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Premier Collector #10: One of Everything

Premier Collector #10: One of Everything

Famed TV and film composer Kevin Kiner shares his diverse collection of guitars and other stringed instruments

Name: Kevin Kiner

Years playing: 40

Home turf:
Los Angeles

Current/former bands: Various, I currently compose the music for "CSI: Miami" and "Star Wars: Clone Wars" TV shows. I play on all my own tracks.


First guitar:
'72 Strat

Favorite guitar: I can’t give just one. Right now I’m having fun with the R. Taylor, the Teuffel Birdfish, and the GuitarViol -- the latter two just because they are so different and experimental. But if you put me on a deserted island, it would have to be: 1) Les Paul Standard; 2) The Don Grosh Strat (yes, I like it better than the real thing); and 3) The Gibson L7.

Favorite amp: Marshall JCM100

Favorite effect:
Chandler Tube Driver

Favorite strings: D’Addario XL Nickel Wound 11s

Favorite cable:

Other gear in my stash:
Pod XT Pro straight into a Universal Audio 2-610 tube pre amp into Pro Tools (all of the Line 6 guitar model packs using "Line 6 edit" on the Mac).

Give us the back story on an item in your gear stash that you’ve sent a photo of...
The GuitarViol is made by a guy named Jonathan Wilson near L.A. I saw it at the NAMM show a few years ago, and had him make one for me. It has a tremendous amount of potential for experimental sounds and melodies, but boy is it a bear to learn how to bow! I’ve been working on the bowing technique off and on for several years now, and am just getting comfortable with it. As a TV and film composer, I’m always looking for something that will make my tracks unique. This helps quite a bit in that respect, but I’d hate to try to play it live. Jonathan is currently developing an acoustic model. I played the prototype, and it's really cool—almost like a cello but different. I’ll probably order one pretty soon.

Share a gear or gig story with Premier Guitar readers...

I’ve been using the Egyptian Oud quite a lot recently. Sitting down to practice that thing can be quite a chore. The shape isn’t really conducive to fitting the human body, so it’s constantly slipping down (because the back is this giant bowl). Also, the style most Middle Eastern guys use is extremely ponticello (picked hard right next to the bridge), so after a while it can get a little harsh on the ears—it’s no wonder there’s so much strife in the Middle East.

What's your philosophy on tone?

If you want to rock, nothing beats a Les Paul played through a Marshall stack turned up loud with maybe a Tube Screamer. There, now the secret is out...

The Teuffel Birdfish Guitar. The pickups are removable, so you can create combinations of single coil and double coil. I also have an extra set of “tone bars” made of Alder, which changes the sound as well.

Using the Birdfish on a cue for “Clone Wars.”

 Left to right: Rickenbacker 360/12, ‘02 Fender Tele with active electronics by Jim Williams of Audio Upgrades, R.Taylor acoustic, Gretsch White Falcon, Enrique Tapicas nylon, Paul Reed Smith, Don Grosh “Strat”, Danelectro baritone guitar, Gibson ES-335, Fender '50s top bound Esquire relic limited edition.

 Back row left to right: ‘02 Fender Tele with active electronics by Jim Williams of Audio Upgrades, Danelectro U2 Baritone, R.Taylor, Don Grosh Custom Carve Top, TogaMan GuitarViol, Gretsch Silver Jet, Gretsch White Falcon, Paul Reed Smith, ‘01 Les Paul Standard, ‘79 Ibanez Artist ES-335, ‘08 Robot Les Paul Studio Limited Edition.
Front row left to right: My first “real” guitar ‘72 Fender Strat (since fitted with Roland guitar to midi pickup), ‘51 Gibson L7 with D’Armand pickup, Don Grosh “Strat”.

Left to Right:
Kanata Charango de Oro (body is a real Armadillo), ‘66 Martin Mandolin (passed down from my grandfather), Tahitian Ukulele bought off an old guy in Bora Bora, Daddy Mojo Cigar Box Guitar, Turkish Cumbus (pronounced “chumbush), Greek Bouzouki from Marina Music, Egyptian Oud.

 Left to right: Yamaha 5 string Bass, Rickenbacker 360/12 string, Paul Reed Smith, Don Grosh custom carve top, ‘01 Les Paul Standard, Gretsch Silver Jet, ‘79 Ibanez Artist 335, ‘89 Dobro.

 Left to Right: ‘72 Fender Strat, ‘51 Gibson L7, Don Grosh “Strat”, my first guitar (drugstore model – completely unplayable), Neil Diamond autographed Epiphone.

To join Bob as a Premier Collector, send an e-mail with photos and a description of your gear to

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