27.5” for that big ol’ djent-friendly beast of an eight-string.
The bodies for these are listed as alder but on the Build Your Own configurator you can spec ‘em up with black limba, mahogany, swamp ash, and walnut for an extra 100 bucks. For an extra 200 on the basic price you can have one-piece swamp ash – roasted, it’s an extra $300. High-rollers might want to go for koa for an extra $500.
The top wood menu choices are similarly generous. Black limba, mahogany, plain maple offer more budget-friendly options. At the other end of the price scale you’ve got burled maple and flamed koa (both $500), and buckeye burl for $600.
NB: These prices are for a six-string model. It’s a fun exercise playing around on the site to see just what your money can buy you. If you’re in the market for a high-end electric guitar but want something different, this is an option.
Other core specs for the six-string include Kiesel’s high-ratio 19:1 locking tuners, 24 stainless steel jumbo frets, bolt-on maple necks that are reinforced with dual-carbon rods and finished with tung oil, 14” radius ebony fingerboards, and Kiesel’s highly rated Lithium humbucking pickups. Luminlay glow-in-the-dark side markers are used as standard.
It is a similar deal for the bass guitars, i.e. the Burger King ‘Have it your way’ ethos is alive and well. The core builds are similar – alder as standard, the bolt-on maple necks with carbon roads to withstand temperature changes, ebony fingerboards, regular and multi-scale options are available at a mouse click, Hipshot providing the bridge hardware.
And of course you also have the rear-mounted Access output jack and bass players with a taste for upper-fret adventurism will be delighted to learn that we have the extra-sculpted neck heel here, too.
Pickups are listed as Radium KRH Radius humbuckers, of which you can have two, three, run them passive or through an active preamp with volume, blend, stacked bass/treble controls.
The A2 models are available now. Starting price for the guitar is $1,549. Basses are priced from $1,799. For more details, check out the live intro video above. For more info on spec options, head to Kiesel Guitars. And to hear the A2 in action, check out some of the demo videos below.