Klein Copy: Part I

The kit with the hardware laid in place


A few months ago I discovered that Alibaba distributes guitar kits for many, many, many different types popular guitars. Of course these are all Chinese knock-offs of the real thing, but they only cost a fraction of the real thing. I was leaning towards getting a Less Paul kit, but a good friend talked me into getting a Klein instead (he got one as well). For example an authentic Klein (when the company was still in business) would sell for between $2-3K (in early 2000 dollars). Currently on ebay they sell for between $5-10k. I had the pleasure of playing two different Kleins while I was in college and they are simply amazing instruments; worth every penny. However, I’m not in a position to justify that kind of money for a guitar.

….but for $89

….$200 shipped.


….how do you say no?!
Very well packed!

Long story short, the kits were manufactured, shipped, and arrived in about six weeks. The body looked fresh off the CNC machine, and didn’t have any of the comfort contours (think strat vs tele) that Kleins have. Step number one was to add the forearm and tummy cuts. There are some good videos on youtube that show how to do this by hand. I picked up a couple wood rasps, files, and assorted sand paper grits to help with add the contours.

Yikes! No turning back now.

Starting to take shape

Tummy cut!

Definitely not perfect, but with the contours the guitar just melts info you and feels very natural.

The last thing I did on day one was to check for alignment with the neck and bridge. I set the neck in the pocket and placed the bridge on the guitar. I then added the two E strings did not tune it anywhere close to pitch. I pulled the strings tight enough to see that the neck will install straight with no further modifications needed.

My impressions after one day of working on the kit are quite positive. I still can’t believe how close this is to a real Klein. So far the only issues I see are a high fret and most  of the hardware is sub-par. ….but I figured that would be the case going in on this.

3 Replies to “Klein Copy: Part I”

  1. I have a home-made Klein-style guitar which I am ready to retire.

    Are you able to build me a Klein-style guitar, to my specifications?

    I can send pictures of my current Klein-style. Thank you, -Karl

  2. Hey Karl, thanks for reaching out. While I wish I was a luthier, I know my limits. :) This was a super fun project, but I don’t play this guitar near as much as my others and wouldn’t really recommend it for someone else. Steve Klein I making electrics again! I would suggest you look at what he’s doing as they’re much more affordable compared to what the old ones cost in the used market. Alternatively if you need something more affordable Steinberg and Keisel has some really nice offerings as well. Good luck and I hope you’re able to get exactly what you’re looking for.

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