Who are you?
We are a small independent guitar company
How small are you?
Well, each model goes in a limited series, 200 items or fewer – so you can imagine that we don’t build tons of guitars daily like big corporations. After particular series is sold out – it’s sold out forever and we start building next series
Why do you run limited series for your guitars?
We are limited in facilities and at the same time have hundreds of ideas for new awesome guitars. So we decided to produce them one by one – that’s the only way to release all our ideas. And after the particular series is out of production – it’s out of production forever, we guarantee that
Can I order a custom specs guitar from you?
Sorry but no, we build only those models which we ourselves projected, prototyped and tested. And besides our production is strictly dedicated for serial runs. When we were just starting we had a choice between being one-of-a-kind instruments builders, or being arranging a serial production process (but at a lower cost per guitar). We decided to go for a 2nd option in sake of a fair price for our instruments
Yeah, we have our own know-hows in this:
- Purchasing parts, components, materials and chemistry in large quantity at once. We get good discounts from factories which allow us to keep a fair price in the end
- Not stocking parts and components which we don’t actually use for ongoing models. And we don’t stock big quantities of finished guitars. Don’t freeze funds in the parts we don’t need, don’t pay rent for a large warehouse – saving on a final cost as well
- Perfect optimization of the production process. Each minute of labor is important, all facilities should be loaded. We found a way to save final cost, and it doesn’t affect sound and playability (but yes, we lost the flexibility of building custom specs guitars, as one-of-a-kind instrument takes way more time to be built)
- Not using big brands parts to avoid added value for the famous trademark. Instead of this, we work directly with Asian factories who supply these famous big brands. We know excellent reputation factories that keep high-quality level and cooperate with the biggest brands of hardware & pickups components
Asian factories? You mean your guitars are made in Asia?
Most parts for our guitars come from Korean and Chinese factories. And it’s not a secret that “Made in Japan” or “Made in USA” guitars often have parts and hardware from Asian factories (including the ones we cooperate with). But guitars themselves and our pickups are made by us here in Vladivostok.
My custom-made boutique guitar will beat your guitar
It will, most likely. But in “under 1000 dollars for guitar” we are the best or at least one of the bests. But there are also some guitarists who prefer Kononykheen guitars even over $5000 boutique guitars
What’s the point of keeping “under $1000” level?
There is no shortage of boutique guitar builders nowadays. But there are also many talented guitar players who are limited by their budget. $5000 guitars are cool, but the pricetag shouldn’t prevent musicians from making magic. That`s why we are committed to making quality, affordable guitars that are perfect for all types of music-makers, from the garage players to the arena rockers
Kononykheen guitars are not "budget boutique" however. We met boutique guitars players who prefer to go touring with Kononykheen. Because "...it has all I need, and I'm not afraid to take it outside". That’s why even touring musicians often reach for their Kononykheens. Our guitars are not intended to be wall art, although they are beautiful. They are tools of the trade – perfectly balanced instruments that the hard-working musician and the guitar aficionado alike can rely upon
Are Kononykheen guitars legit? I’ve never heard about them
Yes, we are small-scale production so the guitar market is far from being drowned with Kononykheen guitars, and as a result we are not so well-known compared to big brands.
First, you can check some demos and music videos here on YouTube.
Second, if you need an opinion from other guitarists check our Instagram or Facebook. From time to time people send us photos and videos with our guitars, we publish them and tag each photo & video with the authors’ accounts. So you can contact them and ask their honest opinion. Nearly a half of them are affiliated with us but at least these people actually play Kononykheen guitars unlike “internet experts” who haven’t seen our guitars in person. As we are not-well known company and on a top of it all we are Russians (which is not good for our reputation, especially during a current political regime, and we perfectly realize it) – we heard all kinds of conspiracy theories about us lol
Then why don’t you run ads or something to get more well-known?
We don’t feel right about spending our promotional budget on anything else except Artists Support. Instead of spending funds on paid reviews, magazine publications, Instagram, Facebook or YouTube ads we better spend on guitar players. 5-10% of our guitars being sold/shipped under on Artists’ Discounts or anything else like that: this is our marketing policy – 94% of promo budget spent for guitarists. And it really helps us, way more effective that paid ads
What the hell does “Kononykheen” mean?
It’s time to introduce myself. My name is Victor Kudriavtsev, and I’m the founder of the company. I named Kononykheen Guitars after a grandfather, Victor Kononihin (just changed the lettering a bit so it looks cooler on the headstock). My granddad was a strict and righteous person, but he was always kind to me, even when I was a mischievous child. Everyone in the neighborhood, all the people around respected him very much! As he was a specialist and was training cadets submarine torpedoes mechanism & maintenance, he was fond of everything technological. Once they with my grandma saved some money and bought a washing machine (that was a really big purchase back there in the Soviet Union, comparable with several monthly salaries). And the first thing he did he disassembled it. And then got it back together and said: “Okay, now I understand how it works”.
Sadly he passed away when I was only 8. My parents named me in honor of him and I’m proud to bear the same name with my granddad. And when it came to “how to name my most beloved creation” I was thinking only a couple of seconds – it should be dedicated to the loving memory of a grandpa. I want to believe he’d be proud of Kononykheen Guitars if he was with us now.
What else should I know?
If you are not bored to read the text above here’s some more text for you below
To bring instruments which we ourselves would love to play for musicians all over the world
How Kononykheen Guitars started
Long story short: we were musicians and simply couldn't find instruments which would completely satisfy us. This guitar sounds good but has some lack of playability. That guitar has enough speed potential but the tone is so-so. The other one pays nice, sounds nice, but the design is totally uncool. So once we decided to build a couple of guitars for ourselves, couldn’t stop at a right time, and here we are now
Kononykheen Guitars are instruments constructed for musicians by musicians. At present moment none of the Kononykheen team are currently active working musicians, it's all matter of past now, but each aspect: sound, playability, weight, design, moddability - everything is just right what we wanted to see in our guitars back then. We build our dream guitars and share it with you people.
And thus it's OK when Kononykheen Guitars vision is not liked by everybody. They are not supposed to be liked by every single guitar player on the planet. We just raise our flag and look around to see who's with us.
A little history tip: till late 80s Russia (a part of USSR in the past) were under heavy cover of Iron Curtain. No import stuff was in free sale, only smuggling. And then Iron Curtain fell. So, as many Far-Eastern musicians, we are highly influenced by Japanese instruments which flooded our local market in the 90s. They were so fine! Beautiful pieces of different models from Fernandes, Greco, Takamine, Fujigen produced in the 70s-90s - crazy mix! Nice instruments at a fair price. Those guitars were re-thinking of Western luthiery, and Kononykheen Guitars somehow are re-thinking of re-thinking. Imagine these Japanese guitars in our hands and long-awaited USA / UK rock music playing in our heads. And as a result, Kononykheen Guitars are somewhere in between of Western and Eastern schools. Not too conservative, but classy. Not 300% shred-only guitars, but speedy. And some actual Kononykheen players told us that our guitars totally remind them late 80s Schecters, some player told us "like LP type but with brighter attack due to 25.5 scale".
In total: fusion all the way. Classic attitude, contemporary playability.
This is where we came from.
What do we put in our guitars and what do we want to produce
- Playability. That's it, comfortable playing is a #1 priority for us, even over the sound. During our experience as musicians, we used to experiment with rigs: tons of different amps and pedals. So we were able to achieve thousands of different sounds from 1 guitar. But if that guitar is not playable - all that tone hunting is in vain
- Sound. Of course, guitar MUST sound good. The tone of instruments depends on many different aspects. Besides obvious wood and electronics, they also are body finish, neck joint method, fretboard lacquer etc. The hardest thing is to achieve a nice sound in case if you use cheap & simple rig - this is the real test for guitar
- Versatility. We mean versatility in playing different kinds of music. We know that most guitar players have a collection of at least 3 instruments. But when we project our guitars we imagine a situation when a potential customer who plays different styles, from jazz to metal, use only one particular Kononykheen model. As a result, you can see that exact Kononykheen model in active usage by totally different musicians: metalheads, shoegazers, Latin-pop players, you name them
- Design. In a narrow meaning: guitar MUST look cool. That's not only a matter of showing-off on scene or behind your mirror. How do you feel about guitar have a direct influence on how you play. You can put more energy and passion in your performance if you truly love your instrument. In a wide meaning: "design" for us is not only a "look". This definition entails also convenience of playing, durability, maintainable construction, compatibility with unstock parts and some other aspects of engineering. Most of our models build in the conception of simplicity. Simplicity is a friend of functionality. A decent part of Kononykheen fans are mod-heads and like to convert stock guitars into their custom hot-rods. We are responsive to their needs, and so Kononykheen guitars are compatible with most of unstock parts in the market. And Kononykheen guitars are a good base to build your own Franken-something.
- Responsiveness. This is not about guitars themselves, more about service, but also very important. We work hard to reply daily or twice a day for all questions in all platforms: email, direct messages in socials, website contact form. Sometimes we have delays in response like when we are preparing a new model release. And we are not gonna lie, sometimes we face unexpected situations like delay in transportation, dents and damage because of "close item inspection" on customs. In all situations like that it's uber important for us to be responsive and reply quickly to solve everything.
- Worldwide. We see a lot of talented guitar player not only in the USA and Europe. Latin America, Asia, Africa - good guitar players live everywhere and we are doing our best to reach them disregarding of geography. For us "Worldwide" term also entails optimized logistics, safe packing and a price level below USD 1000: not all countries are so wealthy. Not everyone who needs a professional instrument can afford a $5000 guitar. Equal and available for all - that's Kononykheen Guitars.
Artists relationsSome brief facts about our artist relations in numbers, for 6 years, since January 2014 to January 2020:
- Around 17000 guitar players reached us with endorsement requests. We don’t count here requests like “hi plz send free gitar”, and believe us, we receive dozens of messages like that weekly
- Around 1500 guitar players reached by us with endorsement offers. Someone haven’t even seen our messages and emails, someone was already affiliated with other guitar companies, someone refused an offer
…and as a result of these two types of interactions with guitar players:
- Around 300 guitars shipped under endorsement agreement. The actual number of guitar players who got agreement is less because some players got several (3 or 5 or even 7) different Kononykheen models, still continue to cooperate with us through years and looking forward to getting more Kononykheens. And the nubmer of these players is spred all over the world in 50+ countries.
Feedback from Kononykheen owners
- 95% of musicians who try Kononykheen guitars love them
- 63% of Kononykheen owners say it is, quite simply, the best guitar for the price
- 18% of Kononykheen owners bought another shortly thereafter
- 11% said they want to play Kononykheen guitars only
We know how to build excellent guitars, and we truly love our job
Love, Kononykheen Guitars Co.