About Kemp Guitars

UK based, metal-lovin' guitar maker with over 20 years experience

Kemp Guitars is Matt Kemp, a UK based, metal-lovin' guitar maker with over 20 years combined experience in guitar repairs, rebuilding and lutherie... He's also a huge fan of Jackson® guitars.

In 2009, after selling his first "made from scratch" guitar, he started taking orders and building a portfolio of custom made and stock guitars from his Cornwall-based workshop.

"It all started at the age of 16 when I bought my first electric guitar, a second-hand Columbus Super-strat (Soloist™ copy). It was the first time I had really picked up a guitar and although I dedicated a lot of my time learning to play, I spent as much time looking at ways to make this guitar look and sound better.

"Within a few months of owning the Columbus, I had stripped its original finish and fashioned a makeshift tremolo arm from a junior hacksaw frame. Around that same time, I met a guy living down the road from me who had some tired, old 1970s Japanese-made guitars that he wanted to get back into full working order, so I offered to help him fix those up.

"It all kicked off from there and within three years, having taken the Columbus apart countless times, I was buying cheap, damaged and neglected guitars to repair or rebuild before selling them to local guitarists for a profit.

"Fifteen years later, completely self-taught and driven by passion, I quit my full-time job in London to set-up my own business, Serpentine Guitars, making and repairing guitars."

 
And this is his workshop

Since 2009, Matt has taken custom orders from all over the world and seen a consistent rise in demand for his instruments. In 2014, the increasing workload forced Matt to move to new, larger premises and upgrade much of his arsenal of tools and machinery.

Around that same time, he was contacted by a very talented airbrush artist, Winy Wohlwend, from Switzerland. After some friendly negotiation, Matt built a number of guitars for Winy who then applied his extraordinary airbrush skills to transform the blank canvas of each guitar - one of which appeared as a main feature in the March 2016 issue of German airbrush-tutorial magazine "Airbrush Step By Step".

The increasing numbers of custom orders, saw the business grow even more throughout 2015. Working alone and taking on so many new orders, Matt started to outsource some of the specialist work involved in making his guitars, including custom inlay work.

As Serpentine Guitars continued to go from strength to strength into 2016, Matt decided that he wanted his guitars to feature more of his own influence, design and individuality. In August 2016, the decision was made to rebrand the business and future builds under the name "Kemp Guitars". As part of this rebranding, Matt revised a lot of his custom options and other build related processes - which includes the extensive palette of matte Polyurethane colour finishes that are available on his guitars today.

As always, Kemp Guitars continues using only the highest quality materials and parts, including instrument grade timber and exotic hardwoods, and hardware from the likes of Gotoh®, Hipshot®, EMG, Seymour Duncan® and DiMarzio®, amongst others.

"It is damn rewarding when you hear those first chords played on a guitar you've made yourself. I still get that buzz even now... I probably wouldn't be doing this if I didn't."