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The Kenny Hill Munich

This instrument was built in Felton, California in 2004. Its design is heavily influenced by Hermann Hauser's work circa 1937, although it is not precisely a Hauser copy. The body appears to be rosewood, but it is quite pale for rosewood and highly figured. The top is solid Englemann spruce. The scale length is 650mm. The entire instrument is French polished, making it an item NOT to sweat all over. The finish is applied thinly on the top but much thicker (thankfully) on the rest of the body. This is an acoustic instrument and did not come from the manufacturer with any provision for electronic amplification. Tuning machines are of unknown (to me) origin and perform wonderfully, very smooth. They are also quite attractive. The body is shaped in the traditional Hauser style, small, proportional in depth, and quite comfortable to hold. The instrument came with a non-descript but highly adequate hardshell case.

What impressed me with this guitar when purchased was the sound. I play strictly classical on my classical guitars (well, I might do some chord-melody cocktail jazz stuff once in a while, but that isn't my forte.) I have always been impressed by Hermann Hauser II guitars, my teacher in college (Albert Valdes-Blain) owned two and I drooled over them when allowed to touch. I have found that new classical guitars tend to open up and improve after a few months of play, and, in the case of spruce tops, continue to improve for a number of years. This fine guitar was no exception. It possessed a very pleasant and balanced voice in the shop, but has improved tremendously over the past year.

As of this writing, the sound is very very similar to Albert Blain's 1959 Hauser. There is a woody depth to the bass notes--they don't snap and pop like a cedar top. The tone almost swells after the initial attack, the bass vibrates your chest. Very nice. Notes in the mid and upper registers are clean, super clean, and blend nicely when contrapuntal music is executed.

Some say that only cedar tops such as those designs Fleta and Ramirez have championed are suitable for romantic Spanish repertoire. I believe (and I might be wrong) that Hauser copied Torres and it doesn't get any more Spanish than that! Albeniz sounds great on this Hill. Bach is sublime. This guitar is no one trick pony. Volume is suprising for such a diminutive instrument. With D'Addario composites, it absolutely smokes my 27 year old Washburn Master Classic Hauser model. (Which has aged very nicely.) The top has really opened up, increasing in both volume as well as clarity. These ten months of daily practice and exercise have really done amazing things for the tone. It started off good and is now boarderline excellent. And that is said without regard to price.

Action. Okay, here I had issues. I did switch to a higher tension string and raise the action slightly after a week of ownership. The action as supplied from the dealer was amazingly low (and I don't write 'manufacturer' here as the guitar seemed to have been at the shop for quite a while and I think the luthier on-site -- very good, by the way -- may have lowered the action to make the instrument appeal more to his clientele. ) The action for me was too low. The guitar played without buzz and with acceptible volume, but I knew the instrument was under-performing.

I had worked for a number of years for a luthier (Barry Lipman) and had no trouble fabricating an ebony shim that raised the saddle up to where I felt the action was optimal for MY performance style and tactile preference. Was it a huge increase? No! The tone improved exponentially. So -- how much did I jack up the saddle? About the thickness of two business cards. The guitar is equipped with a truss road (dual action) which is a bit of a departure from tradition, but certainly makes for a slimmer neck and the ability to make seasonal adjustments. A blessing! The rod seemed to be adjusted to perfection, or I would have loosened it a bit to raise the strings a hair. Coupling this with a switch to composites put a bit of snarl and quite a bit more volume into an already great tone.

Fit and Finish. Hmmm. Inside, the craftsmanship is just impeccable. I got the mirror and lamp out and relished the workmanship inside the body. The instrument is tight, solidly --though lightly-- built. The fretwork is truly artistry. My only complaint is that the headstock is carved slightly asymetrically. Enough to make me unhappy? No, not really. If there were any nasty bits, I'd prefer them as cosmetic and not inside the box. It is just interesting on an instrument of this calibre, especially if you could see how beautiful the inside is.

Top wood is another minor itch to me. The radial rings are not as tight as I'd want, but, But, BUT, in this price range, I don't fault the maker for this at all. Still... Hey, I'm just fussy. Overly fussy -- and please note, the tone is exceptional and I could not believe that anything suffers due to wood selection.

The guitar had two blems in the top finish that eat at me to this day. I know these were generated by putz customers at the shop where I purchased it, not as delivered from Hill. I am very very careful with my guitars and to have such blems is a sin to me. If the guitar hadn't sounded and felt so terrific, I would have passed. But, to me, those two characteristics are the most important. [I was contacted by Kenny Hil'sl people who said that if I'd like, they would be more than happy to touch up the finish. Their customer relations are just superb and I truly believe they are as enthusiastic about the customer as they are about their instruments.]

This is a truly well-crafted guitar. With a little extra care for the French polish, this instrument will be an heirloom for my daughter. I would (and have and will) depend on this guitar in performance settings. Photo of my daughter Amanda playing my 27 year old Hauser copy and the butt-ugly me with the Hill, October 30, 2004.

Customer Support is very responsive. I had a question that was answered quickly and satisfactorily by email. I truly believe that all customer service issues are influenced two things -- the phase of the moon and what the customer brings to the dialog. A decent attitude on the customer's part will often result in excellent latitude with the customer rep at the company. Please see my note above re the finish.

I have played classical for 28 years with a eight year hiatus due to a major auto accident. I own a '76 Ramirez and a '78 Washburn Hauser copy. I have played almost everything -- Fleta, Romanillos, Bernabe, Kohno, Humphrey -- so I have a pretty good handle on what guitars should sound, project and feel like. If this one were stolen, I'd certainly replace it, but not before trying out the Hill 1937 Hauser copy. The sound is what does it for me with this guitar. I am intrigued to see what the next few years bring ou tof that top. This is the best bang for the buck I have ever seen in classical guitars. This instrument performs on a par with anything you'd care to mention regardless of price. Nice job, Mr. Hill.


Some Detail Photographs:

Headstock is traditional Hauser shape and decoration.

Tailblock view. Nice match on the sides, beautiful execution of binding.

Shapely little Hauser-style body and closeup of label and rosette. Rosette is a good facsimile of the 1937 Segovia Hauser at the Metroploitan Museum of Art in New York City. (If memory serves.)



What's New? The New Album!

Hey, the new album is out! That's right, finally a follow-up to the reissue of my old album from the late 1980's.

Reflecting Pools is a departure for me as it is totally keyboard. Well, the guitar did show up on one track...


  LOW END  By Harry George Pellegrin.  The first in the Gary Morrissey series of mysteries.  Dealing with modern subject matter in the classic style of the 1940's Mystery Noire masters--think Raymond Chandler in New York in the 1980's...  LOW END is the story of a drug addict who is murdered after he believes he has found evidence of a major government conspiracy.  Is it only drug-induced paranoia?  Might be, except his paranoia could be considered justified: he was murdered, after all.  Friend Gary Morrissey takes it upon himself to find out just what happened and lands himself in the crosshairs.
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Classic Guitar Method  Composed, written, transcribed, edited and arranged by Harry G. Pellegrin: Now in one volume, much of what the novice classical guitarist will need to know to lead him or her to the recital stage. From proper instrument care and maintenance to the necessary technical skills, musical mind-set, and the standard repertoire—all exposed and explored with enough detail and insight that the student will wish to keep this book handy years to come as a ready reference source.
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DEEP END: The Wreck of the Eddie Fitz  By Harry George Pellegrin. A mystery novel. Involving a semi-professional musician and a Kreyol death cult, DEEP END takes the reader from the bottom of Long Island Sound to the steamy streets and Blues clubs of New Orleans. Alternative spirituality does battle with the common working man.  Published by PAB Entertainment Group in association with
See more info...


Reflecting Pools    Original Music by Harry G. Pellegrin:
Reflecting Pools is a departure for me as it is totally keyboard. Well, the guitar did show up on one track...

"...Reflecting Pools is a notable first album [for Mr. Pellegrin]. A dramatic sense of tonality and mood are propelled by exemplary musicianship and exciting compositional exploits."

Available through

...And containing nine tracks that are relaxing, inspirational -- sounds like a snooze. Not really, this is great stuff to listen to on a rainy afternoon, while with your significant other (nudge, nudge, know what I mean?) Please visit the Reflecting Pools page on this site or

In That Zone, is now out! Please visit for details and to order.

See the info page on this site...


Available through

...And containing nine tracks that are relaxing, inspirational -- sounds like a snooze. Not really, this is great stuff to listen to on a rainy afternoon, while with your significant other (nudge, nudge, know what I mean?) Please visit the Relfecting Pools page on this site or

LOW END What's new with the book that came out over a year ago? After being on back-order at for what seemed like a century, it is my uinderstanding that copies are once again shipping. Barnes and Noble's website is once again stocking LOW END.

DEEP END, the exciting sequel, is being shopped by my literary agent even as we speak.

The Guitar Sessions:Weekly tech tips and exercises to help the guitarist improve. This feature has really taken off. Each week a new page is posted with either an exerices to get the left and right hands moving more efficiently and effectively or an interesting pice from the standard repertoire , demonstrating a necessary technical ability. Judging by the hits these pages receive, you guitar players love this feature!

The page is updated every Thursday. Visit the 2004 Archive as well!


My Mission, My Policy

In my opinion, the murder mystery genre reached its zenith in the 1930's and 1940's. The novels penned in those decades were taut, no nonsense stories of people in life and death crises, people who did not flinch when confronted with overwhelming odds or overwhelming emotion. Some of these tales could be hard-edged and hard-boiled, but the heroes invariably had a soft side as well.

I believe that over the years, in an attempt to mimic real life, the writers of murder mysteries--and most other literature, for that matter--have lowered the standards of excellence set by such authors as the gritty Raymond Chandler and the sophisticated Dorothy Sayers. Many authors misinterpret smut for romance and brutality for strength.

My novels aspire to the standards set by the 1940's mystery writers. My tales are as real and grimey as the mean streets that spawned them. Even so, and though they deal with modern issues, you will not find gratuitous sex in my characters' relationships. Sex may be alluded to, but it is never allowed out from behind closed doors. You will find that my books are entertaining to a broad audience--I have had positive comments from teens to grandmothers. One reader was surprised when I told him that there were no obscenities in the book he'd just finished. He hadn't missed them! A good story doesn't need such unnecessary 'embellishment.'

I have conducted book signings at churches, country clubs, libraries and even a street corner (don't ask!) and I've never been called to task for, or ashamed of, my work. Pick up a copy of my latest novel and see if it isn't a good read!

Harry Pellegrin


As a native New Yorker and an American, I am still angered by the cowardly attacks of 9/11. Unless we restore New York City's skyline to its condition prior to September 11th, 2001, the miserable scum who attacked us will have won! Visit and rebuild America!



About My Site:

This site is a way for me to commemorate and celebrate a life and lifestyle that is now extinct. Why extinct? Is it that Thomas Wolfe " You-can't-go-home-again " thing? Is it because life is so much different now that what we experienced in the Bronx in the 60's and 70's is no longer relevant? Yes. No. Yes and no? Definintely maybe ! Why do I always start these little essays with questions?

At first, the main thrust of this site was to promote my book. It is a worthy goal; the book tells a good tale and eveyone who has read it finds it entertaining and thought-provoking. With that sole goal, I went live with this site back in August of 2003. What happened next is what makes this site truly valuable.

There are people I grew up with, attended school and with whom I played in bands -- neighbors, friends, good family -- who I hadn't seen since I moved from the Bronx in 1986. Divorce had forced me into exile, time and distance conspired to seemingly turn this into a life sentence. Thank the muses for the internet! This site wasn't live for more than two months before I was reunited with Paul Silvestro , a childhood friend whom I hadn't seen in seventeen years. His brother Larry , the guy who had turned me on to playing guitar and taught me the things about music that matter the most, now with him I had no contact since 1983. Twenty years! Too long. I felt as if a part of my soul had been restored -- a part that had been missing for ages and had long ago been written off. But more was to come.

Anthony Pernice, Art Clement , Mike Moretti -- all reunited to me.

The 1960's weren't good to a number of us -- many of us had our personal demons to exorcise, be it substance abuse or the insidious hedonism of the times. but through it all, we were instilled with a vibe, cast in an artistic mold--call it what you will--but unless these same environmental stimuli are exactly reproduced, there will never be another crop of people quite the same.

This page delves into what we experienced and how we incorporated these experiences into art, music, literature and life . I've paid tribute to my neighborhood, the Wakefield section of the Bronx. The Discords -- Larry Silvestro and Artie Clemente's first band in the early mid-sixties-- they're here with their matching outfits, Fender, Hagstrom and Gretsch guitars plus those impeccably precise five part harmonies.

Of course, there is an homage to Leo Fender and his magnificent designs, the Telecaster © and the Stratocaster ©. I officially declare C.L. Fender an honorary Bronxite. These instruments have literally changed my life and the way we all hear music. Check out this page on my site.

Rory Gallagher, whom I saw play in 1973 and who has influenced me ever since--he has a page here as well. He has gone on now, but the impact he made is still rippling outwards, changing how we interpret the blues.

Untermyer Park in Yonkers and Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx are included on this site. We were kids interested in a good ghost story and both these places were terrific for providing a few innocent and fun goosebumps.

...and of course, my book!

Please enjoy this site. Nose around. Anyone can find something here to read and get a chuckle.





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