Is Klein Electric Guitars No More?

Klein Electric Guitars may not be long for this world. Yesterday, a participant of the Klein Electric Guitars Yahoo Group reported finding a note on the site stating the following: “Note: Klein Electric Guitars is no longer taking new orders at this time.” This screenshot confirms this:

Klein Electric Guitars Home Page

According to reports on the group, Klein Electric Guitars has had ongoing issues delivering guitars for well over a year now. Guitarists with deposits have waited and waited for their instruments – reporting little and at times no contact with the company for months at a time.

It is unfortunate as the Klein Electric Guitar is one of the few instruments that is recognized as a truly ergonomic guitar design. However, it has been an up and down ride since inception. It began with Steve Klein, its designer, producing the guitar through the Steinberger line. It was dropped and then Klein struck out on his own. Later he sold his interest in the company to his right hand man Lorenzo German. By all counts, the company did a wonderful job of continuing with the Klein guitar design intially but has apparently fallen on difficult times over the last few years. I wish the company well.

UPDATE 05.31.2007: Read the latest news and comments on – News Flash – The End of Klein Electric Guitars?

UPDATE 08.28.2007 No new word from the Klein Guitar camp. The site remains down.

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17 Responses to “Is Klein Electric Guitars No More?”

  1. it’s not good to hear that.. but anyhow, these guys knw what they are into.. wish them luck in anyways!!

  2. I’d be willing to bet that Lorenzo has had a difficult time getting parts and that that the parts he receives aren’t up to the quality of the woodworking-the early Steinberger bridges were milled aluminum but the bridges available on MusicYo seem to be the cheapest cast pot metal available. There was a period of time when there was no Steinberger “anything” while Gibson shut down it’s Steinberger operations either to move the factory or because it was trying to figure out what to do on the corporate level (somebody with the real scoop enlighten us here). It’s also possible that Gibson will not grant him a license to create his own parts of a higher quality if they overlap the Steinberger patents. It’s usually a money issue for the big guys vs. the small quantity builders.

    1. Its true Lorenzo has had a bit of a time getting bridges but he also had a bit of health problem that set him back a bit and he is only one guy with a standing 2 year wait. But let it be know Klein Electric is not dead Lorenzo is building gtr’s one at a time and filling the back orders till those are filled he is not taking orders. I spoke to him today and he as he puts it is getting back on track soon. Nonetheless the Klein is well worth wait. The web page is going to be back up soon as well.

      1. That’s great news! It would be a shame to lose the Klein and I wish Lorenzo all the best in getting back on track.

      2. That is good news – for Lorenzo and for the customers who are waiting for their instrument to be delivered (I am one of them : paid the guitar 90% in 2004, no news since October 2005). As you said you spoke to him, can you tell why he did suddenly break the communication with us : no explanation, nothing at all despite letters, phone calls, Emails, and even threats of trial. That is so weird !

        Thanks a lot.

      3. Gerard – While I can empathize with Lorenzo’s illness, its hard to imagine two years without hearing from a vendor!

        It’s in Lorenzo’s best interests to make some kind of effort to reach out to the community and hopefully that is forthcoming. Otherwise, I fear the damage to his reputation will be irreparable.

  3. I wouldn’t doubt that Lorenzo has had issues getting parts – oftentimes, parts are unavailable for months at a time on Musicyo. However, I find it difficult to imagine that an experienced guitar builder such as Lorenzo wouldn’t be able to track down parts.

    There are two quality manufacturers of headless bridge designs (albeit fixed bridges) and a number of alternative headless design approaches that he could consider – several of which I’ve posted about. I’m aware of one headless guitar builder who commissioned his own headless bridge.

    Given this, I would think that parts availability would be more of an inconvenience than a show-stopper. I don’t get the impression that Klein admirers are in it for the bridge specifically.

    Finally, if you’ve been listening in at the Klein Guitar Group over at Yahoo, you’re aware that not only has the company had issues delivering guitars for several years but would-be owners have had a terrible time getting answers from the company as well.

    1. Well It seems my earlier comment about Lorenzo was miles off track. I have spoken to him a few time over the past two years and even drove to is home to visit to basically drop of a guitar and pay for what would qualify as a repair and refinish and now it seems my money is gone the guitar in in his possession and simply put he has fallen off the planet again. Its a real shame. But at least on the + side of things is that Steve Klein is getting ready to introduce a new electric design!!!

      1. Very sorry to hear it, Rys. The stories keep going back and forth on Lorenzo, his state of health, the state of Klein Electric Guitars, etc.

        I know how much folks want to believe that the company is coming back but I’ve yet to see any indication of that. Even something as simple as continuing to pay the bill to keep the old website up and maintain some kind of presence appears to have been too much.

  4. IANAL, but I would assume the patents have probably expired by now, seeing as the Steinberger’s came out over 20 years ago. Is this the case?

    1. PJ – I can’t speak to that directly either but as I stated in previous comments, its hard to see this as a significant contributor to Klein Electric’s woes. Parts are difficult to come by – at least to the average guitar builder. However, there are alternatives out there and I would imagine that Klein Electric Guitars, because of its prior relationship with Gibson, would have some advantage over someone like myself (an amateur builder) in obtaining parts. After all, they are not competing in the same space. Klein guitars are very much niche instruments in terms of design, appeal and cost.

      Finally, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. Would you be interested in…

    1. PJ – Please contact me directly at buildingtheergonomicguitar [at] gmail.com.

      Thanks!

  6. There have also been disputes over the ownership of the Klien design. I was part of Klein guitars when Lorenzo left with the electric divsion. Lorenzo left on good terms but I am aware of some legal issues that insued afterwards.

    Last I heard from Steve Klein he was out of Lutherie all together. He is the finest craftsman I have ever worked with. Steve Kauffman does the repairs on the Klein Acoustics and is gifted as well.

    1. Colin – Thank you for stopping in! I wasn’t aware of any conflicts over the design between Lorenzo and Steve. I imagine that it wasn’t particularly public.

      I’m sorry to hear about Steve Klein. I recall reading an article about him this past year that suggested there might be some issues there. It really is too bad as there aren’t many who are willing to expand beyond the commonly accepted guitar forms. I would love to have seen Steve build on what he started with the Kleins.

  7. Hi all!
    I wonder if anyone of you knows where one can get the front page picture of a Klein Electric that was shown when hitting the home page

    http://www.kleinelectricguitars.com?

    I’ve scrutinized the net, but just found pictures bound with the rest of the information on the page, and in small resolution. It’s the one that is a pro shot of a Klein electric with professional lightning set, and a “purple-ish” background. The reason is, they’re not around any longer, and that picture would be a PERFECT desktop background on any computer, apart from all the other pictures out there. And those residing on this forum as well. I want just the guitar picture, not the actual front page with text tags and links and infos.

    If I can get hold of it in reasonable size and quality it would be nicer as well. That one must be taken by a pro studio, or they who set up the web site in the first place.

    Anyone ?

    /mats

  8. Am wondering if there is anyone who can give me Lorenzo German’s telephone number? He called us and the number on my answering machine that he left was not the correct one. My son worked for Lorenzo building guitars, but he has not talked to him for a very long time.

    Would love to get ahold of him, but erased the number. Thanks.