Mats Erikson’s Klein Electric Guitar Replica

Building the Ergonomic Guitar reader Mats Erikson recently shared information on his Klein Electric Guitar Replica.

Klein Guitar Replica Full

Here are some of its features:

  • Guitar Body – Swamp ash.
  • Neck – Moses Graphite composite Steinberger replacement neck (with truss rod).
  • Bridge – ABM Single Bridges (combined with a locking nut).
  • Pickups – Harmonic Design Z-90 in neck and bridge positions.
  • Output – Strat-style output jack.

The replica’s guitar body, like my own first guitar project, is based on the harp guitar plan available from the Guild of American Luthiers. It should be noted that the harp guitar is somewhat wider than the original Klein, particularly in the area under the player’s picking arm. In Mats’ case, the decision was made to cut this down to bring it closer to the original Klein. I, on the other hand, left my guitar body as per the plan.

Unlike the original Klein which uses a rosewood neck with out a truss rod, Mats opted for a Moses Graphite composite neck with truss rod on his guitar build. Contrast this with my use of a maple neck with rosewood fingerboard obtained from a Musicyo Steinberger.

Mats also went with the ABM single bridges instead of one of the Steinberger headless tremolo bridges used on the original. The ABM single bridge arrangement is, in essence, a fixed bridge. Mats makes the following observation:

This increases sustain and compared to my original Klein, this one actually has greater “blooming” sustain on the lower part of the neck, i.e. below the twelfth fret.

ABM Headless Bridge CloseUp

I particularly like Mats use of the ABM single bridges and a conventional locking nut. Although the convenience of using double ball end strings is lost, it opens up use of a much greater variety of conventional guitar strings. It also eliminates concerns over the availability of double ball end strings. I’ll need to add the ABM single bridge solution to my article Guitar Building Resources for Headless Guitar Designs.

I also like Mats decision to move the output jack to the surface of the guitar. I made a similar decision on my guitar build in order to facilitate playing in classical position.

How does it sound? According to Mats, the Harmonic Design Z-90 pickups are “great pickups” with “great fidelity”. He describes the tone as “almost acoustic in sound”.

Other comments? Well, Mats mentioned that he’ll probably be making this his gigging guitar. Apart from his concern over risking his original Klein in club situations, it obviously speaks to the success of his guitar project.

Many thanks go to Mats not only for sharing the details of his Klein Guitar Replica but for his engaging comments on Building the Ergonomic Guitar.

Correction: Sorry for the miscommunication. Mats guitar does, in fact, use a standard headless neckpiece and employs double ball end strings. My apologies to everyone for the misunderstanding. However, the idea still stands – you could make use of a conventional locking nut with these single string bridges and avoid concerns over double ball end strings. Also, Steinberger produces an adapter that will allow use of conventional strings.

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38 Responses to “Mats Erikson’s Klein Electric Guitar Replica”

  1. Just for reference, ABM uses AllParts as their US distributor. Although AllParts.com does not list the ABM single tuners, they can be ordered direct. The black ones shown go for $53/string or $318/set, gold for $55/330.

    1. Thanks for the information, Kevin. The single bridges are very attractive for a next project. I can pass on tremolo bridges so these are right up my alley.

  2. The nice thing about the ABM bridge is that you can also use this to do a multi-scale fanned fret guitar for the ultimate in ergonomics.

    1. Yup! This is what I’ve ordered up for my forthcoming guitar. ABM has confirmed that they can add piezo elements as well, but then they didn’t write back to confirm an actual order apparently (the builder was the one communicating with them) so we’re just waiting. They seem kinda laid back and slow, but the end result will be good if my patience holds. 😉

      Great-looking Klein replica! Has Mats provided a photo of the neck-end? I’d be curious to see exactly what he did with the Moses neck and conventional locking nut.

      Awesome blue, too. 😀

      1. Keep me informed on the guitar and I’m very interested in the single bridges with piezo elements.

        Sorry for the confusion on the neck – it is a “conventional” headless neckpiece. I’ve added a correction to the article. 😳

      2. Wow, individual bridges and piezo? I’ll be on the lookout. I bet thats got to be the most expensive bridge ever!

      3. I’m also excited about the combination but I’m expecting it to be pricey as well.

      4. Individual + Piezos, small potatoes. :mrgreen:
        Individual + Tuners + Piezos, getting there.

        So far, the most expensive quote I’ve seen was for a Kahler Vibrato bridge/tailpiece for a compound scale nine-string. IIRC, it was only $900. Not bad actually when you consider what it is.

        Ray

      5. Hey,

        Can you give me more info on that? Where did you hear this from? How can I obtain one of these compound scale tremelos from kahler? Can you have piezos installed in it, etc.?

      6. Kahler multi-scale and 7, 8, 9, 10 string Trems were (and still are) being discussed in the “Extended Range Guitar” forum at: . After speaking with the folks a Kahler, Halo Guitars announced that all of their guitars would be available as 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 string, with or with-out compound scales.

        The $900 quote was to a forum memember (Duero?) directly from Kahler, months prior to the NAMM show that brought Halo and Kahler together.

        Piezos are supposed to be in the works, but nothing definite from Kahler yet. Folks over at Sevenstring.Org have talked about adding piezos to Kahler trems.

        Ray

      7. Ray – Thanks so much for the update!

      8. Hey guys,

        I had contacted Kahler and got some pics, prices, etc. of their “Hybrid x-trem”, which is what they are choosing to call these bridges. I had asked about Piezos, but they told me that at the moment, there were no compatable piezos (unfortnuately!)

        Please keep me updated on the piezo stuff for kahler!

        Matt

    2. Agreed – The ABM bridges are also great for fanned fret guitars. And thanks for joining the conversation!

  3. Forgot to mention: Kudos Mike on the buildout. Your guitar looks great!

  4. 😯 Nice. Really nice. 😯

    I had more than a bit of frustration trying to find a US supplier of the ABM bridges. It took ages and multiple emails for AllParts to figure out if they could get the part, and then they quoted me $63 each for black.

    I’m planning a multi-scale, aka compound scale, aka Fanned-Fret (TM) 7-String (but the body will be more like a TimTone or the Forshage Hollowbody posted on this site) and the ABM bridges really look to be the way to go.

    Ray

    1. I’ve heard similar frustrations about obtaining the single string bridges from others as well. I don’t think its related to the vendor but to ABM the manufacturer. As Greg points out earlier with his builder’s inquiries to ABM, they seem a bit slow to respond.

      As to your build, please keep us posted. I’m sure readers will be interested in what you’re planning – sounds exciting!

  5. This is a tangential note, but I have Harmonic Design Z90’s in a custom thinline Telecaster. The guitar has a solid rosewood neck, so there’s a relation to Klein as well. You can listen to this guitar here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_boOzHk8lM

    Roger

    1. Thanks for the note! Sounds good.

    2. Thats a good lookin’ video. The guitar sounds great!

      1. Thank you. I believe that the one piece rosewood neck is a magical component, and for that reason (among others) the Kleins still are a very unique bird. I asked Chris Forshage about using rosewood for the neck of my headless, but he wasn’t too enthused at the idea – thought it would be too bright. I decided to let him guide me as the guitar is his creation after all.

  6. Does anyone know the string spacing of the ABM singles bridge? Thx in advance.

  7. David, as far as I know it is theoretically 5 mm.
    I don’t know the inches. BUT! The tuner knobs will collide and bump into each other so at least 9 mm, to give a little space, as I have on mine Klein replica.
    Guitar, that is. On bass it is 16 mm.

    1. Thanks for the feedback!

  8. Funny thing, I have had no problems with ABM. Especially in communication. 2-3 weeks it took before I got them single bridges. I do feel slightly a bit sorry for all you US guys having to resort to poor dollar rate at the moment. You have to pay extortionate prices for all German parts, I think.

    They even sent the package directly home to me with the singles bridges. It wasn’t a large pacakge. Even before I paid them. I could’ve scammed them if I liked but I didn’t…:-)

    1. It’s not the first time I’ve heard folks say they have trouble getting information from ABM. I don’t have any numbers but my gut says that there’s some untapped market potential for they seem to be dropping the ball on.

  9. Mats, I have ordered the harp guitar plan from the Guild of American Luthiers and would like to modify the body shape to as you have done on your Klein replica. Would it be possible for you to detail the changes you made?

  10. Sorry for not replying earlier! Got notified by Robert on this one, just recently. But, vacation you know. It’s over by now though.

    I’ll try to do my best in describing what was done. About 1 inch at the most where trimmed off of the upper bout. I mean peaked. The best thing to explain it is like this. If you look at the picture, theres a black screw on the white pickguard to the left right above the bridge pickup. If you take a string or core (not a guitar string, a thin ordinary…rope) and tape it to that one and stretch it out to the left of the body – make sure it’s long enough – and measure the longest instance you get when reaching the end of the body, somewhere where the body reaches under your armpit theres the longest distance. On the HARP guitar version we snapped off one inch there – start there and gradually went to zero as we moved forward towards the neck end of the body. This was quite, peculiar, because I thought that just raising the bodies upper part to a larger chunk would render the HARP guitar very unbalanced. You have to counterweight that with the lower part as well. Not so.

    This is very very elusive, and I have not the cut out chunk left to send you a photo of. This is the only way I can explain it. But if you take the plan and place this “sting” where the pickups are, and do the same you can draw with a pen the same shape, but ONE INCH (2,5 cm) shorter at the greatest lenght. God this is awful description, but I have no scale 1:1 to show you. Below the neck, I mean to the right side where the controls are theres no difference at all. Anyway, the body of the Harp guitar isn’t say 1:1,234 scale larger in all, because it’s just the upper part of the body that accomodate the harp strings that has been enlarged.

    I will return to you later, cause I’ll have to bring out the plan again, and just lay my original Klein over it and do a new dotted red line again where the original Klein lines goes. I am not afraid of ruining the plan in any way and I can send you some shots. Digital camera I have (as you see from above photos).

    I will use the plan in the future, maybe, for original Klein sizes so I’ll have to dot lines anyway. :-)

  11. One other thing. After we chopped it off, it was just left to me to mill and sand it down so it fitted into an original Klein hard case. The hard case don’t expland, so I just kept on filing, sanding, until it was a snug, tight fit, we used the hard case as a measure guide. That was the tedious jobs I was left to do, basically in order to keep the price down. :-)

  12. Thanks Mats, I THINK I understand! :)
    When my plans arrive I will draw in the new upper profile and take a photo of the result for your comment. Without a Klein hard case, I will have to do what looks/feels right on the body thickness.

  13. John Mills, I tried my best, but as one has measured the largest distance (on inch) if you move the string around in an arc you will get my point. Move it back and forth. Then you see were the sawing line should be drawn. You have to “ink” the string or mark it in someway where the one inch mark is.

    The funny thing is that we had to do this after the body wood was chunked out from the plan. We only discovered that it was too big afterwards.

    I will return. Bringing out the plan now.

  14. It’s mailed away, shot, and zipped! To the moderator of this group first. I e Robert. Hope he brings the photos of the plan forward to you, and anyone that wishes to have it. Use this guide at your own risk/discreetion. :-)

    One could really ask the guy who makes/made the cases, he ought to have the right measures. I have to mill/sand/file it down the rounded corners, bevels, as well to make it fit.
    Hope you can get SOMETHING out of those shots. The folding rule that goes with the pictures is in inches which one clearly can see. If it’s exact to the millimeters, I don’t think matters that much.

    If you don’t have seen a real Klein with all bevels, body curvatures and contours, that doesn’t really occur on the plan, I think you’re in for a major chore. The body is bevel-edged a lot. We couldn’t get that exactly right even if we looked at the real one, we had to go by feel, and sand it and then see how it felt. There’s no measures on those.

    Good Luck.

    /Mats

    1. Got them, Mats! Thanks!

      John – On their way to you…

  15. Mats (& Robert!) thank you very much for your enthusiasm and effort. I hope my project turns out to be worthy. I have a small 2-axis CNC mill in my shop & MAY try to create a CAD solid model (Solidworks)of the body… I’ll keep you updated.

    John

    1. I’m happy to help, John! If you do come up with a CAD model, I’d love to see it…

  16. Good to hear about the individual ABM’s.
    Anyone have experiences with the ABM 3800 bridge set?

    For both series:
    Which tuner bearings?
    Do they operate smooth?
    Any close pics of the 3800 saddles? Like the individuals?

    —–
    WRT the fanned Kahlers, Josh mailed me back they’re available in 6, 7, 8 and 9 string versions.
    Production usually takes 8 weeks and price varies between $699 and $949.

    The maximum difference in the witness point of the first string to the witness point of the lowest string is 1.600″.

    van Sinn

    1. Welcome to the site, van Sinn. Please note that ABM is going out of business. From what I understand, its owner passed away and they’ve sold off the equipment. Here’s the article: Guitar Parts Maker ABM Mueller is gone…

      There will be some parts floating around but you’ll want to consider other options. You’ll find a few ideas here: Guitar Parts Resources for Headless Guitar Designs.

  17. Hii!Ä° am Burcin from Turkey.Ä° play jazz,fusion,blues etc..My hoby is guitar making and gitar designs.Thank you for this guitar ideas…..Please send me the news and others…………
    Best Regards Burçin Ankara

    1. @Burcin – Welcome to BTEG! If by “send me the news and others” you mean you’d like to receive updates to the site, that’s completely under you’re control.

      Go to the top of the site and look in the right hand corner directly underneath the search box. You’ll see choices for “Subscribe to RSS” and “Subscribe by email”. Just click on the one you want! :)