KK15 – X20 Nylon Red Fan Fret
Ever since I received the first email from Kevin Kastning a few years ago things haven’t quite been the same since for us at Emerald Guitars. Kevin has a very individual style of playing which requires some very specific and highly unusual instruments that just weren’t really feasible in wood, but then our paths crossed and what once seemed impossible, became a possibility.
Kevin’s first collaboration with Emerald Guitars was the Triocha 30-string double neck which then inspired the KK36, a a 36-string guitar. Kevin had barely received the KK36 when he started discussing the KK15 X20 Red Nylon with me.
Finally, after 12 months of discussion and development, I completed this wonderful 15-string nylon guitar. The design brief was for a tuning of F#,B,E,A,A,D,D,G,G,B,B,E,E,A,A which has a very wide range, so getting a scale length to suit all this was nearly impossible.
I had been preaching the merits of Fan frets to Kevin for a while and although at first he was a little concerned about the playability of such an instrument he decided it was worth a try. We went with a fan scale ranging from 27 1/4″ on the bass side which is long enough to accommodate the low F# running to 24 1/2″ on the treble side which is short enough to allow the High A string without breaking. Truly, the fan scale is the only way we could have achieved this tuning and its given the instrument great presence and balance across the register.
Kevin plays these guitars in an upright position so I installed a cello-style end pin so he can support it on the floor, making it much easier to accommodate his playing style. The pickups are a custom set of K&K pure mini divided into a stereo output so Kevin can balance the bass side to treble sides and control the signals separately. The body design is basically our X20 with a modified soundboard and bridge design and the neck was moulded from the same mould created for the KK36 necks.
This was our fourth build for Kevin and already he says this guitar is inspiring new possible ideas, so I’m just a little bit nervous about where this may take us next, but then that’s what keeps life interesting.
- CLIENT Kevin Kastning