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UPDATED Jan 1, 2024 after set-up by Paul Schwartz of Peekamoose Custom Guitars.

UPDATED Jun 8, 2023 with photos requested by a potential buyer.

For sale by original and only owner/collector is a Steve Klein Custom Electric Guitar with OHSC and proof of origin.

Low serial number, early build by Steve himself (pre-Lorenzo German); 100% original parts, unmodified.

Excellent condition with no dings, dents, or scratches; oxidation consistent with age.

UPDATE: a finish chip and crack has formed at the neck joint. Could be filled and hit with a Sharpie, but have left and provided a macro lens photo. Downgrading condition to Very Good. Since it is most common to grip this guitar from the neck, it is not surprising that it was torqued at some point. Guitar was shipped to a luthier for evaluation but has otherwise been stored in its case during the listing.

Time capsule: Never gigged, played in smoke-free private studio. Includes rare, original hard shell case.

Year: 1991
Luthier: Steve Klein
Origin: Sonoma, CA, USA
Condition: Excellent (vintage); closet-classic, NOS. 
Serial Number: 057
Body: Large size (custom option)
Weight: 7.994 lbs
Body wood: Alder most likely; could be Ash but cannot confirm
Bridge: Steinberger TransTrem, second generation
Tuners: headless, high ratio tuners in the TransTrem bridge
Neck: graphite composite, no inlay (custom option), side dots
Frets: jumbo
Scale: 25.5"
Pickups: HSH; Seymour Duncan JB (SH-4), Jazz (SH-2) (the classic "Hot Rodded" set); single coil middle
Wiring: 5 position:
 1. bridge
 2. bridge-middle
 3. middle
 4. neck-bridge
 5. neck
Hardware: mini toggle to switch phase of neck pickup; push-pull pots to split both sets of humbucker coils
Finish: Jet Black; poly (no lacquer checking, solid finish)
Logo: Signed/autographed by Steve Klein (paint under clear finish, not a decal)
Pickguard: "leopard skin pillbox hat" mosaic of black, pearl and gold
Case: original hardshell, custom case (most indications of age and wear associated with the case)
Proof of origin and ownership: see photos or message with questions

Original custom order inspired by artists David Torn, Michael Hedges, Bill Frisell, Andy Summers, and Lou Reed. I was planning to purchase a Steinberger when Steve answered the phone himself to explain why I should instead purchase a custom build. The "Kleinberger" has indeed been special. 

The Klein Custom design has superior balance and ergonomics. It may be played with classical or jazz technique at a perfect posture and neck angle, just as it can be played with the thumb over the top for rock or blues. Truly versatile in terms of playability (standing with a strap or seated with bout balanced perfectly on leg and no need for a strap) and sonically (all conceivable pickup configurations including split coils, phase reversal, and combinations). Of course, it can be re-wired to suit the player's preference for electronics. 

The Steinberger TransTrem is an engineering marvel and quite valuable itself, retaining tuning and pitch through 2 semi-tones (one full tone) up or down, like a built-in capo (with locking positions) or pitch-perfect vibrato system (chords retain relative pitch). A powerful performance tool, the bridge can float freely or be fixed in standard or transposed setting, controlled in real time with the vibrato arm.

Original hard shell case is also rare, as later guitars were only offered with gig bags. 


1. This guitar is 30 years old. Its design, build quality, materials, and condition make it look much more contemporary. As a vintage instrument, oxidation of the hardware and electronics may require service to achieve peak performance, including micro-adjustment/set-up of the TransTrem.  I was planning to refresh the electronics and replace the middle single coil pickup with a humbucker,  but decided to offer the guitar in un-modified condition with 100% original parts. I am however including a brand new set of three pickups (JB, Jazz, and Little '59 humbuckers) and miscellaneous hardware for those wanting to proceed with this work after getting a feel for the instrument and its original set up.

2. the original estimate/invoice indicates active EMG pickups, which were changed at my request to passive Seymour Duncans and installed by Steve in his workshop. There is no documentation of this change order but Steve himself may recall and confirm. Active pickups are therefore not included but may be installed by the buyer

Am selling to rotate collection, reluctantly parting with a significant piece of guitar history.

International buyer welcome, but will ship insured only to US agent. No international shipping.

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Listed3 years ago
ConditionVery Good (Used)
Very Good items may show a few slight marks or scratches but are fully functional and in overall great shape.learn more
  • Custom Electric Guitar
  • Black
  • 1991
Made In
  • United States
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Number of Strings
  • 6-String
Body Type
  • Solid Body

Sons of Sound

New York, NY, United States
Joined Reverb:2016

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