The following are just a few of the comments and reviews I have received from a variety of customers over the years.
Some phrases may have been edited out in order to conserve space.
The following review was originally posted on "7string.org" by Corey Owens (USA)
Found out about TK Instruments from a fellow forum member who I now consider a friend. Started talking to Todd in 2012 about woods, esthetics and tone and I knew he would be the guy to build my custom. Todd provided so much information he had me doing my research so I was a bit intimidated to say the least. After some hashing around with ideas we came to a consensus and deposit sent March of 2013.
Headless Single Cut X Model
8 string fanned 25.5"-28"
Flamed Spanish Cedar Body
Burled Claro Walnut Top
Solid Rosewood Neck
Asymmetrical Neck Profile Carve
Goncolo Alves Fretboard
T4M Locking nuts
Countersunk Neutrik Locking Jack
Magnetic Control Cover
Crushed Azurite "V" Pattern Inlay
Custom Blackwater Neodymiums with Walnut/Flamed Maple Bobbins
Perfect. I literally can't find one thing wrong with it, the attention to detail is over the top. The thing I love the most about it is you get a since it was hand built but there are no imperfections. It's so organic and resonate. This is the most compact guitar I've ever owned and it fits so well to my body.
Playability & Sound:
I love fanned frets and Todd's neck profile fits my hand better than any other guitar I've had or tried. I sat and played for 3 hours straight and no cramps or wrist stress at all and the guitar balances perfectly. I was hesitant to go with BW pick-ups after seeing all the kick-back about time frames a few months back but I also knew I wanted to try them. I made the right decision, clear & articulate and there is nothing sterile about them at all. Very natural sounding and uncompressed. Great work Aaron!
I simply for can not figure out why TK Instruments doesn't get more love around here. .strandbergggg who? I have never worked with a more professional business owner yet alone luither and I would not hesitate to sling money TK's way again. Hands down the best guitar I've ever owned, and there have been plenty. I'm sure I forgot plenty....Customer for life.
The following review was originally posted on "7string.org" by Matt Vodnik (USA)
After 11 months of patience, I just had the chance to travel to the high desert of Arizona to meet Todd and pick up my new guitar.
Words can't describe the level of craftsmanship and playability of this thing, its like nothing I've ever touched before, and weighs about as much as a feather.
If anyone is in the market for an exotic guitar, I couldn't recommend TK any higher.
He's a brilliant musician, master luthier, and super cool dude to hang out with.
My build process with him was simply awesome!
The following review was originally submitted to Harmony Central by Allen Ferguson (USA)
Features : 10
This is a dream guitar. Made in 2007 for me by Todd Keehn, this guitar was a year plus project that was totally worth it. It has a compound scale 25" x 27", so that it can be tuned to perfect fifths. There are 25 handmade stainless steel 5/32" fret rods, slanted accordingly to make each scale of each specific string. They is no radius, meaning they are completely flat. They give massive sustain, and you can bend "in" between the frets, sort of like a scalloped neck guitar, except more subtle. You have to get used to this so you don't push in too hard and make all the notes sharp, but once you are used to it you have much more control, and can do Shakti-like subtle wavering bends. The woods are all amazing as well, picked from Todd's wide ranging collection, and all tested with a tuning fork and god knows what else by this genius. The top is a solid piece of 5A aged Spalted Quilt Maple, the back of the body is 1 piece of African Mahogany, the neck is Aged African Mahogany with flame maple headstock graft, a Cocobollo fingerboard, bound in Flame Maple, and inlaid with Paua dots. There is a true bypassable tone pot and a 500k volume pot, both capped with burled maple, a three way les paul style switch and one mini switch to coil tap the neck pickup. The bridges are TK "single bridges" custom designed for superior sustain, tuning performance, and extended string life. Each string has it's own bridge in this system, and each string has it's own scale length. The tuners are sperzel open back locking tuners, and after getting used to them, they are the best tuners I've ever used. The bridge pickup is a Seymour Duncan JB, which Todd diagonalized to match the angle of the bridge. The neck pickup is a AGI "Drop N Gain". They are both passive. The finish is an oil based one that Todd has created himself, he calls it "Tru-Oil". I can't give away too many secrets but I know Tung oil is involved. It's hands down the greatest finish I've ever seen. The wood actually gets a say in the sound of the instrument, instead of being covered in paint (plastic) and gloss and more plastic. The wood of course is a little easier to damage but I don't have any intentions of throwing around a guitar this nice. The body is one based on Todd's Hollow body guitar, except it's smaller and completely solid. I think this is Todd's most beautiful body style, along with the similar hollow body. The guitar came with some old style schaller locking straps that are counter sunk into the body. This is a nice touch as you can lean the guitar on an amp or wall without worrying about it falling. Everything on this guitar is amazing, almost over engineered but not to any detriment. Also: the guitar is the lightest I've ever lifted. Even small 3/4 scale guitars weigh more. This part I truly don't understand or question, I'm sure it's just more of Todd's incredible attention to detail (but it IS solid all the way through).
Sound : 10
This guitar sounds incredible. The JB is great for lead tone. This pickup screams and it's angling makes it sing perfectly. The pickup itself can't really get clean, which is great since the neck pickup is a relatively quiet AGI "Drop n Gain". This is a very interesting pickup, and we decided on it sort of last minute after there was a delivery error with the Rio grande I wanted. I wanted a single coil sound but didn't want the guitar to look like an 80s monster with two single coils and a humbucker. Todd had had this lying around for a while and after reading reviews and speaking with him about it we decided on it. I can switch on a relatively clean amp channel from neck to bridge and go from clean to dirty. The AGI's coil tapping actually serves a purpose, and I love the way the lowest string (a monstrous .074 tuned to G) and next lowest string (a .054 tuned to D) sound with the faux single coil sound. I have been playing through a Fender Princeton Chorus recently and the guitar sounds great. I want to get an orange tube stack, and I have played it through several at local guitar stores. The Fifths tuning is the most beautiful thing I've ever come across in music. I play drums, have played guitar since I was thirteen, have a fretless bass that is quite cheesy, and love to play the piano and mess around with Renoise on my mac. Nothing comes even close to the sound of this guitar. The guitar can sound like a bass, a mandolin, but mostly an incredibly beautiful electric guitar all its own. I recently jammed with a room full of musicians, and I could go from a bouncing off meter clean bassline to a mean bizarre solo without so much as a blinking. Even when the guitar is not plugged in it's much louder than a normal electric guitar, maybe as loud as a small classical guitar.
Action, Fit, & Finish : 10
The action is the best of any guitar I've ever played. The flat frets that are huge and stainless steel has alot to do with this. Another left hander who recently played it was completely floored by the action. I was playing his standard less paul at the time, and was enjoying myself but the action and tension of the strings felt terrible. I have several standardly tuned electric guitars, a les paul copy, a few strats.... and I can't stand going back to them. They feel like cheap imitations. I still play my acoustic guitar and my fretless bass, I think because they give me sounds I can't get with the TK, but the acoustic feels like a toy as well. The angling of the bridge pickup was genius. Each string is as close to having the best magnetic resonance possible. The guitar has no flaws. It's beyond perfect.
Reliability/Durability : 10
The guitar has withstood my travels all over the place. There is minimal pick scratching on the top, which is to be expected, but could probably be wiped out with a little oil and a rag. The hardware is all solid, the counter sunk strap locks are great. I use it all the time without a backup, it stays in tune no matter what I do! I haven't broken a string or had to tune in forever. Whenever I do hook it up to the tuner, everything is usually perfect. I would definitely use it without a back up.
Customer Support : 10
Having the guitar custom built by Todd was an incredible experience. We went over every detail with the most obsessive passion possible, and I talked to him on the phone alot. We still talk quite often and Todd is always ready to solve any problem with the guitar (problems that don't exist because of this obsession with details). Better than a warranty you have a living breathing feeling human who can immediately solve any technical problem. The guitar will pass down in my family for centuries and be like a left handed Stradivarius.
Overall Rating : 10
I've owned and played pretty much every electric guitar ever. Even very obscure stuff like Burns London guitars that have the pickups that brian may used in his red special. I own 2 strats still, one standard and one heavily customized, a les paul copy and a fretless ibanez bass (tasteless I know). I've owned teles, SG's, have several acoustics including an ancient Harmony in great condition and a huge booming all mahogany martin. I don't play any of them now. This guitar is the end all for me. Occasionally I'll pick up the bass or the martin, but usually get sick of them with their poor clunky ancient unthinking design pretty quickly. Todd has approached the guitar as any great inventor or innovator would: as a problem solver. Classical guitars had flat frets long ago for speed and great intonation. Scalloped neck guitar allowed great control but had weakened necks from all the wood loss. Todd has taken the best parts of these ideas and overcame the negative parts. I could go on forever about this guitar and the innovations in it. The neck is re-inforced with such strong Carbon fiber that I probably couldn't break it if I tried. The only thing I might change would be to swap out the AGI neck pickup for the original Rio Grande Tall Boy neck pickup I wanted, for more of a true single coil tone when it's coil tapped. I might not though, and if I do I might go back, as the AGI is a great pickup. I couldn't be more happy with this! After alot of time and money the guitar was beyond my wildest expectations.
The following review was originally submitted to Harmony Central by Crichton Campbell (UK)
Features - 10
The features on this instrument are as follows; the guitar features a 27" 25" fanned or compound scale
fretboard allowing for greater tension on the lower strings for drop tuning or just increasing sustain
tuning stability or even just SRV tones - It is hard to explain how versatile this guitar is for a myriad
of alternate or standard tuning.
It also features large frets creating a scalloped feel making vibrato and bends a simple pleasure - just
hard to put this thing down. I think I only after a few months I have a strong preference to playing with
The bridge saddles are Graphtech & Delrin (for improved tone and sustain) and sit separately on the body for
a reduction in string crosstalk and the instruments fanned scale.
Each individual saddle is armed with a Piezo as so a it may be mixed with the two custom Seymour Duncan
Live-Wire humbucking pickups if desired.
The guitar also features countersunk strap locks which in my opinion add to the overall slick feel and look
of the instrument.
Both the truss rod cover and the rear control plate are made of highly figured magnetically fastened wood
making access to either area instant and almost labor free.
All the above features seem very tasteful and demure; when playing or manipulating the instrument, I can't
imagine another guitar being more to my liking - Simply wonderful to play.
Sound - 10
This is where I will have the most trouble trying to convey my inquisitive delight - I can not
get a bad tone out of this instrument weather I play bridge, neck , Piezo or an amalgamation of all - I could play this guitar in any position all day long without thought or prejudice -
I even think it sounds huge unplugged.
I sill love my PRS Custom 22 and have a 28" scale mahogany neck through that will never leave the fold
but they sound rather cheap and pale in comparison to the TK Hybrid. I have played it against a few friends
Les Pauls and a Godin recently, just out of sheer morbid curiosity with constant reassurance that this
has to be in my opinion the sweetest sounding guitar I have ever heard.
It has a rather dark luster to it's thick timbre with unparalleled volume cleanliness and sustains for
Action Fit & Finish - 10
First this neck features an asymmetrical neck allowing for an extremely comfortable playing
posture and reach across the fingerboard - The flat zero radius frets are a dream to play - Pulling off
and hammering is loud and buzzfree anywhere on the instrument - The height if the frets I will have to
mention again as the control and feel have improved the expressiveness of my playing no end.
The finish and appearance of this instrument could warrant a novel of biblical proportions.
All I will say is that the choice and appearance of TK's tone woods are world class and hypnotically deep in figure. Glue lines are invisible - all cuts are flawless - even the pickups have an amazing veneer to them and the body a
Ziricote pinstripe hemmed with two turquoise pinstripes to match the Chinese turquoise inlay dots.
Not that I could torture myself imagining how well this guitar would fall down a set of stairs
or a spend a night in subzero temperatures.
I have more than enough faith that its build quality is of that not seen elsewhere in the industry.
The reinforced multi-pieced headstock premium woods and an attention to detail most manufactures simply do not have - Nothing on this instrument feels or looks vulnerable.
Customer Support - 10
Again I have dealt with many amazing people and plenty quite the opposite, but I have
to say, not many people have the time and insight for the genesis of your instrument as Todd.
Todd Keehn is a fantastic guitarist, who originally started building as a player in search of the ultimate
guitar - As amazing as his instruments look, all of the features will have a tonal or pragmatic purpose.
He had spent many hours entertaining my many questions about tone woods, string gauges, Carbon fiber and endless others and constantly updated me on the progress of my instrument during it's build.
The following review was submitted by Daryl Buckley (Australia)
Completed in 2003, this Todd Keehn twenty-seven fret Hollow Body is a seriously amazing musical instrument.
The woods used for the top and back are spalted maple giving a glorious appearance of Italian marble.
an extremely rich and variegated flame/quilted patterning of golden brown swirls marked by the black calligraphic tracings of the mineral deposits.
The core of the body is African Mahogany, the neck is Honduran Mahogany and the fretboard is a very reddish Cocobolo, inset with Paua shell for a stunning contrast and finished with stainless steel frets. All wood surfaces are beautifully polished with the appropriate oils [Polymerized-Tung-Oil]. No plastic choking this guitar!
Sperzel locking tuners are angled towards the player for ease of use.
I play contemporary classical music in a variety of situations.
The TK-Hollow is magnificent in use. The angle of the [neck] pickup's placement assists in ensuring a full-throated sound.
This wonderful guitar sounds and feels totally organic and consistent in personality. It is clean, clear, sparkling and very very articulate with a great balance across the strings. Notes, even in rapid passages with quite distinct and different articulations, speak dynamically and respond to minute adjustments with fingers or pick. Sure, the TK-Hollow is not forgiving of error. But then you can accurately hear what you are doing and hear that movement and control translated into sound.
The other reason I love this guitar is that it possesses the organic qualities that some of the best flutes, clarinets and other stringed instruments have- that is a very distinctive change in timbre in different registers that give you a real feel for the inherent 'grain of the instrument'.
And then there are the piezos; together with the LR Baggs Para DI and fed through a PA these are nothing less than remarkable. They too can produce a series of incredible sounds which enable you to simulate anything from a plucked instrument of a wild and wicked imagination to something more traditional and expected, to a screwy humbucker from hell.
I have used this TK-Hollow on tour only days after picking it up and sonically it was a stunning experience. It is a very capable instrument with immense resources and possibilities.
Action, Fit, & Finish: 10
Todd Keehn is a talented musician as well as a gifted luthier. This TK-Hollow was beautifully set-up.
One thing that really distinguishes this TK from a lot of so-called hybrids is the fluency with which it allows both finger and plectrum technique. The string spacing is great....and the profile between the strings and pickups/bezels is very comfortable. The right hand is not choked yet the strings are close enough to assist with very rapid plectrum techniques and string skipping.
The fret size also facilitates a very even lefthand sound in legato passages and make right-handed tapping a joy. Harmonics leap off the string easily-it is great fun being able to extract quite a spectrum of harmonics around the second and third frets.
Yes, another 10 for sure.
I am not at all worried about reliability. This instrument is built very solidly.
Customer Support: 10
This is an instrument designed through intensive consultation and discussion over the Internet and backed-up with the occasional lengthy telephone call. Todd was great to work with. At all times he was fully engaged and absorbed in this instrument and ready to respond to suggestions/alternatives and reasoned thinking.
In the end an instrument built to this amount of detail is a labor of love.
Overall Rating: 10
This is a very fine instrument indeed and in my opinion the best of the electro-acoustic hybrids that I have played on to-date. It is very integrated and coherent yet rich with performance capabilities.
Although I have been playing for twenty five years, I really look forward to playing this instrument on stage and in the studio for the next twenty-five years!
The following review was submitted by Florentino Perez (USA)
All the other guitars I've ever played are toys compared to the ST.
The ST-24 sounds and feels so alive - just craving to be played.
It's dynamics are quite impressive and reciprocates the player’s energy whether the style of play is aggressive or mellow.
Also, the design is impeccable with nothing but beautiful lines from top to bottom.
There is no compromise between form and function on this hand-crafted guitar.
Both elements harmoniously exist and truly make this guitar a one-of-a-kind instrument.
A resounding thanks for all the invested effort, sweat, and stress in building this instrument.
The following review was submitted by Neil Haverstick (USA)
Listen I'm not a very technical type, so I just want to talk about this guitar, and what it means to me...
I've been playing for 38 years, and have played zillions of gigs, recorded 4 CD's of my own, and played on numerous others. I have had many guitars over the years, and I can say, with no nonsense, that this may be the best guitar I've played yet; here's why...first, it FEELS superb, with great action, and marvelous intonation, all the way up the neck. And, it has great access up to the 24th fret. Second, the basic sound is very strong, with a lot of variety (because I can split the pickups for more options). I play many styles, and have found this axe up to the task, from jazz and blues, to country (it's a GREAT country guitar, killer for chicken pickin), fusion, and rockabilly.
Then, it is beautiful as well, a work of art. On virtually every gig, people ask me about it, and when other players try it out, they love it...and they should. It's clean and simple, yet looks unique; it doesn't try to ape any other style, it has it's own look.
If this sounds too glowing, I'm sorry...everything I've said is true. As I said, after 38 years I've had a few, and this one kicks butt.
In the course of many gigs, from Symphony Pops concerts (Bill Conti, etc) to screaming blues and complex bebop, this guitar is a monster.
The following review was submitted by Diego Dolp (Switzerland)
Oh man, what a hell of a guitar! I am totally serious when I say this:
I've never played something like it and I probably never will in the
Playability is unbelievable - what I'm really surprised about is how
easy it is to adapt and how much more relaxed I am when playing;
especially my fretting-hand moves almost effortlessly!
The Stainless frets are no problem at all to get accustomed to.
And actually, I'm already starting to get accustomed to the [Compound Scale]
fretboard after only one day of playing!
Sound is really resonant with lots of harmonic content.
Craftsmanship and looks are just stunning!
I can't believe the attention to detail you put into everything.
On the whole, there's only one thing to say: This guitar is perfect!
Thank you a thousand times, Todd, for building this amazing and wonderful instrument.
The following review was submitted by Alex Simpson (UK)
I'm simply thrilled with the cello in all aspects!
The flat back neck design took some time to get used to, but it really helps in quicker passages to
allow the thumb to move freer, and indeed to get your thumb on the
fingerboard quickly for thumb-position passages.
Interestingly, although I took your "rocking position" tips on board, I found
the cello so easy to play that I'm (at least consciously) not having to do
it - the intonation is so perfectly accurate that there really is no need.
I appreciated your explanation about the chambered neck - I hadn't noticed,
but I was wondering why my cello sounded so punchy - it's got a lot of balls
and sounds great through some uber-heavy distortion, I can tell you! And yet
click the distortion off and it has all the richness and full tonal response
you'd expect from a perfectly mic'd-up cello! Absolutely amazing.
I'm having great fun writing pieces for it and really flexing my improvisatory muscle.
The following review was submitted by Evan Beatty (USA)
This is a custom model, built to my specifications. It is 1 of 3 instruments I have commissioned TK Instruments to build since I first heard of them - flawless of course, as usual. That's the only way they've ever built anything. The "632" derives its name from being a 6 string, 32 fret bass guitar.
The craftsmanship that went into this bass is exquisite. The cutaway heel is unbelievable!
Ultra-quiet, clean, punchy. I'm a finger style player and it suits me perfectly. I have three playing positions which the bass accommodates very well.
Action, Fit, & Finish: 10
This bass requires ZERO set up once it arrives. Everything is ready and it even arrives IN TUNE!!! The finish is [Polymerized-Tung-Oil] satin.
TK avoids glossy polyurethane coats in order to allow tone to resonate through the wood(s) better.
It has lasted without incident in numerous climates across the continental U.S. as well as Czech Republic, Mexico and Hawaii. It never needed a truss rod adjustment. I attribute this to TK using aged wood that has already done all of its climate/humidity reaction ahead of being shaped into an instrument, thus being very sound in nature.
Customer Support: 10
I've dealt with the company on several occasions - more with regard to questions about how to care for my instrument than anything. I [once] needed some soldering done after I did something stupid and there wasn't any riff raff. It was done in a timely manner and I got right back to playing.
Overall Rating: 10
I've been playing for 23 years.
I love the clarity of the bass through my set up as well as the warmth and punch it carries. I also play several other TK instruments, including an upright bass. They are the only instruments I will ever own.
The following review was submitted by Bill Dennison (USA)
This guitar incorporates many features not common in standard off the shelf instruments. It has feature a two-octave (24-Fret) Goncolo Alves fingerboard with stainless steel frets. The wood used for the neck and body is aged Honduras Mahogany with birds eye Maple top. The neck also sports a teardrop neck shape allowing the hand to be placed in a more natural playing position. The neck also has a perfectly flat fingerboard making bending a breeze and fretting out a thing of the past! The body is highly contoured making the instrument extremely conformable to play. The wiring of the pickups is a custom design allowing various configurations, which in turn expands the already wide palette of sounds that this instrument can produce. The cavity is also electrically shielded.
The sound is incredible. The variety of sounds that this instrument is capable of producing is nearly endless. This instrument can be used for playing any type of music.
Action, Fit, & Finish: 10
The action can be set low (although I preferred a medium action) due to the flat fingerboard and well crowned frets. The instrument is a dream to play. The guitar is built extremely well and has no perceivable flaws. The hand rubbed [Polymerized-Tung-Oil] finish is extremely attractive and protects the instrument while at the same time allowing for superior tone quality and providing a fantastic feel.
This guitar is extremely well built. It conforms to highest level of professional standards and will last for a lifetime. I have played this instrument every day for seven years and there has been no noticeable fret wear.
Customer Support: 10
Since TK Instruments is a semi-custom to custom shop you can discuss any aspect of your instrument with Todd the owner of TK Instruments.
Overall Rating: 10
The instruments produced at TK Instruments are of the highest quality. They sound, play and look great.
The following review was submitted by Chris Usrey (USA).
I gave it a 10 because almost any feature is optionally available. My set-up is very simple because I wanted it that way. If you want to get stereo, active electronics, piezos, etc, that's also available.
Sound is awesome. I play fusiony stuff.
These guitars will trounce ANY guitars at any music store. This is always subjective to a point. Just weigh the facts. TK Instruments are built to the highest standards of any guitar makers.
Action, Fit, & Finish: 10
I will not play anything else now that I have found TK Instruments. The stainless steel frets will never need replacing. If you can get the stainless frets and Compound-scale fret board, do it. Those features alone improved my playing ten fold.
The hand polished [Polymerized-Tung-Oil] finish that they do at TK Instruments is not only phenomenal in appearance, feel and tone, but it's also very easy to repair [maintain] as well.
They are also a very tough instrument, I have seen one knocked over on concrete with no major damage.
Customer Support: 10
Customer service is extremely good, not only was I able to discuss the building and design of my guitar with Todd (the owner of TK Instruments) But I was even allowed to go to the shop and hand pick the wood used for this guitar, you can also select your actual pieces of wood at the TK Instruments web site!
Overall Rating: 10
It really is on a different level from other guitars.
I have been playing for 18 years off and on. I have a whole room full of guitar stuff. I literally have nightmares about it [My TK Hollow] getting stolen or broken. GOD please no!