Steve Klein, Nylon String Guitars 6 String / 12 String - Built for Jon Mark - Carlos Rios


Steve Klein
Nylon String Guitars 6 String / 12 String
Serial Number: 
9/5-2 10/5-2
Brazilian Rosewood
The Story Behind


About the Guitars:

Here is a description of Steve Kleins guitars (from an article Steve Klein: Radical Luthier? by David Gans BAM March 7, 1980):

Structural Features of the Steve Klein Guitars 

Body "The roundness of the top makes the instrument a more efficient plate resonator," Klein says. Coupled with the split, asymmetrical bridge and an advanced bracing system, this makes for a more even frequency response. The result is a louder tone with a richer harmonic content. 

Bridge The bridge is the result of research by Professor Michael Kasha of the University of Florida. "It is designed in accordance with some of Professor Kasha's observations on the mechanical coupling of motion in stringed instruments," says Klein's catalog. "It is what he calls an 'impedance-matching' bridge, which transmits string motion to the soundboard more efficiently than a conventionally-shaped bridge. 

The Kasha bridge is split between the third and fourth strings. The bass-string half is large, flat and fan-shaped, while the treble half is elongated and tapered. The entire assembly resembles a megaphone in silhouette. This design allows each half of the bridge to serve better the specific needs of the strings they support in transmitting energy to the guitar top. 

Saddle - Klein uses a separate ivory piece to support each string, which means that intonation and string height can be set on each string while the other strings are at full tension. 

Zero fret - This is not unique to Klein's guitars, but he says it makes open strings sound more exactly like fretted strings and facilitates bending strings on the lower frets. 

Ease of maintenance - "The neck-block holds the neck with a minimum of mass, to distribute tension to the back, leaving the face more relaxed," says Klein. "Equal neck mass behind the entire length of the fretboard helps assure a flat, easy-playing neck all the way to the highest frets. Overlapping laminations from the head-to-neck-joint create a much stronger neck than the traditional one-piece." The neck is also removable, which makes repairs and adjustments, more convenient. Neck resets take half the time, and the metal truss rod can be adjusted with the strings in place. 

Bracing - "The flying brace was developed for the steel-stringed guitar to transfer high string tensions in the face between the bridge and sound-hole to the sides of the instrument at its waist", says Klein, "in such a way as to allow the bridge to drive the face and resonance bars with as little restriction as possible." A transverse bar directly beneath the bridge makes face warpage less likely and frees the resonance bars from support functions, making them acoustically more efficient.

These guitars are also quoted in the magazine and Steve is shown on a photo with one of the guitars in the original article:

The basic guitar (prices start at $1750) is made with a rosewood neck and walnut back and sides. Steve has also done some fine custom work, and decorations such as an ebony rosette and fretboard inlaid in silver with a partial map of the northern constellations and an ivory-and-opal comet (on a guitar commissioned by Dan Peek). Joni Mitchell designed a deliciously complex combination of carvings and inlays for her guitar. Steve built matching nylons six- and twelve- strings of Brazilian rosewood for Jon Mark and has built guitars with spruce, mahogany and even redwood tops, but the lion's share of his time and energy is spent building and improving on his basic designs. 

This is the matched pair of handcrafted Steve Klein Nylon String Guitars made in 1978. One is a 6 string and the other is a 12 string.

Both guitars were custom made for Jon Mark in the 1978 but have been owned by studio and live guitarist, Carlos Rios. (Gino Vanelli, Chick Corea, Stevie Nicks..) since the early 80's. 

Each guitar has a Sitka Spruce top and Brazilian Rosewood back and sides. Both guitars have been very recently set-up by Steve himself and are in absolutely fantastic playing condition.  

These are completely unique instruments never to have been produced by Steve since, they are one of a kind. A pair of "one-of-a-kinds"! 

Both guitars have very slender wide necks (typical for classic guitars). 

These guitars are exceptional.  Deep, rich earthy tones, great action and very very light.  Just incredible art.

If you have any questions, please contact us