Kenny Hill began building guitars in the mid 1970's, first in Santa Barbara, CA, then later in the Santa Cruz area. In 1978 he was awarded one of the first California Arts Council grants to an individual artist for his work as a guitar builder and guitarist. During that time he was instructor of guitar on the faculty at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Although during the 1980's he took a hiatus from guitar building, he continued as a professional classical guitarist, performing concerts, recording, appearing on television and radio, teaching at UC Santa Cruz and other schools and colleges, and in the California State Prison System.
In 1990 Mr. Hill returned to professional guitar building. In 1993 he was awarded a grant from the California Arts Council to set up a guitar making program in the California State Prison system. From 1993 to 1995 he taught and directed an award-winning program of guitar building at Soledad State Prison. Parts of that program are still in operation. He continues to teach inmates to produce very fine guitars inside the state prison at Tracy, CA.
Currently he is the president of Hill Guitar Company, building fine classical guitars for the world market, and host of this web site. This project has required that he adapt to the demands of the business and employment world, something not always easy for an artist. The guitars are wonderful, and the impact they have on the guitar world make the effort worthwhile. We have seen Hill Guitars growing in influence and esteem worldwide over the past decade, with the best still to come.
Over the past few years Mr. Hill's activities have taken on a more international trend, including some very interesting work in Mexico with some of Mexico's finest luthiers. His work in Mexico has been integral in raising the standards and upgrading designs for a new generation of Mexican guitars and guitar makers.
As of 2002 he has been working with a small group of luthiers in China developing world class guitars for the exploding market in Asia.
Kenny Hill has written many articles for various guitar publications, including Acoustic Guitar, Soundboard, and American Lutherie. He also makes regular television and radio appearances in the San Francisco Bay area, up and down the west coast, in Mexico and in China. He is an active member of the GFA, GAL, ASIA and NAMM, and has participated in each association's expositions.
Kenny Hill is the father of four children. He resides with his four kids in the Santa Cruz mountains, near the coast of California.