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Headless Tremolo

Kiesel Guitars Headless Tremolo

October 24, 2018 by Alex Storrie in Guitars & Gear

JCustom Hardware & Custom Guitars

Since my last post about JCustom Hardware, I’ve been doing a little bit of research into the brand’s history – I feel that I should know at least little bit about any company that I deal with and it’s always good to add to my general knowledge of the industry. I have seen JCustom parts on various custom guitars so I wanted to find out more about the builders that have used them. This one I think you’ll find very interesting…


Kiesel Guitars

For those who are in to you headless guitars, you’ll doubtless know the name Kiesel; a well established brand, building custom guitars and parts for over 70 years. Their Vader range of guitars use the Hipshot Headless Tremolo System. However the Allan Holdsworth HH2 Signature models were using the JCustom XS Headless Tremolo.

I am not familiar with the late Allan Holdsworth so I had a look around for some of his work. I found a fantastic video of him talking about and playing his Kiesel Signature Models.


Allan Holdsworth Signature Guitars

The HH1 and HH2 models were first manufactured in 2013 by Carvin Guitars until that company split their business, giving the guitar building side of the company to Kiesel. Carvin had a number of different Allan Holdsworth Signature models; HH1, HH1x, HH2, HH2X. Kiesel today now only produce the HH2. The signature guitars continued to use the JCustom Tremolo  until 2016 when Allan decided to use the Hipshot/Kiesel Tremolo instead (article).

“We’ve also updated the Allan Holdsworth Signature Headless HH2 model to use the same Hipshot bridge as on the Vaders, or the new Hipshot/Kiesel Tremolo System. The original JCustom bridge/tremolo used on the HH2 has been retired. Allan came to visit the new Escondido factory, and tried out a Vader with the new tremolo, and decided he wanted that on his signature model.”

Headless Tremolo – Hipshot vs JCustom

There really isn’t much choice when it comes to buying a headless tremolo. There are plenty of cheap parts available but I doubt they would be any good. Definitely give those a miss! Comparing the two from a pricing point of view; the Hipshot Headpiece and Bridge retails for far less than the JCustom bridge by itself.

We all know that Hipshot produce some fantastic pieces of hardware but is it the better bridge? I can’t really offer an opinion, as I’ve yet to get my hands on any of the JCustom hardware, but clearly Allan thought it was:

“The new vibrato set up has beautiful sustain and superior pitch return along with an improved tone.”



About Alex Storrie

Owner and Managing Director of BTN Music UK