2020 Kevin Kopp K-35 Slope Dreadnought Guitar

As a guitar repairman living in Vermont, I'm practically stumbling on all sorts of nice, boutique-luthier guitars day in and day out. They don't all get writeups on the blog but I do get to play a lot of them. This Kopp K-35 really stands-out, though, by just how not boutique-y it sounds. I don't mean that in a bad way -- I mean that in a good way.

This guy sounds like a really good early-'50s Gibson J-45 or J-50 (or, for that matter, a '30s J-35/AJ-style) with some of the "tonal errors" ironed-out. It has that dry, woody, percussive, open-air sound that we all yearn for but every note (instead of only 1/2 to 2/3) on the neck rings true and has a strong, fundamental sound with some nice, lingering overtone-reverb bit trailing off of it. It's really odd to hear a J-45-style clone made by a boutique guitar maker that doesn't try to "iron-out" the Gibson-ness of the sound. So many small builders that make instruments as copycats of this style build something that sounds more like a mellower, woofier D-18 with too much velvet in the mids. This sounds like a thoroughbred version of the original stock.

Anyhow, this guitar is only here because the owner has a chance to snag a quite-expensive old Martin and he has to toss some gear overboard to make the dollars work. His loss! He'd sold it already but that sale fell-through because in-transit the guitar developed a 1 1/2" finish hairline on the lower-bout (photo included) that's... basically... invisible unless you're hunting for it. Otherwise, aside from just light handling wear you might see from a new guitar in a shop, it's basically brand-new. I did give the frets the faintest level and dress job and adjusted the saddle slightly, too.

It's playing spot-on, has plenty of saddle, and is ready to go with a frou-frou TKL case. I mean -- there's really nothing to knock about this guitar and I love knocking newer builds because I'm spoiled by vintage gear. Good on you, Mr. Kopp.

Other nice things: tiger-stripe pickguard, good pins, good Waverly tuners. The neck shape is a dead ringer for '30s Gibsons, too. It's also lightweight at a little under 4 lbs.

Repairs included: a glorified setup.

Top wood: solid red spruce

Back & sides wood: solid mahogany

Bracing type: x, lightly scalloped

Bridge: rosewood, bone saddle

Fretboard: rosewoood

Neck wood: mahogany

Action height at 12th fret:
3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 54w-12 lights

Neck shape: medium-bigger soft V/C

Board radius: ~10"

Truss rod: adjustable

Neck relief: straight

Fret style: medium-taller

Scale length: 24 5/8"

Nut width: 1 3/4"

Body width: 16 1/8"

Body depth: 4 3/4"

Weight: 3 lbs 13 oz

Condition notes: it's basically as-new save a hairline finish crack (not in the wood) on the lower-bout-top (pictured). I wouldn't even have noticed it had I not been told it was there. There's also minor use-wear to the finish -- a little rubbing to the bass side of the fretboard's side and then just the usual absolutely minor finish swirls from the finish coming into contact with, ya know, your body. It looks like a new guitar that's been played in a shop for a few months.

It comes with: a plush TKL hard case.


CM said…
The gorgeous simplicity of this guitar is so elegant. Beautiful work Maestro Kopp. Bravissimo Bravo!